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May 24, 2013
NEM Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable

Please plan to attend NEM’s Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable to be held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on October 28-30, 2013. The Chairman of the PAPUC has confirmed his participation and has invited the other Commissioners, key staff, and the Governor’s office to attend. Registration is now available on the NEM website, and a special NEM rate of $139.00 per night is available at the Hilton Harrisburg (717-237-6408).

New York
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Commission Opens Electric Vehicle Proceeding

The Commission opened a proceeding, "to review policies that may impact consumer acceptance and use of electric vehicles and to further develop the Commission’s policies regarding electric vehicles and the services and infrastructure that they require." The proceeding will begin with an examination of whether the Commission, "will assert or disclaim jurisdiction over publicly available Charging Stations, over their operators, or over the transaction between their operators and members of the public."

In examining this issue, the Commission has issued the following questions for comment:

"Jurisdiction over Charging Stations:
1. To what extent and in what ways would the development of consumer acceptance and use of electric vehicles and of the supporting services for electric vehicles be affected by the Commission’s determination that it does or does not have direct jurisdiction over publicly available Charging Stations, their operators or the transaction between publicly available Charging Station operators and members of the public?
2. In determining whether the provisions of the Public Service Law provide it with jurisdiction, should the Commission consider the manner in which a customer is billed for electric vehicle charging services, e.g., per kWh, per hour, day, month, etc?
3. If the commenter argues that the Commission should assert jurisdiction over publicly available Charging Stations and their operators, how should the Commission exercise that jurisdiction? For example, should public Charging Stations and their operators be subject to rate regulation?

Utilities as Owners or Operators of Charging Stations:
4. Should the Commission allow electric distribution utilities operating in New York State to own or operate Charging Stations:
a. as part of their regulated operations?
b. segregated from their regulated operations, treating Charging Station assets as nonutility property and revenues and expenses related to Charging Station operations as revenues and expenses from nonutility operations?
5. Should unregulated affiliates of electric distribution utilities operating in New York State own or operate Charging Stations?

Impact of PEV charging on Electric Infrastructure:
6. State-wide, the number of PEVs has increased from 962 in May 2012 to 3,931 in April 2013. Based on Department of Motor Vehicle Records, the concentration of PEVs by zip code can be ascertained.
a. What steps can be taken to ensure that utilities are aware of new EVCE locations so they can proactively address any necessary distribution facility upgrades?
b. What customer privacy concerns need to be addressed?
c. If distribution facility upgrades are necessary to accommodate PEV charging, should such costs be shared among all customers (i.e., rate-based), or allocated in some other way?
d. At what level of PEV use would there be transmission level performance impacts? Are there any strategies that could minimize such impacts?
e. To what extent can the State’s solar photovoltaic (PV) policies, under the NY Sun initiative, be utilized to offset potential increases in peak demand that may result from the expanded use of EVCE, particularly at publicly available charging stations?

Utility Metering and Rate Issues:
7. How should the Commission exercise its regulatory authority to ensure that PEV charging, both at Charging Stations and in private locations, occurs in a manner that is consistent with grid capabilities, e.g., through time of use (TOU) or other rate structures?
8. Do existing rate structures need to be modified to accommodate the evolution of the PEV market? Are additional measures needed to increase the use of TOU rates for EVCE?
9. What additional metering policies or protocols (e.g., dual metering, submetering) may be needed to accommodate various EVCE options?

Consumer Issues:
10. What risks face consumers in the market for EV charging services and how does, or should the market or other entities address those risks?
11. To what extent should outreach efforts integrate PEV and solar PV information?"

Comments are due July 8, 2013. The full text of the Notice of New Proceeding is available on the NEM Website.

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Tentative Order on Fixed Price Labels for Electric Products

The Commission issued a Tentative Order on the appropriate use of the term "fixed price" in reference to electric products that have pass-through provisions in customer contracts. The Tentative Order opines that, "presenting a product as having a fixed price that in fact can vary for any number of reasons could be seen as misleading." The Commission was also concerned with customer confusion and dissatisfaction and the potential adverse effect on the market.

The current definitions of fixed and variable price in the Electric Competition Dictionary are as follows:

Fixed price: A fixed electricity rate will remain the same, for a set period of time.
Variable price: A variable electricity rate can change, by the hour, day, month, etc. according to the terms and conditions in the supplier's disclosure statement.

The following are proposed remedies to address the "fixed price" label as currently used:
1- ban the use of the "fixed price" label for contracts incorporating regulatory out clauses or pass through provisions and term that as variable prices.
2- revise the definition of "fixed price" to recognize it may include a provision to call for the pass through of additional costs as a result of regulatory changes.
3- create a new term of "Long-Term Energy Price" to be defined as one that locks the energy price for a set term but with other components subject to variability based on market and regulatory changes.
4- create a new term of "X-Year Price with Pass-Through Clause." If a supplier invokes the clause, they would be required to provide advance notice to affected customers.

The Tentative Order also proposes to change the Electric Competition Dictionary definitions as follows:
Fixed Price: An all-inclusive price that will remain the same, for a set period of time of at least three billing cycles.
Variable Price: An all-inclusive variable electricity price that can change by the hour, day month, etc. according to the terms and conditions in the supplier's disclosure statement.
Price With Pass-Through Clause: An all-inclusive price subject to change based on various factors as specifically described in a "pass-through clause" in the supplier's disclosure statement.
The Commission requested comment on whether a definition of "introductory price" was needed to be added to the Dictionary.

Comments on the Tentative Order are due June 24, 2013. The full text of the Tentative Order is available on the NEM Website.

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