Texas Laws - Utility Code
UTILITIES CODE
TITLE 2. PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATORY ACT

(b) Notwithstanding any other law, a municipality may require the issuance of a construction permit, without cost, to the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority that is locating facilities in or on a public right-of-way in the municipality. The terms of the permit shall be consistent with construction permits issued to other persons excavating in a public right-of-way. (7997)

(c) In the exercise of its lawful regulatory authority, a municipality shall promptly process all valid and administratively complete applications of the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority for a permit, license, or consent to excavate, set poles, locate lines, construct facilities, make repairs, affect traffic flow, or obtain zoning or subdivision regulation approvals or other similar approvals. A municipality shall make every reasonable effort not to delay or unduly burden the provider in the timely conduct of the provider's business. (7998)

(d) If there is an emergency necessitating response work or repair, the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority may begin the repair or emergency response work or take any action required under the circumstances without prior approval from the affected municipality, if the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority notifies the municipality as promptly as possible after beginning the work and later obtains any approval required by a municipal ordinance applicable to emergency response work. (7999)

(e) The commission shall have no jurisdiction to review such police power-based regulations and ordinances adopted by a municipality to manage the public rights-of-way. (8000)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 27, eff. September 7, 2005. (8001)

Sec. 66.012. INDEMNITY IN CONNECTION WITH RIGHT-OF-WAY; NOTICE OF LIABILITY. (8002)(1-click HTML)

(a) The holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority shall indemnify and hold a municipality and its officers and employees harmless against any and all claims, lawsuits, judgments, costs, liens, losses, expenses, fees (including reasonable attorney's fees and costs of defense), proceedings, actions, demands, causes of action, liability, and suits of any kind and nature, including personal or bodily injury (including death), property damage, or other harm for which recovery of damages is sought, that is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be caused solely by the negligent act, error, or omission of the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority or any agent, officer, director, representative, employee, affiliate, or subcontractor of the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority or their respective officers, agents, employees, directors, or representatives, while installing, repairing, or maintaining facilities in a public right-of-way. The indemnity provided by this subsection does not apply to any liability resulting from the negligence of the municipality or its officers, employees, contractors, or subcontractors. If the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority and the municipality are found jointly liable by a court of competent jurisdiction, liability shall be apportioned comparatively in accordance with the laws of this state without, however, waiving any governmental immunity available to the municipality under state law and without waiving any defenses of the parties under state law. This subsection is solely for the benefit of the municipality and the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority and does not create or grant any rights, contractual or otherwise, for or to any other person or entity. (8003)

(b) The holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority and a municipality shall promptly advise the other in writing of any known claim or demand against the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority or the municipality related to or arising out of the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority's activities in a public right-of-way. (8004)

(c) The commission shall have no jurisdiction to review such police power-based regulations and ordinances adopted by a municipality to manage the public rights-of-way. (8005)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 27, eff. September 7, 2005. (8006)

Sec. 66.013. MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY. (8007)(1-click HTML)

In addition to a municipality's authority to exercise its nondiscriminatory police power with respect to public rights-of-way under current law, a municipality's authority to regulate the holder of state-issued certificate of franchise authority is limited to: (8008)

(1) a requirement that the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority who is providing cable service or video service within the municipality register with the municipality and maintain a point of contact; (8009)

(2) the establishment of reasonable guidelines regarding the use of public, educational, and governmental access channels; and (8010)

(3) submitting reports within 30 days on the customer service standards referenced in Section 66.008 if the provider is subject to those standards and has continued and unresolved customer service complaints indicating a clear failure on the part of the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority to comply with the standards. (8011)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 27, eff. September 7, 2005. (8012)

Sec. 66.014. DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED. (8013)(1-click HTML)

(a) The purpose of this section is to prevent discrimination among potential residential subscribers. (8014)

(b) A cable service provider or video service provider that has been granted a state-issued certificate of franchise authority may not deny access to service to any group of potential residential subscribers because of the income of the residents in the local area in which such group resides. (8015)

(c) An affected person may seek enforcement of the requirements described by Subsection (b) by initiating a proceeding with the commission. A municipality within which the potential residential cable service or video service subscribers referenced in Subsection (b) may be considered an affected person for purposes of this section. (8016)

(d) The holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority shall have a reasonable period of time to become capable of providing cable service or video service to all households within the designated franchise area as defined in Section 66.003(b)(4) and may satisfy the requirements of this section through the use of an alternative technology that provides comparable content, service, and functionality. (8017)

(e) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, the commission has the authority to make the determination regarding the comparability of the technology and the service provided. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, the commission has the authority to monitor the deployment of cable services, video services, or alternate technology. (8018)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 27, eff. September 7, 2005. (8019)

Sec. 66.015. COMPLIANCE. (8020)(1-click HTML)

(a) Should the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be in noncompliance with the requirements of this chapter, the court shall order the holder a state-issued certificate of franchise authority, within a specified reasonable period of time, to cure such noncompliance. Failure to comply shall subject the holder of the state-issued franchise of franchise authority to penalties as the court shall reasonably impose, up to and including revocation of the state-issued certificate of franchise authority granted under this chapter. (8021)

(b) A municipality within which the provider offers cable service or video service shall be an appropriate party in any such litigation. (8022)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 27, eff. September 7, 2005. (8023)

Sec. 66.016. APPLICABILITY OF OTHER LAWS. (8024)(1-click HTML)

