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March 19, 2010
NEM's 13th Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference

NEM's 13th Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference - NEM will convene its 13th Annual National Energy Restructuring Conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel Washington D.C. Convention Center on April 27th & 28th, 2010. This year’s theme is “Renaissance in Energy Markets.” Topics of discussion will include Competitive Energy Supply, Demand, Prices and Economic Opportunities. Please use this hotlink to register for the event. We make your hotel reservations at the Embassy Suites Convention Center, Washington, DC at NEM's preferred rate of $289 per night per room.

We have already confirmed a number of key regulators and legislators and this promises to be a "can't miss" event. Confirmed participants include: Congressman James Clyburn, Majority Whip (D-SC); U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT); Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) (invited); Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) (invited); Congressman Glenn Thompson, Jr. (R-PA); Jon Wellinghoff, FERC Chairman; Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy; Marc Spitzer, FERC Commissioner; Philip Moeller, FERC Commissioner; James Cawley, PAPUC Chairman; Alan Schriber, OH PUC Chairman; Douglas Nazarian, MDPSC Chairman; Manuel Flores, ICC Chairman; Orjiakor Osiogu, MIPSC Chairman; David Armstrong, KYPSC Chairman; Sharon Reishus, ME PUC Chairman; Betty Ann Kane, DCPSC Chairman; Erin O'Connell Diaz, ICC Commissioner; Robert Curry, NYPSC Commissioner; Catherine Pugh, MD State Senator; Jess Totten, TX PUC Director; Eric Matheson, PAPUC Energy Advisor; and Calvin Timmerman, MDPSC.

FCC National Broadband Plan

Congress directed that FCC develop a National Broadband Plan. FCC released that plan today, which includes elements directly relevant to the energy sector, smart grid, and consumer access to information. The Plan makes specific recommendations on how broadband can serve as the foundation for a smarter electric grid, enabling innovation in smart homes and buildings, particularly if consumers have access to energy data. FCC's recommendations

"States should require electric utilities to provide consumers access to, and control of, their own digital energy information, including real-time information from smart meters and historical consumption, price and bill data over the Internet. If states fail to develop reasonable policies over the next 18 months, Congress should consider national legislation to cover consumer privacy and the accessibility of energy data.

Consumers, and their authorized third parties, must be able to get secure, non-discriminatory access to energy data in standardized, machine-readable formats. Customers should have access to their data in the same granular form in which it is collected, and in as close to real-time as possible. Innovative companies - from large service providers to small startups - and utilities should be able to compete on a level playing field to provide a wide variety of home and building energy information and management services.

PUCs should mandate data accessibility as part of Smart Grid rate cases, especially smart meter deployments. Consistent with EISA, these policies should mandate secure consumer accessibility to real-time energy consumption data, time-series consumption and billing data and dynamic price data. Regulators should also require regulated utilities to adopt business processes that clearly articulate the methods by which consumers can authorize and de-authorize third-party access."

Relatedly, FCC recommends that FERC adopt model standards for consumer digital data accessibility and control for the states. The National Broadband Plan is available on the NEM Website.

Proposed Rulemaking on Compensation of Demand Resources in Organized Electric Markets

FERC issued a proposed rulemaking that would establish the method for compensating demand response (DR) resources in organized energy markets. Specifically, the proposed regulations would, "establish a specific compensation approach for demand response resources participating in organized wholesale energy markets (such as the day-ahead and real-time markets administered by the ISOs and RTOs). Under the proposed section, each Commission-approved ISO and RTO that has a tariff provision providing for participation of demand response resources in its energy market must pay demand response resources, in all hours, the market price for energy, i.e., full LMP, for demand reductions made in response to price signals." This will not be applicable to DR programs administered for reliability or emergency purposes.

FERC has heretofore permitted the RTOs/ISOs to use a system-by-system approach, for DR compensation. However, this has resulted in DR compensation varying significantly among RTOs/ISOs. FERC is concerned this may have resulted in compensation levels that have become unjust and unreasonable.

Comments on the proposed rulemaking are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. The full text of the NOPR is available on the NEM Website.

Civil Penalty Guidelines

FERC issued civil penalty guidelines in furtherance of its enhanced civil penalty authority granted under EPAct of 2005. The FERC penalty guidelines are modeled after the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. FERC retained the discretion to depart from the penalty guidelines, as necessary. FERC's penalty guidelines generate a penalty range based on the combination of: (1) a violation level, consisting of a base level that is adjusted for various seriousness factors; and (2) a culpability score, which considers an organization’s past and current conduct and efforts to remedy the violation. FERC enforcement staff will convene a technical conference one year from the implementation of the penalty guidelines to review how they have worked and field questions. The full texts of the Penalty Guidelines and Flow Chart are available on the NEM Website.

Agenda for Form 552 Conference

FERC will convene a technical conference on March 25, 2010, to address issues associated with Form 552 on gas price reporting. The specific issues for discussion are: "1) inconsistencies in reporting upstream transactions in the natural gas supply chain on Form No. 552, and whether these transactions contribute to wholesale price formation; 2) whether transactions involving balancing, cash-out, operational, and in-kind transactions should be reported on Form No. 552; and 3) whether the units of measurement (TBtu) currently used for reporting volumes in the form are appropriate." FERC has issued a detailed agenda with questions in each issue area. The full text of the Agenda is available on the NEM Website.

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Bills Introduced on Electric Choice Market

A series of bills were introduced that would harm the electric choice market.

HB5505 would: 1) establish a surcharge on choice customers only to fund Department education programs; 2) establish a Connecticut Electric Authority; 3) require the electric utilities to utilize a portfolio approach to procurement; and 4) require retention of records of signed service contracts or consent to service for two years. It would also establish increased marketing sales standards including capping early termination fees at $100 or twice the estimated bill for energy services for an average month. Customers on utility standard service would not for a period of 2 years be able to switch to a competitive electric supplier or return to standard service without the imposition of additional utility charges.

HB5507 would eliminate the requirement for the existing electric utility referral program, modifies the definition of "electric aggregator," and adds a definition of "electric broker."

HB5508 would establish a Division of Electricity Policy and Procurement to oversee electric utility procurement plans.

The full texts of the Bills are available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Commission Declines Disclosure of ESCO Revenue and Migration Data

The Commission issued a decision excepting from disclosure records prepared by utility companies showing the revenue and number of residential gas and electric customers for each ESCO in each utility’s service territory, for the year 2009. NEM submitted comments opposing disclosure of the information. Relying on the rationale to deny a similar past data request, it was decided that, "While I cannot conclude that public disclosure of the information in question will forever be likely to cause substantial injury to the competitive position of ESCOs, it is my opinion that current circumstances are similar to those existing at the time Secretary Brilling made her determination in 2006 such that the rationale set forth therein remains pertinent. Moreover, I am persuaded that disclosure of the highly disaggregated information at issue would be likely to cause substantial competitive injury to ESCOs because of the higher prices energy suppliers would almost certainly demand as a result of the knowledge thereby gained." The full texts of the Decision and NEM Comments are available on the NEM Website.

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