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February 4, 2011
NEM Annual and Winter Executive Committee Meeting

Many thanks to Doug Marcille and U.S. Gas and Electric for hosting the NEM Winter Executive Committee meeting last week in Miami, Florida. The venue and events were outstanding. Thanks also to all of the members that participated for a well-attended event with robust discussion.

NEM's 14th Annual Conference will be held April 25-27, 2011, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Washington DC Convention Center. We have already begun the process of inviting officials to participate. An outstanding group of Public Officials have already confirmed for this event. Member and Sponsor input on additional potential invitees are strongly encouraged. You may register at this hotlink.

North American Power LLC (NAP) Elected to NEM Executive Committee

The National Energy Marketers Association (NEM) is pleased to announce that North American Power LLC (NAP) has been elected to NEM's Executive Committee. North American Power (NAP) will be represented by Kerry Breitbart, Founder and CEO; Carey Turnbull, Chairman; Bill Kinneary, President and Chris Sattler, Chief Operating Officer.

North American Power (NAP) is an energy supplier that is licensed by the Dept. of Public Utilities and offers a direct sales income opportunity. North American Power is located in Norwalk, CT and announced its pre-launch back in March 2010, with plans to cover states such as Maryland and Pennsylvania. This particular company is special because their management consists of leaders who have real experience in the energy industry. The founders, Kerry Breitbart and Carey Turnbull, have a combined 50 plus years in the energy industry and they are well financed. Mr. Breitbart was the CEO of The United Companies, a company that brokered energy products with a combined value of 750 billion annually. Mr. Carey Turnbull was one of the founding partners of the Amerex Energy company, one of the most well known wholesale brokers of natural gas and electricity worldwide.

Staff Report on Capacity Release Program

Staff was required in Order 712 to report to the Commission on the capacity release program after two years of experience under the new rules. Staff has filed this Report with the Commission and concluded:

"*There has been no discernible positive or adverse impact on the capacity release market from Order No. 712. Any discernible market impact from Order No. 712 is likely overwhelmed by changes in the gas market itself because of the recession, growth in gas supply from new regions, significant expansion and reconfiguration of the pipeline grid, and resulting utilization of pipelines.
*Since the lifting of the price cap the number of releases has grown by 29 percent and the amount of capacity released has grown by 43 percent. Much of this is because of changing utilization of pipelines due to changing supply sources and new major pipeline additions.
*Removal of the price cap has not had a significant impact on pricing. In fact above-cap premium releases make up less than 3 percent of the overall market.
*There has been little change in the duration of releases. Monthly releases make up 69 percent while long term releases account for 5 percent.
*LDCs and Integrated Utilities continue to hold the largest market share (51 percent and 16 percent, respectively) in terms of releasing shippers: Natural gas marketer share in this category has grown only slightly over the last two years (12 percent).
*Moving forward, staff will analyze capacity release data with regard to AMAs under the new NAESB standard 1.9 that took effect in November 2010."

The full text of the Staff Report on Capacity Release is available on the NEM Website.

2010 Advanced Metering and Demand Response Survey

FERC Staff released the results of its 2010 advanced metering and demand response survey finding that, "Advanced metering penetration and potential peak load reductions from electric power demand response have increased significantly since 2008." Specifically, the survey indicates that advanced metering penetration was approximately 8.7 percent in the U.S., compared with 4.7 percent in 2008. Of the survey respondents, over five hundred entities reported offering demand response programs in the U.S., for potential demand response resource contributions of 58,000 MW or 7.6 percent of U.S. peak demand. This is an increase of 17,000 MW from 2008. The full text of the 2010 Advanced Metering and Demand Response Survey is available on the NEM Website.

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AGL Resources and Nicor Gas Merger

AGL Resources and Nicor Gas filed an application with the Commission for approval of their proposed merger. By the terms of the filing the merger will be structured as follows: "AGL Resources agreed to acquire all the outstanding shares of Nicor Inc. in exchange for a combination of cash and AGL Resources stock. That transaction will occur through a merger between Nicor Inc. and a subsidiary of AGL Resources, whereby ultimately Nicor Gas will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AGL Resources. Upon completion of the Merger, we will begin the process of integrating the two companies along their segment lines (utility operations, non-regulated businesses and corporate)." Both companies noted their support for retail customer choice in the merger application. Specifically, "Nicor Gas and AGL Resources both support customer choice and believe that competition brings new and innovative products to the marketplace. This is evident by the variety of commodity products offered since the program's inception. Not only do gas suppliers offer fixed price per therm products, they also offer variable priced products, combination packages of fixed and variable prices, a fixed bill amount, as well as "green energy" options."

