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August 22, 2008
Upcoming NEM Meeting Dates

Please save the date for NEM's Fall Leadership Roundtable. The meeting will take place October 28-29, 2008, and will be hosted by IDT Energy at their offices located at 520 Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. NYPSC Chairman Garry Brown is invited, and NYPSC Commissioner Robert Curry and NYPSC Staff are confirmed to participate. A Draft Agenda is available at this hotlink.

NEM's Winter Executive Committee Meeting will be held at Infinite Energy/Intelligent Energy headquarters at 7001 SW 24th Avenue in Gainesville, Florida. The meeting will take place January 20-21, 2009.

NEM's 12th Annual Global Energy Forum & Membership Meeting will be held April 28 & 29, 2009. The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites Washington D.C. - Convention Center located at 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC.

This year we are working on expanding our Global Energy Forum to include an exposition for our member sponsors and other new and innovative companies from all segements of the energy suppply and demand chain, to include booth and exposition space. We are working with a new organization on this expansion of our meeting format.

A block of rooms has been reserved for NEM members at the rate of $279 per night. Contact 202-719-1421 for reservations.

Order on NYISO Tariff Filing to Address Lake Erie Loop Flows

The Commission issued an Order accepting NYISO's exigent circumstances tariff filing to preclude the practice of certain market participants that were scheduling transactions in circuitous routes around Lake Erie to take advantage of differences in RTO pricing for transactions that exit their systems. The tariffs are effective July 22, 2008, through November 18, 2008. The Commission encourages stakeholders to develop long-term solutions to the loop flow problem via a collaborative process. From an operational standpoint, FERC also encouraged parties responsible for operating the Ontario-Michigan phase angle regulators (PARs) to place the operational PARs in service as soon as practical.

The Commission noted that its Office of Enforcement began a non-public investigation in May 2008 to examine the scheduling of flows over the circuitous paths at issue. FERC said it would determine whether further action is needed after conclusion of the investigation. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

Columbia Gas Transmission Withdraws MLI Filing, Shippers Withdraw Complaint

Earlier this summer, Columbia Gas Transmission and a group called Columbia Shippers made filings with FERC related to Columbia's announced plan to significantly add to its Master List of Interconnect points (MLIs). Columbia made a proposed tariff filing the purpose of which it said was, "to clarify the historic nature of MLIs, its historic practice regarding its use of those MLIs, and its ability to change the list of MLIs without first seeking Commission approval . . ." The Columbia Shippers complaint argued that Columbia's unilateral changes to its MLIs violated the Natural Gas Act, precedent, and Commission regulations and that Columbia's failure to disclose the MLI revisions in filing its "Navigates"-driven tariff changes was also violative of Commission regulation.

Subsequent to an August technical conference on the subject, Columbia Gas has withdrawn its tariff filing and the Columbia Shippers have withdrawn their complaint. The withdrawals are premised upon Columbia's agreement that, "it would not implement any changes to the composition of MLIs without a formal filing with the Commission," as well as its agreement to, "allow shippers to review in advance a draft of any filing to change the composition of MLIs and provide feedback prior to filing." The full texts of the Columbia Gas and Columbia Shippers Withdrawals are available on the NEM Website.

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Commission Initiates Proceeding on Electric "Gap RFPs"

The Commission initiated a proceeding to, "investigate the process and criteria for developing and having Maryland Investor-Owned Electric Utilities (IOUs) issue one or more Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to obtain additional generation to avoid potential capacity shortfalls in Maryland if certain transmission lines projects are not completed as currently contemplated by 2011 and 2012." The Commission refers to these as "Gap RFPs." The Commission raised a number of issues for comment including: 1) size, timing and location of potential capacity shortfall; 2) eligible resources; 3) RFP development and approval process; 4) cost recovery and cost allocation; and 5) appropriate contract terms. Comments are due September 12, 2008, and reply comments are due September 19, 2008. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

