Texas PUC staff seeks sanctions against TXU Electric

In an unusual move, the staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas is asking an administrative law judge to sanction TXU Electric Co. for failure to supply information in a timely fashion. State regulators allege TXU has supplied inadequate and tardy information during cost of service hearings. The staff claims repeated problems have thrown the proceedings off schedule. A hearing on the sanctions request is scheduled today.


Ann de Rouffignac
OGJOnline

In an unusual move, the staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas is asking an administrative law judge to sanction TXU Electric Co. for failure to supply information in a timely fashion. State regulators allege TXU has supplied inadequate and tardy information during cost of service hearings. The staff claims repeated problems have thrown the proceedings off schedule.

�Staff requests that sanctions be imposed against TXU for its continued flagrant violation of orders issued by both the Commission and the administrative law judge,� the filing states. A hearing on the sanctions request is scheduled today.

The procedure in question concerns determining the cost of service for distribution and transmission that will be needed to split Texas utilities into separate functional companies. The commission must determine fair cost of service to establish transmission and distribution charges which will be a regulated activity going forward.

Staff gave TXU Electric, a unit of Dallas's TXU Corp., 1 day to respond to the sanctions filing.

�We turned over all the information in a timely fashion and we turned it over in appropriate format,� says Chris Schein, spokesman for TXU. �We filed everything in a timely fashion.�

Schein says that TXU�s unbundling of costs is unique from other Texas utilities and much more complicated.

The �rare� sanctions filing is just an example of how �frustrated and irritated� the PUC staff is with respect to TXU�s handling of requests for information, says Terry Hadley, spokesman for the PUC.

The PUC staff suggested an appropriate sanction would disallow TXU from escalating its operation and maintenance costs. Instead, it recommends putting the test year costs into the cost structure for operation and maintenance.

�While such a sanction would have a significant impact on TXU, staff believes that a significant sanction is necessary to send a message to TXU that the commission and the State Office of Administrative Hearings take a dim view of flagrant and repeated violations of Commission and SOAH orders and directives,� according to the filing.

�The staff hopes that TXU will come forward and provide the information now,� Hadley says.

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