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May 8, 2009
NEM's 12th Annual Global Energy Forum & Membership Meeting

NEM's 12th Annual Global Energy Forum & Membership Meeting held April 28 & 29, 2009 in Washington, DC was a great success. Many thanks to our event sponsors, speakers and attendees. We greatly appreciate your support. Many commented that it was our best event yet.

Event participants included: Byron Dorgan, U.S. Senate; Jim DeMint, U.S. Senate; James Clyburn, U.S. House Majority Whip; U.S. Congressman Joe Barton, Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Gene Green, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Lee Terry, U.S. Congressman, House Energy and Commerce Committee; H.E. John Bruton, European Commission Ambassador; Aleksei Shishayev, Russian Embassy - Head of Economic Section; Marc Spitzer, FERC Commissioner; Philip Moeller, FERC Commissioner; Garry Brown, NYPSC Chairman; James Cawley, PAPUC Chairman; Alan Schriber, Ohio PUC Chairman; Orjiakor Isiogu, MIPSC Chairman; Donna Nelson, TX PUC Commissioner, Robert Curry, NYPSC Commissioner; Stan Wise, GAPSC Commissioner; Erin O'Connell-Diaz, Illinois Commerce Commissioner; James Kendall, EIA Natural Gas Division Director; Katherine Pugh, Maryland Senate; Eric Matheson, PAPUC Energy Advisor; John Hofmeister, Citizens for Affordable Energy; and Chris Hendrix, General Manager, Competitive Energy - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc..

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Substitute HB 6636 Passes House to Restrict Electric Choice

The House overwhelmingly passed substitute HB 6636 that would eliminate electric choice for customers 100 kw and below (except for those customers with existing choice contracts). The electric choice provisions were amended to a clean energy bill. Senate leadership has indicated that they need to hear from consumer constituents in support of electric choice in order to get the bill defeated when it comes to that Chamber.

The bill would also allow the cost of renewable projects at the DPUC's discretion to be included in nonbypassable federally mandated congestion charges (FMCC). These charges apply to all customers, including customers served by competitive suppliers. Under the current law, the electric company can recover the cost of the contracts in its rate standard service (the service it provides to small and medium-size customers who have not chosen a competitive supplier).

The bill would allow utilities to make alternative energy offerings, in direct competition with competitive suppliers.

The full text of Subst. HB 6636 is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Commission Requests Comments on Implementation of 18-a Assessment

The NYPSC issued a detailed request for comments on implementation of the 18-a assessment. The Notice raises particular implementation issues for comment, these include:

1- how utilities should estimate ESCO revenues, as added to its own, for the purpose of calculating the total revenue base - Staff recommends that utilities estimate ESCO revenues by multiplying the known amount of electric or gas delivered to ESCO customers by the commodity supply price charged by the company for sales to its bundled sales customers;
2- recovery mechanism - Staff recommends collection of the assessment through a surcharge;
3- rate design - Staff recommends cost be allocated to each customer class as a function of its contribution to the entity's totla revenues including delivery and supply charges;
4- reconciliation - Staff proposes an annual reconciliation based on sales variations; and
5- utility filing requirements.

As per the notice, requests to be added to the service list are due May 8, 2009, and initial comments are due May 15, 2009. The Notice also includes a copy of the law amending 18-a and PSL 18-a itself. The full text of the Request for Comments is available on the NEM Website.

Proposed EDI Changes to Transmit Budget Bill Data

The Commission is accepting comments on proposed changes to EDI transaction standards to allow marketers to transmit certain budget billing information to a utility for presentation on consolidated bills. Specifically, the changes would add two new data segments to the TS810 Invoice - Utility Bill Ready Transaction Standard to enable marketers to transmit cumulative actual charges and budget plan installments billed to date for presentation on the marketer portion of a customer’s consolidated bill when that customer is on a budget plan for marketer charges. Minor housekeeping changes are also proposed to the text of the notes in certain existing data segments for consistency. Comments are due June 15, 2009. The full text of the Proposal is available on the NEM Website.

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Proposed Rulemaking on Standard Tariffs, Business Rules and Practices for Gas Utilities

The Commission issued another proposed rulemaking stemming from the gas SEARCH process to faciliate competition in the retail gas market. The proposed rulemaking would direct the gas utilities to submit standard supplier coordination tariffs (SCTs) and implement more standardized business practices with respect to imbalance trading, tolerance bands, cash out and penalties, nominatons and capacity. A stakeholder process will function concurrently with the rulemaking to develop a standard SCT and best business practices. To get the stakeholder process started, a straw proposal SCT and business practices will be issued for comment. The stakeholder process will be completed by August 1, 2009. The proposed rulemaking also establishes a working group to develop communication standards and formats. The full text of the Proposed Rulemaking is available on the NEM Website. Comments are due 45 days after publication of the proposed regulations in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

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Commission Adopts REP Certification Rules

The Commission recently approved changes to its REP certification requirements. NEM previously filed comments expressing its concern about the proposal to significantly increase credit and technical and managerial requirements for REPs. In the final version, the Commission reduced the credit requirement (initially proposed as a $3 million liquid capital requirement), so that a REP can satisfy financial requirements by either: 1) demonstration of at least $1 million of shareholders' equity and an irrevocable letter of credit of $500,000 from the REP or its guarantor; 2) an investment grade credit rating; or 3) tangible net worth of $100 million or greater, a minimum current ratio of 1.0, and a debt to total capitalization ratio not greater than 0.60.

The Commission also modified technical and managerial requirements for REPs. This includes the requirement for principals or permanent employees in managerial postions with combined competitive electric industry experience of fifteen years. Also, the REP must have at least one principal or permanent employee with five years of energy commodity risk management experience for a substantial portfolio (alternately, the REP can contract for commodity risk management services).

The full text of the REP Certification Rules are available from NEM headquarters.

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