PLANO, Texas, March 13, 2003 — On Friday, March 7, the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas – Corpus Christi approved Texas Commercial Energy’s (TCE) motion to work with Affiliated Retail Electric Providers (AREP), the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to develop a market-based solution to reducing the company’s load of electricity provided to customers. The negotiated customer plan was finalized on March 11, 2003
“TCE made the difficult decision to seek reorganization to provide our customers as much time and flexibility as possible while the company resolved challenging business issues,” said Scott Hart, president of TCE. “The good faith efforts of energy market participants working together to keep customers’ interests first while retooling a business plan is a good sign that deregulation in Texas is working.”
“TCE is pleased that the negotiated plan enables us to retain more than 1,000 small commercial customers representing over 5,000 meter locations, while reducing our load by 80 percent,” Hart stated. These retained customers will see no changes or disruptions in their service.
Hart added, “Negotiating a reasonable customer plan was a crucial first step in the successful reorganization of TCE. As we continue serving these customers and helping transition others, we look forward to moving through the reorganization process as quickly as possible without further disruption or inconvenience to any customers.”
Other TCE customers which are eligible for “Price to Beat” (PTB) tariffs are being switched beginning March 13 from TCE to the appropriate AREP. (details provided in Addendum)
Customers with meters larger than 1 megawatt (MW) are ineligible for PTB tariffs and are being switched to the “Provider of Last Resort” (POLR) beginning March 13. TCE is encouraging these customers to immediately find an alternative supply arrangement in order to minimize their exposure to POLR tariffs, which have been quite volatile over the past two months.
“While TCE was only able to negotiate a few days notice for the 1 MW meter locations, we hope that even this brief notice will help customers’ transition be less disruptive,” Hart noted.
TCE is in the process of contacting all customers to fully explain their situation, options and procedures. Once switching occurs for designated customers, they will no longer have any contractual obligations to TCE that inhibit them from negotiating another supply agreement with another Retail Electric Provider. A final bill from TCE will be sent shortly after service is switched and new providers will immediately assume responsibility for switching, billing and other customer service.
Upon completion of the market-based solution for customers, TCE was authorized by the court to continue normal business operations as a reorganization plan is developed. Specifically, TCE was authorized to pay pre- and post-petition employee compensation and benefits. The company may also continue using its bank accounts, enabling fulfillment of post-petition obligations to suppliers and creditors without disruption. For pre-petition claims, a May 6, 2003 filing date was set. Vendors and other claimants may obtain a copy of the required form for filing from http://www.uscourts.gov/bankform/formb10new.pdf