Document Search
Site Search
Advanced Search
Updates & Alerts
News & Media
Upcoming Meetings
Deregulation Library
Member Services
Ambit Energy
BP Energy
Clearview Energy
Columbia Utilities
Crius Energy
Direct Energy
Energy Mark
Feller Energy Law
Frontier Utilities
Great American Power
Indra Energy
Infinite Energy
National Fuel Resources, Inc
Nodal Exchange
North American Power
Planet Energy
Public Power
Summitt Energy
Shell Energy
Stream Energy
Suburban energy
Tomorrow Energy
Verde Energy USA
Washington Gas Energy Services Inc.
Xoom Energy
March 13, 2020
Click here to view all past updates.
Energy Rules Workshop

The Commission convened a two-day workshop this week to review its energy rules on resource planning, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Staff said this would be the last workshop before a formal rulemaking is commenced. In an effort to give Staff guidance for drafting proposed rules, Chairman Burns attempted to lead the Commissioners through a vote on potential energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean energy and distributed generation standards, but other commissioners expressed concern with taking a vote at this time without further research and analysis. It was decided that Commissioners would submit "wish lists" for the rules package by the end of next week. Chairman Burns said his "wish list" included 35% energy efficiency by 2030; 100% clean energy by 2050; 50% renewable energy by 2030; and 10% distributed generation by 2030.

Subsequent to the workshop, Commissioner Marquez Peterson filed a letter to the docket noting that since 2018 six different cost-benefit analyses have been requested by Commissioners of the utilities and other stakeholders but such studies were not performed or submitted. Commissioner Marquez Peterson expressed concern with moving forward on rule standards without sufficient data. "To me, it seems we're trying to rush this through the finish line before we have all the facts. I was surprised the Chairman now felt comfortable taking firm positions on such substantive issues regarding energy rules, without having the data even he previously requested. Now, commissioners have been given just one week, until Friday, March 20, 2020, to submit their policy preferences to the docket. During that time, I will be reaching out to the stakeholders for any helpful data, reports, or studies that they may have and incorporating those into my policy positions." The full text of Commissioner Marquez Peterson's Letter is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
NEM Meeting with Office of Consumer Counsel

On Monday of this week NEM’s President, Bill Kinneary, met with the State of Connecticut’s Acting Consumer Counsel Richard Sobolewski at his Connecticut Office to discuss an item released to the press on January 30, 2020. The meeting was held at Kinneary’s request. The item, entitled “OCC Fact Sheet: In Support of Increased Consumer Protection for the Residential Retail Choice Electric Supply Market” portrayed our industry in an extremely negative manner.

In effect, the “fact” sheet blamed retail electric choice providers for causing economic harm, not bringing meaningful employment to the state, causing a regulatory resource drain and harming the most vulnerable populations by targeting them as customers. The fact sheet pointed to Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland as jurisdictions where “state actors” have called for the end of residential retail choice and listed numerous Connecticut proceedings in which industry participants paid $60 million in settlements and fines since 2014. Additionally, the fact sheet questioned the fact that 25,000 customers remained on a high legacy variable price.

Kinneary rebutted most of the “facts” presented in a very cordial one-hour session. His arguments were based on customer demographics, the utility price to compare subsidies and the economic reasons for industry participants leaving the state.

The “economic harm” claimed in 2019 equates to 0.12% of household income – hardly in a range that would thwart Connecticut’s economy as is claimed in the fact sheet. The amount that utilities are charging retail electric customers in delivery service rates for commodity related services should be examined as well as the economic harm to consumers of the improper allocation of costs. It was also pointed out that any comparison of the utility supply price to a retail electric supplier’s price is an invalid comparison simply because the products offered are different in so many ways.

Kinneary also pointed out that a number of suppliers have left Connecticut to operate in a more business friendly state. Additionally, Kinneary detailed the current offers on PURA’s website showing that fifteen of the nineteen market participants had fixed price offers averaging 1.3¢ per kWh below the current utility supply rate meaning that consumer choice is alive and well in the state.

Concerns about “bad players” in the industry are shared by NEM and OCC. Kinneary noted that since 2014, only two retail electric suppliers lost their license for this reason and assured Mr. Sobolewski that NEM supports efforts to identify and remove those who operate outside of the bounds of NEM’s National Marketing Standards of Conduct.

Lastly, Kinneary noted that denying low-income consumers’ right to choose their electric supplier is discriminatory since it denies this group the opportunity to access the lowest pricing available in the state. NEM’s position is that the regulators should remove the bad players, reallocate costs properly in utility rates, re-educate low-income consumers and restore their rights as citizens of Connecticut.

The full text of the OCC's Sheet on Residential Electric Retail Choice is available at this link.

