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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 2PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 25SUBSTANTIVE RULES APPLICABLE TO ELECTRIC SERVICE PROVIDERS
SUBCHAPTER RCUSTOMER PROTECTION RULES FOR RETAIL ELECTRIC SERVICE PROVIDERS
RULE §25.475General Retail Electric Provider Requirements and Information Disclosures to Residential and Small Commercial Customers

    (C) Each residential bill for a variable price product must include a statement informing the customer how to obtain information about the price that will apply on the next bill.

  (3) Notice of changes to terms and conditions. A REP must provide written notice to its customers at least 14 days in advance of the date that the change in the contract will be applied to the customer's bill or take effect. Notice is not required for a change that benefits the customer.

  (4) Contents of the notice to change terms and conditions. The notice must:

    (A) be provided in or with the customer's bill or in a separate document;

    (B) include the following statement, "Important notice regarding changes to your contract" clearly and conspicuously in the notice;

    (C) identify the change and the specific contract provisions that address the change;

    (D) clearly specify what actions the customer needs to take if the customer does not accept the proposed changes to the contract;

    (E) state in bold lettering that if the new terms are not acceptable to the customer, the customer may terminate the contract and no termination penalty may apply for 14 days from the date that the notice is sent to the customer but may apply if action is taken after the 14 days have expired. No such statement is required if the customer would not be subject to a termination penalty under any circumstances; and

    (F) state in bold lettering that establishing service with another REP may take up to seven business days.

(e) Contract expiration and renewal offers.

  (1) Notice Timeline for Expiration of a Fixed Rate Product.

    (A) For fixed rate products, the REP must provide the customer with at least three written notices of the date the fixed rate product will expire. The notices must be provided during the last third of the fixed rate contract period and in intervals that allow for, as practicable, even distribution of the notices throughout the last third of the fixed rate contract period. For contracts with a period of 12 months or longer, the first notice may be provided up to three months prior to the contract end date. For fixed rate contracts for a period:

      (i) Of more than four months, the final notice must be provided at least 30 days before the date the fixed rate contact will expire.

      (ii) Of four or fewer months, the final notice must be provided at least 15 days before the date the fixed rate contract will expire.

      (iii) For a small commercial customer, the final notice must be provided at least 14 days before the fixed rate contract will expire.

    (B) The notices must be provided to the customer by mail at the customer's billing address, unless the customer has opted to receive communications electronically from the REP.

    (C) If a REP does not provide the required notice of the expiration of a customer's fixed rate contract and the customer does not select another retail electric product before expiration of the fixed rate contract term, the REP must continue serving the customer under the terms of the fixed rate contract until the REP provides notice in accordance with applicable requirements of subsection (e)(1)(A)(i) or (ii), or until the customer selects another retail electric product.

  (2) Contract Expiration.

    (A) If a customer takes no action in response to the final notice of contract expiration for the continued receipt of retail electric service upon the contract's expiration, the REP must serve the customer pursuant to a default renewal product that is a month-to-month product that the customer may cancel at any time without a fee. The month-to-month product price may vary between billing cycles based on clear terms designed to be easily understood by the average customer.

    (B) Written notice of contract expiration must be provided in or with the customer's bill, or in a separate document.

      (i) If notice is provided with a residential customer's bill, the notice must be printed on a separate page. A statement must be included in a manner readily visible on the outside of the envelope sent to a residential customer's billing address by mail and in the subject line on the e-mail (if the REP sends the notice by e-mail) that states, "Contract Expiration Notice. See Enclosed."

      (ii) If the notice is provided in or with a small commercial customer's bill, the REP must include a statement in a manner readily visible on the outside of the billing envelope or in the subject line of an electronic bill that states, "Contract Expiration Notice" or "Contract Expiration Notice. See Enclosed."; or

      (iii) For residential and small commercial customers, if notice is provided in a separate document, a statement must be included in a manner readily visible on the outside of the envelope and in the subject line of the e-mail (if customer has agreed to receive official documents by e-mail) that states, "Contract Expiration Notice. See Enclosed."

    (C) A written notice of contract expiration (whether with the bill or in a separate envelope) must set out the following:

      (i) The date, in boldfaced and underlined text, as provided for in subsection (c)(3)(B) of this section that the existing contract will expire.

      (ii) If the REP provided a calendar date as the end date for the contract, a statement in bold lettering no smaller than 12 point font that no termination penalty must apply to residential and small commercial customers 14 days prior to the date stated as the expiration date in the notice. In addition, a description of any fees or charges associated with the early termination of a residential customer's fixed rate product that would apply before 14 days prior to the date stated as the expiration date in the notice must be provided. No such statements are required if the original contract did not contain a termination fee.

      (iii) If the REP defined the contract end date by reference to the first meter read on or after a specific calendar date, a statement in bold lettering no smaller than 12 point font that no termination penalty applies to residential customers for 14 days prior to the date provided as the "on or after" date included in connection with the first meter read language referenced in the notice, or that no termination penalty applies to small commercial customers for 14 days prior to the contract end date. No such statement is required if the original contract did not contain a termination fee.

