Texas PUC proposes standard transmission rules

Under new rules the Texas Public Utility Commission proposed Wednesday, Texas utilities will provide standardized transmission service to all electricity suppliers when competition begins in 2002. If the proposed rules are adopted, all utilities will apply these same terms and conditions to affiliates and to other retail electric providers that sell electricity in their service area.

Jul 13th, 2000


Under new rules the Texas Public Utility Commission proposed Wednesday, Texas utilities will provide standardized transmission service to all electricity suppliers when competition begins in 2002.

If the proposed rules are adopted, all utilities will apply these same terms and conditions to affiliates and to other retail electric providers that sell electricity in their service area.

The PUC followed the Coalition for Uniform Business Rates standards in developing the proposed rules. The standard terms include terms and processes for service connection and disconnection; line extensions; outage reporting; metering, and data exchange; security deposits, billing, and payment terms; default remedies; and a dispute resolution process.

�In general, what they came up with are very good standards of processes and terms,� says Chris Schein, spokesman for TXU Corp. of Dallas. �Our own affiliated retail electric provider will want to compete across the state and these rules will help.�

The price of transmission that the retail electric providers will have to pass on to their customers will differ, however, among the state's utility service areas. Each utility owning the transmission system in its area will be authorized to charge different rates for transmission and distribution.

Each utility owns varying amounts of stranded assets whose value will be refunded once competition starts. The payment of these stranded costs will come through mandatory wires charges that all electric consumers will pay no matter what company provides the electricity.

Just exactly what those wires charges will be for each utility territory is being debated in formal hearings before the PUC. Sources say the resulting wires charges will probably vary significantly throughout the state.

For example, South Texans in the Central Power & Light Co. service territory will probably pay more for transmission because of the relatively higher stranded costs spread among fewer customers in that service territory. In comparison, customers in TXU's territory could pay relatively lower wire charges because the charges will be spread among a bigger population.

Final rules are expected to be adopted in November, after the public comment period ends Sept. 15

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