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March 28, 2008
Annual Spring Membership Meeting

NEM booked the new Embassy Suites Hotel Washington D.C. Convention Center for the Annual Spring Membership Meeting and Restructuring Conference on April 29 and 30, 2008. This year's theme is "Strategic Energy, Security & Advanced Technology Policies - Think Globally, Save Locally." Please register at this hotlink. A final agenda can be viewed at this hotlink.

Hotel accommodations have also been arranged at this facility located at 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. NEM has secured preferred hotel rates of $259.00 per night. Please call (202) 739-2001 to make your reservations.

Thus far, we have confirmed the following featured speakers for the event: U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Member, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, US House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA), FERC Commissioner Marc Spitzer, FERC Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff, CFTC Commissioner Michael Dunn, Natural Resources Canada Minister Gary Lunn, David Wales, Deputy Director, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, Massachusetts DPU Chairman, Paul Hibbard, New York PSC Chairman, Garry Brown, Texas PUC Chairman, Barry Smitherman and Pennsylvania PUC Energy Advisor, Eric Matheson.

EIA Issues Natural Gas Year-In-Review 2007

EIA issued its 2007 Natural Gas Year-In-Review noting a decline in general price volatility in 2007 versus recent years. The decreased volatility was attributable to the lack of supply disruptions, such as hurricanes, increased domestic natural gas production, record high LNG imports, and working gas in storage that remained above the previous five-year average throughout 2007. As a result, there was a decrease in all end-use natural gas prices (residential - 5.45% lower than 2006, commercial - 5.7% lower than 2006, industrial - 3.3 % lower than 2006), except the electric power sector. Additionally, total U.S. natural gas consumption increased for the first time since 2004 to 23.0 trillion cubic feet in 2007. The full text of EIA's Natural Gas Year-In-Review 2007 is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
House Amendment #1 to HB 5467 Would Effectively End Mass Market Gas Choice

House Amendment #1 to HB 5467 would do the following: (1) close the residential and small commercial markets for Alternative Gas Suppliers ("AGSs"); (2) provide all existing residential and small commercial customer contracts may not be renewed and all existing AGS certificates will become null and void as each AGS gas contract expires; (3) state that the ICC is prohibited from approving any AGS certificates for gas service to residential and small commercial customers; (4) mandate that all residential and small commercial customers can only receive service from their gas utility; and (5) eliminate the competitive marketplace for residential and small commercial natural gas consumers by re-regulating the marketplace for AGSs to serve only the large commercial and industrial customers.

The amendment will be heard next Tuesday, April 1, 2008, in the House Public Utilities Committee that is scheduled to convene at 5PM. There will be an opportunity to testify in opposition at this hearing. A number of NEM members will be participating in outreach to oppose the bill, and time is of the essence. Those interested in participating in the effort should contact Vince Parisi at IGS (614)734-2649 or

New York
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Technical Conference on Proposed UBP Revisions on Marketing Standards

The Commission proposed revisions to the UBP, including a new Section 10 on Marketing Standards, to address perceived problems with ESCO marketing practices. The proposed changes to the UBP are intended to strengthen residential consumer protections and Commission oversight.

Commission Staff will convene a technical conference on April 3, 2008, at 10AM in the Commission's Manhattan offices to provide a forum for discussion of the proposed UBP revisions. Those interested in attending should contact Ellen Jeffers of Staff at or 518-474-4223 by April 1, 2008.

Additional important dates: Request to be added to service list due April 2, 2008; Initial Comments due April 18, 2008; Reply Comments due May 12, 2008.

The full texts of the Request for Comments and Notice of Technical Conference are available on the NEM Website.

ConEd Electric Rate Case Order

The Commission issued an Order in ConEd's electric rate case approving a $425 million rate increase.

