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April 7, 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, 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.

Click here to view all past updates.
NEM and Staff Recommendations on Type II Standard Offer Service

NEM submitted recommendations to the Commission on modifications of Standard Offer Service (SOS) for Type II customers. NEM urged the Commission to deploy a number of cost-effective best practices as transitional measures under the current default/SOS framework. NEM recommended that the Commission should identify and implement best utility practices that minimize consumer migration costs, minimize duplication of infrastructure and permit alternative providers to aggregate sufficient numbers of customers to build economies of scale and scope. NEM’s recommendations to attain these goals with a minimum of intervention and costs include: (1) establish dates certain by which specific percentages of each class of customer would be required to select a commodity supplier that is not the customer’s local utility; (2) encourage the aggregation of load to achieve economies of scale and scope; (3) implement accelerated utility migration incentives; (4) encourage the non-recourse, purchase of receivables by the utility at the utility’s bad debt rate; (5) require the utilities to provide customer lists, subject to all consumers being permitted to opt-out; (6) implement market-based, demand response programs; and (7) implement incentives for enhanced and advanced metering and information technologies. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

Staff recommended the expansion of the current Type II SOS with bi-annual bids for energy by each of the four utilities to all Type II customers. Staff also proposed for consideration "future changes to the current SOS model for Type II customers" including:
"(a) Implementation of a process to install Interval Meters for Type II customers that receive electric service above certain specified kW levels, thereby allowing these customers to receive Hourly Priced Service (“HPS”); (b) Implementation of a monthly pricing adjustment to the SOS rates for Type II customers not capable of being served by HPS; and (c) Implementation of the closing out of SOS service for some Type II customers, or a determination of when the market should be considered competitive." The full text of Staff's Testimony is available on the NEM Website.

Commission Inquiries into Time-Based Rates and Meters and Interconnection Standards

As required by the federal Energy Policy Act, the Commission opened inquiries into time-based rates and meters as well as interconnection standards. Section 1252 of EPAct provides that, "each electric utility shall offer each of its customer classes, and provide individual customers upon customer request, a time-based rate schedule under which the rate charged by the electric utility varies during different time periods and reflects the variance, if any, in the utility's costs of generating or purchasing electricity at the wholesale level. The time-based rate schedule shall enable the electric consumer to manage energy use and cost through advanced metering and communications technology." Section 1254 of EPAct provides that, "Each electric utility shall make available, upon request, interconnection service to any electric consumer that the electric utility serves," with such service based on the IEEE Standard 1547 for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems. The Commission will consider the MADRI Model Small Generator Interconnection Procedures as the basis for developing interconnection procedures in the state. Initial comments in both inquiries are due May 12, 2006, and reply comments are due June 2, 2006. The full texts of the Notice of Inquiry on Time-Based Rates & Meters and Notice of Inquiry on Interconnection Standards are available on the NEM Website.

New York
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NFG Files Proposed ESCO Referral Program

NFG filed a proposed ESCO referral program patterned on the Commission's "ESCO Contract Option." Participating customers would receive a two month discount from NFG's current month Gas Supply Charge. "Customers (whether purchasing commodity service from Distribution or an ESCO) will be permitted to enroll for one discount period during the term of the program." NFG requested that the Commission establish the applicable discount rate. Customers can select an ESCO or be randomly assigned to one. The program will be open to all ESCOs regardless of billing model.

NFG will hold a meeting on May 4 in Buffalo (with teleconferencing) to instruct ESCOs on the transactional details of its proposed ESCO referral program. The full text of NFG's Filing is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Natural Gas Stakeholders Meeting

Staff convened the initial meeting of the natural gas stakeholders working group in Harrisburg last week. Staff estimated that the group's work will be completed by the end of September and noted that Staff will issue its own report to the Commission after conclusion of the group meetings.

Subgroup meetings were convened in the afternoon. Subgroups are divided as follows: Subgroup I - Intercompany Activity (security, mandatory capacity assignments, nomination and delivery requirements, penalties for non-delivery, receivables for mass market customers, supplier tariff requirements, market information and switching restrictions); Subgroup II - Customer Interface (pricing information and consumer education, seamless move, acquisition costs for mass market, supplier consolidated billing, consumer protection rules, barriers to customer participation, utility consolidated billing, utility negotiated supply contracts, and service to low income customers); Subgroup III (costs of retail supply service, financial incentives for energy efficiency, receivables for mass market customers, acquisition costs for mass market and reform of utility pricing); and Subgroup IV - Competition Monitoring (utility promotion of competition, sustained Commission leadership in competitive markets, code of conduct). Follow-up subgroup meetings are to be scheduled shortly.

Electric Choice Activity Reports

The Commission recently voted to request comments on reporting requirements for electric utilities and suppliers on retail choice activity. It is thought that, "better reports would provide the measurement tools necessary for this Commission to monitor which markets and which customer classes are participating in retail markets, and whether or not EDC and Commission policies and practices are fostering or hindering development of competitive markets." Issues for comment will include: 1) implementation of reporting requirements similar to those in use in Maryland; 2) optimal frequency of reporting; 3) data elements to be gathered; 4) classes/sizes of customers to be grouped together; and 5) what information should be public versus confidential. Once a final order is issued, comments will be due sixty days thereafter. The full text of the Motion on Electric Choice Activity Reports is available on the NEM Website.

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