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April 17, 2009
NEM's 12th Annual Global Energy Forum & Membership Meeting

NEM's 12th Annual Global Energy Forum & Membership Meeting will be held April 28 & 29, 2009. The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites Washington D.C. - Convention Center located at 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Please register at this hotlink.

A block of rooms has been reserved for NEM members at the rate of $279 per night. Contact (202) 739-2001 for reservations and reference group code A-MN.

A number of U.S. and foreign officials have already confirmed their participation in the event. Those confirmed thus far include: Byron Dorgan, U.S. Senate; Jim DeMint, U.S. Senate; James Clyburn, U.S. House Majority Whip; Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Gene Green, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Lee Terry, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; H.E. John Bruton, European Commission Ambassador; H.E. Michael Wilson, Canadian Ambassador; H.E. Andrejs Pildegovics, Latvian Ambassador; Aleksei Shishayev, Russian Embassy - Head of Economic Section; Marc Spitzer, FERC Commissioner; Philip Moeller, FERC Commissioner; Garry Brown, NYPSC Chairman; James Cawley, PAPUC Chairman; Alan Schriber, Ohio PUC Chairman; Orjiakor Isiogu, MIPSC Chairman; Donna Nelson, TX PUC Commissioner, Robert Curry, NYPSC Commissioner; Stan Wise, GAPSC Commissioner; Nicholas Asselta, NJBPU Commissioner; Erin O'Connell-Diaz, Illinois Commerce Commissioner; Steven Transeth, MIPSC Commissioner; James Kendall, EIA Natural Gas Division Director; Harris McDowell, Delaware Senate; Eric Matheson, PAPUC Energy Advisor; Calvin Timmerman, MDPSC Assistant Executive Director; John Hofmeister, Citizens for Affordable Energy; and Chris Hendrix, General Manager, Competitive Energy - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.. The full text of the April Meeting Agenda is available on the NEM Website.

FERC Issues Order 712-B on Capacity Release

FERC issued Order 712-B, clarifying in particular the capacity release rules as they apply to retail access programs. A number of the NY utilities requested clarification that an LDC releasing capacity pursuant to a retail access program may release directly to the marketer's asset manager provided that the asset manager has an identical obligation to supply gas to the marketer as the marketer's obligation to supply gas to the releasing LDC. In response, FERC decided, "that the exemptions from bidding and the prohibition against tying for releases to marketers participating in state-regulated retail access programs apply to any release where the marketer replacement shipper is obligated to use the capacity to provide the gas supply requirement of retail consumers in the program. Even if the marketer does not itself make sales directly to the subject retail consumers, this condition can be satisfied so long as the marketer has a contractual obligation to use the full amount of the released capacity to supply gas to the retail access marketer and the retail access marketer is, in turn, obligated to supply that gas to the retail consumers pursuant to a state-regulated retail access program." The full text of Order 712-B is available on the NEM Website.

NYISO Status Report on Netting Bilaterals Project

NYISO submitted another quarterly status report on its Netting Bilaterals Project. NYISO reports that its, "project team is continuing to progress through the implementation of the Project, on-schedule for a Q3 2009 deployment. Additionally, the NYISO drafted the necessary tariff revisions and presented those draft revisions to market participants for comment at the April 1, 2009 Market Issues Working Group meeting. The tariff revisions are scheduled to be voted on by market participants at the Business Issues Committee meeting in 2009." The full text of the NYISO Status Report is available on the NEM Website.

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Illinois Governor Signs Legislation on Gas Marketer Requirements

The Governor signed SB171, Public Act 95-1051, amending the Public Utilities Act, to increase marketing, managerial and certification requirements for natural gas marketers and strengthen consumer protections. Provisions of SB171 pertain to:
1. requirements for gas marketer certification, notification to the Commission of "material changes in business" of a gas marketer and a gas marketer's obligation to maintain "sufficient managerial resources";
2. disclosure requirements and accepted means of documenting consumer consent to switch suppliers;
3. prohibited unfair and deceptive marketing practices;
4. disclosure of any early termination fee, which shall not exceed $50 total, as well as consumers' ability to terminate an agreement within 10 business days after the first marketer bill is issued without any termination fee or penalty;
5. provision of a right of rescission to consumers extending 10 business days after the date of the gas utility's notice to a consumer of the switch of service;
6. advertising requirements for gas marketer service to "clearly and conspicuously disclosure all associated costs for such service including, but not limited to, access fees and service fees";
7. adoption of a uniform disclosure for gas marketers to complete for each product offering that will be maintained on the Commission's website for consumer reference;
8. maintenance of consumer education information on the Commission's website with input from a stakeholder working group;
9. requirements for gas marketers call center answer times, abandoned call rates and maintenance of call center records;
10. remedies for consumer complaints, including refunds, fines and revocation of a marketer license;
11. prohibition against using prize promotions as a means for gas marketers to solicit customers;
12. prohibition against marketing to consumers on gas utility "Do Not Contact" lists;
13. revision of the definition of a "small commercial customer"; and
14. definition of a "sales agent" of an alternative gas supplier.
The full text of SB171 is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Commission Initiates Review of Gas Choice Tariffs

