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March 24, 2006
NEM Annual Membership Meeting and National Energy Restructuring Conference

Please mark your calendars for NEM's Annual Membership Meeting and National Restructuring Conference on April 25-26, 2006, in Washington, DC at the Marriott Metro Center focused on "Adding Value and Winning Customers with Innovation, Technology and Service." To view the agenda, use the following hotlink:

We have already confirmed the following to attend: U.S. Congressman Ralph Hall, Chair, House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee, U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy, Member, House Energy Committee, Nora Brownell, Commissioner, FERC, Paul Hudson, Chair, Texas Public Utility Commission, Stan Wise, Chair, Georgia Public Service Commission, Alan Schriber, Chair, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, James Cawley, Vice Chair, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Monica Martinez, Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission, Kevin Wright, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission, Ron Cerniglia, Director, NYPSC's Office of Retail Market Development and Calvin Timmerman, Senior Commission Advisor, Maryland Public Service Commission, John McMahon, President & CEO, Orange and Rockland, and Lynne Kiesling, Ph.D., Northwestern University.

In addition, we will conduct new Mission Critical Workshops. These will include "How to Deal with the Media When they Knock on Your During Price Spikes - Crisis Communications Workshop for Energy Marketers" conducted by Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications. An additional workshop will focus on "New Market Entry 101 - Significant Compliance, Reporting and Certification Requirements and Political, Legal and Regulatory Framework for Entering New Retail Markets (MI, MD, NY, OH)" to be led by John Dempsey of Dickinson Wright, Joelle Ogg of Brunenkant & Cross, Steven Sherman of Krieg DeVault and Lisa Bradley of Hiscock & Barclay. Another workshop will examine "Expanding Market Share and Winning New Customers with Innovation and Technology."

Those members interested in sponsoring the event should contact headquarters. Advertisements for the event, including sponsor information, receive international media distribution.

New Jersey
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2007 BGS Procurement Proceeding

Staff has circulated a tentative list of issues for comment and a procedural schedule for the 2007 Basic Generation Service (BGS) procurement proceeding. Issues identified by Staff for comment include: 1) the goal of the BGS procurement process and how to best achieve that goal; 2) appropriate bid terms; 3) the meaning of and need for transparency in a BGS procurement process - what additional features should be added that do not currently exist; 4) whether information about the bidder’s underlying supply contracts should be available to the Board, and if so, what information, when and for what purpose - what consequences should follow for incomplete or erroneous information, and should the information be considered an exception to the Open Public Records Act; 5) how to best ascertain and assure that power procured for BGS is purchased at prices consistent with market conditions in a competitive wholesale marketplace; and 6) if a review of Supplier Master Agreements were initiated, which issues should be considered. Significantly, Staff also stated that, "Parties may provide additional comments pertaining to the philosophy, structure or implementation of a BGS procurement process. However, parties should refrain from comments specific to expansion of hourly pricing or the retail margin, at this time."

The tentative procedural schedule is as follows:
March 16 - Procedural Order
April 6 - Initial Comments on procurement process
Week of April 17 - Open meeting to discuss comments
Week of April 24 - Legislative-style hearing
May 4 - Final comments
June 7 - Anticipated Board decision

Transitional Rate Design Working Group

As required by the Board, Staff has initiated a Transitional Rate Design Working Group. The initial meeting of the working group is expected to take place the week of April 3rd. Staff circulated a list of issues for comment prior to the initial meeting, as follows: 1) EPAct - what are the states requirements concerning rate design and metering, has the BPU satisfied the requirement, and if not, how should the BPU satisfy the requirements; 2) Rate Design, Smart Metering and Demand Response - a) what should be the objectives of rate design policies, should they differ by rate class, and does current rate design satisfy the objectives, b) should some rate structures be offered on a voluntary rather than mandatory basis, c) what time frame and commitment is associated with a “long term rate design philosophy;” d) define "smart metering" and its benefits and drawbacks, should smart metering be mandatory; e) should smart thermostats be a part of this program, who should perform smart thermostat programming; f) who should pay the cost of new meters and meter installations; g) would the results of such metering be used for rate design and billing purposes or just for informational purposes; h) whether and how the output of such metering would be conveyed to the customer; i) how would the customer be expected to make use of the information; and j) how should rate design and metering policies be incorporated into a Board demand response policy?

Comments are due March 29, 2006.

New York
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NEM Comments on Broadband over Power Lines

NEM submitted comments in the Commission's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) proceeding arguing that the public interest will best be served by ensuring non-discriminatory open access to the utilities’ electric infrastructure at just and reasonable rates for the provision of advanced powerline carrier technologies, including BPL. There should be no limit to the number of competitors on one line. NEM noted that truly advanced BPL with transmission speeds in the multi-gigabyte range could facilitate an entirely new level of technology-based economic growth, significant increases in productivity and create disproportionately greater benefits for lower-income and rural consumers.

NEM argued that BPL technology can significantly enhance the safety and reliability of the existing electric infrastructure to the benefit of utility systems and consumers. BPL technology can maximize the efficient utilization of existing infrastructure investments, potentially increase asset valuations and thereby lower the cost of capital needed for reliability upgrades. Additionally, NEM noted that the near-term improvements to power line surveillance, grid reliability, blackout prevention, isolation and mitigation as well as homeland security could be significant.

Depending on the business model ultimately adopted, NEM recommended that the Commission consider the formulation and adoption of affiliate guidelines and codes of conduct to govern the relationship between the electric utilities and affiliated and unaffiliated BPL providers including: 1) subsidies of non-regulated activities by regulated entities should be prohibited; 2) regulated utility services must not be preferentially tied to products or services provided by non-regulated market participants (affiliated or nonaffiliated); 3) tariff and rate provisions should be applied in an equal, non-discriminatory manner to all market participants; and 4) a utility’s operating employees and those of its unregulated affiliate shall function independently of each other. The full text of NEM's BPL Comments is available on the NEM Website.

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Natural Gas Stakeholders Meeting

The Commission issued a notice to confirm the initial meeting of the Natural Gas Stakeholders Working Group on March 30, 2006, beginning at 9AM. The meeting will be held at the Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, in Harrisburg in Hearing Room 1. The Commission has issued an agenda for the meeting as follows:

9AM - opening remarks/preliminary matters
9:30AM - general discussion
10AM to 12PM - open discussions on issues and priorities of stakeholders
1PM - concurrent breakout sessions of the Subgroup on Inter-Company Activity and the Subgroup on Customer Interface
2PM - concurrent breakout sessions of the Subgroup on Cost of Service and the Subgroup on Competition Monitoring

The full text of the Notice and Agenda are available from NEM headquarters.

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