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October 21, 2016
NEM Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable

NEM will convene its Fall Leadership Roundtable on October 26-28, 2016, in Austin, Texas. The meeting will take place at the Hyatt Regency Austin at 208 Barton Springs. A Draft Agenda is hotlinked here. Confirmed participants include Robert Hall III, Texas State Senator; Donna Nelson, Chairman, TX PUC; Bill Magness, President and CEO, ERCOT; Pat Wood, III, Principal, Wood3 Resources; Barry Smitherman, Partner, Vinson & Elkins and David Sibley, Principal, Sibley Group. There are invitations to numerous VIPs outstanding. Please register for the Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable at this hotlink.

FERC Staff 2016-2017 Winter Energy Market Assessment

At yesterday's meeting, FERC Staff presented its 2016-2017 Winter Energy Market Assessment. The Report suggests that natural gas prices are likely to be higher than last year and electricity prices are also likely to increase with the exception of the New England area. Forecasts are calling for "broadly normal winter temperatures." The Report finds that total U.S. natural gas demand could rise by more than 5 Bcfd from last winter, with the residential and commercial sector adding between 5 and 6 Bcfd and industrial gas demand adding about 1 Bcfd this winter.

Notably, "2016 is the first year since the beginning of large-scale shale gas production to show a year-over-year decline," prompted by lower gas and oil prices. There are also strong natural gas storage inventories. Also of particular note, the Report finds that, "Futures markets are signaling expectations that New York City will have the highest natural gas prices in the country this winter. Peaking in January, basis futures for Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Zone 6 - New York neared $9.00/MMBtu in trading October 12."

The full text of the 2016-2017 Winter Energy Market Assessment is available on the NEM Website.

New York
Click here to view all past updates.
New Law on Early Termination Fees

The Governor signed A.8630A/S.6485A, adding a new provision to the state's General Business Law prohibiting the assessment of early termination fees when a customer is deceased before the end of the contract. The law specifically provides that:

"§ 399-zzzz. Prohibition of certain fee charges for termination or early cancellation.
1. Subject to federal law and regulation, no provider of telephone, cellular telephone, television, internet, energy, or water services shall impose a fee for termination or early cancellation of a service contract in the event the customer has deceased before the end of such contract.
2. Every violation of this section shall be punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars.
§ 2. This act shall take effect immediately."

Generators File Complaint About ZEC Order

A group of generators filed a complaint in federal district court in New York this week about the Tier 3 subsidies to upstate nuclear generators included in the Commission's Zero Emissions Credit (ZEC) Order. The complaint argues that, "Seeking to change the results of FERC's market-based auction system, the PSC issued the ZEC Order to bail out four uneconomic upstate nuclear power plants and keep them in the market for at least twelve more years, via so-called Zero Emissions Credits (ZECs). Unless enjoined or eliminated, these credits will result in New York's captive ratepayers paying the owners an estimated $7.6 billion over twelve years to the owners of these plants." The complaint explains that, "ZEC payments threaten to disrupt the economically efficient function of the FERC-approved monthly capacity market auctions administered by the NYISO." The complaint argues that the PSC's ZEC program is unlawful because it intrudes in an area that is exclusively FERC-jurisdictional. The complaint also argues that the program is invalid under the dormant Commerce Clause. The complaint is seeking a declaration that the Tier 3 nuclear subsidies portion of the ZEC Order is invalid and an injunction requiring the Commission to withdraw, or not implement, those portions of the Order. The full text of the Complaint is hotlinked here.

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