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February 13, 2015
NEM 18th Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference

NEM will convene its 18th Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference on April 29th-May 1st, 2015. This year the conference will focus on “Redesigning Wholesale and Retail Energy Markets - Enhanced Consumer Services and Advanced Technologies Lead the Way." The conference will begin with a Welcome Reception on the evening of April 29th at the Georgetown Club. The next two days of substantive discussion will take place at the Embassy Suites, Washington, DC Convention Center. You may register for the conference at this hotlink. An agenda is forthcoming.

NOPR on Form 566

FERC is proposing revisions to Form 566 - the Annual Report of a Utility’s 20 Largest Customers. Retail electric suppliers that have market based rate authorization with FERC are considered "public utilities" for the purpose of this form. FERC itself is proposing in the NOPR to reduce the reporting burden – “to allow public utilities to identify individual residential customers as “Residential Customer,” and provide only a zip code in lieu of an address,” rather than identify individual residential customers by name and address. FERC also proposes to exempt RTOs, ISOs and EWGs from filing the Form. The full text of the NOPR is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Order on Electric Marketing Standards

The Department adopted electric supplier marketing standards and a supplier disclosure statement as was required by recent legislation. Particularly noteworthy requirements include:
1- requiring that a customer consent to assignment of a contract be obtained at the time of original contracting in a bolded provision that the customer signs or initials;
2- inclusion of a means to identify the individual representative completing a transaction on the transacting document;
3- supplier provision of a Notice of Assignment to the Department no later than sixty days before the expected date of assignment, including information about the customers to be assigned and a statement that all contractual terms, including pricing, will be maintained throughout the contract term;
4- supplier provision of a customer Notice of Assignment letter at least forty five days prior to the effective date of assignment;
5- supplier representatives must receive training about the products they will be selling, applicable laws and regulations and ethical business practices. Representatives should be deemed appropriate for the type of contact they will be having with the public, to include the use of background checks for those engaged in door-to-door sales;
6- Door-to-door sales representatives must use a written script, a copy of which should be provided to the consumer for its signature;
7- Suppliers utilizing telemarketing must clearly identify their company or trade name abbreviation in the caller ID information area;
8- A supplier must respond to customer calls within two business days and provide requested documents within three business days; and
9- "If at any time during a third party verification the customer cannot answer a question, the verification process must end and the call must be returned to the original caller. At any time a customer does not understand a question, the verification process must end and the call must be returned to the original caller. Verification calls must include an opportunity for non-English speaking customers to have a verifier in their own language. The offer and request for a non-English speaking verifier must be part of the recorded verification. When verification of an enrollment is conducted by a non-English speaking verifier, an original and translated version of the verification must be provided to the Authority upon request."

The disclosure statement to be used in residential customer communications that offer a variable product or a fixed product that becomes a variable product is as follows:

"Licensed Electric Suppliers are required to post the highest and lowest generation service charge rate that was billed to their customers under a variable rate offer in each of the preceding 12 months. You can find this information on [ABC Electric’s] website at or on the supplier Rate Board that is maintained by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority at"

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

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Proposed Revisions to Licensing and Bonding Requirements

The Commission is proposing to add a new section to the regulations pertaining to electric supplier licensing and bonding requirements. The existing requirements are set forth in Commission Orders. The existing requirements are being extended and modified in the proposal.
New proposed requirements include:
1- establishment of a modified timeline for Commission review of a supplier license application;
2- the license application package must include sample copies of customer contracts and a sample bill;
3- delineation of a process for a supplier to transfer its license;
4- suppliers to provide the Commission with ten days prior notice before it starts soliciting customers. The supplier shall also include copies of flyers, consumer pamphlets, scripts, and other proposed marketing material;
5- suppliers to provide photo identifications for each person that conducts in-person solicitations on its behalf;
6- provision of a dedicated electronic account on the supplier's website for the Commission to test and monitor;
7- a supplier must provide the Commission with notice no later than thirty days after the date when it will begin service to customers;
8- all supplier sales and marketing personnel must be trained on the Commission's regulations and suppliers must attest to the training;
9- delineation of a process for the supplier to follow in the event of default, including written notice to customers, the utility and the Commission;
10- each supplier must have a regulatory compliance representative complete a Commission-sponsored education workshop;
11- applicants and licensees must file a Privacy Protection Policy with the Commission;
12- supplier licensees must provide new marketing materials to be used to solicit customers at least ten days prior to their use;
13- include a requirement for posting readily understandable information about services and rates to small commercial customers (in addition to residential customers);
14- if a supplier is found to have engaged in customer slamming, it shall refund to the customer all monies paid to the supplier; and
15- if a supplier is found to have engaged in customer cramming, it shall refund to the customer three times the amount of the unauthorized charges.

The Commission largely retained the same bonding requirements, including a $50,000 integrity bond for suppliers that cannot meet other standards of financial integrity ($10,000 for aggregators and brokers), and a $50,000 customer deposit bond required from suppliers that charge customer deposits or collect prepayments.

Comments on the proposals are due March 9th. The full text of the Proposed Rulemaking is available from NEM headquarters.

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