November 30, 2007
|2008 NEM Winter Executive Committee Meeting and Annual Spring Membership Meeting|
NEM will hold its Winter Executive Committee and Policy Development Meeting on January 17 and 18, 2008, at the South Carolina Research Authority in Charleston, South Carolina for a third time. Please register at this hotlink. Hotel accommodations have been arranged at the rate of $109 per night at the Hilton Garden Inn, Charleston Airport, 5265 International Blvd., North Charleston, SC 29418. Please call (843) 308-9330 to make your reservations. An agenda for the meeting is forthcoming.
NEM booked the new Embassy Suites Hotel Washington D.C. Convention Center for the Annual Spring Membership Meeting and Restructuring Conference on April 29 and 30, 2008. Hotel accommodations have also been arranged at this facility located at 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. NEM has secured preferred hotel rates of $259.00 per night. Please call (202) 739-2001 to make your reservations.
Please call headquarters for sponsorship opportunities for the Spring Event as advertisements are currently being developed. Your attendance, participation and sponsorship of these events are needed and would be greatly appreciated as would your input on speaker invitations and discussion topics.
|FTC Carbon Offset and REC Workshop and Green Guides Comment Opportunity|
FTC announced it will hold a workshop on carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs), focused on consumer protection issues related to these markets. Relatedly, FTC requested comments on its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (also known as the “Green Guides”).
The workshop on carbon offsets and RECs will be focused on consumer perception and advertising claims. The workshop will take place January 8, 2008, from 9AM to 5PM at the FTC’s Satellite Building Conference Center in Washington, DC. FTC stated that its, “efforts in this area will focus on our traditional consumer protection role, addressing deceptive and unfair practices under the FTC Act,” and, “we do not plan to develop environmental standards for carbon offsets and RECs.” FTC identified a series of issues for discussion at the workshop as follows:
1) “Trends in marketing carbon offsets and RECs,
2) The nature of the commodities in question (i.e., the property rights transferred from seller to buyer through the sale of offsets and RECs),
3) Product marketing based on offset or REC purchases,
4) Consumer perception of carbon offset and REC claims,
5) Potential market problems such as double-counting and other forms of fraud,
6) Third-party certification and other standard-setting programs,
7) The issue of ‘additionality’ for carbon offsets and its relationship to potential consumer deception,
8) The use of RECs as a basis for carbon offset claims,
9) The state of substantiation for offsets and REC claims, and
10) The need for additional FTC guidance in these areas.”
The Notice of Workshop is available on the NEM Website. Comments on the workshop issues are due January 25, 2008.
FTC is also requesting comment on its Green Guides, which are intended to assist marketers to avoid making unfair or deceptive environmental claims that would be subject to FTC enforcement action. The Green Guides were last revised in 1998. FTC identified a number of general and specific issues for comment on the Green Guides including: whether there is a continued need for the Guides, the economic impact, effect on environmental claim accuracy, interaction with other environmental marketing regulations, and changes in consumer perception of environmental claims. The Request for Comments is available on the NEM Website. Comments on the Green Guides are due February 11, 2008.
The Green Guides are available at:
FTC Staff’s Publication on “Complying with the Environmental Marketing Guides” is available at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/greenguides.shtm
|NEM Conference Call on FERC Capacity Release NOPR|
Following a Notice of Inquiry issued earlier this year, FERC issued a proposed rulemaking on its capacity release rules. NEM will convene a conference call on Tuesday, December 4, 2007, at 2PM EST to formulate its comments in response. The dial-in number is 913-643-5111 and the passcode is 209353. Please join us for the call. Comments on the Proposed Capacity Release Rule Revisions are due January 10, 2008.
