October 7, 2005
|Washington Gas Energy Services Nominated to NEM Executive Committee|
NEM is pleased to announce that Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. has been nominated to the Executive Committee. Founded in 1996, Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. is the largest competitive retail provider of natural gas and electricity in the Maryland/D.C./Virginia region, serving more customers than all other suppliers combined. WGES will be represented within NEM by Harry A. Warren, Jr., President.
WGES serves over 180,000 natural gas and electricity customers ranging from residential to industrial users. In recent years, WGES has been honored by the Defense Logistics Agency with its Innovative Business Performer Award, and by Clean Air Partners with its Clean Air Trendsetter Award for its pioneering work in bringing renewable energy choices to D.C. area electric customers. WGES is an affiliate of Washington Gas, the local gas utility in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
|South Carolina Research Authority Nominated to NEM Executive Committee|
NEM is pleased to announce that the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) has been nominated to the Executive Committee. SCRA is a global leader in applied research and technology commercialization services. SCRA will be represented within NEM by Bill Mahoney, President and CEO.
Chartered by the State of South Carolina, but self-funded, SCRA is a public, non-profit corporation which develops and manages research operations on behalf of government, industry, and university clients and partners. SCRA expertise extends to over 30 emerging market and technology segments, including advanced energy alternatives, advanced materials, systems interoperability, homeland security, law enforcement and public safety, and information protection. A current example of an SCRA project is their work with the US Navy to sample water quality in and around the Mississippi delta in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Using miniature remote operated vehicles equipped with test and transmission devices jointly developed by SCRA and MIT, the Navy can fulfill part of its domestic recovery mission, as well as test a future security system for docked ships. SCRA’s project work also includes hydrogen, fuel cell, and alternative energy infrastructure development and demonstration, as well as power line monitoring and transmission.
|NEM Fall Industry Leadership Roundtable|
The NEM Fall Leadership Roundtable will be held October 20th and 21st. All NEM members are invited to attend the Leadership Roundtable. Companies that have expressed an interest in joining NEM will also be invited as guests of the association. NEM is hosting the event - there is no attendance fee. Use this hotlink to register.
The Roundtable will begin in the Small Business Committee Room, located in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2360, on Thursday, October 20th at 10AM. A working lunch will be served and a cocktail reception will follow the conclusion of the day's events. Invitations have been extended to Maryland PSC Chair Schisler as well as other MDPSC Commissioners and Staff. Maryland's Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele has confirmed his attendance. On Friday, October 21st, we will conclude our meeting in the Science Committee Room in Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2325. The Agenda is hotlinked here.
NEM National and Regional Policy Chairs are scheduled to update the General Membership on the issues of import and present updates on each region. Topics for NEM leadership discussions and membership briefing include: 1) Federal/Wholesale policy issues - a) implementation of Energy Policy Act, b) Order 888 reform, c) best practices for ISO credit policies, d) capacity constructs; 2) Retail policy issues - a) impact of gas and electricity prices on restructuring policies, b) standardized retail contracts and retail referral programs, c) gas storage and pipeline capacity allocations, d) proper role of utilities in a competitive marketplace - when is a utility an agent of the state - protected conduct under state action doctrine - utility offerings of competitive products - modification of obligation to serve; 3) Technology policy issues - a) real time meters and pricing, b) demand response solutions, c) incentives for advanced technologies, and d) vision for the future of smart/digital homes.
Please mark your calendars and plan to join us!
|CERA Study and Briefing on Deregulation|
Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) will hold a briefing in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning, October 13, 2005, to discuss its new study, "Beyond the Crossroads: The Future Direction of Power Industry Restructuring." CERA will discuss: 1) whether or not deregulation has produced lower power prices for the majority of electricity consumers compared with the costs of traditional regulation had it continued; 2) how much money deregulation has cost or saved U.S. residential electric customers; 3) what grades should be awarded the U.S. power sector for deregulation implementation; 4) the possibility that new strategies and policies can provide adequate resources, create a robust transmission grid, and stabilize the hybrid mix of regulated processes and competitive forces; and 5)recommendations for U.S. electric power policy going forward.
|NEM Comments on NYISO Netting Bilaterals Project|
NEM submitted comments urging a prompt resolution of the dispute over the timeframe for implementation of NYISO's Netting Bilaterals Project. NEM argued that the Project should more efficiently align collateral requirements, eliminate unnecessary duplication and over-collateralization. NEM supported adoption of RTO best practices and recommended that PJM's ESchedules, upon which the Netting Bilaterals Project is based, should be considered a best practice in the Northeast market and implemented at the earliest practical time. NEM recommended consideration of a phased implementation to begin with the netting of energy market bilaterals with a later implementation for netting of ancillary services market components. Furthermore, with respect to competitive retail market development, NEM argued that as a matter of public policy there is no reason to over collateralize and resultingly increase the costs of non-utility suppliers in assuming risks that would otherwise be guaranteed by captive ratepayers. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.
