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December 19, 2014
NEM Winter Executive Committee Meeting

NEM will convene its Winter Executive Committee Policy and Planning Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, on January 26-28, 2015. A Welcome Reception will be held between 5PM and 7PM on Monday, January 26, 2015. A golf outing take place on Monday afternoon before the Reception, and a Membership Dinner will be held on Tuesday night after the Meeting. All day on Tuesday, January 27, 2015, and a half day on January 28, 2015, Members will be prioritizing NEM advocacy issues, states and utility service territories and planning its consumer education and public relations/outreach goals for 2015 and beyond. There is no fee for Executive Committee Members to attend. A Draft Agenda is hotlinked here. Please use this link to register.

Click here to view all past updates.
Order on Retail Gas Market Investigation

The Commission adopted a Final Order in the Retail Gas Market Investigation yesterday, establishing priorities and action plans for the proceeding as well as seeking comment on specific issues.

The Commission has identified the following issues for examination by working groups:
1) capacity/storage use and/or mandatory assignment of such assets;
2) allocating system access points and whether changes are needed to permit non-discriminatory access to locally-produced natural gas, including access to pre-existing access points and potential future access points;
3) system balancing, tolerances and penalties;
4) whether increased standardization of creditworthiness requirements is advisable;
5) seamless moves and instant connects;
6) accelerated switching;
7) potential provision of a Standard Offer program;
8) improved consumer education, focusing first on improvements to;
9) determination of POR program best practices that should be more widely adopted (although this was an issue identified with a lower priority);
10) current practices for determining migration rider amounts, the timing of adjustments to the riders and application of the riders by the utilities;
11) electronic data protocols; and
12) standardization of supplier tariffs among utilities.

The Commission identified the following issues for immediate exploration and comment:
1) enhanced disclosure of variable pricing; provision of historical pricing information for variable products; use of a contract summary; and contract expiration notices (comments due 30 days after publication of Order in PA Bulletin);
2) supplier-related elements and requirements that would be most appropriate for inclusion on a utility-consolidated bill (comments due February 28th);
3) issues associated with remote access to customer account numbers (comments due 30 days after publication in PA Bulletin).

The full text of the Final Order is available on the NEM Website.

Tentative Order on Annual Supplier Fees

As required by legislation passed this fall, the Commission issued a Tentative Order to explore how to establish a mechanism for the collection of annual fees from natural gas suppliers and electric generation suppliers.

"The Commission tentatively proposes to combine direct and indirect costs to establish the NGS and EGS total costs of regulatory oversight. The annual fee for each individual NGS or EGS within these groups will be based on (1) the direct costs incurred based on employee time sheet data and (2) an allocation of indirect costs based on the proportion of the EGS’ and NGS’ gross intrastate operating revenues to the total gross operating revenues of all regulated entities. Further, the Commission tentatively proposes that each individual NGS or EGS will not pay a single flat fee, but rather will be charged a flat percent or assessment rate based on the entity’s total gross intrastate operating revenues. The total of all EGS and NGS fees computed in this manner will be designed to equal the total reasonable cost of their regulatory oversight for the fiscal year.

The Commission could compute the EGS and NGS annual fees separately, and then deduct those amounts from the net amount to be assessed to public utilities under Section 510, as is done to account for the estimated fees to be collected under Section 317, the balance of the Commission’s appropriation not spent in the prior fiscal year, the pipeline fees to be collected under Act 127, and, as to be proposed herein, the federally-established fees to be collected under the UCR Act."

The Commission also seeks comment on the appropriate manner to assess brokers, such as a flat fee or minimum supplier fee.

Comments on the Tentative Order are due 30 days after publication in the PA Bulletin. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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