The rules, if given final approval, would modify that part of the administrative code relating to Energy Conservation Programs.
On September 19, staff at the Texas Railroad Commission proposed new rules to implement House Bill 2263, legislation from the 2021 session pertaining to the creation of energy conservation programs by gas utilities.
The rules, if given final approval, would modify 16 Texas Administrative Code §7.480, relating to Energy Conservation Programs. The Atmos Cities Steering Committee is participating in this rulemaking matter.
The proposed changes include the following:
- A proposed new subsection (a) that states the Railroad Commission has exclusive original jurisdiction over energy conservation programs implemented by gas distribution utilities, and that political subdivisions shall not limit, restrict, or otherwise prevent an eligible customer from participating in such programs based on the type or source of energy delivered through it.
- A proposed new subsection (c) that lists the general requirements for a gas utility to recover the costs it incurs for the implementation of an Energy Conservation Program. A gas distribution utility must apply for each service area in which it seeks to implement an Energy Conservation Program to recover those costs.
- A proposed subsection (d)(1) that lists the items to be included in initial applications and a proposed subsection (d)(2) that lists the items to be included in subsequent applications, and that details timing requirements for subsequent applications.
- A proposed new subsection (f) that describes what the Energy Conservation Program portfolio must accomplish, including that it be designed to overcome barriers to the adoption of energy-efficient equipment, technologies, and processes, and to change customer behavior as necessary. The portfolio may also include measures such as direct financial incentives, technical assistance, discounts or rebates, and weatherization for low-income customers.
- A proposed new subsection (j) requires gas utilities to file an annual Energy Conservation Program report each year such a portfolio is implemented. The report shall be filed no later than 45 days following the end of the utility’s program year.
The Railroad Commission also is considering changes to §7.460, relating to Suspension of Gas Utility Service Disconnection During an Extreme Weather Emergency.
Comments on the proposals may be submitted to Rules Coordinator, Office of General Counsel, Railroad Commission of Texas, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711-2967; online at https://rrc.texas.gov/general-counsel/rules/comment-form-for-proposed-rulemakings/ or by electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Commission will accept comments until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.