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May 6, 2011
NEM Comments on EIA Gas Reporting Proposals

NEM filed comments on the proposed three-year extension of "EIA-910, Monthly Natural Gas Marketer Survey" and the proposed new “EIA-910A, Annual Natural Gas Marketer Survey” by the Energy Information Administration ("EIA"). EIA proposed to extend the current monthly reporting obligations under EIA-910 without modification, and to rename the survey as EIA-910M. EIA-910 that is currently in use today collects state-level sales data from retail natural gas marketers on a monthly basis. It collects data on the numbers of residential and commercial customers served, volumes of gas sold (which can be reported in Mcf or therms), and gross receipts data. EIA also proposed to add additional annual reporting of the EIA-910 survey elements in a new survey EIA-910A, which would collect the data on a utility-specific basis rather than a state basis as is used on current EIA-910. NEM expressed concern with the magnitude of the reporting increase. Moreover, the data discrepancy and tracking issues that EIA seeks to address will not be remedied by the proposed new report. EIA proposed to change the data confidentiality protection status of information collected on EIA-910. NEM noted that strong likelihood of substantial competitive injury attendant with the release of this proprietary information of gas marketers, particularly when made available in a company-identifiable form. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

NOPR on Electric Quarterly Reports

FERC issued a proposed rulemaking that would require certain electric market participants that are not subject to Section 205 of the Federal Power Act to file electric quarterly reports (EQRs). This measure is intended to enhance electric market transparency. The NOPR would extend the current requirement for public utilities to file EQRs to non-public utilities with annual wholesale sales of more than 4 million megawatt hours and to non-public utility balancing authorities with 1 million MWh or more in annual wholesale sales. The EQRs summarize contractual terms and conditions in their agreements for cost-based and market-based rate sales and transmission service, as well as transaction information for cost-based and market-based rate sales and transmission capacity reassignments. The NOPR would modify the current EQR filing requirements to include the transaction date, time and type of rate; indicate whether the transaction was reported to an index publisher; identify any broker or exchange used for a sales transaction; and report electronic tag ID data. Comments are due June 28, 2011. The full text of the NOPR is available on the NEM Website.

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SB244 on Consumer Education Initiatives

As was mentioned by Senator Pugh at the NEM National Restructuring Conference last week, the Maryland legislature passed 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.

NEM Comments on Columbia Gas Compliance Plan

NEM filed comments on Columbia's "Rulemaking 35/COMAR 20.59 Compliance Plan, Costs of Compliance and Analysis of Alternatives for the Choice Program." In the filing, Columbia provided five options for “complying” with the Commission’s gas choice regulations. Staff recommended that the utility implement Option B of the choices presented by which, “Columbia implements all COMAR 20.59 regulations with Purchase of Receivables and any other requirements as a result of any order issued by the Commission and recovers those implementation costs through a Rider charged to all customers who are eligible to participate in Columbia’s mass market Choice program.” NEM concurred with the recommendation of Staff that Columbia should be directed to implement Option B. NEM argued that none of the other options offered by Columbia represent anywhere near as much of a bona fide opportunity to support mass market choice in the service territory, which Columbia acknowledges has heretofore garnered only limited participation. Columbia’s preferred Option E to eliminate the choice program for residential customers, after many years notice of the RM35 rulemaking and implementation process, is inappropriate and unwarranted and should be rejected. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

New Jersey
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Board Proposes Readoption of Energy Competition Rules

The Board has proposed readoption of its energy competition rules with certain amendments. The proposal is subsequent to a Staff technical conference and the informal collection of stakeholder comments last year. The energy competition rules pertain to energy anti-slamming (sign up requirements, recordkeeping, complaints); affiliate relations; public utility holding company standards; energy licensing and registration (initial and renewal application requirements and fees); government energy aggregation programs; and retail choice consumer protection (advertising and marketing standards, customer contracts and billing). Comments on the rule readoption are due July 1, 2011. The full text of the Proposed Readoption of Energy Competition Rules is available on the NEM Website.

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