ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING PUC PROMPT PAYMENT RULES
In the previous edition of the Legislative Update, the League reported that the Public Utility Commission (PUC) has adopted rules governing utility payment overdue dates. The rules, found in 16 Texas Administrative Code Sections 25.33, 25.482, and 26.33, attempt to clarify that a bill submitted to a governmental entity by an electric utility, an electric aggregator, a retail electric provider, or a certified telecommunications utility is subject to the Texas Prompt Payment Act (PPA).
The previous article stated that the short dispute period in the PPA may limit the ability of cities to audit their utility bills. In its Final Order in Project No. 36260 (Rulemaking Related to the Obligations of Telephone Providers under the Texas Prompt Payment Act), adopted on September 13, 2010, the PUC stated that:
In Docket No. 34332, the [Public Utility] Commission interpreted this provision [PPA, §2251.042] to mean that if an invoice is not disputed, it merely means the payment is overdue on the 31st day and interest may accrue. Additionally, the Commission concluded that this provision in the PPA is not a statute of limitations. Therefore, the Commission declines to specifically include the PPA’s 21-day dispute provision in §26.33(c).”
The PUC order quoted above means that, even though such bills are subject to the PPA, the short dispute period does not function as a statute of limitations for the auditing of telecommunications or electric bills.