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March 10, 2017
NEM 20th Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference

NEM will convene its 20th Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference on April 26th-28th, 2017. The conference will begin with a Welcome Reception on the evening of April 26th at the University Club in Washington, DC. The next two days of substantive discussion will take place at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.

You may register for the conference at this hotlink. A Draft Agenda is forthcoming.

Technical Conference on Wholesale Energy and Capacity Markets Operated by Eastern RTOs/ISOs

FERC Staff will convene a technical conference to discuss issues relating to wholesale energy and capacity markets in Eastern RTOs/ISOs. The conference will take place on May 1-2, 2017, at FERC's DC headquarters. The conference is intended to, "foster further discussion regarding the development of regional solutions in the Eastern RTOs/ISOs that reconcile the competitive market framework with the increasing interest by states to support particular resources or resource attributes. In particular, Commission staff seeks to discuss long-term expectations regarding the relative roles of wholesale markets and state policies in the Eastern RTOs/ISOs in shaping the quantity and composition of resources needed to cost-effectively meet future reliability and operational needs. At one end of the spectrum, state policies would be satisfied through the wholesale energy and capacity markets. At the other end of the spectrum, state policies would be achieved outside of the wholesale markets, and the wholesale markets would be designed to avoid conflict with those state policies. There are numerous alternatives between these two ends of the spectrum. As part of this discussion, Commission staff seeks to understand the pros and cons of the various alternatives in the Eastern RTOs/ISOs." An agenda is forthcoming. The full text of the Notice of Technical Conference is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Proposed Changes to the UBP

The NYPSC has proposed changes to the UBP. The proposed UBP changes include:
1) Requiring ESCOs to use either an Independent Third Party or Integrated Voice Response to obtain customer authorization for all mass market enrollments (DTD, telephonic, direct mail, electronic or appointment). The independent TPV or IVR should be conducted no less than 30 minutes after the marketer has left the premises, in the case of door to door marketing and appointments. “The verification call should be terminated if the customer asks any questions with respect to the agreement during the process”;
2) ESCOs would be required to ask each customer during the voice-recording verification, whether the marketer left the premises more than 30 minutes prior, whether the customer participates in the utility low income program, and whether the marketer advised the customer to compare the utility rate on its utility bill, in addition to the existing verification questions;
3) Incorporation of a new law preventing energy providers from charging a contract termination or early cancellation fee in the event of a customer’s death;
4) Elimination of the requirement to include an ESCO representative’s full name on its badge for safety reasons. Instead, the badge would include the representative’s first name and unique employee ID number;
5) A new definition of “ESCO agent” - “A customer may authorize an ESCO to act as the customer’s agent (ESCO agent) in establishing a new delivery account for distribution utility service. The ESCO agent shall retain, and produce upon request, documentation that the customer authorized the ESCO to act as the customer’s agent for this purpose only.”
6) Addition of the grounds of, “failure to comply to [sic] Department requests for any and all information,” as a basis for finding the ESCO to be non-compliant and subject to Commission sanctions;
7) Requiring ESCO compliance with the Clean Energy Standard, including the Renewable Energy Standard and Zero Emissions Credits (requiring ESCOs to purchase the percentage of ZECs in a year that represents the portion of the electric energy load served by the ESCO in relation to the total electric energy load served by all such LSEs);
8) The exclusion of Community Choice Aggregation from the two-step process delineated for changes in service providers in UBP Section 5;
9) Regarding the existing UBP slamming prohibition, the following underlined change - “A change of a customer to another energy provider, without the customer’s authorization, commonly known as slamming, is not permitted, except when the customer is enrolled in a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, in which case this does not apply. The distribution utility shall report slamming allegations to the Department on at least a monthly basis;”
10) Requiring ESCOs to retain documentation of a customer’s authorization to switch, “from the effective date of the agreement and/or authorization for as long as the customer remains with the ESCO, and for two years thereafter;”
11) Requiring that, “Every ESCO shall offer residential customers a voluntary budget billing or levelized payment plan for the payment of charges. The ESCO is responsible for determining the budget bill amount and must evaluate each budget billed account on a quarterly basis for conformity with actual billings. Each such plan shall provide that bills clearly identify consumption and state the amounts that would be due without levelized or budget billing;”
12) ESCOs would be required to advise customers to check and compare the utility’s price on its bill to the ESCO price during in-person sales and electronic enrollments; and
13) ESCO standard Sales Agreements would be required to be in a font size of 10 or larger.

Comments on the proposed changes are due May 8, 2017. The full text of the Notice Seeking Comments on Revisions to the UBP is available on the NEM Website.

Order on Value of Distributed Energy Resources

The Commission issued an Order adopting a methodology for the value of distributed energy resources (DER). The utilities must file tariffs implementing the transition from net energy metering (NEM) to a Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) Phase One Tariff to become effective on April 1, 2017. The utilities' VDER Phase One tariffs will consist of two components, "the Phase One NEM tariff implementing a new DER program similar to NEM with some exceptions, and the Value Stack tariff implementing a new, more comprehensive DER program based on monetary crediting for net hourly injections." The Order maintains NEM for existing solar energy systems, as well as certain new solar and distributed power systems that will be installed between the Order date and January 1, 2020, to serve residential and small commercial customers.

Additionally, given the passage of time since Staff's DER Oversight Proposal was issued for comment in 2015, the Commission directed Staff to prepare an updated whitepaper to be issued for public comment within thirty days.

The full text of the Order on Value of Distributed Energy Resources is available on the NEM Website.

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Commission Launches PowerForward Initiative

The Commission has launched a new PowerForward initiative to review technological and regulatory innovation that can enhance the consumer electricity experience. The initiative is intended to result in innovative regulations and policies and grid modernization projects. The initiative will commence with a conference entitled, "A Glimpse of the Future” on April 18-20, 2017. Speakers will address innovation for the customer, innovation for the grid, and stakeholder perspectives. Additional information on PowerForward is available on the Commission website.

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