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February 8, 2019
NEM Events

NEM's 22nd Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference will be held April 10-12, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. You may register here.

A Draft Agenda is forthcoming. Sponsorships are available. Please contact headquarters if you are interested in sponsorship.

Click here to view all past updates.
Consumer Counsel Legislative Proposal to End Residential Retail Electric Market

In a press conference this week, the Consumer Counsel, AARP and Senator Blumenthal called for the passage of legislation to end the residential retail electric market. The Consumer Counsel's proposed legislative language provides that,

"On or after October 1, 2019, no electric supplier shall execute a new contract to serve a residential customer with electric generation services; provided, however, that any electric supplier that received certification from the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority as a Connecticut electric efficiency partner under section 16-243v on or prior to December 31, 2018, may continue to executive contracts with residential customers to provide electric generation services involving enhanced demand-side management technologies during the period where such supplier qualifies as a Connecticut electric efficiency partner and following that period. Any violation of this section shall be subject to enforcement under section 16-245o(k)."

The legislative proposal would also expand the alternative standard service options to be provided by the electric utilities to include an "option that includes rates that fluctuate during three or more daily time periods with the goal of reducing the customer's usage during times of high electricity demand."

The full text of the Legislative Proposal is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Commission Approves Changes to Competitive Electric and Natural Gas Supply Regulations

The Commission this week voted unanimously to approve changes to the competitive electric and natural gas rules that were published in the December 7, 2018, issue of the Maryland Register. The Commission approved language to require a supplier to honor the more favorable of either a supplier's open offer displayed on the Commission's website or the same supplier's corresponding open offer displayed on its own website in the event of a discrepancy between the two. It also approved revised criminal history check requirements for door to door sales. The approved language reads as follows:

"B. A supplier may not permit its agent to conduct door-to-door activities unless:

(1) The door-to-door agent’s identity has been verified by government-issued identification;

(2) The supplier has ensured that the agent meets any local licensing, registration, or permitting requirements of the jurisdiction where the agent will be conducting door-to-door activities; and

(3) The agent’s criminal history record meets the supplier’s standards and qualifications.

C. The criminal history record shall be updated no less than every 36 months, and shall be obtained from either:

(1) The Maryland Criminal Justice Information System and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, through the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and from all other states in which the person resided within at least the last 12 months; or

(2) A criminal history records check conducted by the supplier or a third party that includes, at a minimum, the following:

(a) An all-county search through the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts, and from all other states in which the person resided within at least the last 12 months;

(b) A nationwide federal criminal court search, such as the Federal Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) System;

(c) A national multi-state, multi-jurisdictional criminal database search with validation conducted by a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners; and

(d) The U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry.

D. When a supplier contracts to perform door-to-door activities, the supplier shall document that the criminal background investigation has been performed on any door-to-door agents in accordance with this section and with the standards set by the supplier. A supplier may satisfy this requirement by obtaining a written statement verifying that the criminal background check was performed in accordance with this section and with standards set by the supplier and presented in writing."

Finally, the Commission approved changes to the non-residential customer protection provisions to clarify that a customer's contract may not supplant regulations regarding cancellation of service agreements and when a contract rescission may be allowed.

The full text of the regulatory changes published in the Maryland Register are available here.

New York
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Green Button Connect Work Group Meeting

Staff will convene the first Green Button Connect (GBC) working group meeting on February 21, 2019, at 10:30AM at the Commission's Albany headquarters. The working group was charged by the Commission with developing GBC terms and conditions for third party access to data that are consistent across utilities and that "make it no more difficult for a DER provider, for whom a customer has provided consent to access data than it is for the individual customer to access data." The working group will also examine the feasibility of differentiating a "customer agent" (an entity the customer has given permission to access their data) from other third parties for streamlined data access.

This first working group meeting will focus on: "1) an overview of the GBC platform; 2) identification of the substantive elements necessary for the GBC terms and conditions; and 3) designation of a customer agent. Elements of the GBC terms and conditions are expected to include: registration requirements; IT testing requirements; conditions of participation; confidentiality requirements (including any non-disclosure requirements); protection of customer information (including data security measures); notifications of security incidents; and indemnification."

The full text of the Notice of Green Button Connect Working Group Meeting is available on the NEM Website.

Utilities Petition on Data Security Agreements

The New York Joint Utilities (JU) filed another Petition with the Commission regarding the Data Security Agreement.

The Petition pertains to “Energy Service Entities,” which they define to include “ESCOs, Distributed Energy Resource Providers and Direct Customers, and their applicable contractors.” Regarding the JU’s related November 9th Petition for Declaratory Ruling they state “This Petition seeks similar treatment [sic] of for ESEs, Direct Customers and other current and future entities as it relates to customer information. The Joint Utilities expect that the ESCO Declaratory Ruling Petition will be subsumed into this request.”

The JU request that the Commission:
“* Confirm that the business-to-business process among parties, the Joint Utilities, New York State Department of Public Service (“Staff”), Energy Service Companies (“ESCOs”), Distributed Energy Resource Suppliers (“DERS”), Direct Customers, and other entities, that was used to negotiate and develop a Data Security Agreement (“DSA”) and its accompanying Self-Attestation (“SA”)2 to receive customer data through the interconnection to utility system was appropriate for development of the DSA;
• Authorize the amendment of the DSA going forward through the business to business process which should include at a minimum, standard requirements that: (1) specify compliance with the Uniform Business Practices (“UBP”), UBP DERS, or other applicable Commission rules; (2) address the transfer of information; (3) maintain the confidentiality of Joint Utilities and the ESCOs, DERS, Direct Customers, and their applicable contractors (collectively, “Energy Service Entities” or “ESEs”) information, including the protection of customer data; (4) requiring the return and destruction of information; (5) address each Party’s responsibility and liability for data security incidents; (6) require cyber security insurance; (7) define minimum cyber security requirements; (8) address how to determine whether ESEs have and maintain minimum levels of cyber security; and (9) require ESE indemnification of the Joint Utilities; and
• Affirm the Joint Utilities’ authority to require ESEs to satisfactorily complete a DSA, which will evolve in the future, and prohibit ESEs from electronic access to utility information technology (“IT”) systems as well as customer data without a DSA.”

As to this last point, the JU additionally request the Commission “affirm the Joint Utilities’ existing authority to require ESEs to submit and execute a DSA and, if they fail to do so, disconnect them from the utility’s IT systems and remove their access to customer information in order to protect customers and utilities from a potential cyber security event.”

The full text of the JU DSA Petition is available on the NEM Website.

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