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March 30, 2007
NEM Tenth Annual Global Energy Forum and Membership Meeting

Please mark your calendars for April 24-25, 2007, for NEM's Tenth Annual Global Energy Forum and Membership Meeting. The meeting will be held in Washington, DC at the Marriott Metro Center. Those confirmed to participate include: U.S. Senator Richard Burr, U.S. Congressman Edward Markey, U.S. Congressman Steve Buyer, U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy, FERC Commissioners Marc Spitzer and Jon Wellinghoff, Delaware Senate Majority Leader Harris McDowell, Georgia PSC Chair Stan Wise, Pennsylvania PUC Energy Advisor Eric Matheson, and MCI Founder Jack Goeken.

Please use the hotlink below to view the agenda and to register:

Please note that the early bird registration discount is in effect through April 13, 2007. The NEM preferred rate at the Marriott Metro Center for hotel accommodations expires on April 10, 2007.

Illinois Attorney General Complaint on Illinois Auction

The Illinois Attorney General (AG) filed a complaint against sixteen wholesale electricity suppliers in regards to the Illinois auction that took place in 2006. The AG alleges that the rates charged by these suppliers are not just and reasonable and are causing Illinois consumers to pay $4.3 billion in excess costs. The AG claims the rates are not just and reasonable because: "a) they are almost 40% higher than prices in bilateral electricity markets; b) they are approximately twice the marginal cost of generating electricity to serve Illinois customers; and c) they were produced in a highly concentrated market in which there is evidence of price manipulation."

The AG requests that FERC: 1) require the wholesale suppliers to file their contracts with the Commission; 2) suspend the rates in the suppliers' contracts with ComEd and Ameren; 3) determine whether the suppliers rates are just and reasonable and investigate whether price manipulation took place; 4) order refunds of amounts found to be in excess of just and reasonable rates; 5) modify contract terms found to be contrary to the public interest and/or not just and reasonable; 6) assess civil penalties against suppliers that engaged in market manipulation and require the disgorgement of excess profits; and 7) direct one of the suppliers (whose identity was withheld) to show cause why its market-based rate authority should not be revoked. The full text of the AG's Complaint is available on the NEM Website.

Second Technical Conference on Wholesale Power Markets

FERC has announced the date of its second conference to examine the state of competition in wholesale power markets. The second conference will take place May 8, 2007, beginning at 9AM at FERC's Washington, DC headquarters. A detailed agenda will be forthcoming.

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Legislators Seek to Stall Progress of Referral Program

The Chair and Vice Chair of the Connecticut House Energy and Technology Committee wrote to the DPUC requesting that the docket examining expansion of referral programs be delayed until after the conclusion of the 2007 legislative session. The legislators expressed concerns with customer confusion, funding of the program, and utility, rather than marketer, promotion of retail choice. The legislators request that the DPUC examine information from other states, including but not limited to New York, and the effectiveness of their retail competition programs. The inquiry should examine customer satisfaction, effectiveness of different methods of promoting retail choice, and whether choice led to overall lower prices for customers. The full text of the Letter is available on the NEM Website.

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Distributed Generation Inquiry

DTE opened an investigation into distributed generation intended to result in the establishment of a regulatory framework to promote its optimal deployment. The investigation will focus on three areas: 1) quantifying costs and benefits provided by DG; 2) appropriate ratemaking treatment; and 3) appropriate role of utilities in faciliating DG installation. DTE will use a stakeholder process in this case beginning with a technical conference (at a date to be announced later). The purpose of the conference is to identify interested participants, receive input on the issues identified for study, establish subgroups to work on the issues and establish a procedural schedule. The full text of the Order Initiating Investigation is available on the NEM Website.

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House Speaker to Prepare Plan to End Electric Choice

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Michigan House Speaker Dillon is drafting a plan in response to the state budget crisis that would require the electric utilities to impose a tax that could yield as much as $1 billion annually. In exchange, "the state would change the law to effectively eliminate competition for the two major utilities - DTE and Consumers Energy - to encourage them to build new power plants."

New York
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Inquiry into Gas Curtailment Policies

The Commission is requesting comments on possible changes to gas curtailment policies. The Commission identified a number of public interest considerations that inform gas curtailment policies including retention of highest priority in the curtailment queue for residential and human needs customers, minimization of adverse impacts on non-core customers and coordination of curtailment policies with the operation of competitive markets.

The Commission is seeking comment on the following questions: elimination of the distinction between short and long term curtailments or development of a clear definition of the terms; criteria for utility curtailments; when should competitive providers be obligated to maintain citygate deliveries at nomination quantities; the appropriate point in the transportation chain for the utility to acquire gas owned by others and who holds title at that point; appropriate compensation for parties when gas is acquired by the utility and diverted; encouraging ESCOs and customers to participate in voluntary curtailment arrangements; and coordinating the operation of the competitive retail market with curtailment policies.

Comments are due May 1, 2007, and reply comments are due May 29, 2007. Requests to be added to the service list are due April 17, 2007. It is anticipated that Staff will convene technical conferences subsequent to the comment filings with the aim of developing a consensus resolution, or if consensus cannot be reached, a Staff Straw Report of recommendations. The full text of the Order Commencing Proceeding is available on the NEM Website.

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Order Issued in EPAct Inquiry

Pursuant to the federal EPAct, the Commission initiated a proceeding in 2005 on issues associated with net metering, smart metering, cogeneration and small power production purchase and sale agreements, and interconnection. The Commission has now issued an Order with recommendations in these subject areas. The Commission decided a voluntary stakeholder group should be formed for the purpose of evaluating an advanced energy portfolio standard for the state.

Regarding advanced metering, the Commission required all of the electric utilities to file tariffs including daily time sensitive rates for all customer classes and comprehensive list of advanced metering technologies and associated costs. Staff will then hold technical conferences to explore cost sharing and recovery mechanisms and other issues with goal of developing recommendations for the Commission.

Interconnection rules should be modified to permit multi-level review of applications based on the size and complexity of the customer's system. The review process for customer-owned distribution should be based on the level of generation. Staff will develop a checklist and standard application for interconnection that will be posted on the Commission website. Staff will act a liasion to self-generators as to tariff interpretation and facilitation of the interconnection process. Staff is also to convene a workshop on the issue of statewide pooling of stand-by load. Utilities must file, within 30 days of the order, any studies performed on their behalf addressign impacts of distributed generation on transmission and distribution systems.

With respect to net metering, the Commission expanded the technologies permitted to participate and also revised the rules on customer credits to provide for, "refunds of amounts up to, but no greater than, an annual true-up of accumulated credits over a 12-month period."

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

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Governor Amends Electric Re-Regulation Legislation

Governor Kaine amended HB 3068/SB 1416, legislation providing for re-regulation of the state's retail electric market. The Kaine amendments would: 1) give the State Corporation Commission with more authority to consider keeping the state’s electricity costs competitive with other southeastern states; 2) double the conservation and efficiency goal for electric utilities (10% by 2022); 3) provide for the continuation of green-power tariffs and strengthened provisions for renewable energy use; 4) increase incentives for clean electricity generation; 5) give faster refunds to utility customers; and 6) provide additional flexibility for industrial and commercial consumers to use competitive electricity providers. The Governor said his amendments were made to, "ensure that appropriate consumer protection measures were in place to keep Virginians’ electric rates among the lowest in the country, and to ensure that electric companies have incentives to conserve energy, produce cleaner energy, and take other steps to protect the environment." The legislature returns to Richmond next Wednesday to consider Kaine's action on this and other legislation.

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