Water Code Section 13.017
Office of Public Utility Counsel; Powers and Duties
(a)In this section, “counsellor” and “office” have the meanings assigned by Section 11.003 (Definitions), Utilities Code.
(b)The independent Office of Public Utility Counsel represents the interests of residential and small commercial consumers under this chapter. The office:
(1)shall assess the effect of utility rate changes and other regulatory actions on residential consumers in this state;
(2)shall advocate in the office’s own name a position determined by the counsellor to be most advantageous to a substantial number of residential consumers;
(3)may appear or intervene, as a party or otherwise, as a matter of right on behalf of:
(A)residential consumers, as a class, in any proceeding before the utility commission, including an alternative dispute resolution proceeding; and
(B)small commercial consumers, as a class, in any proceeding in which the counsellor determines that small commercial consumers are in need of representation, including an alternative dispute resolution proceeding;
(4)may initiate or intervene as a matter of right or otherwise appear in a judicial proceeding:
(A)that involves an action taken by an administrative agency in a proceeding, including an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, in which the counsellor is authorized to appear; or
(B)in which the counsellor determines that residential consumers or small commercial consumers are in need of representation;
(5)is entitled to the same access as a party, other than utility commission staff, to records gathered by the utility commission under Section 13.133 (Inspections; Examination Under Oath; Compelling Production of Records; Inquiry into Management and Affairs);
(6)is entitled to discovery of any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to the subject matter of a proceeding or petition before the utility commission;
(7)may represent an individual residential or small commercial consumer with respect to the consumer’s disputed complaint concerning retail utility services that is unresolved before the utility commission;
(8)may recommend legislation to the legislature that the office determines would positively affect the interests of residential and small commercial consumers; and
(9)may conduct consumer outreach and education programs for residential and small commercial consumers.
(c)This section does not:
(1)affect a duty the office is required to perform under other law; or
(2)limit the authority of the utility commission to represent residential or small commercial consumers.
(d)The appearance of the counsellor in a proceeding does not preclude the appearance of other parties on behalf of residential or small commercial consumers. The counsellor may not be grouped with any other party.
Section 13.017 — Office of Public Utility Counsel; Powers and Duties,
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/WA/htm/WA.13.htm#13.017 (accessed Dec. 2, 2023).