The Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1983 to represent our state’s residential and small commercial consumers, as a class, in the electric, water, wastewater, and telecommunications utility industries.
OPUC represents consumers in utility matters before state and federal regulatory agencies and courts and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). OPUC primarily represents consumers before the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in contested case proceedings, rulemaking projects, and policy projects.
Last year, OPUC represented Texas consumers in 30 contested cases, 26 projects, and three appeals, leading to approximately $180 million in current year bill savings. The agency is strongly committed to providing high quality legal, regulatory, policy, and professional representation on behalf of our state’s residential and small commercial consumers in the utility industry.
On January 28, 2020, the Public Utility Commission of Texas approved a settlement agreement and proposed order finding that Sun Jupiter Holdings, LLC’s purchase of El Paso Electric Company (EPE) is in the public interest. Through its consumer representation in the case, the Office of Public Utility Counsel helped obtain a rate credit of $21 million for EPE’s customers in Texas. On July 29, 2020, EPE announced that the acquisition officially closed. Starting with the August billing cycle, EPE’s Texas customers will begin to receive a rate credit on their electric bills for the next three years. El Paso Electric Company is a regional electric utility with over 400,000 retail and wholesale customers in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.
The Office of Public Utility Counsel submitted its 2019 Annual Report as required by Section 13.063 of the Public Utility Regulatory Act. The report highlights our success in attaining nearly $180 million in current year bill savings for residential and small commercial consumers through representation in 30 contested case proceedings before the PUCT and three appeals in state court.
OPUC has intervened in the case before the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in which Undine Texas, LLC is seeking authority for a revenue requirement increase of approximately $2.6 million or 78% for water, and approximately $1.8 million or 124% for wastewater. Undine is a Class B water utility serving 6,034 water connections and 2,011 wastewater connections of primarily residential customers.
OPUC has intervened in the case before the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in which Kendall West Utility, LLC is seeking authority for a revenue requirement increase of approximately $723,000 or 67%. Kendall West is a Class B water utility serving 1,091 meter equivalents of primarily residential customers in Kendall County, Texas.
OPUC has intervened in the case before the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in which Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS) is seeking authority to increase its base rates to recover an additional $141.3 million on an annual basis from its Texas retail customers based on a total Texas retail revenue requirement of approximately $695 million. SPS is an electric utility that serves customers in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. OPUC will represent the roughly 271,000 residential and small commercial consumers in SPS's service territory in Texas.