Retail Gas Market Conference

The Commission will convene a retail gas market conference on September 23, 2008, at 10AM. The purpose of the conference is to review preparations for meeting winter gas market demand, expected market conditions for the 2008-09 winter, and the implementation and operation of gas hedging programs. "To the extent competitive conditions allow, the Commission further welcomes information from suppliers." The conference will be held in the Commission's 16th Floor Hearing Room in Baltimore. The full text of the Notice is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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NEM Comments on Proposed Expansion of ConEd Referral Program

As was required in its last electric rate case Order, ConEd filed a report on the feasibility of expanding its ESCO referral program to include those contacting the utility for new service. ConEd concluded that it is feasible to expand the program. NEM submitted comments supporting the expansion of ConEd's referral program to new service customers, noting the success of the utility's current retail access program in facilitating consumers participation in energy choice. NEM argued that expanding the program to new service customers could aid a great deal in leveling the playing field for marketers vis a vis the incumbent utility. NEM submitted certain clarifying questions about the proposal to assist the stakeholders in expeditiously designing and implementing an expanded referral program. NEM argued that program costs should be recoverable as a nonbypassable charge from all customers, inasmuch as referral programs such as this effectuate State and Commission policies in favor of consumer energy choice. The full text of NEM's Comments is available on the NEM Website.

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Commission Approves Vectren Standard Service Offer Auction Results

The Commission reviewed the results of the recently conducted auction to establish a Standard Service Offer (SSO) price for Vectren, in replacement of its gas cost recovery mechanism, and determined the results were reasonable and should be approved. The auction determined the Retail Price Adjustment to which will be added the NYMEX settlement price for the prompt month to arrive at the monthly SSO price. The Retail Price Adjustment was set at $2.35 per Mcf for an eighteen month term beginning October 1, 2008. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

Proposed Rulemaking on Alternative Energy

The Commission issued a third proposed rulemaking stemming from SB221, this time concerning alternative energy. The rulemaking would add new regulations pertaining to energy efficiency and demand reduction benchmarks, an alternative energy portfolio standard, and greenhouse gas reporting and carbon dioxide control planning. Comments are due September 9, 2008, and reply comments are due September 26, 2008. The full text of the Proposed Rules is available on the NEM Website.

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Commission Releases Electric Price Comparison Estimates and Announces Energy Price Hearing

As previously announced, the Commission released its estimated comparison of current electric market prices and utility capped rates currently paid by customers. The Commission notes that the comparison illustrates two trends: "current market prices are higher than existing capped rates for the remaining utilities subject to rate caps, and, secondly, market rates can and do fluctuate considerably from day to day, and month to month." In response, the Commission points to a number of mitigation measures including removing barriers to retail choice, energy efficiency, demand response, procurement of default service supply using a portfolio approach, rate mitigation programs, low income programs and consumer education. The comparison is based on the average of the NYMEX PJM on- and off-peak 12-month futures price strip. The Commission also specifically noted its expectation that, "large industrial and commercial customers that acquire their supply from competitive retail electric generation suppliers will likely be able to secure supply at rates below the prices provided by these models. Large customers are encouraged to proactively engage competitive suppliers to obtain further estimates for electricity for the post-rate cap period." The full text of the PUC Electric Price Estimates is available on the NEM Website.

On a related note, the Commission also announced that it will convene a special hearing on energy prices. The hearing will take place September 11, 2008, at 12:30PM in Hearing Room 1 of the Commission's Harrisburg offices. The purpose of the hearing is to raise consumer awareness of rising energy prices and strategies to prepare. More detail on the hearing will be forthcoming.

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Proposed Rulemaking on Consumer Contract Disclosures

The Commission issued a proposed rulemaking on enhanced consumer contract disclosures. Amongst the questions raised by the Commission, is whether to allow products for residential and small commercial customers that do not have a method for determining the price from publicly available data or otherwise independent from the marketer's proprietary knowledge. The Commission also asked, if it retains a variable price product, whether additional consumer protections are needed. The use of a 50 kW threshold for allowing waiver of standard protections was also raised. Comments on the proposed rules are due September 29, 2008, and reply comments are due October 13, 2008. A public hearing will be held on October 10, 2008, if requested. The full text of the Proposed Rulemaking is available on the NEM Website.

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