How many mistakes did your electric retailer make?

On Sunday we wrote about how there may have been some early signs of trouble with the four electric retailers who went out of business in recent weeks. Among the troubles: problems with their applications for a retail license, a high number of complaints that were found to be violations of state law, and unrealistically low prices earlier this year.
Finding out about the application problems takes some digging, namely going through the Public Utility Commission web site in search of some documents. The directions were included next to the story at the above link but we’ll include them again at the bottom of this post.
Here’s a list of complaint data through the end of May, including the number of complaints filed, the number the PUC determined needed investigation, the number of investigated cases still pending, and the percentage of those investigated that were found to be violations of state law.
It’s worth noting that the larger the company, the more likely they are to get complaints simply because there are more customers. The more telling number is what percentage of complaints are deemed violations of law.

Data courtesy of Regulatory Compliance Services.

For a list of 2007 complaint data (which does not include all electric companies) visit this earlier entry we did.
If you want to try your hand at digging into the history of a Texas electric provider, here’s how to do it online. It’s tedious and complicated, which is why consumer advocates are pushing for a “report card” providing simpler access to company details.
1. Go to
2. Click on “Retail Electric Providers”
3. Click “Search REPs” to get a full list
4. On the “REP Search Results” page, click on a company name. Keep in mind the provider you want may be registered under a different name, or several names.
5. In the pop-up window labeled “REP REPORT,” note the five-digit numbers listed above every mention of “Type: Docket” You may want to paste these numbers into a word processing document. You’ll need them later.
6. In the menu on the left side of the “REP Search Results” page, move your cursor to “Filings/Interchange” In the resulting drop-down menu, click on “Filings Retrieval”
7. Click on “Login”
8. In the field labeled “Control Number:” enter one of the five-digit docket numbers you noted in Step 5, and click on “search now”
9. You’ll see a list of documents relating to the company, and can read them by clicking on corresponding numbers to the left. (Documents are in various formats that may only be readable if you have the correct software installed in your computer.)