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February 20, 2009
NEM's 12th Annual Global Energy Forum & Membership Meeting

NEM's 12th Annual Global Energy Forum & Membership Meeting will be held April 28 & 29, 2009. The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites Washington D.C. - Convention Center located at 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC. The early-bird registration rates for members and non-members end on February 28, 2009. Please register at this hotlink. A block of rooms has been reserved for NEM members at the rate of $279 per night. Contact (202) 739-2001 for reservations and reference group code A-MN.

A number of U.S. and foreign officials have already confirmed their participation in the event. Those confirmed thus far include: Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Gene Green, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; H.E. John Bruton, European Commission Ambassador; H.E. Andrejs Pildegovics, Latvian Ambassador; Aleksei Shishayev, Russian Embassy - Head of Economic Section; Marc Spitzer, FERC Commissioner; Garry Brown, NYPSC Chairman; James Cawley, PAPUC Chairman; Alan Schriber, Ohio PUC Chairman; Orjiakor Osiogu, MIPSC Chairman; Robert Curry, NYPSC Commissioner; Stan Wise, GAPSC Commissioner; Nicholas Asselta, NJBPU Commissioner; Erin O'Connell-Diaz, Illinois Commerce Commissioner; Steven Transeth, MIPSC Commissioner; James Kendall, EIA Natural Gas Division Director; Eric Matheson, PAPUC Energy Advisor; Calvin Timmerman, MDPSC Assistant Executive Director; and Chris Hendrix, General Manager, Competitive Energy - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The full text of the April Meeting Agenda is available on the NEM Website.

NARUC Winter Committee Meetings

NEM was a sponsor of the NARUC Winter Committee Meetings held this week in Washington, DC. On the heels of the federal economic stimulus package enacted this week with its emphasis on energy, the dialogue at NARUC focused a great deal on the states' implementation of the law as well as what may be expected from Congress later this year on energy policy. Of particular note, new Energy Secretary Chu discussed the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and DOE's role in relation thereto.

Issue highlights from NARUC include:
1- ensuring the affordability of climate change legislation for consumers;
2- EEI Global Climate Change Points of Agreement recommending that 40% of cap and trade allowances go to regulated utility companies to use, under the purview of state Commissions, to benefit customers;
3- educating consumers about the impacts of "green" energy policy;
4- FERC and CFTC's roles in preventing natural gas market manipulation and Congressional perspectives on "excessive" speculation in the natural gas market;
5- empowering consumers with market-based pricing signals to affect behavior as a prerequisite to effective demand response;
6- transmission siting - jurisdictional issues, ensuring reliability and resilience, creating a smarter and bigger grid;
7- Google's new "Power Meter" initiative to allow consumers to understand their energy usage at any moment; and
8- whether and when a federal renewable portfolio standard will be passed by Congress and the likelihood this will be achieved before climate change legislation.

The full text of NEM's NARUC Press Release is available on the NEM Website.

DOE Workshop on 2009 Congestion Study

DOE announced it will convene a technical workshop to gather information in preparation for its 2009 Congestion Study to be submitted to Congress. Issues to be addressed at the workshop will include: 1) region-specific interpretation of congestion data; 2) congestion metrics; 3) experiences and issues associated with region-wide planning. The workshop will take place March 25, 2009, beginning at 10AM. For additional information and registration go to:

Click here to view all past updates.
Competitive Electric and Natural Gas Supplier Rules

The Commission will convene rulemaking sessions to consider proposed natural gas and electric consumer protection and supplier-utility interaction rules. The rulemaking sessions will be held on March 10, 2009. The electric rulemaking is scheduled for 10AM, and the gas rulemaking is scheduled for 11AM. With respect to the retail natural gas market, the proposed rules pertain to pre-enrollment information, transfers of service, supplier-utlity coordination, utility consolidated billing, POR or prorated payments, and residential and non-residential consumer protections. With respect to the electric market, the proposed rules pertain to utility consolidated billing, utility responsibilities in the event of supplier default, and POR or prorated payments. The full text of the Proposed Rules can be viewed in the Maryland Register at:

New York
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Staff Moves to Dismiss NYSEG/RGE Rate Cases

NYSEG and RGE filed electric and gas delivery rate cases seeking an increase in rates on an expedited basis. Commission Staff has filed a motion to dismiss the rate proceedings. Staff argues that the utilities have failed to meet the standard for rate review the Commission established in its Order approving Iberdrola's acquisition of the companies which limited the companies from filing a rate application prior to September 2009 unless their financial performance would fall to levels jeopardizing their ability to provide safe and reliable service. Staff maintains that its, "investigation and its testimony analyzing the filings show the NYSEG and RG&E are currently earning a 10.3% return on shareholder equity; which is even higher than what the Commission determined was reasonable in its Order Authorizing Acquisition. Those earnings, Iberdrola's continued liquidity, and the Companies' continued access to the public debt market, belie their position that their financial performance has fallen to levels that threaten service." The full text of Staff's Motion is available on the NEM Website.

NYSEG's Rate Case Filing is available at:

RGE's Rate Case Filing is available at:

Commission Policy Statement on Backstop Project Approval Process

The Commission adopted a policy statement on the processes and procedures to be utilized to review and approve proposed regulated reliability backstop projects. Underlying this process is the understanding that electricity resource reliability needs are normally expected to be met by the market, as they have been for the past years, and that it may be many years before any regulated reliability backstop project could be needed. The Policy Statement endorsed a process whereby Commission Staff would monitor NYISO's Comprehensive Reliability Process, and if, in the course of that review, it was determined that there was a reasonable likelihood that a reliability backstop solution would be needed, a more formal review of transmission owner and alternate regulated backstop proposals would take place. The Commission also addressed concerns related to the impacts of utility long-term contracts on competitive markets. The Commission stated, "the expressed concerns of a number of parties with regard to the potential impact of regulated reliability backstop projects on the competitive markets seem over-stated. First, there have never been any such projects in New York, and, if the markets continue to provide a reliable grid, there will not be a need for such projects in the future. Second, according to the NYISO's most recent estimates, there will be no need for any reliability project until after 2018. For us to determine today the specifics of a cost recovery mechanism for unidentified projects and undefined reliability needs that may be required after 2018 seems premature at best. We have previously addressed the issues of long-term contracts and impacts on competitive markets, as well as our preference to pursue competitive solutions wherever reasonably possible." The full text of the Policy Statement is available on the NEM Website.

Commission to Consider Continuation of Standby Rate Exemptions for Beneficial Distributed Generation

In previous orders, the Commission determined that certain forms of beneficial distributed generation (DG), such as small combined heat and power (CHP), would be eligible to opt for an exemption from standby rates. Developers of eligible DG and CHP projects could select among standby rates, a phase-in to those rates, or standard tariff rates. The availability of these rate options is currently set to expire on May 31, 2009. The Commission is seeking comments on the need to continue the exemption from standby rates in order to promote the development of DG and CHP projects, how long the exemption or rate options should remain available, and how to balance developer and ratepayer interests as they pertain to an exemption. Requests to be added to the service list are due March 10, 2009; initial comments are due April 6, 2009; and reply comments are due April 20, 2009. The full text of the Order Instituting Proceeding is available on the NEM Website.

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