Many thanks to Steve Wemple of ConEd Energy, Kyle Storie of Advantage Energy and Francis Pullaro of U.S. Energy Savings Corp. for their input on this project.
Click here to view all past updates.
|NYSEG Electric Rate Plan|
NYSEG filed an electric rate plan proposing to continue its current plan for six years commencing on September 1, 2006. The plan would continue the same commodity offerings: 1) a Fixed Price Option (FPO) from NYSEG; 2) a Variable Price Option (VPO) from NYSEG; 3) an ESCO Price Option (EPO); and 4) an ESCO Price Option with a Supply Adjustment (EOSA). "All customers not making a definitive choice will continue on the same service that they had last been on in the prior commodity period." NYSEG proposed to continue to use the three-month enrollment period prior the start of each commodity period.
A nonbypassable charge (NBC) will also be assessed on customers. Customers in the FPO or EOSA option will have a two year fixed NBC, and customers in VPO or EPO option will have the NBC calculated on a monthly basis, subject to true-ups.
NYSEG calculated it bill issuance credit at $.94 per meter, per month. The merchant function credit is calculated as $.0013 for SC 7-1 customers and $.0005 for SC 7-2, SC 7-3 and SC 7-4 customers. Meter ownership, meter service and meter data service credits were also developed for the different service classes. NYSEG calculated the costs of ESCO-initiated suspension of customer service such that the weighted shut off at the meter costs $70 and the cost of electric shut off at the pole is $236. NYSEG's proposed fee for calculating the utility bill, when a residential customer wants to stop an ESCO-initiated suspension of service for nonpayment, is $8.28.
The full texts of NYSEG's Filing Letter and Rate Plan Testimony and Exhibits are available on the NEM Website.
|Staff Survey of ESCO Interest in Utility Commodity Contract Information Disclosure|
Staff issued a survey to assess ESCO interests and requirements in utility commodity contract information disclosure that would contribute to the transparency of monopoly utility contracting, without unnecessary release of information that may be considered confidential to the contract parties. Staff requests proposals on: "(1) the types, frequency and format of data to be disclosed to ESCOs, (2) details of how this information will be used to benefit the competitive market, (3) why disclosure of such information will not be harmful to the utilities, their commodity customers, and contract partners, and (4) a process to provide access to this information (e.g., web site, etc.) and a process by which that data could be protected (where necessary) from unauthorized access, taking into consideration the utility resources needed to design and maintain such a process."
Responses are due November 18, 2005, to Ben Stein at the NYPSC Office of Retail Market Development (email@example.com).
|Revisions to Power to Choose-ESCO Comparison Chart|
The Commission has contracted with Nexus Energy to implement their "Energy Finder" guide in New York State to drive NY Power to Choose on AskPSC.com, beginning with the October ESCO Comparison Chart updates.
Members can confirm their participation in the program by contacting Michelle Fay from NEXUS at (781) 694-3327. At present only 14 of 33 ESCOs serving the residential market have informed NEXUS that they will participate. Please confirm your participation ASAP.
|Procedural Schedule in Central Hudson Rate Case|
The ALJs have set the procedural schedule in Central Hudson's gas and electric rate case as follows:
November 21, 2005 - Staff/Intervenor direct testimony
December 14, 2005 - Rebuttal testimony
January 18, 2005 - Evidentiary hearings, continuing as needed
February 14, 2005 - Initial briefs
February 24, 2005 - Reply briefs
Click here to view all past updates.
|Report on Competition in Natural Gas Market|
The Commission issued its report to the legislature on competition in Pennsylvania’s retail natural gas supply market finding that "'effective competition' does not exist in the retail natural gas supply market statewide, and that the PUC should convene the stakeholders in the natural gas industry to examine avenues, including legislative, to increase competition." The first meeting of the collaborative will be held by the end of the year.
Commission findings included comments of NEM that substantial barriers to entry exist due to: 1) differing security requirements among utilites; 2) the omission of procurement, administrative and other costs from the utility price to compare; 3) penalties placed on suppliers that vary among utility systems and are not cost-based; and 4) lack of accurate and timely price signals. The full text of the Report will be posted on the NEM Website when made available electronically.
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