<<Prev Rule

Texas Administrative Code

Next Rule>>
TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 1RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 7GAS SERVICES
SUBCHAPTER DCUSTOMER SERVICE AND PROTECTION
RULE §7.465Abandonment

(a) Service to a local distribution company or city gate customer. A gas utility shall obtain written Commission approval prior to the abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service to any local distribution company or city gate customer that involves the removal or abandonment of facilities other than a meter.

  (1) Except in pipeline safety emergencies, the gas utility shall file an application to abandon or permanently discontinue service to a local distribution company or city gate customer with the Director at least 60 days prior to the proposed effective date of the proposed abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service. In addition to the information required in §1.32 of this title (relating to Form and Content of Pleadings), the application shall state the following:

    (A) the number of affected customers in each class;

    (B) the names and addresses of the local distribution company or city gate customer affected;

    (C) the specific reasons for the proposed abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service;

    (D) a description, age, and condition of the pipeline or plant that the gas utility proposes to abandon or through which it proposes to permanently discontinue service;

    (E) the revenue from and cost to continue the existing service to the affected local distribution company or city gate customers;

    (F) all reasonable alternative energy sources available to the affected local distribution company or city gate customers, and the cost of such energy sources on an MMBtu equivalent basis;

    (G) the cost per customer of each conversion to available alternative energy sources;

    (H) any previous notice provided by the utility to the affected local distribution company or city gate customer;

    (I) a statement that the application is subject to Commission approval; and

    (J) a statement of the affected local distribution company or city gate customer's right to intervene in the application.

  (2) The gas utility shall send a copy of the application to the affected local distribution company or the affected city gate customer on the same day that the gas utility files the application to abandon or discontinue service with the Director.

    (A) If a person files a statement of intent to participate or motion to intervene with the Commission within 30 days from the date of the filing of the application, and the Commission grants party status, the Commission shall hold a formal hearing within 60 days following the date on which the application is filed.

    (B) If the Commission does not receive and grant a timely-filed statement of intent to participate or intervention pleading, then the Director shall act administratively on the application to abandon or permanently discontinue service within 45 days following the date on which the gas utility filed the application and shall notify all affected customers in writing of the decision. If the Director denies the application administratively, the gas utility, within 30 days of the date the Director administratively denies an application to abandon or permanently discontinue service, may request that a formal hearing be held within 60 days following the date on which the Director denies the application.

  (3) If upon the granting of the application to abandon or permanently discontinue service the local distribution company would no longer provide service to any residential or commercial customer because of such abandonment, then the local distribution company shall file an application to abandon or permanently discontinue service under subsection (b) of this section.

  (4) The Director shall have the authority to act administratively on abandonment or permanent discontinuance applications that satisfy the conditions of this subsection.

  (5) Temporary termination of service due to a pipeline safety emergency shall not be considered to be abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service under the terms of this section. If the gas utility determines not to resume service as a result of a pipeline safety emergency, then the gas utility shall file an application under this section within 30 days of the temporary termination of service.

  (6) The gas utility shall have the burden of proof to show that the proposed abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service is reasonable and necessary and is not contrary to the public interest. The Commission shall consider the following conditions when making a determination regarding an application for abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service:

    (A) whether continued service is no longer economically viable for the gas utility;

    (B) whether the potentially abandoned customers have any alternatives, how many, and at what cost;

    (C) whether any customer has made investments or capital expenditures in reliance on continued availability of natural gas, where use of an alternative energy source is not viable;

    (D) whether the utility has failed to properly maintain the facilities proposed for abandonment, rendering them unsalvageable due to neglect; and

    (E) any other considerations affecting the potentially abandoned customers.

(b) Service to residential and commercial customers. A gas utility shall obtain written Commission approval prior to the abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service to any residential or commercial customer that involves the removal or abandonment of facilities other than a meter. This subsection shall not apply to discontinuance of service to residential or commercial customers for any of the reasons set forth in Subchapter D of this chapter (relating to Customer Service and Protection).