(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to prevent a voice provider, cable service provider or video service provider, or municipality from seeking clarification of its rights and obligations under federal law or to exercise any right or authority under federal or state law. (8025)

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall limit the ability of a municipality under existing law to receive compensation for use of the public rights-of-way from entities determined not to be subject to all or part of this chapter, including but not limited to provider of Internet protocol cable or video services, unless such payments are expressly prohibited by federal law. (8026)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 5), Sec. 27, eff. September 7, 2005. (8027)

TITLE 3. GAS REGULATION (8028)(1-click HTML)

SUBTITLE A. GAS UTILITY REGULATORY ACT (8029)(1-click HTML)

CHAPTER 101. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND OFFICE OF PUBLIC UTILITY COUNSEL (8030)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 101.001. SHORT TITLE. (8031)(1-click HTML)

This subtitle may be cited as the Gas Utility Regulatory Act. (8032)

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (8033)

Sec. 101.002. PURPOSE AND FINDINGS. (8034)(1-click HTML)

(a) This subtitle is enacted to protect the public interest inherent in the rates and services of gas utilities. The purpose of this subtitle is to establish a comprehensive and adequate regulatory system for gas utilities to assure rates, operations, and services that are just and reasonable to the consumers and to the utilities. (8035)

(b) Gas utilities are by definition monopolies in the areas they serve. As a result, the normal forces of competition that regulate prices in a free enterprise society do not operate. Public agencies regulate utility rates, operations, and services as a substitute for competition. (8036)

Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (8037)

Sec. 101.003. DEFINITIONS. (8038)(1-click HTML)

In this subtitle: (8039)

(1) "Affected person" means: (8040)

(A) a gas utility affected by an action of a regulatory authority; (8041)

(B) a person whose utility service or rates are affected by a proceeding before a regulatory authority; or (8042)

(C) a person who: (8043)

(i) is a competitor of a gas utility with respect to a service performed by the utility; or (8044)

(ii) wants to enter into competition with a gas utility. (8045)

(2) "Affiliate" means: (8046)

(A) a person who directly or indirectly owns or holds at least five percent of the voting securities of a gas utility; (8047)

(B) a person in a chain of successive ownership of at least five percent of the voting securities of a gas utility; (8048)

(C) a corporation that has at least five percent of its voting securities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a gas utility; (8049)

(D) a corporation that has at least five percent of its voting securities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by: (8050)

(i) a person who directly or indirectly owns or controls at least five percent of the voting securities of a gas utility; or (8051)

(ii) a person in a chain of successive ownership of at least five percent of the voting securities of a gas utility; (8052)

(E) a person who is an officer or director of a gas utility or of a corporation in a chain of successive ownership of at least five percent of the voting securities of a gas utility; or (8053)

(F) a person determined to be an affiliate under Section 101.004. (8054)

(3) "Allocation" means the division among municipalities or among municipalities and unincorporated areas of the plant, revenues, expenses, taxes, and reserves of a gas utility used to provide gas utility service in a municipality or for a municipality and unincorporated areas. (8055)

(4) "Corporation" means a domestic or foreign corporation, joint-stock company, or association, and each lessee, assignee, trustee, receiver, or other successor in interest of the corporation, company, or association, that has any of the powers or privileges of a corporation not possessed by an individual or partnership. The term does not include a municipal corporation, except as expressly provided by this subtitle. (8056)

(5) "Counsellor" means the chief executive of the Office of Public Utility Counsel. (8057)

(6) "Facilities" means all of the plant and equipment of a gas utility and includes the tangible and intangible property, without limitation, owned, operated, leased, licensed, used, controlled, or supplied for, by, or in connection with the business of the gas utility. (8058)

(7) "Gas utility" includes a person or river authority that owns or operates for compensation in this state equipment or facilities to transmit or distribute combustible hydrocarbon natural gas or synthetic natural gas for sale or resale in a manner not subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. Section 717 et seq.). The term includes a lessee, trustee, or receiver of a gas utility. The term does not include: (8059)

(A) a municipal corporation; (8060)

(B) a person or river authority to the extent the person or river authority: (8061)

(i) produces, gathers, transports, or sells natural gas or synthetic natural gas under Section 121.004 or 121.005; (8062)

(ii) distributes or sells liquefied petroleum gas; or (8063)

(iii) transports, delivers, or sells natural gas for fuel for irrigation wells or any other direct agricultural use; (8064)

(C) a person to the extent the person: (8065)

(i) sells natural gas for use as vehicle fuel; (8066)

(ii) sells natural gas to a person who later sells the natural gas for use as vehicle fuel; or (8067)

(iii) owns or operates equipment or facilities to sell or transport natural gas for ultimate use as vehicle fuel; (8068)

(D) a person not otherwise a gas utility who furnishes gas or gas service only to itself, its employees, or its tenants as an incident of employment or tenancy, if the gas or gas service is not resold to or used by others; (8069)

(E) a person excluded from being considered a gas utility under Section 121.007; or (8070)

(F) an electric cooperative, as that term is defined by Section 11.003, or its subsidiary, that is excluded from regulation as a gas utility by Section 121.008. (8071)

(8) "Municipally owned utility" means a utility owned, operated, and controlled by a municipality or by a nonprofit corporation the directors of which are appointed by one or more municipalities. (8072)

(9) "Order" means all or a part of a final disposition by a regulatory authority in a matter other than rulemaking, without regard to whether the disposition is affirmative or negative or injunctive or declaratory. The term includes the setting of a rate. (8073)

  

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