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May 13, 2011
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Investigation into Availability of POR

The Commission opened an investigation into a POR program at Pepco. Specifically, the Commission requests comment, "on whether, and to what extent, our rules should be revised to permit or require POR for retail electric suppliers."

The Commission noted arguments in support and opposition of POR as follows: "Advocates of POR believe it allows retail electric suppliers to more easily serve residential and small commercial customers by eliminating the need for suppliers to conduct significant credit checks and instead allow them to rely on basic credit checks, or simply rely on the utility's existing credit check and payment collection capabilities. A potential result, according POR advocates, is an increase in suppliers entering the market and a broadened customer base willing to switch to competitive suppliers. Conversely, opponents of POR believe that it may be overly burdensome to utilities and result in costs being passed on to customers. Opponents believe that POR provides a disincentive to suppliers to follow prudent credit practices and minimizes the financial exposure to suppliers. Specifically, under POR, the risk for collecting unpaid debt is shifted from suppliers to utilities and may, in the opponents' view, result in adverse billing disputes in instances where suppliers provide inaccurate billing information to the utility. Such inaccurate information, according to opponents, may result in attempts to collect on an inaccurate amount or erroneous termination of service to the customer."

Comments are due June 6, 2011, and reply comments are due June 20, 2011. The full text of the Notice of Inquiry is available on the NEM Website.

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Governor Approves SB244 on Consumer Education Initiatives

This week Governor O'Malley approved SB244 on consumer education initiatives on electric energy choice. SB244 directs the Commission to establish a consumer education section on its website that includes a description of customer choice, how to shop, types of competitive electric supply options available, and current SOS prices. The website shall also include fact sheets with common questions about choice and required supplier disclosures. The website shall include a list of suppliers with "open offers to supply electricity in a customer's service area." Suppliers are to provide on at least a montly basis, detailed information on the "open offer" via a secure portal to the website. The Commission is also charged with developing public service announcements and reporting to the legislature on its efforts to educate consumers. The Commission is required to convene a workgroup by July 1, 2011, for the purpose of developing recommendations to implement these consumer education initiatives. The full text of SB244 is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Petition on Electric Utilities Presentation of Price to Compare

A petition was filed with the Commission pertaining to the electric utilities' presentation of Price to Compare information on the Commission's Power to Choose website. The petition argues that the current electric utility monthly price reporting is "confusing, inaccurate and misleading." It was suggested that the Power to Choose website only display electric residential pricing available from marketers, without any utility pricing. It was further suggested that, "at a minimum, it would behoove the Commission that those electric utilities who do not forecast a price for the beginning of the month but calculate the charges after the billing cycle is completed, should not post any prices on the web site." Comments are due June 27, 2011. The full text of the Petition is available from NEM headquarters.

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AEP Electric Security Plan

In response to a remand from the Ohio Supreme Court requiring the Commission to reexamine elements of AEP's electric security plan, the Commission directed AEP to file proposed revised tariffs that would remove provider of last resort (POLR) charges and certain environmental carrying cost charges associated with investments made 2001-2008. AEP filed the proposed revised tariffs but did so under protest, subject to other simultaneous filings it was making. AEP filed a petition for rehearing questioning the procedural aspects of the Commission's Order. AEP also filed motions to establish a procedural schedule for the remand proceeding requesting the Commission to hold the proposed revised tariffs in abeyance pending the remand. Alternatively, AEP requests that the Commission prospectively convert the existing POLR charge and environmental charge to being collected subject to refund. The full texts of the Order and AEP Filings are available on the NEM Website.

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