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December 11, 2009
Winter Executive Committee Meeting

January 2010 Executive Committee Meeting - NEM’s Annual Winter Executive Committee Policy and Planning Meeting will be held January 19 & 20, 2010, at the headquarters of South Carolina Research Authority in Charleston, South Carolina. NEM’s room rate has been secured at $129.00 per room per night at the Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport, 5265 International Blvd., N. Charleston, SC 29418. The Executive Committee sets the course for NEM’s advocacy in the coming year at this meeting. A Draft Agenda is hotlinked here. Many thanks to Bill Mahoney and South Carolina Research Authority for the generous offer to host this meeting. Please use this hotlink to register.

Appeal at D.C. Circuit of Capacity Release Rulemaking

The pipelines filed a challenge in the D.C. Circuit of FERC's capacity release rulemaking and its decision not to remove the rate ceilings on short-term pipeline services. In that rulemaking, FERC decided to lift the rate ceiling on short-term capacity release transactions. A number of parties have joined in opposition to the pipelines' challenge, arguing that FERC's retention of the rate ceilings on pipeline sales of capacity is necessary to protect consumers and ensure just and reasonable rates and is consistent with FERC's negotiated rate program. The case has not yet been scheduled for oral argument.

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Proposed Rulemaking on Electric Consumer Protection Regulations

The Commission has initiated a rulemaking to consider electric consumer protections denominated "Obligations of Retail Electric Suppliers" and also the modification of internet enrollment rules. The proposal stems from Staff-led workshops of interested stakeholders and incorporates a Staff report on same. The proposed rules would apply to marketer service to residential and small commercial electric customers. It would require, in addition to the customer sales contract, the use of a Uniform Disclosure Statement. The proposed rules also pertain to door-to-door solicitation, telemarketing, inbound enrollment calls, direct mail, online marketing, sales agent training, supplier record retention, and requirements for contract rescission, imposition of early termination fees, and operation of contract renewals. The full text of the Proposed Rulemaking is available on the NEM Website.

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Utility POR Plans

This week, WGL filed a revision to its RM35 compliance filing in which it changed its election from offering consolidated billing with pro rata payments to a POR program. In the filing, WGL reported it could implement a POR program by February 2011. WGL's filing sets forth a POR discount rate calculation methodology. WGL's discount rate would be computed as the sum of the following components: bad debt expense; information technology implementation costs; incremental collection costs; a risk factor that WGL estimated in Year One to be .25%; and a reconciliation factor. The full texts of WGL's Revised Filing and NEM's Statement in Support are available on the NEM Website.

On the electric side, the Commission has deferred consideration of BGE and Allegheny's proposed POR plans. BGE was directed to file a proposed discount rate by January 15, 2010, including supporting data. BGE's plan will be considered at the Commission's February 17, 2010, Administrative meeting. Allegheny's plan is now scheduled to be considered at the January 13, 2010, Administrative Meeting.

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Commission Announces Expansion of OCMO to Electric Markets

The Commission announced the expansion of the role of its Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO), currently charged with overseeing the development and functioning of the competitive retail natural gas supply market, to now also serve as the Commission’s electric retail choice ombudsman. OCMO will be responsible for responding to questions from electric generation suppliers (EGSs), monitoring competitive market complaints and facilitating informal dispute resolution between the default service provider (DSP) and EGSs. The Commission also announced that the OCMO will hold periodic conference calls or meetings to identify and resolve issues that may be hindering the development or proper functioning of the electric retail market, the first of which will be held December 18, 2009, at 9AM. Dial-in 1-866-618-6746 and passcode 6060145. The full text of the Secretarial Letter is available on the NEM Website.

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