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December 18, 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.

FERC Staff's 2009 Report on Enforcement

The Commission Staff released its 2009 Report on Enforcement. The Report discloses that staff entered into 22 Commission-approved settlement agreements for a total of $38.3 million in civil penalties and an additional $38.6 million, plus interest, in disgorgement of unjust profits in 2009. In the area of investigations, staff received 122 new self-reports of violations, opened 10 investigations and closed 36 investigations. There were 33 audits of public utilities and natural gas pipeline and storage companies completed during the year. Going forward in 2010, FERC enforcement efforts will be focused on fraud, market manipulation and serious reliability matters. The full text of the Report on Enforcement is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Proposed Rulemaking on Conduct of Utility Rate Cases

The Commission is considering three proposed rulemakings concerning the conduct of utility rate cases and the participation of Staff and other interested stakeholders in those cases. The proposed rules would set forth a procedure whereby the utilities would provide advance notice of the filing of a rate case. The proposed rules would also allow the Commission to assign dates for the filing of rate cases to permit spacing of rate cases. Finally, the proposed rules would establish procedural milestones for rate cases to ensure processing within the twelve month statutorily required period. The Commission will convene a hearing on February 2, 2010, to consider the proposed rules. Comments are due by February 12, 2010. The full texts of the Proposed Rulemakings are available on the NEM Website.

New Jersey
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2010 BGS Order

The Board issued an Order approving the electric utilities' proposal for BGS service commencing on June 1, 2010, through the use of descending clock auctions. As part of their proposal, the utilities suggested that the Board reduce, phase-out, or eliminate the 5 mil retail margin charged to certain CIEP customers. NEM filed comments in opposition to this suggestion on substantive and procedural grounds. Upon consideration, "the Board believes that the complexity of the issues involved in this matter do merit a greater amount of time and consideration than the current schedule would allow. Accordingly, the Board DIRECTS that no change be made in the Retail Margin for the period beginning June 1, 2010. However, the Board DIRECTS Staff to initiate a proceeding, upon conclusion of the 2010 BGS Auction, regarding the potential reduction, phase-out, or elimination of the Retail Margin so that a decision in this matter can be rendered prior to the filing of the EDCs' BGS procurement process for the period beginning June 1, 2011. It is the Board’s intent that this proceeding allows all stakeholders and interested parties to submit written comments and to present oral testimony at a legislative type hearing. Further the Board DIRECTS Staff to expand the proceeding to include consideration of any adjustments to the CIEP threshold as part of this proceeding because of its connection to the Retail Margin issue." The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Governor Accepts State Energy Plan

The twenty month long planning process of the State Energy Planning Board culminated this week in Governor Paterson's acceptance of the 2009 State Energy Plan. This represents the first such New York State energy plan since 2002. The Plan is designed to meet a number of objectives including: assure the reliability of state energy and transportation systems; support the reduction of GHG emissions and response to climate change dangers; address energy bill affordability and state economic competitiveness; reduce health and environmental risks associated with energy use and production; and improve state energy independence. These objectives are to be met through the use of five strategies: 1) produce, deliver and use energy more efficiently; 2) support development of in-state energy supplies; 3) invest in energy and transportation infrastructure; 4) stimulate innovation in a clean energy economy; and 5) engage others in achieving state policy objectives.

Of particular note, the plan discusses the state of the retail electric market. "[A]pproximately 14 percent of residential customers purchase electricity supply, or the commodity, from ESCOs, as do 24 percent of small commercial customers, and 36 percent of large industrial customers. Some 46 ESCOs are currently serving electricity customers around the State." Additionally, in furtherance of state demand response goals, the plan recommends study of the potential requirement that electricity be priced on a time of use basis for all customers, including hardships for residential customers, mitigation of such hardships and alternative rate regimes such as voluntary residential participation.

The full text of the 2009 State Energy Plan can be viewed at this hotlink.

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