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June 26, 2009
Upcoming NEM Conference Calls

Please mark your calendars for the following upcoming NEM conference calls:

Smart grid policy committee - Wednesday, July 1, 2009, at 11AM EST

CFO Forum - Tuesday, July 7, 2009, at 2PM EST

Please use dial-in 913-643-5111 and passcode 209353. Agendas for each call will be mailed separately.

DOE Smart Grid Funding

DOE announced yesterday the release of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for $3.9 billion in smart grid technologies. Of the $3.9 billion in grants, $3.3 billion will be for the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program and $615 million will be for the Smart Grid Demonstration Program. DOE will provide cost-shared grants to support smart grid technology manufacturing, purchasing and installation under the Investment Grant Program. The Demonstration Program is aimed at showing the application of emerging technologies in innovative ways. The maximum award for Investment Grants will be $200 million and the maximum award for Demonstration projects will be $100 million. The FOAs can be viewed on using reference numbers DE-FOA-0000058 and DE-FOA-0000036.

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NEM Comments on Electric Utility POR Plans

NEM filed comments on the compliance plans of BGE, Pepco, Delmarva and Allegheny Power under Rulemaking 17, detailing their election to offer POR. NEM reiterated its support for POR programs to facilitate retail market development. NEM recommended certain refinements to the utilities’ proposed programs:
1) The POR implementation deadlines for all utilities should be consistent and commence no later than the fall of 2009. In the alternative, the utilities should purchase supplier receivables that were outstanding prior to the start of their POR programs or follow Pepco’s program and agree to purchase receivables outstanding at the time of the supplier’s election to use utility consolidated billing. Either approach would facilitate competitive entry and market participation. In so doing, even if the POR programs did not commence until the end of 2009, it would allow suppliers to begin serving Maryland customers in the fall.
2) The utilities’ purchase of receivables should not preclude the continuation of utility billing of non-commodity supplier charges on a consolidated bill. The EDI system currently supports adding those charges to a utility consolidated bill.
3) Customer dispute resolution in a POR program should be handled in accordance with existing Office of External Relations (OER) procedures.
4) The utilities proposed cost recovery methodology appears reasonable on the basis that all consumers benefit from the existence of choice. Cost recovery should be premised on a Commission finding that costs were prudently incurred, actively managed, and are just and reasonable.

NEM also supported the utilities’ provision of bill view access to suppliers and procedures for billing in the event of supplier default as set forth in the utility compliance plans. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

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Order on Referral Program Implementation

The Green Communities Act directed the establishment of a supplier referral program. It required the Department to establish terms and conditions under which a participating competitive supplier may be included in the program by September 1, 2009. Accordingly, the Department has initiated an investigation to review how utilities should inform customers about their options regarding non-utility competitive supply. The purpose of the investigation is to develop model terms and conditions governing the relationship between utilities and competitive suppliers on referral program-related issues.

The utilities are requested to provide proposed revisions to their competitive supplier terms and conditions addressing any changes required to implement this program including: “1. How to offer residential and small commercial customers the option to learn more about their ability to enroll with a participating non-utility competitive supplier upon the occurrence of one of the four specified events [customer contacts with utility]; 2. How to inform interested customers of the available offers; and 3. How “qualifying electric offers” should be listed in utility bills.” The utilities shall file their proposals by July 6, 2009. A stakeholder technical session will be held July 13, 2009, at 2PM to discuss the proposed terms and conditions. Comments on the proposals are due July 20, 2009. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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Procedural Schedule in Consumers Gas Rate Case

At the prehearing conference this week, the ALJ established the following procedural schedule in Consumers gas rate case:

Staff and Intervenor filings - October 22, 2009
Rebuttal filings - November 16, 2009
Motions to Strike - December 4, 2009
Replies to Motions to Strike - December 10, 2009
Cross exam - December 14-18, 2009, and January 5-7, 2010
Initial Briefs - January 27, 2010
Reply Briefs - February 10, 2010
Proposal for Decision - March 24, 2010 (target)
Exceptions - April 7, 2010
Replies to Exceptions - April 21, 2010

The full text of the Consumers Gas Application and Testimony is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Technical Conference on UBP and ConEd ESCO Referral Program

Commission Staff will convene a technical conference on July 8, 2009, at 10AM in the boardroom of the Commission’s Albany Offices. Topics for discussion at the conference include: "1) the Commission’s June 6 Order on Con Ed’s proposal for ESCO Referral at service initiation and the requirement that Con Edison implement the “warm transfer” approach on a pilot basis; (2) access to customer account numbers; (3) follow-up on the UBP Phase II issues and Working Group Reports; and (4) other areas of interest related to the UBP or Retail Access that may be raised by the parties in attendance." The full text of the Notice of Technical Conference is available on the NEM Website.

Order on Keyspan Balancing and Transportation Collaborative Report

The Commission issued an Order approving the Report of the Keyspan Balancing and Transportation Collaborative, subject to certain modifications. The Report proposed monthly and daily balancing systems for transportation customers, with monthly balancing being mandatory for all firm core customers receiving a mandatory assignment of capacity. The new daily balancing system will be implemented by November 1, 2011. The Commission approved certain modifications to the Report. First, Keyspan's GTOP must include information on nomination procedures of transportation volumes consistent with FERC requirements on a daily and intra-day basis. Keyspan must allow for monthly imbalance trading for monthly and daily balanced customers. The Commission also clarified that implementation costs for the new balancing program should receive deferral treatment for future consideration of recovery. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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Smart Meter Standards

Act 129 of 2009 required electric utilities with more than 100,000 customers to file smart meter technology procurement and installation plans with the Commission by August 14, 2009. The Commission issued an Order setting forth minimum smart meter capabilities, guidance on technology deployment, requirements for cost data and implementation deadlines to be included in the utility plans.

Utility smart meter technology must include the following capabilities:
"1) Bidirectional data communications capability.
2) Remote disconnection and reconnection.
3) Ability to provide 15 minute or shorter interval data to customers, EGSs, third parties and the regional transmission organization (“RTO”) on a daily basis, consistent with the data availability, transfer and security standards adopted by the RTO.
4) A minimum of hourly reads delivered at least once per day.
5) On-board meter storage of meter data that complies with nationally recognized non-proprietary standards such as ANSI C12.19 and C12.22 tables.
6) Open standards and protocols that comply with nationally recognized non-proprietary standards, such as IEEE 802.15.4.
7) Ability to upgrade these minimum capabilities as technology advances and becomes economically feasible.
8) Ability to monitor voltage at each meter and report data in a manner that allows EDC to react to the information.
9) Remote programming capability.
10) Communicate outages and restorations.
11) Ability to support net metering of customer-generators.
12) Support automatic load control by EDC, customer and third parties, with customer consent.
13) Support time-of-use and real-time pricing programs.
14) Provide customer direct access to consumption and pricing information."

The Commission also required the electric utilities to provide access to smart meters and data such that retail electric suppliers and third parties must have non-discriminatory, open, non-proprietary, two-way access. Additionally, customers and their representatives must have full electronic access to meter data upon customer consent.

Comments on the utilities' meter plans are due September 25, 2009. Technical conferences on the plans will be held in October 2009, with any needed evidentiary hearings to take place in November 2009. Initial Decisions on the plans will be entered by January 29, 2010, and parties may file exceptions and reply exceptions to the Initial Decisions. The full text of the Implementation Order is available on the NEM Website.

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