As a general matter, FERC determined it will retain the Shipper Must Have Title requirement, finding it is an important tool to promote transparency in the capacity market. FERC also determined not to remove the price ceiling on long-term capacity releases. FERC proposed changes to its capacity rules as follows: 1) Permanent removal of the rate ceiling on capacity release transactions of one year or less; 2) Exempt capacity releases made as part of asset management agreements (AMAs) from the tying prohibition and bidding requirements; 3) Permit LDCs, as part of state unbundling programs, to request a waiver of bidding regulations to allow the LDC to consummate short-term pre-arranged capacity release deals needed to implement retail access at the maximum rate without bidding. The full text of the Capacity Release NOPR is available on the NEM Website. The full text of NEM's Comments on the Capacity Release NOI is also available on the NEM Website.
|Columbia Proposed Revisions to Storage in Transit Service|
Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation filed proposed revisions to its SIT Rate Schedule (“Storage in Transit”). Columbia maintained these changes were necessary, “to prevent customers from gaming the Rate Schedule to obtain longer term interruptible storage service in contravention of the intended use of that Rate Schedule as a short term balancing service.” The specific changes proposed by Columbia include: 1) an adjustment of Rate Schedule SIT eligibility requirements to exclude those shippers that obtain automatic balancing service through their firm no-notice storage service under Rate Schedules FSS/SST; 2) establishment of Imbalance Quantity cap for SIT shippers in an amount equal to 100,000 Dth; 3) imposition of a new Account Balance Charge against SIT shippers that exceed the Imbalance Quantity safe harbor; and 4) increasing the requirement that SIT shippers cross zero from twice every thirty days to once every ten days. NEM and Integrys Energy Services submitted comments urging the Commission to reject Columbia’s proposed revisions to its SIT Rate Schedule arguing that the changes are unnecessarily restrictive, have not been adequately justified and will significantly limit shipper flexibility on Columbia’s system. The full texts of Columbia's Filing and NEM/Integrys Energy Services' Comments are available on the NEM Website.
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|ALJs Proposed Order on Peoples/North Shore Gas|
The ALJs in the Peoples/North Shore Gas rate cases issued a proposed order. Regarding the companies' small volume transportation programs, the ALJs' proposed order provides as follows: 1) the proposal to revise the storage allocation method should be rejected; 2) the Aggregation Balancing Gas charge should be directly charged to consumers rather than suppliers, and it should not be reduced or eliminated; 3) the proposal to have the utilities release storage capacity on a one-year recallable basis and pipeline capacity on a month-to-month basis should be rejected given a lack of detail by the proposing suppliers; 4) the utilities should be required to perform the same storage reallocations during the withdrawal season that they perform during the injection season, based on the principle that storage should follow the customer; 5) the month end delivery tolerance should be increased to 5%; 6) the utilities should be permitted to provide customer data to suppliers in tiered categories subject to different levels of customer consent; 7) after a customer returns to utility sales service, it should have 120 days before the one-year minimum stay requirement is imposed; 8) the utilities should perform a cost study to form the basis of a potential adjustment to the single billing option credit; 9) the order of payments under the utilities LDC single billing option should be extended to the supplier single billing option (utility past due, supplier past due, utility current, supplier current); and 10) the proposal to implement a purchase of receivables programs should be rejected. Exceptions to the Proposed Order are due December 14, 2007, and replies to exceptions are due December 21, 2007. The full text of the Proposed Order is available on the NEM Website.
|Governor Signs SB1299|
The Governor has signed SB1299, containing a number of provisions pertaining to retail electric choice. The bill provides for the large electric utilities to institute purchase of receivables programs for residential retail customers and non-residential retail customers with non-coincident peak demand of less than 400 kilowatts. The receivables are to be purchased subject to a discount rate approved by the Commission. SB1299 also provides for electric utilities to render consolidated bills on behalf of suppliers who choose such an option. SB1299 provides the Commission with the authority to establish retail choice and referral programs whereby customers receive introductory discounts when they switch to a competitive electric supplier. SB1299 explicitly permits electronic signatures for customer enrollment with a competitive electric provider and requirements for telephonic enrollment. The full text of SB1299 Signed by the Governor is available on the NEM Website.
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