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May 1, 2020
Resolution Introduced on Utility Service

A number of consumer groups have called on the U.S. Congress to include a nationwide moratorium on shutoffs of utility services as part of emergency coronavirus legislation, though recognizing that many states have undertaken such action on their own. In response, a Congressional resolution introduced by a number of Democrat Senators, including Senator Markey, is noteworthy. In a press release on the resolution, Markey stated that "[s]tates have the primary authority to govern electric and gas rates."

The resolution provides that "each relevant State regulatory authority and each electric or natural gas utility that sells electric energy or natural gas to a consumer should ensure that—
(1) no electric or natural gas service to a consumer is terminated;
(2) reasonable efforts are made to safely reconnect electric and natural gas consumers that have lost service;
(3) no electric or natural gas consumer is charged for reconnection services;
(4) late fees and other penalties are waived for electric and natural gas consumers; and
(5) there are no increases in cost-of-service to electric and natural gas consumers."

The full text of the Resolution is available at this link.

RTO/ISO Load Shift Updates

In NYISO’s weekly Load Shift Update in response to COVID19, it reports in general that demand is lower than would be expected across the New York Control Area, with the reduction in commercial demand being the lead driver. NYISO also noted an observed increase in residential use, particularly at midday. Specific trends observed by NYISO in the past week include:

• “New York City hourly demand for the period of April 20 – April 24, ranged from 5% to about 20% below typical levels.
• For weekdays, reductions in electric consumption in New York City averaged 20% below expected levels during the 8 a.m. hour.
• Meanwhile, NYCA-wide peaks averaged 7-8% below expected for the week.
• NYCA-wide reductions in electric consumption compared to typical demand levels ranged from about 3% during the 12 a.m. hour to just under 14% during the 7 a.m. hour.”

NYISO’s Update is available at this link.

ERCOT’s COVID-19 Load Impact Analysis for the week of April 19th reports that:
• “COVID-19 impacts continue to lower daily peaks, while energy use appears to be the same as last week
• Daily peaks decreased by 4 to 5%, except on 4/24, which was the hottest day
• Weekly energy use decreased by 4 to 5%
• Load remains consistently lower during the early morning hours between 6 and 10 a.m. ‒ These loads are currently 6 to 10% lower than what the model would normally predict after accounting for typical model errors.”

ERCOT’s Update is available at this link.

In a mid-April presentation of estimates and analysis of coronavirus-related impacts to electricity demand given by PJM, it reported that “[d]uring weekdays, peak load – the highest point of electricity demand during a given day – registered approximately 8 to 10 percent (or about 7,500 MW) under what would be expected minus COVID-19 social distancing restrictions,” and that the “impact on total daily energy use has been slightly less, with an average weekday decrease of about 7 percent, or about 140 GWh.”

PJM’s Update is available at this link.

For the third week of April (most recent reported week), MISO reports that, “Load reduction for the week is 9.6% lower than normal, rate of reduction has slowed, indicating load reduction may have bottomed out.”

MISO’s Update is available at this link.

ISO-NE released a report on monthly wholesale electricity prices and demand in New England for March 2020. ISO-NE found that, “Mild weather, low fuel prices, and a drop in consumer demand for electricity due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to real-time wholesale power prices in March 2020 being the lowest of any month since the launch of the current market structure in March 2003. Average prices were down 54.4% in the Real-Time Energy Market when compared to the previous year, falling to $16.82 per megawatt-hour (MWh). Prices were down by 54.9% in the Day-Ahead Energy Market when compared to March 2019, averaging $17.18/MWh.”

ISO-NE’s Report is available at this link.

Click here to view all past updates.
Columbia Gas Files Base Rate Case

Columbia Gas of filed a base rate case with the Commission seeking an increase in annual revenues of approximately $100.4 million. The filing proposes an increase to the customer charge, distribution charge and pass through charge for residential sales service and choice service customers (Rate RSS and RDS). The filing proposes an increase to the customer charge and distribution charge for C&I sales and choice customers (Rate SGSS, SCD, and SGDS) using less than or equal to 64,400 therms per year as well as for C&I sales and choice customers (Rate LGSS, SDS, and LDS) using more than 64,400 therms per year.

Columbia proposes a revised proposed Price to Compare resulting from a revised calculation of the Gas Procurement Charge and Merchant Function Charge. The proposed residential PTC would be 0.24451 per therm, and the proposed commercial (less than 64,400 therms/year) PTC would be 0.24209 per therm. Columbia also proposes to modify the tariff to change the cash-out calculation for off-cycle reconciliations that occur when a supplier’s choice aggregation group decreases by 10% or 1,000 customers, to align it with the same rate calculation used for annual reconciliation.

The full text of Columbia’s Filing is available at this link.

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