Audit Section

How do I find out if a certain company is deemed a gas utility by the Railroad Commission of Texas?

Contact the Railroad Commission of Texas’ Gas Services department at auditsection@rrc.texas.gov or 512-463-7027 and provide the specific name of the entity.

How do you determine who is a gas utility?

The definition of a gas utility is outlined in Sections §101.003(7) and §121.001 of the Texas Utilities Code.

In order to determine if an entity is a gas utility, the Railroad Commission of Texas (Commission) refers initially to the T-4 Permit to Operate a Pipeline in Texas. During the T-4 Permit application process the Commission’s Gas Services Audit Section is part of a three-group review team (Permitting, Mapping and Gas Services) that reviews applications for completeness and rule compliance. When a T-4 Permit is issued it will distinguish that pipeline’s status as Private or Gas Utility.

Are there exemptions to gas utility status? And if so, how is that managed?

Texas Utilities Code §121.004 and §121.005 provide certain exemptions to gas utility status focusing on activities taking place in or within the vicinity of the field or field where the gas is produced. In accordance with these statutes, the Commission’s Gas Services department has a certificate that a qualifying operator can file with the Commission to affirm those conditions are being met.

How do you define a gatherer?

16 Texas Administrative Code §7.301(c) defines a "gas-gathering utility" as a gas utility which employs a pipeline or pipelines and ancillary facilities thereto in the first taking or the first retaining of possession of gas produced by others. Which extends from any point where such gas is produced, purchased, or received to the trunk line or main line of transportation where such gas is sold or delivered, without regard to the size, the length, or the amount of such gas carried through such pipeline or pipelines to the trunk line or main line of transportation. Thus, having as its primary function the collecting or collecting and processing of gas produced by others as a preliminary incident to the transportation after it has been severed from the earth by production.

When are the quarterly tax payments due?

In accordance with 16 Texas Administrative Code §7.351(b) and Section 122 of the Texas Utilities Code, quarterly tax payments are based upon calendar year quarters, and are due as follows:

  • 1st Quarter Due May 20th
  • 2nd Quarter Due August 20th
  • 3rd Quarter Due November 20th
  • 4th Quarter Due February 20th

Is the tax filing considered timely if it is postmarked on the 20th ?

No. In accordance with 16 Texas Administrative Code §7.351(b), if the Gas Utility Tax Form and payment is not received on or before the 20th it must be postmarked on or before the 19th, and received within 10 days of the due date. Any Gas Utility Tax Form and payment not filed in a timely manner will be assessed the late penalty as shown on the Gas Utility Tax Form. The Gas Utility Tax Form is available on the Commission’s website.

Are the audits conducted on gas utilities available for public review?

Yes. Our audit work papers, audit reports, formal violation letters, and subsequent correspondence with the utility to correct violations are all open records subject to review by interested parties.

Are there other utility-related records maintained by the audit section that are open to review by the public?

Yes. In addition to the audits, we maintain the Annual Reports filed by the utilities, as well as their quarterly gas utility tax forms. Additionally, the audit section maintains the Texas Utility Code §121.005  non-utility certificates.

Annual Reports for Calendar Years 2009 through 2015 are available on the Commission’s website.  This website is updated periodically to include the most current annual reports.

How does one request copies of the items above?

You can come to the Commission’s main office in Austin to review and make copies of utility-related records.

You can also submit a request for copies of utility-related records to the Commission’s Gas Services department via email to auditsection@rrc.texas.gov or FAX to 512-475-3180. There is a nominal fee for making copies.