Ken Paxton


The Utilities Code gives “complete authority” to the Public Utility Commission to adopt and enforce rules relating to reliability and accounting for the production and delivery of electricity among market participants.  Specifically, subsection 39.151(d) of the Utilities Code authorizes the Public Utility Commission to oversee and investigate the independent organization (ERCOT) as necessary to ensure ERCOT’s accountability and to ensure that it adequately performs its functions and duties. Within the regulatory timelines, ERCOT can also revise pricing on the wholesale electricity market if certain events occur.

Under the plain language of subsection 39.151(d), the Public Utility Commission has complete authority to act to ensure that ERCOT has accurately accounted for electricity production and delivery among market participants in the region. Such authority likely could be interpreted to allow the Public Utility Commission to order ERCOT to correct prices for wholesale electricity and ancillary services during a specific timeframe.

A court would likely find that such corrective action by the Public Utility Commission under subsection 39.151(d) does not raise constitutional concerns, namely under article 1, sections 16 and 17 of the Texas Constitution, provided that such regulatory action furthers a compelling public interest.

Opinion File