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December 2, 2011
Upcoming NEM Meetings

January 2012 Executive Committee Meeting - NEM’s Annual Winter Executive Committee Meeting will be held at the headquarters of SCRA in Charleston, South Carolina on January 24-25, 2012. The Winter Executive Committee Meeting is where Executive Committee members set NEM's course for the coming year. Many thanks to Bill Mahoney and SCRA for hosting the Winter Executive Committee meeting.

You may register for the meeting at this hotlink. NEM has a room block at the Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport, 5265 International Blvd in North Charleston, SC. You may register for the hotel at this hotlink or call the reservation number 843-308-9330 or 1-800-HILTONS and reference group code NLL.

Verde Energy USA Elected to NEM Executive Committee

NEM is pleased to announce that Verde Energy USA has been elected to NEM's Executive Committee. Thomas FitzGerald, Founder, and CEO will represent Verde Energy USA within NEM.

Verde Energy USA is a Retail Energy Supplier focused on the residential and small to mid-size commercial power markets. Headquartered in Norwalk Connecticut, Verde Energy USA has experienced substantial growth from its initial market launch in November 2009 to over 185,000 customers served in the Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania power markets.

Verde Energy USA is strategically positioned for continued growth throughout 2012 and beyond with planned expansion into the several new power markets coupled with the launch of a complementary natural gas service.

Verde Energy USA was founded to help residents and businesses take advantage of the savings associate with state energy deregulation and the choice it provides. Verde Energy USA is also committed to helping America move toward a more environmentally sound and economically sustainable renewable energy infrastructure.

Public Power Elected to NEM Executive Committee

NEM is pleased to announce that Public Power has been elected to the NEM’s Executive Committee. Bob Gries, Managing Director will represent Public Power within NEM. Public Power, headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut, is a licensed electricity supplier providing electricity in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

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Second Notice Order on Electric Consumer Protection Rules

The Commission issued a second notice order on electric consumer protection rules. The Commission agreed with NEM's proposal to extend the door-to-door marketing hours from 9 am to 7 pm during the months beginning October 1 and ending March 31, and between 9 am and 8 pm during the months beginning April 1 and ending September 30. The Commission revised the provision on utility name and logo use to read as follows:

"A RES shall not be permitted to market power and energy service to residential customers using a similar name (where any part of the RES name contains any part of the utility name) or logo to that of an existing electric utility or natural gas utility in Illinois. This section does not apply to an electric utility serving or seeking to serve retail customers, including residential customers, pursuant to Section 16-116 of the Public Utilities Act."

The Commission declined to change provisions providing consumers a ten day right of rescission, a $50 cap on early termination fees and an early termination fee waiver mechanism. The Commission also retained the provision providing for utility maintenance of a Do Not Market List of consumers. The full text of the Second Notice Order is available on the NEM Website.

NEM Comments on Consumer Education Inquiry

NEM filed comments on the Commission's Notice of Inquiry on consumer education issues. The Commission is required under Public Act 97-0222 to review the its existing consumer education materials for residential and small commercial customers. NEM commended the Commission's PlugInIllinois website as a resource for electric consumer shopping. In response to Staff proposals on the presentation of consumer statistics, NEM offered an approach to presenting information on consumer contacts and inquiries. NEM suggested that a collaborative would be useful for the purpose of ascertaining how to best express the statistics in a manner that is meaningful to consumers and that likewise accurately gauges supplier performance. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Order on Customers Remote Access to Account Numbers

The Commission denied a request for rehearing of its previous Order on the provision of customer remote access to utility account numbers. The petition had sought reversal of the Commission determination that ESCOs bear the costs associated with providing increased customer access to account numbers from remote locations. The Commission declined to reverse its previous decision finding that, "providing customers with the remote access to their account numbers at issue in the July 2010 Order is not essential to maintaining a competitive market structure, nor is it required to allow the ESCOs to operate on an equal footing with the utility service providers. . . . Additionally, we note that it has been ESCOs who have advocated for programs to expand remote access to customer account numbers. This is because some ESCOs seek to market to and enroll customers at public places and events. It may be true that the effectiveness of these ESCOs marketing efforts would be hampered without the sought after additional access to customer account numbers. However, as we stated in the July 2010 Order, the benefit clearly inures to the ESCOs choosing to market in these public places. Accordingly, as we determined in the July 2010 Order, the costs of providing this additional remote access to customer account numbers should be borne by the ESCOs."

The compliance plans filed by NYSEG, RGE and NFG were approved subject to agreement on a cost recovery mechanism with ESCOs. These utilities are to file status reports with the Commission within sixty days. Central Hudson and ConEd already have programs in place. O&R's plan was likewise approved as reasonable. Because ESCO agreement on cost recovery of the National Grid and Keyspan plans could not be reached, no further utility action on the plans was required. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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Order on Eligible Customer Lists

Upon reconsideration, the Commission decided to revise its interim guidelines on eligible customer lists (ECLs) to allow customers the option to withhold the disclosure of all customer account and usage information from the ECL. The electric utilities should use an opt-out process for customers to withhold the release of customer account and usage information from the ECL. The Commission determined to exclude the customer telephone from the list of ECL data points reasoning that, "weighing the policy concerns of promoting competition and the EGSs’ need for obtaining those numbers directly from the EDCs against the privacy concerns and expectations of customers, we believe that the benefits to suppliers are now outweighed by the detriments of releasing what many customer may consider personal information."

The electric utilities must make a single companywide ECL solicitation during the first quarter of 2012, that gives customers a variety of means (prepaid postacrds, forms, email, toll free number, utility website) to notify the utility of his or her desire to withhold account and usage information from the ECL. Thereafter, the utilities shall make customers aware of their information withholding options in welcome packages, and through periodic announcements in customer bill inserts, e-mail, or a separate announcement included in the customer’s paper bill or electronic notification, if available.

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

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