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August 23, 2019
NEM Fall Leadership Roundtable and Executive Committee Meeting

NEM will convene a Fall Leadership Roundtable and Executive Committee Meeting on October 16-18, 2019, at The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Confirmed Speakers thus far include:
• Neil Chatterjee, Chairman, FERC
• Andy Ott, Chairman, PJM
• Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, Chairman, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
• Norman Kennard, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
• Andrew Place, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
• John Coleman, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
• Bob Burns, Chairman, Arizona Corporation Commission
• Obi Linton, Commissioner, Maryland Public Service Commission
• Don Dodge, Developer Advocate, Google
• John Chambers, Chairman Emeritus, CISCO, CEO, JC2 Ventures
• Christian Belady, P.E. General Manager, Microsoft

The room block is now set up to accept reservations at The Hotel Hershey. The room block cut-off date is Friday, September 20, 2019. Reservations can be made by calling 855-729-3108 and asking for the room block for the NEM Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable 2019 at The Hotel Hershey. Alternatively, reservations can be made at this link.

A draft agenda is available at this link.

You may register at this link.

Click here to view all past updates.
Commissioners Respond to Chairman Proposal that Staff Prepare Full Retail Electric Competition Rules Package

Two weeks ago, Chairman Burns filed a letter in the retail electric competition docket to "request that Staff put together a rules package for full retail electric competition for all customers. This rules package should be docketed by January 10, 2020; in time to be discussed (not voted) no later than the Commission's February 2020 Open Meeting." Chairman Burns requested that the other Commissioners respond to the proposal by August 30th, to be included for discussion at a future Staff Open Meeting.

Chairman Burns acknowledged that there are many questions deserving study related to retail electric competition, including RTO membership; consumer protection rules; transition to full retail electric competition; utility divestiture of generation assets; meeting renewable energy standards; and legal issues. Chairman Burns maintained that a "proposed rule package should be presented prior to all the questions being addressed completely. . . [because] without a full rules package before us, I believe that we will just continue to ask questions that will have no meaningful answers because we have no rules which to gauge those answers against."

Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Kennedy and Commissioner Marquez Peterson filed responses to Chairman Burns' proposal.

Commissioner Olson supported the process proposed by Chairman Burns. "I agree completely that the Commission can and should investigate all of the issues involving a transition to competition. That investigation can run concurrent with a revision of the Competitive Rules. That process should be ongoing, and I encourage Staff to aid in the process by docketing any proposed rule changes when they become available." Commissioner Olson additionally suggested that the Commission should move ahead with scheduling additional workshops on specific issues such as "the ideal role of the incumbent utility in a competitive model, Arizona's participation in an ISO or RTO, best consumer protection practices, and the development of new generation in a competitive model."

Commissioner Kennedy noted her "agreement with Chairman Burns in the issues he has raised in his letter of August 13, 2019." She cautioned that the Commission should take an informed, deliberative approach to examining retail electric competition, in view of "the states that have attempted competition and seem to be having second thoughts, but are now finding it hard to find their way back to where they were before allowing competition." Commissioner Kennedy requested that Staff examine how Community Choice Aggregation would be implemented. She also asked Staff "to explore as part of the rules, a proposal for a test area of about 20 square miles that would allow retail competition for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. This could provide an opportunity to test competition and the market to determine what problems or issues might arise."

Commissioner Marquez Peterson characterized Chairman Burns approach as "putting the cart before the horse" and expressed concern that it would "unnecessarily burden an already overworked and understaffed Utilities Division, as well as threaten our ability to adopt ideal policies by prematurely anchoring our discussions to a defined proposal."

Commissioner Marquez Peterson suggested that at the next Staff meeting the Commissioners discuss:
1) A firm deadline for Commissioners to submit their questions on retail electric competition for Staff to distribute to stakeholders;
2) A firm deadline for the submission of stakeholder responses to Commissioner questions;
3) Commissioner identification of which topics they feel warrant consideration in a future issue-specific workshop; and
4) A "deliberate time table" for these future issue-specific workshops to be held.

The full texts of Chairman Burns' Letter and the Responses of Commissioner Olson, Commissioner Kennedy and Commissioner Marquez Peterson are available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Order on Energy Storage Pilot Program

As required under the recently enacted Energy Storage Pilot Project Act, the Commission issued an Order establishing an energy storage pilot program. Each electric utility must solicit offers to develop energy storage projects and then submit applications for those projects to the Commission for approval.

Applications must include: best estimates of cost and savings; project location; project size and duration; primary and secondary applications; business model selected for the project; project developer, engineering, procurement and construction firm information; type of energy storage technology; process used by the utility to solicit offers for the project; and any other information required by the Commission. An application must also address the impact of the project on state policy goals, including environmental and clean energy objectives, and the development of the state retail energy market. The PC44 Energy Storage Working Group was directed to develop and propose metrics on environmental and clean energy objectives and impacts on the retail energy market by December 31, 2019, for use in evaluating project proposals.