The companies are not seeking an increase in Nicor's rates as a condition of the merger. They requested expedited approval of the merger from the Commission by October 1, 2011. The full text of the Proposed Merger Application is available from NEM headquarters.

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Commission Reports on Electric and Gas Competition

The Commission submitted its annual Status of Electric Competition report to the legislature. The report finds that the ten percent cap on electric choice was fully subscribed in 2010. There were approximately 7,470 commercial and industrial customers in the Consumers and DTE service territories participating in electric choice, which accounted for 2,043 MW of total energy usage. There are 23 licensed electric suppliers, with six actively serving C&I customers in the Consumers service territory and ten actively serving C&I customers in the DTE service territory. The full text of the Report on the Status of Electric Competition is available on the NEM Website.

The Commission reports that customer participation in gas choice in the state reached an all-time high since the program's inception in 2001-02. Gas customer choice is available at Consumers Energy, MichCon, MGU, and SEMCO. "In December 2010, the number of gas choice customers reached 445,071. The number of gas choice customers has risen steadily each month since October 2009, when 377,955 customers were enrolled in gas choice programs. December 2010 gas volumes also set a record, with 78.275 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in annualized sales reported statewide. Gas volumes have risen almost every month since November 2009."

New York
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Commission Approves NFG Proposed on Cash Out of Imbalances

The Commission approved a proposal by NFG to revise its method of settling imbalances by changing from its current rollover method and using a cash-out methodology instead. Subject to initial comments received, NFG modified its proposal to clarify when and how the tiered penalty mechanism would be applied and to use tolerance bands within which imbalances would be cashed out at market price. NFG also retained the right to utilize the rollover method under certain circumstances. The Commission noted that, "NFG proposes to further clarify the issue of how the tiers would be applied and the type of circumstances that would lead the Company to rollover imbalances by including additional language in an update of its Gas Transportation Operating Procedures (GTOP) manual. Staff and marketers will have thirty days to review that language before it becomes effective, during which time any clarifications or modifications can be made. The Company will send modified GTOP language to its system marketers and other impacted customers." NFG's revised tariff is authorized to become effective February 1, 2011. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Smart Grid Data Privacy and Access

Following two workshops it recently held, the Commission opened a proceeding to consider smart grid data privacy and access issues. The Commission noted that a discussion of these issues as they apply to the electric and natural gas industries would be helpful at this time. "As technologies advance and smart grid initiatives are deployed, the Commission anticipates that changes in Commission rules or policies may be necessary to address privacy and/or data access concerns related to distribution utility advanced metering and smart grid programs. It is possible that the development of any changes in Commission rules or policies may require consideration of technical issues not previously addressed by the Commission. Therefore, the Commission is requesting that interested stakeholders and members of the public file written comments by March 4, 2011, addressing the following:
(a) Whether the Commission should consider, develop, and adopt additional rules or policies or otherwise consider smart grid related privacy or data access issues at this time, as set forth in Appendix A.
(b) If the Commission considers smart grid related privacy and data access issues at this time, what process and procedures should be used to address these issues, as set forth in Appendix B."

The Commission requested comment on the following specific questions related to consumer privacy protection or customer data access related to distribution utility advanced metering and smart grid programs:
"1. Should the Commission consider and begin the development of additional specific privacy protection and/or data access policies or rules at this time?
2. If so, what privacy protection or data access issues should the Commission consider?
3. For advanced metering and smart grid programs, what privacy interests, concerns, and practices are most important for the Commission to address at this time?
4. What objectives, questions, and practices related to customer access to information from advanced metering and smart grid projects are most important for the Commission to address at this time?
5. Should any such policies or rules apply to both the electric and gas industries?
6. Should these issues be considered in a statewide proceeding?"

The Commission requested comment on the following specific questions related to smart grid privacy protection and data access:
"1. What forum and format should the Commission consider for broadening the understanding of and addressing these issues?
2. Would it be beneficial for the Commission to host or sponsor additional workshops on smart grid related consumer privacy or data access issues? If so:
a. What would be the objective and anticipated outcome for having additional workshops at this time?
b. What topics should be covered or covered in greater detail in any additional workshops?
3. Would it be beneficial for the Commission to convene one or more technical working groups to evaluate different approaches to protecting consumer privacy or providing appropriate data access, identify areas of consensus, and make recommendations to the Commission? If so:
a. For what consumer privacy or data access related question or questions should the formation of a technical working group be considered?
b. What should be considered in the charter for any technical working group?
c. How should the membership of any technical working group be constituted?"

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

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