Railroad Commission Adopts Rule Amendments to Reduce Gas Rate Case Legal Expenses for Natural Gas Customers

12/09/2014

Railroad Commission Adopts Rule Amendments to Reduce Gas Rate Case Legal Expenses for Natural Gas Customers

AUSTIN –Railroad Commissioners today adopted rule amendments designed to the reduce gas rate case legal expenses that can be passed onto natural gas customers.

The rule amendments adopted today do not change cities’ original jurisdiction over gas rate cases within city limits.  The amendments align the appellate process with rules already outlined in the Texas Administrative Code when a city and natural gas distribution utility company cannot reach an agreement on rates at the city level and therefore file an appeal at the Railroad Commission. This streamlining is ultimately designed to reduce rate case expenses that can be passed onto gas utility customers.

Chairman Christi Craddick said, “The Railroad Commission is responsible for ensuring that a continuous, safe supply of natural gas is available to Texas consumers at the lowest, reasonable price. This rule will reduce legal expenses related to a gas utility rate case, resulting in a lower cost of gas utilities for Texans.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “This new rule aims to reduce the burden of expensive attorney fees on ratepayers across Texas.  It streamlines the rate case processes at the Railroad Commission, which, in turn, will lead to fewer expenses paid for by ratepayers. Reducing such burdens is a goal we constantly strive for here at the Commission.”

Commissioner Barry Smitherman said, “This rule amendment and adoption in no way diminishes the original jurisdiction of cities or the legal ability of intervenors to present their case before the Railroad Commission of Texas.  Additionally, the amendment I proposed today, and which was adopted, makes this effective on Sept. 1, 2015 instead of Dec. 29, 2014, to allow the Texas Legislature to weigh in on this matter, if they so choose, next session.”

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About the Railroad Commission Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including more than 90 years regulating the oil and gas industry. Additionally, the Commission promotes research and education on the use of alternative fuels and has jurisdiction over gas utility, surface mining and pipeline industries. Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/