PRC Orders Response to Intervener Jerome Lucero’s Complaint

By: Bill Whaley
25 February, 2017

 

(Editor’s Note: Both Intervenor and Intervener Whaley are currently waiting for answers from KCEC to “formal complaints” re: “billing practices” from the Coop. Meanwhile, the traveling trustees are off to San Diego on a junket, spending the dough earned by allegedly “retroactively billing” members per the rate increases in September and December of 2016. )

NOTICE OF COMPLAINT AND ORDER REQUIRING ANSWER

THIS MATTER comes before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (“Commission”) upon the Request for PRC Investigation into KCEC Billing Irregularities (“Request”), filed with the Commission by Jerome Lucero (“Lucero” or “Complainant”) and the Order to Open a Fonnal Complaint Docket Contingent upon filing the required fee dated February 7, 2017, which converted the Request into a Fo1mal Complaint against Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. (“KCEC”).
Whereupon, being duly info1med ,

THE COMMISSION FINDS AND CONCLUDES:

1. On January 23, 2017, Lucero filed his Request for PRC Investigation into KCEC Billing Irregularities (“Request”), attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit A, which includes, but is not limited to, the following: a) A request for the Commission to investigate Lucero’s claim of questionable billing practices engaged in by KCEC as was discussed at a meeting between Lucero and KCEC Chief Financial Officer Johnny Valerio and KCEC administrative assistant Carmella Suazo; b) An allegation that his October and November 2016 KCEC bills showed a two day overage of days (28 days in October and 35 days in November = 63 days total, except that October and November only has 61 days total); c) An allegation that, at the meeting, Lucero questioned why the service dates differed for his residential bill as compared to his security light bill and expressed concern about being overcharged on the FPPCAC for his non-metered security lighting. See, Exhibit A.

 

2. On February 6, 2017, KCEC filed its Response to Request for PRC Investigation into KCEC Billing Irregularities, which requested that the Commission dismiss Lucero’s Request with prejudice because KCEC calculates its FPPCAC based on the standard average charge of 90kWhs, not based on number of days in a calendar month, in accordance with KCEC’s Sixth Revised Rate No. 6.

3. On February 7, 2017, the Commission issued an Order that: a) Lucero’s Motion Is not a Motion for Rehearing in Case No. 15-00375-UT because Lucero does not request a rehearing of the Final Order entered in Case No. 15-00375-UT; b) the Request should be treated as a formal complaint, in a new, separate docket as it complains that KCEC’s billing practices are unfair; and c) that the

Request/Complaint filed by Lucero is in substantial compliance with Commission Formal Complaint Rule, 1.2.2. l 5(A) NMAC. Subsequent to the February 11 Order, Lucero submitted the $25.00 filing fee as required by Section 62-13-2 (B) NMSA and 1.2.2. 15 NMAC 1978 for filing a formal complaint with the Commission and this Formal Complaint docket was opened, Case No. 17-00019- UT.

4. On February 8, 2017, Lucero filed Supplemental Complaint Information, attached hereto as Exhibit B.

5. On February 14, 2017, Lucero filed his Response to KCEC’s Response to Lucero’s Request for the PRC Staff to Conduct an Investigation into KCEC Billing Irregularities, which appears to also supplement his Complaint in so far as he alleges that:

a) Mr. Valerio and Miss Suazo did not discuss the Power Pass thru portion of the bill . .with him;

 

b) the only matter discussed by Mr. Varerio was the 90 kWh billed for Lucero’s area light regardless of the number of days itemized in his bills; c) a request that the supplemental filing made by Lucero on February 8, 2017 (a thi rd set of h i s electric and street/area light bill s for 328 Peralta Lane– his place of residence) be used in the investigation moving forward.

 

6. Pursuant to 1.2.2.1S(C) NMAC, upon receipt and review of a formal complaint for substantial compliance with 1.2.2.1S(A) NMAC, the Commission shall, within a reasonable period of time, cause a copy of the complaint to be served on the Respondent accompanied by a notice from the Commission calling upon the respondent to answer the complaint in writing within twenty (20) days of service of the complaint. l.2.2.15(C)(l ) NMAC.

 

7. Pursuant to l.2.2. 15(C)( l) NMAC, the Commission must put the respondent on notice that the Commission may impose administrative fines or other sanctions if the Commission finds merit in the Complaint.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

A. Within twenty (20) days of service of this Notice of Complaint and Order Requiring Answer, KCEC shall either satisfy the Complaint and file with the Commission a statement of the relief to be provided to Lucero or file with the Commission an Answer to the factual allegations of the Complaint.

B. Pursuant to 1.2.2.1S(E) NMAC, the Answer must “state in short and plain tenns [the] respondent’s defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the avennents upon which the complainant relies. Ifthe respondent is without knowledge or
inforr.1ation sufficient to fonn a belief as to the truth of an Rvennent, the answer shall so

Notice of Complaint and Order Requiring Answer Case No. 17-00019-UT: state and this shall have the effect of a denial.” 1.2.2.1S(E) NMAC. In addition, the respondent “may challenge jmisdiction and address whether probable cause exists in the answer.” 1.2.2.I S(E) NMAC.

C. KCEC shall serve copies of its Answer or notice of satisfaction of the Complaint on Lucero contemporaneously with the filing of such documents with the Commission.

D. KCEC is hereby put on notice that the Commission may impose administrative fines and other sanctions if the Commission finds merit in the Complaint.

E. This Notice of Complaint and Order Requiring Answer is issued by the Chair of the Commission or by a single Commissioner in accordance with l.2.2.30(B) NMAC.

F. This Order is effective immediately.

G. Copies of this Order shall be served on all persons listed on the attached Certificate of Service, via e-mail to those whose e-mail addresses are known, and otherwise via regular mail.

 

ISSUED at Santa Fe, New Mexico, this 24th day of February, 2017 .

NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION

TELEPHONI CALLY APPROVED

SANDY JONES, COMMISSIONER
Notice of Complaint and Order Requiring Answer Case No. 17-00019-UT

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