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August 21, 2015
NEM New England Energy Policy Summit

NEM is pleased to announce that it will be hosting its New England Energy Policy Summit on October 12-14, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A welcome reception will be held on the evening of October 12, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and a reception will be held the evening of October 13, 2015, at the Harvard Faculty Club. Please save these dates. An Agenda is hotlinked here. You may register at this hotlink. A block of rooms has been set aside for the event at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge at the NEM rate of $279/night ((617)441-6494).

New York
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Final Market Design and Platform Technology Working Group Report in REV Proceeding

In the Commission's Track One Order in the Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding, it charged the Market Design and Platform Technology Working Group with developing recommendations to be used and referenced by Staff for the utilities' Distributed System Implementation Plans (DSIPs) on near and mid-term Distributed System Platform market design and platform technology issues as well as recommendations to the Commission to facilitate and near and mid-term implementation of the Distributed System Platform (DSP) market. The MDPT Working Group filed its final report.

The report assumes a staged, sequential development of the DSP market, including improvements to distribution system planning, market operations, grid operations and data access.

"A fundamental assumption of the MDPT group was that the DSP market structure, products and the DSP involvement and support of such markets should complement and not replicate the existing markets of the New York Independent System Operator. The report recommends that market participants should continue to have the ability to interact directly with New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) programs. The foundational responsibility of the DSP should be to proactively manage and optimize distribution planning, grid operations, and DER markets at the distribution level – primarily for the purpose of cost effectively maintaining a safe and reliable system.

Accordingly, the overarching DSP mission recommended for the first five years of market development (“Stage 1”), is to effectively procure DERs, using market means to the maximum extent appropriate, to directly address distribution system operational needs, and to avoid or defer the need for future distribution system capacity additions. While the electric utility hosting the DSP function will continue in its role as a retail energy service provider and provider of last resort (POLR) for all utility customers, the specific DSP functions as envisioned in this report do not include the purchase of energy for resell from DER providers. However, the report does call for the DSP to begin investing in platform technologies to enable the functions and capabilities needed to support the continued and accelerated growth of DER markets."

The Report did not recommend functional separation of DSP functions from other utility functions at this time. "[T]he overarching responsibility of the DSP during Stage 1 should be to carry out the planning, operations and market functions necessary to acquire cost effective DER to meet the distribution utility’s short and long term capacity and operational needs.

Given this focused scope of responsibility, there does not appear to be a need for immediate functional separation of the proposed DSP functions from other functions within the utility. However, it will be essential to improve transparency in proposed DSP functions."

Formal comments on the report recommendations may be filed in connection with Staff's DSIP Guidance filing to be made by September 8, 2015. The full text of the MDPT Working Group Report is available on the NEM Website.

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Order on Joint Gas Utility-Supplier Bill

The Commission issued an Order directing the gas utilities to implement changes to facilitate a joint gas utility-supplier bill. These include: the placement of the supplier’s logo on the utility bill; an expansion to the bill messaging space provided to suppliers to four lines; and the inclusion of a Shopping Information Box. The Commission approved the placement of the supplier logo on the bill because it, "reinforces the relationship between the existing customer and the selected NGS." It is up to the supplier's discretion whether to have its logo placed on the bill. The shopping information box shall include: a customer’s account/customer number (whichever is needed to effectuate a switch to an NGS); a customer’s Rate Schedule and an indication that this information is needed when shopping with an NGS; and a reminder to customers to know their contract expiration date. The Commission determined not to require the utilities to include line item charges for supplier value-added services on the bill.

With respect to cost recovery, the Commission found that, "As we believe this information helps all natural gas customers, whether shopping or non-shopping, we will allow for the use of a non-bypassable surcharge for the NGDC recovery of its costs associated with incorporating NGS logos on bills, providing for NGS bill messaging space and including a Shopping Information Box."

The utilities are required to implement these bill enhancements no later than one year from the entry date of the Order. They must also provide a draft of their new bill templates to OCMO at least 45 days in advance of dissemination to customers. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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