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January 26, 2018
NEM Upcoming Events

NEM’s 21st Annual National Restructuring Conference will be held April 30 – May 2, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Hotel, Washington, DC. An agenda is forthcoming. You may register at this hotlink.

NEM is a sponsor of NARUC's 2018 Winter Policy Summit, on February 11-14, 2018, in Washington, DC. Please let us know if you plan to attend, and do be sure to stop by our booth at the event.

Florida
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SB1038 on Energy 2040 Task Force

SB1038 was introduced and would create an Energy 2040 Task Force with the Public Service Commission "to project Florida's electric energy needs over the next 20 years and determine how best to meet those needs in an efficient, affordable, and reliable manner while increasing competition and consumer choice and ensuring adequate electric reserves." The task force would make policy recommendations in a report due January 1, 2020.

The topics for task force consideration include the competitive retail sale of renewable energy. Specifically:

"(b) Projections of the effects of allowing nonutility retail sales of renewable energy, including determinations and recommendations on what types of fuels and technologies should be included in the definition of the term “renewable energy” and what criteria, including restrictions, should be required of entities considered nonutility retail renewable energy producers. For purposes of this section, solar technologies are considered renewable energy.
(c) The rights for and obligations between a nonutility direct retail renewable energy producer and its customers, including whether such rights and duties should be a matter of contract or subject to some oversight or regulation by the Public Service Commission and whether courts or the Public Service Commission should resolve any disputes.
(d) The effects of nonutility direct retail renewable energy sales on regulated public utilities’ recovery of previously incurred or sunken costs, including what mechanisms should be used to recover these costs.
(e) The effects of nonutility direct retail renewable energy sales on a regulated public utility’s obligation to serve all users of electricity within its service territory and the continued purchase by these customers of any services from the regulated public utility."

The task force would also examine the impacts of allowing the use of microgrids as well as emerging technologies such as, solar, energy storage, DG and electric vehicles.

The bill received a favorable vote in the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities committee and has now been referred to the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability committee. The full text of SB1038 is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Governor's 2019 Budget Includes Proposal for Elimination of ESCO Sales Tax Exemption

Governor Cuomo's proposed 2019 budget includes the elimination of the ESCO sales tax exemption. As described in the budget briefing materials: "The Executive Budget eliminates the sales tax exemption on the non-residential transmission and distribution of gas or electricity when purchased from an Energy Service Company (ESCO). Enacted in the early 2000s to incentivize consumer choice, this exemption is no longer necessary now that ESCOs are established entities (New York City eliminated this tax exemption in 2009)." This change is proposed to be effectuated through an amendment to the tax law such that, "transportation, transmission or distribution of gas or electricity, even if sold separately," would be subject to tax.

Pennsylvania
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Residential Supplier Workshop

The Commission issued a final agenda for the upcoming Residential Supplier Workshop on January 31, 2018. The agenda is as follows:

9AM - Welcome remarks from Chairman Brown
9:15AM - PUC orientation from the Secretary's Bureau, Office of Administrative Law Judge, Office of Special Assistants, Technical Utility Services and Administration
10:30AM - Discussion by OCA and OAG of consumer protection and telemarketing requirements
1:30PM - Review of PaPowerSwitch.com and PaGasSwitch.com by the Office of Communications
2:00PM - Bureau of Consumer Services discusses informal complaints
2:45PM - OCMO reviews marketing rules
3:30PM - OCMO provides a status update on various supplier initiatives

The full text of the Agenda is available on the NEM Website.

En Banc Hearing Scheduled for Consideration of Supplier Consolidated Billing

The Commission decided to convene an en banc hearing on June 14, 2018, on supplier consolidated billing (SCB), and possible alternatives, that would promote shopping and the allow for increased availability of value-added services from suppliers. The Commission decided to schedule the hearing after having considered a petition for the implementation of supplier consolidated billing. While commending the submission of the proposal, the Commission found it was lacking in necessary substantive detail related to compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

The Commission reaffirmed its previous opinion that "SCB will facilitate the offering of innovative new products and services and will also help the supplier in establishing a brand identity with the customer." It is requesting stakeholder information from the en banc hearing on the following issues:

"1. Is SCB legally permissible under Chapters 14 and 28 of the Public Utility Code? If so, what limits, if any, are imposed by the Public Utility Code?
2. Would giving an EGS the authority to request EDC termination of a customer's service comply with Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code and Chapter 56 of the Commission's regulations?
3. How would EGS implementation of SCB affect existing universal service billing procedures?
4. Would an EGS with SCB have the customer service capabilities to answer and refer to the EDC questions regarding low-income programs in addition to educating customers on the options and programs available?
5. If an EGS purchases an EDC's receivables and the EDC is no longer owed any money, does the EDC (or EGS) have the power to terminate service for nonpayment of distribution charges?
6. Would a pilot program involving an EDC working with an individual EGS or group of EGSs to design a SCB platform be appropriate?"

The Commission is also seeking input on the legality, feasibility and appropriateness of SCB alternatives, including changing UCB to allow for EGS value added service charges; billing service unbundling; unbundling of other related services; third party billing agents; and mass market dual billing.

The full text of the Joint Motion on SCB is available on the NEM Website. The final Order will be posted when made available electronically.

Virginia
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SB837 on Electric Choice

SB837 was recently introduced and would expand consumers ability to shop for electricity. The bill would lower the current 5MW threshold for individual or aggregated shopping to 1MW. It would reduce the current five year notice period applicable to shopping customers that wish to return to utility service to three months notice. The bill would also allow all customers to shop for 100% renewable energy products regardless of whether the utility offers a renewable energy tariff. As the law is currently interpreted, consumers ability to shop for 100% renewable energy products is eliminated if the utility offers such a product. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor. The full text of SB837 is available on the NEM Website.



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