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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This dispute arises from a private settlement agreement incorporated in a Public Utility Commission order. In February 2002, Dale Shearer and several other Entergy Gulf States Inc. ratepayers, the plaintiffs in the underlying case, brought suit in district court alleging that Entergy and EGSI breached the merger agreement when they entered into the settlement agreement because the two agreements’ terms are inconsistent. Shearer alleges that the settlement agreement conflicts with the merger agreement’s requirement that a third proceeding be filed with the PUC and that certain merger related savings inure to the ratepayers. After the underlying suit was filed, the trial court denied Entergy Corporation’s motion to transfer venue, motion to dismiss for want of subject matter jurisdiction, and motion to abate. Entergy, having failed to secure relief from the court of appeals, now seeks a writ of mandamus from this court on the basis that the Public Utility Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of this dispute. HOLDING:Conditionally granted. If Entergy’s assertion that the PUC has exclusive jurisdiction is correct, the trial court lacks jurisdiction over the underlying suit. The primary inquiry is whether the PUC has exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute. The Legislature’s language demonstrates that it intended the Public Utility Regulatory Act to be the exclusive means of regulating electric utilities in Texas. The Legislature’s description of PURA as “comprehensive,” coupled with the fact that PURA regulates even the particulars of a utility’s operations and accounting, demonstrates the statute’s pervasiveness. Accordingly, the court concludes that the PUC has exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute between Entergy and Shearer. The merger agreement between Entergy, GSU, and the various other parties affected the public interest and, more importantly, was the basis for the PUC’s regulatory approval of the Entergy/GSU merger. Without the PUC order implementing it, the merger agreement was practically meaningless. That is, the very administrative character that gives the merger agreement effect also gives the PUC the authority to adjudicate disputes arising from the agreement. The court concludes that the PUC has exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute between Entergy and Shearer. OPINION:Smith, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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