In the course of examining the marketing practices of a gas marketer, the Commission has decided to initiate a review of the utilities' gas customer choice tariffs. The purpose of the case is to determine whether clarification, review or additions to tariff provisions are needed on Residential Customer Protections, Solicitation Requirements, Supplier Registration and Code of Conduct, and Minimum Term provisions. Also included in the proceeding is consideration of the issue of whether a gas marketer may require a customer to pay a termination fee before returning to utility bundled service. A prehearing conference will be held in the matter on June 9, 2009. Written comments are due September 15, 2009. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Technical Conference on NYSEG/RG&E Fixed Price Offer Filing

The Commission required NYSEG/RG&E to make a filing as to whether they will seek to continue their fixed price offers (FPOs) for 2010. NYSEG/RG&E notified the Commission that they will not offer the FPO in 2010. Instead, they, "will offer a new market-based supply service as the sole offering for 2010." Additionally, the utilities are requesting permission to implement up to two interim adjustments to the non-bypassable wires charge (NBC) in 2009 to, "mitigate a potentially large under-collection that would otherwise be recovered in 2010 under the accrual procedures in the current tariff."

NYSEG/RG&E plan to make a tariff filing by July 1, 2009, to reflect the elimination of FPO service, and will provide Staff with an outreach and education plan by that time reflective of the changes. NYSEG/RG&E propose to make the supply charge and NBC fully reconcilable on a monthly basis. Ancillary service and NTAC charges would be recovered through the supply charge from customers. Accordingly, ESCOs must collect those charges from their commodity customers, and NYSEG/RG&E will no longer reimburse ESCOs for those charges. The existing annual fixed NBC will be discontinued, and customers in a given service class will have the same NBC regardless of supplier.

The Commission has decided to bifurcate review of the proposals into two phases. The first phase will address the utilities' proposals to make interim adjustments to the NBC charges in 2009. Comments on this issue are due May 11, 2009. The second phase will address the changes to the variable supply and NBC tariffs in 2010 with a second opportunity for comments. A technical conference will be held to discuss the filing on April 28, 2009, at 10:30AM in the Commission's 3rd floor hearing room in Albany.

The full texts of the NYSEG/RG&E Filing and Notice of Technical Conference are available on the NEM Website.

Recommended Decision Issued in Central Hudson Rate Case

The ALJs in Central Hudson's electric and natural gas rate cases issued a Recommended Decision. Of importance to the company's retail access programs, Staff had proposed changing the lost revenue recovery mechanism to essentially "rebundle" the recovery mechanism into delivery rates (half of the lost revenue recovery component is currently avoided by retail access customers). The ALJs recommended rejection of the Staff proposal finding that, "The current 50/50 split in the collection of retail access lost revenues is a reasonable compromise, giving some benefit to ESCO customers without absolving them completely from responsibility for funding any POLR-related costs that may not be adequately addressed through the mechanisms listed above. The shift proposed by Staff is of trivial benefit to sales customers, but is potentially harmful to ESCOs. It should be rejected."

The ALJs recommended approval of the utility's E-Bid System, Enhanced Mailing Functions and Website enhancements. The ALJs also recommended that the parties wait for further Commission direction prior to developing a plan for expanding the referral program to new service customers.

Briefs on exceptions are due April 30, 2009, and reply briefs on exceptions are due May 15, 2009. The full text of the Recommended Decision is available on the NEM Website.

Staff Proposal and Utility Filings on AMI

As directed by the Commission, Staff has proposed a generic proposed framework for the cost-benefit analysis for evaluting advanced metering infrastructure. Included within the framework are sections on scenarios to be analyzed in cost-benefit analysis, cost categories, benefit categories, analysis parameters, rate choices to be offered in demand response and demand response plus reliability case, and methods for estimating and valuing demand response. Staff will convene workshops to try to build consensus on the elements of the framework. The Commission requests comments on the generic framework by June 15, 2009. Additionally, ConEd and Central Hudson submitted plans for pilot AMI projects. The full texts of the Staff Framework, ConEd Filing and Central Hudson Filing are available from NEM headquarters.

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