What Is the ''Filed Rate Doctrine'' In Texas ?

The United States Supreme Court established the filed rate doctrine to address the unique situation in which a utility files tariffs with a regulatory agency. See Keogh v. Chicago & Northwestern Ry., 260 U.S. 156, 163, 67 L. Ed. 183, 43 S. Ct. 47 (1922). The doctrine prohibits regulated utilities from "charging rates for their services other than those properly filed with the appropriate regulatory authority." Southwestern Bell Tel. Co. v. Metro-Link Telecom, Inc., 919 S.W.2d 687, 692 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1996, writ denied). The filed tariff has the effect of law governing the relationship between the utility and its customers. See id. the doctrine operates "across the spectrum of regulated utilities" and applies "where state law creates a state agency and a statutory scheme pursuant to which the state agency determines reasonable rates." Metro-Link Telecom, Inc., 919 S.W.2d at 692-93 (citing Arkansas La. Gas Co. v. Hall, 453 U.S. 571, 579, 69 L. Ed. 2d 856, 101 S. Ct. 2925 (1981)). The Texas Legislature codified the filed rate doctrine in the Texas Utilities Code at section 104.005(a). See Tex. Util. Code Ann. 104.005(a). That section states: "A gas utility may not directly or indirectly charge . . . a person a greater or lesser compensation for a service provided . . . by the utility than the compensation prescribed by the applicable schedule of rates filed under Section 102.151." Id.