The staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) issued a formal request (Project Number 45730) for comments on March 16 regarding the shopping function of the Power to Choose website (www.powertochoose.com).
At its open meeting on February 11, the commission reviewed and discussed the website’s shopping function – called “Shop Compare Choose”– which enables power customers to view and compare the details of competitive retail electric plans from providers that have chosen to list on Power to Choose. If one of the plans is of interest, the customer is directed from the “Shop Compare Choose” page to an individual retail electric provider to complete the transaction.
However, the PUCT found that some of the retail electricity plans on the site are described in ways that are difficult to understand and compare to each other. Therefore, the Project to Evaluate the Power to Choose Website has been launched – and the PUCT requests interested persons file comments to the following questions:
- How is the Power to Choose website in its current format meeting or not meetings its goal to assist customers in shopping for a retail electric plan?
- What design changes could be made to the website to improve its usefulness to consumers?
- Should the commission change how offers are sorted? If so, how?
- What changes to the layout of the website and the shopping results would improve its functionality?
- What other ways could plans be categorized or filtered?
- Are there any changes to commission rules that would improve the process of shopping for a retail electric provider?
- Should the commission expand the Energy Facts Label? If so, how?
- Should credits and fees be removed from the total average price?
- What are other criteria the website should use to compare different offers?
- What impact would removing the shopping function from the website have on the retail electric market and consumers?
- If the shopping function were removed from the Power to Choose website, are there sufficient alternatives in the private market?
- How would the retail electric market and consumers be affected by replacing the shopping functions with a directory of retail electric providers and commercial shopping websites?
Responses may be filed by submitting 16 copies to the PUCT’s Filing Clerk, Public Utility Commission of Texas, 1701 North Congress Avenue, P.O. Box 13326, Austin, Texas 78711-3326 within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice. All responses should reference Project Number 45730. This notice is not a formal notice of proposed rulemaking; however, the parties’ responses to the questions will assist the commission in developing a commission policy or determining the necessity for a related rulemaking.