  (1) Except in pipeline safety emergencies, the gas utility shall file an application to abandon or permanently discontinue service with the Director at least 60 days prior to the proposed effective date of the proposed abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service to any residential or commercial customer involving the removal or abandonment of facilities other than a meter. In addition to the information required in §1.32 of this title, the application shall state the following:

    (A) the number of directly affected customers in each class of service;

    (B) the names and addresses of all directly affected customers;

    (C) the specific reasons for the proposed abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service;

    (D) a description, age, and condition of the pipeline or plant that the gas utility proposes to abandon or through which it proposes to permanently discontinue service;

    (E) the revenue from and cost to continue the existing service to the directly affected customers;

    (F) all reasonable alternative energy sources available to the directly affected customers, and the cost of such energy sources on an MMBtu equivalent basis;

    (G) the cost per customer of each conversion to available alternative energy sources;

    (H) the terms of any agreements with, or offers, including qualifying offers, to, directly affected customers by the gas utility for the conversion of customers' appliances to enable the use of alternative energy sources;

    (I) copies of any consents to abandonment or permanent discontinuance obtained by the utility from directly affected customers;

    (J) any previous notice provided by the utility to the directly affected customer;

    (K) a statement that the application is subject to Commission approval; and

    (L) a statement of the directly affected customer's right to protest the application and the procedure for filing such a protest.

  (2) The gas utility shall send a copy of the application to all directly affected customers on the same day that the gas utility files the application to abandon or permanently discontinue service with the Director.

    (A) If any of the directly affected customers files a protest within 30 days following the date on which the application is filed, the Commission shall hold a formal hearing within 60 days following the date on which the application is filed.

    (B) If all of the directly affected customers have not consented to the abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service and if the gas utility has not given all of the directly affected customers a qualifying offer, as defined in §7.115 of this title (relating to Definitions), but none of the directly affected customers files a protest within 30 days following the date on which the application is filed, the Director shall act administratively on the application within 45 days following the date on which the application is filed and shall notify all directly affected customers in writing of the decision. The Director may seek additional information from the directly affected customers to determine whether they have received adequate information regarding the consequences of the proposed abandonment. If the Director denies the application administratively, the gas utility, within 30 days of the date the Director administratively denies an application to abandon or permanently discontinue service, may request that a formal hearing be held within 60 days following the date on which the Director denies the application.

    (C) The Director shall act administratively on the application within 30 days following the date on which the gas utility files the application if either:

      (i) all of the directly affected customers consent to the abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service and none of the directly affected customers files a protest within 15 days following the date on which the gas utility files the application; or

      (ii) the gas utility has given all of the directly affected customers a qualifying offer, as defined in §7.115 of this title (relating to Definitions) and none of the directly affected customers files a protest within 15 days following the date on which the gas utility files the application. If the Director denies the application administratively, the gas utility may request that a formal hearing be held within 60 days following the request for a hearing. The gas utility shall file any request for a formal hearing within 30 days of the date the Director administratively denies an application to abandon or permanently discontinue service.

  (3) The Director shall have the authority to act administratively on abandonment or permanent discontinuance applications that satisfy the conditions of this subsection.

  (4) Temporary termination of service due to a pipeline safety emergency shall not be considered to be abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service under the terms of this section. If the gas utility determines not to resume service as a result of a pipeline safety emergency, then the gas utility shall file an application under this section within 30 days of the temporary termination of service.

  (5) The gas utility shall have the burden of proof to show that the proposed abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service is reasonable and necessary and is not contrary to the public interest. The Commission shall consider the following conditions when making a determination regarding an application for abandonment or permanent discontinuance of service:

    (A) whether continued service is no longer economically viable for the gas utility;

    (B) whether the potentially abandoned customers have any alternatives, how many, and at what cost;

    (C) whether any customer has made investments or capital expenditures in reliance on continued availability of natural gas, where use of an alternative energy source is not viable;

    (D) whether the utility has failed to properly maintain the facilities proposed for abandonment, rendering them unsalvageable due to neglect; and

    (E) any other considerations affecting the potentially abandoned customers.


Source Note: The provisions of this §7.465 adopted to be effective July 29, 2002, 27 TexReg 6687; amended to be effective May 14, 2018, 43 TexReg 2997

Link to Texas Secretary of State Home Page | link to Texas Register home page | link to Texas Administrative Code home page | link to Open Meetings home page