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July 23, 2010
NEM Upcoming Events

NEM's Policy Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois, was fantastic. All of ICC Commissioners, as well as ICC Staff, State Representative William Davis, representatives from the Attorney General's office, consumer representatives, as well as NEM members and prospective members participated. Many thanks to Gateway Energy Services, U.S. Gas & Electric, Wal-Mart, DLA Piper and Trumarx Data Partners for sponsoring this Conference.

Please mark your calendar for our next event on October 18-20, 2010, for Harrisburg, PA. The conference will take place at the Hilton Harrisburg on One North Second Street. You may register for the Fall Meeting in Harrisburg at this hotlink.

Our Annual Winter Executive Committee Meeting is scheduled for January 17-19, 2011, in Miami at the famous Doral Hotel and Resort. Many Thanks to Doug Marcille, Vice Chair of NEM’s Executive Committee and CEO of US Gas and Electric for hosting this upcoming Executive Committee Meeting.

BluCo Energy Nominated to NEM Executive Committee

NEM is pleased to announce that BluCo Energy has been nominated to NEM's Executive Committee. BluCo Energy will be represented within NEM by Michael Proscia, President and Dino T. Jardin, Vice President.

BluCo Energy is an ESCO (Energy Service Company) serving the New York Keyspan market. They strive to satisfy their customers every need from intelligent pricing programs to gas boiler service. Bluco Energy is an 80 year old family owned business located in Brooklyn. Always striving to develop better products and services, they have identified another way for their existing customers who own additional gas buildings to save money. Thus they created BluCo Energy with the same customer service and values that built their heating oil division. BluCo Energy is an energy services company, whose mission is to help customers meet their internal rate of return criteria for energy improvements, by, implementing both conventional, renewable and alternative technologies in the housing, healthcare, private schools, and retail mall vertical markets.

New York
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Smart Grid Inquiry

The Commission has opened a new proceeding to examine regulatory policies going forward to support the utilities reasoned investment in smart grid technologies. Specifically, the inquiry is meant, "to determine to what extent further development of regulatory policies should be made to encourage electric utilities to develop smart grid systems that can facilitate the integration of new technologies while optimizing their efficient use of facilities and resources, and producing equitable rates for electric consumers." The Commission identified a number of subjects and related questions pertaining to: Vision for the Smart Grid Design; Implementation Priorities; Engaging Customers; Benefit-Cost Analysis; Cost Uncertainties; Interoperability/Cybersecurity Standards; Consumer Data Privacy/Access; Communications; and Timing. Comments are due September 15, 2010. The full text of the Order Instituting Inquiry is available on the NEM Website.

Order Approving Utility Plans for Remote Access to Customer Information

The Commission issued an Order approving the plans of ConEd, CenHud, O&R and National Grid to provide customers with remote access to their account numbers via an IVR system. The Commission specified, in order to address consumer privacy concerns, that the IVR systems require the customer to input, at most, the last four digit portion of his or her SSN. The utilities must also include a prefatory statement in the IVR prompt asking the customer to enter his or her partial SSN that additionally explains that if the customer does not want to input their SSN that they can retrieve their account number via other means, such as their utility bill.

With respect to cost recovery, the Commission directed that, "Central Hudson, Con Edison, National Grid and O&R will submit to the Secretary, within 60 days of the date of this Order, a report explaining how the costs of their respective programs, if any, will be recovered from ESCOs and providing an implementation time table. If, after consulting with the ESCOs in their respective service territories, Central Hudson, Con Edison, National Grid or O&R cannot devise a workable recovery mechanism, or if the ESCOs determine that the IVR upgrades are not necessary, that utility will report such outcomes, with an explanation, to the Secretary, within 60 days of the date of this Order."

Keyspan must file a report reassessing the estimated costs of an IVR system for customer remote access to account information. NFG and NYSEG/RGE, that had filed web-based proposals, were required to file plans to provide customers with real-time remote access through an IVR system or other mechanism, including detailed cost estimates. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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Tentative Order on Marketing Standards

The Commission issued a Tentative Order on marketing standards. The proposed standards follow largely on the recommendations developed through the electric CHARGE and gas SEARCH stakeholder processes initiated by Staff. Comments on the standards are due August 16th. The Commission mentions repeatedly that the marketing standards in the tentative order are largely a consensus work product.

The following issues are identified as having been non-consensus items in the Tentative Order:
• Requiring a door-to-door agent to physically exit a customer’s residence before the verification process confirming the customer’s consent to the sale takes place;
• Limiting door-to-door marketing and sales activities to 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.;
• Whether a supplier should be required to, or as a courtesy in the supplier’s discretion, contact the distribution company prior to initiating marketing or sales activities that the supplier anticipates may result in telephone calls to the Commission;
• Background checks should include reference to Megan’s Law registry; and
• Verification of customer consent should be maintained for at least 6 billing cycles.

Commissioner Christy also requested comment on his proposal that door-to-door sales to residential and small commercial customers be prohibited. The full text of the Tentative Order is available on the NEM Website.

NEM will convene a conference call on this proceeding as well as the Eligible Customer Lists proposal on July 28th at 10AM EST. Dial in 507-726-4254 and passcode 100015#

Tentative Order on Eligible Customer Lists

The Commissioned issued a tentative Order on Eligible Customer Lists. The Tentative Order delineates a number of specific elements to be included in an eligible customer list (ECL) as consensus items. Other potential elements of an ECL that were non-consensus and for which the Commission has made a tentative finding are:
• Customer telephone numbers should be included on the ECL, except when restricted by customers in accordance with Commission regulations;
• Utilities should provide one-to-one mapping of accounts in the case of system-wide account number changes, rather than including a separate field on the ECL;
• Contact name and address for C&I accounts should not be included on the ECL;
• A rate mitigation plan indicator should not be included on the ECL;
• A field indicating whether a customer is taking POLR service should be included on the ECL;
• A field indicating whether an account has an interval meter should be included on the ECL; and
• The ECL should include fields for current and future capacity and transmission obligations when they are calculated and available.

Comments due August 4th. The full text of the Tentative Order is available on the NEM Website.

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