When does the Texas Railroad Commission Have Jurisdiction over a Gas Company? Related to Rate Increases?Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

When does the Texas Railroad Commission Have Jurisdiction over a Gas Company? Related to Rate Increases?
 


19 January 2007 at 12:30:01 PM
salon

Been looking at the bills that the Texas Lege has posted in the last week and found one, HB651, that Hartnett introduced. I'm always interested not only to know what problem might be solved by a bill passing but also if the person introducing it has any dog in the hunt. Anyway, it looks to me that the addition to the bill allows a gas utility to decide to be regulated by the Texas Railroad Commission as opposed to a municipality. Now, I don't know why a municipality might want to regulate a gas utility, but I don't have much faith in the RRC to properly regulate anything. (Remember this when Dale Henry goes to run again for a commisioner on the RRC and vote him in).

While pondering about this, I came across this legal info from 2006

Gas Ratemaking: Alliance of CenterPoint Cities v. CenterPoint Energy, Texas Railroad Commission Docket No. 9630. The issue in this docket arose from improper notice to the public of a proposed rate increase. The Gas Utilities Regulatory Act (GURA) mandates notice to the public of any proposed rate increase. CenterPoint Energy argued that the refusal of the Alliance of CenterPoint Cities (ACM cities) to approve or deny the rate increase created a delay that led to an enactment of the increase by operation of law. The ACM cities and TML (as amicus curiae) disagreed, and argued that without proper notice, the ACM cities cannot make an appealable final decision. Thus, the Railroad Commission (RRC) does not have jurisdiction to rule on the rates in question. On March 14, 2006, the RRC voted to defer the decision on jurisdiction pending receipt of further information on the notice issue. On April 21, 2006, both parties filed a joint motion to dismiss. On May 11, 2006, the RRC granted the dismissal.

Now, here's a case where CenterPoint utility didn't notify the public about their rate increase, and blamed it on ACM, because they hadn't first denied or okayed the rate. But when it went to court, the RRC didn't have jurisdiction over it. Looks to me like IF the bill above is related to this, it's so that court cases can get out of being in the jurisdiction of municipalities and regulated by the RRC.

And that's just what this says.

For years, cities and gas utilities have been battling over rates and ratemaking procedures. In the most recent chapter in the saga, CenterPoint Energy sought to substantially raise gas rates, but did not give proper notice of the increase to citizens. A coalition of cities, known as the Alliance of CenterPoint Municipalities (ACM), requested that CenterPoint Energy comply with the notice requirements as outlined in the law. CenterPoint ignored those requests. After a hearing before the Railroad Commission (RRC) in March, the question of the adequacy of the notice was scheduled to go before the RRC again in April. Several city officials from ACM cities testified at the hearing, and many more attended. State Senator Jeff Wentworth also testified on behalf of the ACM cities.

Will Harnett is the one that is proffering the bill-seems he represents the Rich Rich neighborhoods of Preston Hollow, Lake Highlands and Bluffview

I got to wondering, is there any way that this Hartnett had his campaign CONTRIBUTED to by Centerpoint? Yup. One thousand smacks.

RCPT,A1,29,ENT,CenterPoint Energy PAC,,,,,,Houston,TX,77210,,,20060925,1000.00,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Gee. Why is an energy that doesn't even apparently offer its services in North Dallas paying Hartnett and then, amazingly, up pops this bill?


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