|Rulemaking Session on Retail Market Enhancements|
The Commission held a rulemaking session this week to consider proposed revisions to the electric and natural gas choice regulations, including retail market enhancements, and to decide whether those proposals should be published in the State Register. The proposed regulations are included in a Staff Report that was filed earlier this year.
The Commission voted to publish proposed language that provides suppliers with a second option on the performance of agent background checks. It voted to publish proposed "housekeeping" language on enrollment, cancellation of supply service and customer rescission period. It also voted to publish proposed language on supplier website offers after modifying the proposed language to read "In the event of a discrepancy between a supplier's open offer posted on the Commission's website and the supplier's corresponding open offer displayed on the supplier's website, the supplier shall honor the terms that are more favorable for the customer."
Rather than adopt proposed language on supplier budget billing, the Commission determined that the proposal should go back to the workgroup for further consideration.
The Commission also considered proposed regulations that would apply to "Curtailment Service Providers" and "Energy Consultants" in setting registration requirements and providing these entities with Green Button and AMI data access. In a sentiment echoed by other Commissioners, Chairman Stanek questioned whether the Commission has the jurisdictional authority to regulate these entities. He said the customer should be able to share its data with whomever it chooses, and the utility should serve as the portal. Commissioner Richard noted that until the data access issue is figured out for these entities, it will hold up innovation. The Commission referred this issue back to the workgroup to examine ways to provide data access to these entities without making them Commission-jurisdictional. Experience and examples from other states are to be considered in this regard.
The Commission considered and voted not to publish proposed regulations on instant connect (electric only) and seamless moves. Chairman Stanek thought that the benefits of the proposals did not outweigh the costs. Commissioners Hermann and O'Donnell expressed similar concerns and said that they would reconsider the proposals if new evidence was presented, such as consumer demand for the measures. Commissioner Richard argued the proposals should be published. He said that the law has been implemented in reverse by requiring customers to start service on SOS. With respect to seamless moves, he argued that current practice is a relic.
A Phase III of the workgroup will be convened to address additional retail market issues. The Staff leader estimated the first meeting would be held in four to six weeks. Issues referred to the Phase III workgroup include revisions to the Commission's website; certain non-residential consumer protections; a proposal to require suppliers to provide consumers (for which the supplier has an email address) with an email notice of rate change; and the availability of customer look-up tools/wallet enrollment. With respect to the look-up tool/wallet enrollment issue, the Commissioners requested the workgroup include: a well-developed supplier proposal; a utility implementation cost estimate; information on how the measures impact suppliers ability to do business and serve more consumers; lessons learned from implementation in other jurisdictions; and a review of how existing consumer protections apply to its use.
The full text of the Staff Report is available on the NEM website.