REP - Retail Electric Provider
Questions and Answers
- What should applicants do before they file their application form?
- First, applicants for REP certification should become familiar with Senate Bill 7 and electric restructuring in general. In particular, applicants must read and understand Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) § 39.352 and P.U.C. Substantive Rules 25.107 and 25.108, and then they should prepare to operate as a REP within the broad requirements established therein. Secondly, applicants should carefully consult the Instructions to the Application Form for REP Certification as they complete the Application Form.
- How should an applicant complete its application if particular questions do not appear applicable?
- Failure to provide responsive answers to all questions may result in delay or denial in the award of the certificate requested. An answer of "not applicable" or "n/a" is considered non-responsive. For clarity, the applicant should state responses in complete, declaratory sentences, even when the substance of the answer is "none." To be fully responsive, the applicant's answers should address any qualifications, clarifications, or multiple aspects related to the information requested by the form.
- Who must sign the affidavit for the application?
- An "authorized representative," who must be an owner, partner, or officer of the company doing business in Texas, must sign the application. A notary outside of Texas may notarize the application, as long as the notary's registration is current with the appropriate government authorities. BE SURE TO CHECK all applicable check-boxes throughout the form so that all relevant commitments are incorporated into the sworn affidavit. Failure to do can delay or invalidate the application for certification.
- How should an application for REP certification be submitted to the PUC?
- The registering party must submit 7 copies (six copies and an original), along with the original, and a cover letter, to:
Filing Clerk, Central Records Division
Public Utility Commission of Texas
1701 N. Congress Avenue, 8-100
PO Box 13326,
Austin, TX 78711-3326
- Is a REP required to file an Annual Report with the Commission?
- Yes, an Option 1 REP shall file its Annual Report on March 5, or 65 days after the REP's or its guarantor's fiscal year, and file its Semi-Annual Report (financial only) on August 15, or 225 days after the end of the REP's or its guarantor's fiscal year.
- How long will it take to establish a REP certification?
- Upon filing, the Commission will review the certification request for completeness within 20 days. If it is found to be incomplete, and if defects are not cured, then the application will be rejected without prejudice to the applicant's right to reapply. While PURA does not establish a specific approval period for certification, the Commission's processes include completion of the application within 90 days of filing except where good cause exists to extend the time for review. (Delays due to the correction of incomplete initial applications are one example of good cause for extending the 90-day timeline).
- Can REP certification be suspended/revoked by the Commission?
- Yes. Pursuant to PURA § 39.356, certification can be suspended or revoked for violating PURA or Commission Rules, including violation of the financial standards established in the rule. See § 25.107(j). Administrative penalties can also be imposed under PURA § 15, Subchapter B.
- If an applicant does not meet the financial standards for a REP, can it qualify by relying upon a 3rd party that does?
- Yes, but the applicant must obtain a guaranty from the creditworthy party, payable to the REP (in addition to proving that the third party meets the REP financial standards).
- Can a REP rely on a security bond (bonding) to meet its financial obligations?
- The PUC has not yet established "a bond approved by the Commission," as referenced in § 25.107(f)(1)(C)(iv).
- When an applicant establishes its financial qualification using financial evidence that is "irrevocable for a period of at least 15 months," as stated in § 25.107(f)(1)(C), must the commitments be updated?
- Yes, not only must the 15-month period be met at certification, it is an ongoing requirement of being a REP. The Commission understands that it is impractical to be updating the financial commitment on an instantaneous basis and will find acceptable updates that are made on a regular basis. At a minimum, when a REP files its annual report, it should show that the 15-month commitment is in effect as of the end of the reporting period.
- If an applicant applies under Option 2, and is therefore limited to serving named customers, must it meet all financial standards? If an applicant applies under Option 2, and is therefore limited to serving named customers, must it meet all financial standards?
- No, it must only meet requirements for credit quality and transition charges, not those for customer protection. Specifically, an Option 2 applicant must meet the standards found in § 25.107(f)(1), § 25.107(f)(3), and § 25,108(d), but not those stated in § 25.107(f)(2).
- Will the TDU bill the customers directly? Will the billing process be similar to that of a local telephone utility company billing customers on behalf of different long distance companies?
- No, the regulated transmission and distribution utility (TDU) will not bill the retail customer directly. The TDU will bill the REP for transmission and distribution costs, and the REP is responsible for paying them, regardless of whether the REP successfully collects them from retail customers. The REP is responsible for billing the customers for electricity services, including the transmission delivery charges. The REP has discretion to package services as they wish, which includes whether or not to itemize the transmission delivery charge on the customer bill. If the retail customers do not fully pay the REP, the REP is still responsible to the TDU for the delivery charges. The REP may contract out their billing services, but it is the responsibility of the REP to hold the subcontractor responsible for all applicable customer protection and other performance standards.
- What is a proper answer for "adequate staffing and employee training" in Attachment D-1 (pursuant to PUC Subst. R. 25.107(g)(6))?
- In detail, describe the projected staffing level for the REP, including any staff that will transfer from an affiliate. Include the experience and training that the current staff possesses, along with the training that staff, current and future, will receive.
- Does the applicant need to be registered with the Secretary of State and the Comptroller's Office?
- Registration with these other offices of the State of Texas depends on the business structure of the entity (e.g., incorporation status) and whether or not business operations are subject to paying taxes. The Commission rules do not make specific requirements for certification in addition to the rules of those offices, but they do require applicants to provide sufficient information to access records on file with those offices, if any. This includes the addresses and phone numbers of the applicant's affiliates, if any. Such information allows the Commission to determine the validity of the applicant's operating name(s) and the applicant's tax delinquency status, among other considerations.
- Do subcontractors or consultants of REPs need to be certified as REPs?
- No. However, REPs are responsible for the actions of their consultants and subcontractors. Review § 25.107(a) carefully in regard to the functional role of a REP in the market. If a REP subcontracts any function of being a REP, the REP is held liable for the subcontractor's compliance with any applicable standards, such as customer protection standards established in P.U.C. Substantive Rules § 25, Subchapter R. If a REP in any way subcontracts the collection of payments from electricity customers, the applicable standards for which the REP is held liable include the standards for the collection of transition charges established in § 25.108 (when such charges are assessed).