The Commission approved changes to ConEd's Market Supply Charge (MSC-paid by full service customers only) and Monthly Adjustment Clause (MAC-paid by all customers). The following cost elements will be moved from the MAC to the MSC: "1) all costs incurred for financial hedging instruments and the net impact of impact of financial hedging instruments, on and after May 1, 2008; 2) NYISO commodity-related rebills for prior months' costs issued to the Company on or after May 1, 2008; 3) total costs, rather than only market costs, associated with energy and capacity contracts entered into on or after May 1, 2000 to serve full service customers, except for public policy contracts; 4) the monthly amortized cost of TCCs purchased on behalf of full service customers through NYISO auctions, direct sales or from the secondary market, on or after May 1, 2008; and 5) revenues received on or after May 1, 2008, from TCCs held on behalf of full service customers." ConEd must also file a plan for the revision of its MSC to reflect actual day-ahead market prices in effect during each customer's billing period.

ConEd must report to the Commission on the potential expansion of the ESCO referral program to include customers that contact the utility for new service. ConEd will address cost recovery associated with the program expansion as well as how to comply with the HEFPA utility obligation to provide service to any applicants who meets the requirements within five business days.

The Commission declined to adopt a proposal to convene a collaborative to examine ESCO access to customer lists, consumption information and other data.

The Commission approved an expansion to the company's Mandatory Hourly Pricing program to all customers whose maximum demand is greater than 500 kW in any month during an annual period ending September 30. The Commission decided the program should start after all meters are installed and there has been adequate opportunity to provide customers with six months of hourly interval data (customers 1 MW to 1.5 MW) or one year of interval data (customers with demand greater than 500 kW to 1 MW).

The full text of the ConEd Electric Rate Order is available on the NEM Website.

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Columbia Gas Files Rate Case - Proposes Choice Program Modifications

Columbia Gas filed a rate case requesting a nearly $59 million increase in rates. Also of note, Columbia filed proposed changes to its transportation and choice programs. Columbia proposed to shorten the timeframe for customers switching from sales service to distribution or choice, switching suppliers or returning to sales service, and the change is proposed to be made effective August 2009.

Columbia also proposed changes to its current Purchase of Receivables (POR) program, for the purpose of separating uncollectibles into a distribution and gas supply component. The new POR program would be based on the following principles:

"+ Universal service costs should continue to be recovered from all residential customers.
+ CAP customers continue to be aggregated for Choice service and Columbia continues to attempt to obtain gas supply from an NGS via a quarterly RFP.
+ Distribution component of non-CAP uncollectibles would be recovered via distribution rates without distinction as to supplier of last resort (SOLR) or Choice.
+ SOLR component of non-CAP uncollectibles would be recovered as part of the Price-to-Compare and based on a fixed percentage established in base-rate proceeding applied to quarterly gas costs.
+ Company would have right to terminate for non-payment of purchased receivables.
+ Participation in program would be mandatory for any NGS that elects consolidated billing by Columbia.
+ NGSs must agree to take all Choice applicants, excluding CAP participants.
+ The POR is adopted as a Pilot."

Columbia proposed to replace the current 5% POR discount rate and begin to purchase receivables at 2.61%. Columbia believes its POR proposal represents a "complete solution to all unbundling and POR issues."

Columbia proposed to eliminate the Administration Fee ($35/month/account) to General Distribution Service customers, the Aggregation Fee ($0.02/Mcf) charged to suppliers, and the Billing Fee ($.20/bill) charged to suppliers for preparation of a consolidated bill. Costs associated with these service are now to be reflected in Columbia's base rates.

Columbia proposed to modify the terms of its negotiated sales service, Rate NSS. The volumetric threshold for participation would be lowered to 600 Mcf. Cost of additional supplies that Columbia procures during periods of operational flow orders and operational matching orders would be excluded from the PGC. Additionally, Columbia would be permitted to use gas futures contracts as well as physical contracts to support its fixed rate option.

The full text of Columbia's Filing is available at this hotlink.

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