Utilities agreed to submit project applications by April 15, 2020, and a stakeholder hearing to review the project proposals will be held July 2020.

The full texts of the Order and Proof of Regulatory Concept Program Proposal Timeline are available on the NEM Website.

New Jersey
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Draft 2019 Energy Master Plan Additional Stakeholder Meetings

The Board announced it has scheduled additional stakeholder meetings on the 2019 Draft Energy Master Plan for gathering comment. Stakeholder meetings will now be held on September 3rd, 5th and 12th. Written comments will be accepted through September 16th.

The Board has identified various topics and related issues for comment including:

Modernizing the Grid and Utility Infrastructure
* How should New Jersey approach the modernization of the current utility model (e.g., decoupling or performance incentives, rate design, smart grid technology, demand response)?
* How should the Board consider planning and paying for upgrades to the electricity distribution system, including Distributed Energy Resource (DER) connections; EV charging; and utilities’ recuperation of cost?
* What best practices should New Jersey consider and which pitfalls should the state avoid regarding data ownership and privacy as it pertains to Advanced Metering Infrastructure?

Maximizing Energy Efficiency and Conservation and Reducing Peak Demand
* New Jersey is currently targeting annual energy efficiency gains of 2% in the electricity sector and 0.75% in the gas sector. Should New Jersey be more aggressive in approaching its energy efficiency goals? Why or why not, how much annually is feasible, and how long of a ramp up period is needed?
* What are the strengths and weaknesses of the utility-run energy efficiency programs, third-party supplier-run energy efficiency programs, and state run programs that the Board should consider?
* How can the state ensure equitable access to and benefit from energy efficiency programs for all residents?

Accelerating Deployment of Renewable Energy and Distributed Energy Resources
* New Jersey is currently targeting the installation of 3,500 MW of offshore wind generation by 2030, but there is likely room for much more growth. Can New Jersey achieve more? Why or why not, and if so, how much is feasible? What concerns and barriers must be addressed in developing this resource?
* How should New Jersey address the solar and NJ Class I cost cap established in the Clean Energy Act?
* Does the allowance in the current RPS on the use of unbundled Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) interfere with state efforts to incentivize in-state renewable energy power generation?
* Which policy mechanisms do you recommend the state implement to lower the cost of capital for in-state renewable energy power generation?
* What policy, legislative, or regulatory mechanisms can New Jersey develop to ensure that it can most cost-effectively pursue a 100% carbon neutral power sector?

The full text of the Notice is available on the NEM Website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Petitions to Re-Establish SCO as Default Service for DEO Customers

In 2008, the Commission authorized DEO to implement phase two of its plan to exit the merchant function, in which DEO implemented a standard choice offer (SCO), wherein suppliers bid for the right to supply gas in tranches to choice-eligible customers at a retail level. Subsequently, in 2013, the Commission authorized DEO to discontinue the availability of its SCO to choice-eligible non-residential customers beginning in April 2013. With respect to residential customers, those whose marketer contract or aggregation program has expired can enroll with a marketer or aggregation program or choose the SCO. However, if the residential customer does not choose one of these options, the customer is randomly assigned to a marketer on the Monthly Variable Rate (MVR).

OCC filed a motion with the Commission requesting that the SCO be re-established as the default service for all choice-eligible residential customers and to eliminate the MVR applicable to certain residential customers who have not selected a supplier, governmental aggregation program, or the SCO. OCC argued that "if marketers were forced to compete with the lower-priced Standard Choice Offer instead of the Monthly Variable Rate, they would be better incentivized to improve their service and/or lower their rates to attract Ohio customers. The more expensive Monthly Variable Rate does not provide those incentives for consumer protection, especially when customers default to the Monthly Variable Rate and are assigned to random marketers. Instead, the Monthly Variable Rate is resulting in excessive charges for some consumers."

OPAE similarly filed a motion requesting that the Commission reestablish the SCO as the default service for all DEO customers, nonresidential and residential. OPAE maintains that the "MVR as a default service is negatively affecting all Ohioans by allowing the random assignment of customers to MVRs not set in the competitive market. The MVR as the default service denies customers access to the SCO, which is set in a competitively bid auction and has resulted in substantially lower prices than the non-market based MVRs."

A procedural schedule has been established for review of the motions.

Motions to intervene - September 27, 2019
Comments and/or memoranda contra the motions - October 4, 2019
Reply comments and/or replies to memoranda contra - October 18, 2019
Direct testimony - October 25, 2019
Evidentiary hearing - November 5, 2019

The full texts of the OCC and OPAE Motions and Procedural Schedule are available on the NEM Website.

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