TXU unit files with Texas PUC to sell electricity retail

Companies are beginning to file at the Public Utility Commission of Texas to sell electricity retail months after the commission began accepting applications. TXU Energy Services Co., an unregulated retail electric unit of TXU, filed last week for certification. And Enron Energy Services, Enron Power Marketing Inc., and the New Power Co. filed two weeks ago. Up until that time, the only company that had filed to participate in the upcoming retail market was a large cement company.


Ann de Rouffignac
OGJ Online

Companies are beginning to file at the Public Utility Commission of Texas to sell electricity retail months after the commission began accepting applications.

TXU Energy Services Co., an unregulated retail electric unit of TXU, filed last week for certification. And Enron Energy Services, Enron Power Marketing Inc., and the New Power Co. filed two weeks ago. Up until two weeks ago, the only company that had filed to participate in the retail market set to open in 2002 was TXI Power, a unit of a large aluminum and cement company. That company filed September 1, the first day applications could be submitted. But TXI only wanted permission to shop for the best electricity deal for its own manufacturing plants. The cement company was the only company to file for at least two months which was a disappointment to commissioners wanting to show that the retail market will be robust, sources close to the commission say.

�We expect more filings after the first of the month (December),� says Terry Hadley, spokesman for the commission.

There are several rule makings on the upcoming agenda concerning distribution and transmission as well as customer protection. Deciding on these rules will provide more clarity for the companies seeking to become retailers, he says.

�We are waiting until the customer protection rules are settled. We need to know what they are before we file,� says Gillan Taddune, spokesperson for Green Mountain Energy. �We are looking for some certainty first.�

AES NewEnergy hasn�t filed yet either waiting to get the financial guarantee requirements cleared up first. �We�re trying to get our application together and reviewing the financial guarantee alternatives,� says Vanus Priestley, Texas business director for AES NewEnergy.

NewEnergy prefers to use the wealth of its parent AES as a financial guarantee instead of posting a separate bond, he says.

The three ways that the state of Texas says a new retailer of electricity can guarantee financial responsibility include posting a $100,000 bond, possessing an investment grade credit rating, and showing $50 million in assets. But AES, a large international power plant owner and developer, does not want its balance sheet encumbered, if the asset method is used.

Those are details being worked out with commission staff now, says Priestley.

TXU is the first retail affiliate of a large incumbent investor owned utility to file. It intends to serve all classes of customers throughout the state. New Power Co. also intends to serve residential and small business. But Enron Energy Services, Enron Power Marketing Inc. and potentially NewEnergy plan only sell electricity to large industrial and commercial customers meaning the tally of new retail competitors that will serve small consumers stands at two.

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