On October 8 2009 the PUCT filed a report detailing the fees and violations that National Power Company were assessed for several violations against the Texas state government and Texas retail electric customers. Below is a list of some of the PUCT rules the state has said National broke during their short lived time as one of the lowest priced electricity companies in Texas last summer.
Notice of violation concerning the assessment of administrative penalties and other related relief against National Power Company Inc. (National) for violations in the State of Texas of the following Public Utility Commission of Texas Substantive Rules Applicable to Electric Service Providers: P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.107(f)(2), related to Financial Standards Required for Customer Protection; P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.107(i)(8), related to Requirements for Reporting and for Changing Terms of a REP Certificate; P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.478(j)(2), related to Refunding Deposits and Voiding Letters of Guarantee; and P.U.C. Subst. R. 25.43(n)(7), related to Transition of Customer to POLR Service.
You can read the actual PUCT report by clicking here.
National failed to respond to the Notice of Violation (NOV) to National detailing the rules that were violated and recommending the assessment of adminstrative penalties. The notice was sent by certified mail on August 4 and 5 2009. National Power never showed up for the hearing at the PUCT office making it very easy for the PUCT to go ahead with fees and penalties totalling close to $2,000,000. If a retail electricity provider shows facing penalties simply shows up to a PUCT hearing the PUCT will usually substantially lower their penalties and fees however we assume National Power never plans on paying any fee whatsoever which is why they did a no show.
One of the reasons National Power was hit with these astronomical PUCT violations fees has to do with never paying their customers back the deposits they gave National last summer. It is over a year later and electricity service customers never received deposits that could have ranged anywhere from $200 – $600 a customer. TThe PUCT stated that not paying a customer back their deposit is among the most serious offenses that a Texas retail electric provider can commit, causing economic harm to customers who, in this case, may well have been required to pay another deposit by the POLR or another REP from which the customer chose. Consequently, a high penalty is warranted to deter this behavior. The offenses in this case were exacerbated by National’s failure to respond to repeated inquiries and requests for information by the Commission staff over a period of over a year.
National Power faced a fiercely agitated customer base when they attempted to raise their customers fixed electricity rates in the summer of 2008 which happened to be the cheapest among all Texas electricity providers at the time. The idea of a too good to be true electricity rate really started to make a little sense when their customers began to fight back by contacting the PUCT and leaving customer reviews about National on this National Power article. After over 300 disgruntled customer comments related to the attempt to change their fixed rate National Power sort of disappeared and the PUCT could no longer reach anyone with the company after repeated attempts spanning a year.