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December 14, 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 available at this hotlink.

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.

Senate Takes Up Energy Legislation

After being tossed around and compressed into legislation, HR 6, "The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007," passed the House and moved back to the Senate this week. With a looming veto threat from the President, and contentious debate between the two parties in the Senate, the energy bill has changed in order to try and get the votes needed to pass the Senate. Two of the key changes made to make the bill more agreeable to both sides were:

1. Elimination of the Renewable Electric Standards from the bill. Senate Majority Leader Reid dropped it from the bill after several Senators noted their concerns. There had been pressure largely from utilities concerned with their ability to meet the required renewable percentage.

2. Elimination of the Oil and Gas Tax Credit Repeals. The previous measures, included in the House-passed version, tightened rules on the ability of oil and gas companies to claim foreign tax credits on foreign oil and gas extraction. There were also measures in the House legislation that would have repealed several other oil and gas tax credits, including the treatment of gas lines as 15-year depreciable property. Most of the tax changes the Senate was considering only affect several of the major oil and gas corporations.

While most of this happened on Wednesday night, there was a vote to pass the bill with these modifications Thursday morning. The cloture vote to end the filibuster in the Senate, needing 60 votes to pass, failed by a vote of 59-40. More changes were expected during the day Thursday in order to get the extra votes needed. After the cloture vote, the bill will be voted on, and only a simple majority is needed to pass the legislation. However, President Bush has not changed his stance on his veto threat, but was working with the Senate on Thursday to work out acceptable legislation. NEM will post the revised legislation as soon as it becomes available in electronic form and will keep members informed about the changes in the bill.

FCC Proposed Rulemaking and Legislation on Do Not Call Registry

FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in which it proposes to indefinitely extend consumers registrations on the Do Not Call list, rather than let them expire after five years as they are currently scheduled. FCC states that the change is justified to alleviate consumer burdens associated with re-registering, to minimize consumer confusion caused by an increase in telemarketer calls when registrations expire, and to lower the cost of operating the registry. FCC requests comment on what impact, if any, the proposed rule change would have on telemarketers, in particular small businesses.

Relatedly, the House recently passed HR3541, "to eliminate the automatic removal of telephone numbers registered on the Federal "do-not-call" registry." Similar legislation, S2096, is pending in the Senate.

The full texts of the FCC NOPR, HR3541 and S2096 are available on the NEM Website.

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Proposed Decision on Lifting Suspension of Direct Access

Commissioner Peevey issued a proposed decision in the rulemaking to consider lifting the suspension of direct access. As to the threshold issue of Commission authority to lift the suspension, the analysis hinges on whether DWR "continues to supply power" under the statute. The Proposed Decision concludes, since DWR continues to hold legal title to the power, that it supplies power to retail customers. As such, the Commission cannot lift the direct access suspension at this time.

Rather than make a determination as to a partial lifting of the suspension, the Proposed Decision determines that Phase II of the case should proceed to address proactive strategies in which DWR can be removed from its role as power supplier under the law in an expedited fashion. This could include DWR assignment of its existing contracts. The full text of the Proposed Decision is available on the NEM Website.

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NEM Comments on Billing Rules

NEM filed comments on the Commission's proposed rules governing billing practices applicable to commercial and industrial electric and gas customers requesting that the Commission either clarify or revise the billing rules to make clear that they do not apply to alternative suppliers. NEM noted that the term "utility" in the rulemaking is defined to include "a person, firm, corporation, cooperative, association, or other legal entity that is subject to the jurisdiction of the commission and that distributes or sells electricity or natural gas for commercial or industrial use," which could be construed to include marketers and distributors that have not previously been subject to the Commission's billing rules.

Alternatively, if contrary to NEM's recommendation, the Commission does intend to apply the billing rules to all energy companies that "sell" or transmit/transport gas or electricity within the State, then the Commission should: (1) specify which of the rules are applicable to alternative suppliers; (2) commence a collaborative to evaluate the impact of applying the new billing rules across the board; and, thereafter; (3) amend the rules to make them applicable to the relationship between Choice suppliers and their retail customers. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Brown PSC Chair Nomination Considered in Senate

The Senate Standing Committee on Energy and Telecommunications was scheduled to consider the nomination of Garry Brown as a member of the Commission earlier today.

Click here to view all past updates.
PPL Files Proposed Rate Stabilization Plan

PPL filed a proposed electric rate stabilization plan (RSP). The proposed RSP is intended to phase-in the expected rate increase in 2010 (when generation rate caps expire) over the 2008-2012 period. PPL would begin collecting a RSP charge from participating customers in July 2008 through December 2009. The amounts collected, plus interest, will be returned to customers as a RSP bill credit from January 2010 through December 2011. The RSP will be implemented as a non-bypasscharge, so as not to impact the "price to compare." The program is to be voluntary, on an opt-out basis - all eligible customers will be enrolled to participate unless they elect not to. The proposed program would be available to residential, small C&I and street lighting customers. PPL's budget billing customers will not be eligible to participate. The full text of PPL's RSP Filing is available on the NEM Website.

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