      (iv) A description of any renewal offers the REP chooses to make available to the customer and the location of the terms of service and EFL for each of those products and a description of actions the customer needs to take to continue to receive service from the REP under the terms of any of the described renewal offers and the deadline by which actions must be taken.

      (v) The final notice provided pursuant to subsection (e)(2) must include a copy of the EFL for the default renewal product if the customer takes no action or if the EFL is not included with the contract expiration notice, the REP must provide the EFL to the customer at least 14 days before the expiration of the contract using the same delivery method as was used for the notice. The contract expiration notice must specify how and when the EFL will be made available to the customer.

      (vi) The final notice provided pursuant to subsection (e)(2) must include a statement that if the customer takes no action, service to the customer will continue pursuant to the EFL for the default renewal product that must be included as part of the notice of contract expiration. The terms of service for the default renewal product must be included as part of the notice, unless the terms of service applicable to the customer's existing service also applies to the default renewal product.

      (vii) The final notice provided pursuant to subsection (e)(2) must include a statement that the default service is month-to month and may be cancelled at any time with no fee.

  (3) Affirmative consent. A customer that is currently receiving service from a REP may be re-enrolled with the REP for service with the same product under which the customer is currently receiving service, or a different product, by conducting an enrollment pursuant to §25.474 of this title or by obtaining the customer's consent in a recording, electronic document, or written letter of authorization consistent with the requirements of this subsection. Affirmative consent is not required when a REP serves the customer under a default renewal product pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection. Each recording, electronic document, or written consent form must:

    (A) Indicate the customer's name, billing address, service address (for small commercial customers, the ESI ID may be used rather than the service address);

    (B) Indicate the identification number of the terms of service and EFL under which the customer will be served;

    (C) Indicate if the customer has received, or when the customer will receive copies of the terms of service, EFL, YRAC, and, if applicable, PDS;

    (D) Indicate the price(s) which the customer is agreeing to pay;

    (E) Indicate the date or estimated date of the re-enrollment, the contract term, and the estimated start and end dates of contract term;

    (F) Affirmatively inquire whether the customer has decided to enroll for service with the product, and contain the customer's affirmative response; and

    (G) Be entirely in plain, easily understood language, in the language that the customer has chosen for communications.

(f) Terms of service document. The following information must be conspicuously contained in the terms of service:

  (1) Identity and contact information. The REP's certified name and business name (dba) (if applicable), mailing address, e-mail and Internet address (if applicable), certification number, and a toll-free telephone number (with hours of operation and time-zone reference).

  (2) Pricing and payment arrangements.

    (A) Description of the amount of any routine non-recurring charges resulting from a move-in or switch that may be charged to the customer, including but not limited to an out-of-cycle meter read, and connection or reconnection fees;

    (B) For small commercial customers, a description of the demand charge and how it will be applied, if applicable;

    (C) An itemization, including name and cost, of any non-recurring charges for services that may be imposed on the customer for the retail electric product, including an application fee, charges for default in payment or late payment, and returned checks charges;

    (D) A description of any collection fees or costs that may be assessed to the customer by the REP and that cannot be quantified in the terms of service; and

    (E) A description of payment arrangements and bill payment assistance programs offered by the REP.

  (3) Deposits. If the REP requires deposits from its customers:

    (A) a description of the conditions that will trigger a request for a deposit;

    (B) the maximum amount of the deposit or the manner in which the deposit amount will be determined;

    (C) a statement that interest will be paid on the deposit at the rate approved by the commission, and the conditions under which the customer may obtain a refund of a deposit;

    (D) an explanation of the conditions under which a customer may establish satisfactory credit pursuant to §25.478 of this title (relating to Credit Requirements and Deposits); and

    (E) if applicable, the customer's right to post a letter of guarantee in lieu of a deposit pursuant to §25.478(i) of this title.

  (4) Rescission, Termination and Disconnection.

    (A) In a conspicuous and separate paragraph or box:

      (i) A description of the right of a customer, for switch requests, to rescind service without fee or penalty of any kind within three federal business days after receiving the terms of service, pursuant to §25.474 of this title; and

      (ii) Detailed instructions for rescinding service, including the telephone number and, if available, facsimile number or e-mail address that the customer may use to rescind service.

    (B) A statement as to how service can be terminated and any penalties that may apply;

    (C) A statement of the customer's ability to terminate service without penalty if the customer moves to another premises and provides evidence that it is moving, if required, and a forwarding address; and

    (D) If the REP has disconnection authority, pursuant to §25.483 of this title (relating to Disconnection of Service), a statement that the REP may order disconnection of the customer for non-payment.

  (5) Antidiscrimination. A statement informing the customer that the REP cannot deny service or require a prepayment or deposit for service based on a customer's race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, lawful source of income, level of income, disability, familial status, location of a customer in a economically distressed geographic area, or qualification for low income or energy efficiency services. For residential customers, a statement informing the customer that the REP cannot use a credit score, a credit history, or utility payment data as the basis for determining the price for electric service for a product with a contract term of 12 months or less.

Cont'd...

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