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February 15, 2008
Annual Spring Membership Meeting

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. Please register at this hotlink. 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. A final agenda will be released shortly.

Thus far, we have confirmed the following featured speakers for the event: U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Member, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, US House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA), FERC Commissioner, Philip D. Moeller, FERC Commissioner Marc Spitzer, FERC Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff, CFTC Commissioner Michael Dunn, Natural Resources Canada Minister Gary Lunn, David Wales, Deputy Director, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, Massachusetts DPU Chairman, Paul Hibbard, New York PSC Chairman, Garry Brown, Texas PUC Chairman, Barry Smitherman and Pennsylvania PUC Energy Advisor, Eric Matheson.

Report on Benefits of Competitive Electricity Markets

National Economic Research Associates released a white paper entitled, "Competitive Electricity Markets: The Benefits for Customers and the Environment." Addressing the push for electric re-regulation in some states, the report suggests that, "customers would be better served by regulatory efforts directed at refining and improving the competitive model, rather than returning to cost-of-service regulation." Underlying this recommendation are the following observations: 1) regulated monopoly generation historically imposed a large cost burden on customers, and the regulated monopoly paradigm provides iron clad cost recovery guarantees for new generation investment; 2) competitive markets provide price transparency that supports energy efficiency, demand response and corresponding reduction in investment needs and environmental benefits; 3) competitive markets support development of creative, customized customer solutions; 4) competitive markets have been leading in renewable generation development; and 5) recent price increases are largely attributable to fuel price increases and have been experienced in competitive and traditionally regulated states.

Do Not Call Improvement Act Presented to President

HR 3541, the "Do Not Call Improvement Act" was passed by the Senate and House and was presented to the President this week for his signature. HR 3541 prohibits the use of an expiration date for telephone numbers listed on the do not call registry, in effect, the numbers are perpetually enrolled. However, HR 3541 imposes an obligation on FTC to periodically check the numbers on the do not call registry and remove those numbers that are invalid, disconnected or reassigned. FTC must also report to Congress on its efforts to improve the accuracy of its do not call registry. The full text of HR 3541 is available on the NEM Website.

New Jersey
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Marketers Support Board Proposal on Customer Account Look Up Procedure

NEM and members submitted additional comments in support of the Boardís proposal to implement a customer account number look-up procedure in which utilities would provide Third Party Suppliers (TPSs) and Clean Power Marketers (CPMs) with a customerís account number upon obtaining the customerís consent. It was recommended that the account look up procedure not be limited in its application to circumstances such as fairs and malls, and should also be permitted in the context of a telephone exchange, internet inquiry or door to door sales call. A standardized, streamlined electronic exchange of information should be a low cost, high yield measure to facilitate customer choice, and a supplier fee should not be imposed for its use.

Certain utilities suggested that if a customer account look up procedure is implemented, that it be limited to the clean power choice program. These utilities would preclude extension of the benefits of the customer account look up procedure to TPSs and the retail choice customers they serve. Marketers noted that this distinction would arbitrarily and unjustifiably limit the availability of energy pricing, service and product innovations to New Jersey customers. Marketers also noted that the customer account look up procedure has been an invaluable tool in Texas and Georgia, jurisdictions with notable success in mass market migration and retail choice, to reducing customer acquisition costs and improving opportunities to conduct effective marketing campaigns. The full texts of the Marketers Comments and Other Stakeholders Comments are available on the NEM Website.

New York
Click here to view all past updates.
NFG Proposes Door-to-Door Sales Standards

NFG filed a proposed tariff amendment and corresponding proposed change to its Gas Transportation Operations Procedure (GTOP) Manual to establish standards for marketers door-to-door sales of natural gas in its service territory. The standards would reside in the GTOP to permit modification on shorter notice. However, through reference in NFG's tariff to the Standards, NFG "would be able to enforce the Standards through UBP provisions that authorize utilities to commence discontinuance procedures against ESCOs who violate the terms of the utility's tariff." NFG cites a lack of consumer protection measures applicable to door-to-door sales, coupled with complaints about sales tactics as necessitating the standards.

NFG proposes eight door-to-door sales standards. Of particular note, it is proposed that the current three-day contract rescission period (provided under the NY Sales Act) be extended to coincide with the customer's right to cancel a switch request. It is also proposed that ESCO representatives must explicitly state to customers that they are not agents of NFG. The full text of NFG's Proposal is available on the NEM Website.

Central Hudson Meeting on Alternative Uses of Competitive Education Campaign Fund

Central Hudson recently filed a letter with the Commission suggesting that alternative potential uses of its Competition Education Campaign Fund be explored. The fund was approved in Central Hudson's previous rate case to be applied to activites such as advertising, hosting energy fairs, surveys, collaborative meetings and supporting program enhancements. Central Hudson noted its belief that, "it could identify little potential benefit from the continuation of most of the market promotion activities called for in the current rate plan, and Central Hudson continues to believe that these funds could be used in ways that more directly benefit ratepayers."

Central Hudson will host a meeting to discuss potential alternative uses of its Competition Education Campaign fund on March 11, 2008, in Kingston, New York. A draft agenda is forthcoming. Those interested in attending should notify Jim Van Tassell at(845) 486-5857 or jvantassell@cenhud.com. The full text of Central Hudson's Letter is available on the NEM Website.

ALJs Issue Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard Straw Proposal

The ALJs in the energy efficiency portfolio standard proceeding issued a straw proposal on the achievement of the State's 15 X 15 goal (15% reduction of electric energy from that projected to be in usage in the State by 2015, with comparable reductions for gas end user consumption). The ALJs propose a cooperative hybrid model, utilizing both NYSERDA and the utilities as program administrators. The straw sets forth target benchmarks for the utilities and NYSERDA to attain, with a recommended re-examination every two years. Utilities should be responsible for achieving the energy efficiency target in its service territory. A competitive procurement process should be used to select contractors for implementing utility-administered programs. Utilities should provide initial point-of-contact services for residential and small business customers. The utilities should also develop on-bill financing mechanisms. Another feature of utility programs is to be a provision for ESCO-, non-profit-, community organization and vendor-administered measures. The full text of the Straw Proposal is available on the NEM Website.



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