Click here to view all past updates.
Electric Choice Website

As required by legislative mandate, the Commission has now launched its new Maryland Electric Choice website. The new electric choice website was preceded by the launch of a new secure portal for licensed residential electricity suppliers to upload current residential offers. Staff has indicated that, "If you have any constructive feedback regarding the site, we welcome your input." The site can be accessed at:

Click here to view all past updates.
NEM Phone Conference with PAPUC OCMO on Residential Supplier Marketing Regulations

The Pennsylvania PUC’s OCMO requested informal comments on the Commission’s Chapter 111 Supplier Residential Marketing Regulations. Informal comments were requested on the following topics: telemarketing rules; updating sales verification procedures to accommodate new technologies; renewable energy product marketing rules; rules for direct mail and in-person marketing; potential guidance regarding residential brokering; and a potential reporting requirement for supplier marketing a price “significantly higher” than the utility Price to Compare.

NEM filed comments on February 14th and requested the opportunity to discuss its comments with OCMO via conference call. OCMO invited NEM to have a phone conference on March 11th. OCMO participants included Dam Mumford, Director of OCMO; Kriss Brown, Deputy Director of OCMO; Dave Hixson, Deputy Press Secretary; Michele Tate, Supervisor, Bureau of Consumer Services; Matt Hrivnak, Supervisor, Compliance & Competition, Bureau of Consumer Services; and Ghana Redman, Analyst, Bureau of Technical Utility Services. The tone of the conversation was business-like and forthright.

Regarding the proposal to adopt a telemarketing reporting requirement analogous to the existing door-to-door reporting requirement, OCMO asked whether that should include supplier reporting of vendors used for telemarketing. NEM said the proposal seemed reasonable.

OCMO noted that certain commenters had suggested that agents be completely banned from being present during the enrollment verification process. NEM suggested that a complete ban could be problematic and could create a false negative impression with consumers. A consumer should have the choice to have an agent present, and the supplier should be able to honor that choice.

OCMO noted our comments on direct mail requirements. They said other commenters had suggested banning the use of the utility name and the Commission’s name on direct mail pieces. NEM explained that it should be permissible for a supplier to accurately reference the utility name, as for example, when identifying the relevant utility price in the location where the offer is directed. OCMO followed with the suggestion that the utility name in a direct mailer should not be in a larger font. NEM said that suggestion seemed reasonable.

NEM also discussed the proposal that suppliers be required to report marketing a price that is “significantly higher” than the current utility Price to Compare (PTC). NEM explained that comparing the supplier rate to the utility PTC is an “apples-to-oranges” comparison for many reasons, and therefore any reporting requirement pegged to the utility PTC would be problematic. For example, the PTC excludes many costs associated with the utilities’ provision of supply service, includes prior period rate true-ups and results in a significant mismatch when the utility PTC is compared with supplier product offerings of varying terms. NEM noted that customers have the ability to elect a new price or switch their supplier at the end of any agreement price term. OCMO asked what should be done if a supplier is charging double the utility PTC. They noted that the Commission has historically been hesitant to go down this path. Although, they said, even competitive suppliers have expressed concern about a supplier charging a price double to the PTC.

OCMO asked about quality control best practices for vendors that have been identified. OCMO also noted that suppliers are responsible for their agents. NEM said that active Commission oversight and enforcement of bad actors, including license revocation, is a powerful tool that should be used to incent suppliers and agents to act appropriately.

The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Clean Economy Act

HB1526/SB851, the Virginia Energy Economy Act, has passed the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor's signature. HB1526 would replace Virginia’s voluntary renewable portfolio standard with a mandatory renewable content requirement for electricity sales. Beginning in 2021, APCo and other retail suppliers in APCo's service territory would be required to meet a 6% RPS program requirement that incrementally increases to 100% by 2050. In 2021, Dominion and other retail suppliers in Dominion's service territory would be required to meet a 14% RPS program requirement that incrementally increases to 100% by 2045. HB1526 authorizes an expanded pilot program for third party power purchase agreements for solar and wind-powered generation up to 500 megawatts for Virginia jurisdictional customers and 500 megawatts for Virginia nonjurisdictional customers. HB1526 also provides that after July 1, 2020, at least 35% of energy storage facilities shall be purchased by the public utility from a party other than the public utility or owned by a party other than the public utility, with the capacity sold to the public utility. The full text of the HB1526 Conference Report is available on the NEM Website.

* Member Login :

User ID: 



*****   Click Here to stop receiving NEM Regulatory Updates    *****

3333 K Street, N.W., Suite 110
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 333-3288     Fax: (202) 333-3266

© Copyright 2004 National Energy Marketers Association