Is your electric company meeting the new rules?

New rules designed to protect Texas electric customers went into effect this past weekend (and in recent weeks) including mandatory notices for when contracts expire, tougher financial standards for retail electric providers and requirements for greater management experience. The new rules are largely a response to the chaos surrounding the collapse of several smaller electric retailers last summer.
But how can you tell if your company is meeting the new requirements? Here are some links to help.
The Electricity Facts Label – which spells out the terms of your electric plan — should now look similar to the template found on pages 9 and 10 of the form found here. It’s aimed at making it easier to compare different plans by standardizing how rates are quoted and spelling out issues like cancellation fees.
Finding out if your provider meets that new financial standards may be a bit harder. The Public Utility Commission provides links to all retailer license applications and information about management at its Power-to-Choose website. But the latest amendments may not show up here. To find the latest information you’ll need to go through a number of steps:
First, go to this list of all the retailers in the state.
Second, click on the name of your provider.
Third, toward the bottom of the page under the heading “Identification Numbers” you’ll find a list of items that company has had to come before the Public Utility Commission, including initial registration and amendments. Look for a recent item, such as “Amend to demonstrate compliance with financial resource standards,” or similar language. There should be a 5-digit number associated with that item.
Fourth, Enter that 5-digit docket number into the PUC’s document search system here (click on ‘Login’). This should provide a list of all the documents that have been filed in connection with that item, including if it’s been accepted/approved by the PUC.
If that seems like a lot of work, you’re right. I’d be interested to hear what people find if they do the search.
You can also look up PUC data on complaints about specific electric retailers here.