78R8500 JJT-D

By:  Barrientos                                                   S.B. No. 1164

relating to customer safeguards concerning billing for electric service by municipally owned utilities. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Section 17.005, Utilities Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 17.005. PROTECTIONS FOR CUSTOMERS OF MUNICIPALLY OWNED UTILITIES. (a) A municipally owned utility may not be deemed to be a "service provider" or "billing agent" for purposes of Sections 17.156(b) and (e). The governing body of a municipally owned utility shall adopt, implement, and enforce rules that shall have the effect of accomplishing the objectives set out in Sections 17.004(a) and (b) and 17.102, as to the municipally owned utility within its certificated service area. The governing body of a municipally owned utility or its designee shall perform the dispute resolution function provided for by Section 17.157 for disputes arising from services provided by the municipally owned utility to electric customers served within the municipally owned utility's certificated service area. With respect to electric customers served by a municipally owned utility outside its certificated service area or otherwise served through others' distribution facilities, after retail competition begins as authorized by the legislature, the provisions of this chapter as administered by the commission apply. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to apply to a wholesale customer of a municipally owned utility. (b) A municipally owned utility that bills a customer for charges for which the customer was previously underbilled shall: (1) state clearly on the invoice which charges were underbilled; (2) include on the invoice or together with the invoice a notice of whether the municipality offers a payment plan to pay the previously underbilled charges over time, and if so, how to apply for the plan; and (3) include on the invoice or together with the invoice customer service contact information. (c) A municipally owned utility may substitute for the information required by Subsection (b)(1) a notice included with the invoice that states that the invoice includes previously underbilled charges. SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2003.