Three days after Public Utility Commission chair issued an ultimatum on the matter, the agency has removed 221 plans from the state’s powertochoose.org website for not meeting its Spanish-language requirements.
The agency’s Customer Protection Division took the action at 8 a.m. Monday. A spokesman said the plans can be reinstated if the retail electric providers comply with rules to offer electricity deals in both English and Spanish. In all, 18 retail electric providers had plans removed, according to the agency.
“The plans were not deleted — merely deactivated with reactivation contingent on meeting the (Spanish-language) standard,” the agency said, in a prepared release.
On Friday PUC chair DeAnn Walker faulted 34 retail electric providers for failing to post offers in both Spanish and English on the state’s electricity shopping website. She also issued an ultimatum: the electric companies must make their offers available in both languages by 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17, or face their removal from the electric-shopping website.
“It has come to my attention, that currently there are 57 (Retail Electric Providers) on powertochoose — and 34 of those do not have both English and Spanish offerings,” said Walker, during the PUC meeting Friday morning.
“I’m not happy about that, at all,” she said.
Commissioner Arthur C. D’Andrea likewise described the lack of offers in both languages as a “serious problem.” He and fellow commissioner Shelly Botkin agreed that REPs must make fixes by Monday or face repercussions.
The PUC’s ultimatum on Friday was just its latest move to ensure powertochoose.org better serves Texas consumers. Last month the commissioners ordered changes after receiving complaints that companies had begun using the site to promote misleading offers. The agency also ordered changes in 2016, including proposals recommended by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.
Powertochoose.org lists retail electricity deals as well as complaint data about electric companies. Electricity shoppers can use the website to sort deals based on price. The Spanish-language version of the website can be found here.
Is a policy analyst for TCAP, a coalition of cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.