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August 2, 2013
NEM CT Policy Leadership Roundtable and Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable

Please save the date for NEM’s CT Policy Leadership Roundtable to be held September 10-11, 2013 (please note: we will be adjourning at 5PM on Sept. 11), at the Hartford Club on 46 Prospect Street, Hartford, Connecticut. Commissioner Esty is confirmed to participate as well as CT State Senator Gary LeBeau, CT State Senator Bob Duff, CT State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Vice Chair of Energy & Technology Committee, CT State Representative Lonnie Reed, Co-Chair of Energy & Technology Committee, CT State Representative Matthew Lesser, CT State Representative Chris Perone and Consumer Counsel Elin Katz. Other top State Officials and Stakeholders have been invited. Registration is available on the NEM Website. NEM has also secured a block of rooms at a special member rate at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, 200 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, Connecticut. The Draft Agenda is available at this hotlink.

Please also plan to attend NEM’s Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable to be held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on October 28-30, 2013. PA PUC Chairman Powell, Vice Chairman Coleman, Commissioner Cawley and Commissioner Witmer are confirmed to participate as well as PA State Representative Jeff Pyle. Governor Corbett and other top State Officials and Stakeholders have also been invited. Registration is now available on the NEM website, and a special NEM rate of $139.00 per night is available at the Hilton Harrisburg (717-237-6408). The Draft Agenda is available at this hotlink.

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Order on Supplier Business Practices

At an agenda meeting held yesterday, the DCPSC issued an Order following on its recent hearing on supplier business practices. NEM was one of the participants in the hearing and recommended that the Commission focus its efforts on supplier workshops to improve compliance and also increased consumer education, particularly in view of increased supplier activity to be expected from Pepco’s introduction of POR, and that the wide-ranging investigation into the business practices of ALL suppliers that was requested by OPC was not warranted given the de minimis level of consumer complaints.

The DCPSC largely adopted NEM’s recommendations. The Commission decided to open an investigation into the practices of one particular supplier, coupled with a cease and desist order, reasoning this action, “will send any necessary signal to the community. If we do not see an improvement in the business practices of energy suppliers we will reconsider whether or not to initiate a general investigation.”

The Commission decided that the better course of action was to review its existing rules, adopted thirteen years ago, in view of the market changes that have taken place. The Commission will issue a NOPR to, “review our existing requirements regarding licensing, billing, security deposits, disconnections and reconnections of service, resolution of formal and informal complaints, enrollment and renewal procedures, termination of contracts, cramming and slamming. Our review will balance two important goals: the development of a healthy competitive market and the enforcement of effective consumer protections.”

The Commission also mentioned that it will be working with suppliers and supplier organizations to ensure that industry participants are aware of consumer protection requirements. It will conduct consumer outreach on energy choice. The Commission will also be establishing an Office of Compliance and Enforcement.

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

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Proposed Revisions to Electric Supplier Rules

The Commission has issued proposed revisions to its electric supplier rules. The proposed revisions to the rules include:

1) changes to the certification requirements;
2) a disclosure statement requirement, including price disclosure format, seven business day rescission period for residential and small commercial customers, and ten calendar day notice requirement for fixed price changes;
3) a thirty calendar day notice requirement for expiration of an initial fixed price contract of a duration of ninety days or longer;
4) restriction on door-to-door sales from 9am to 8pm;
5) a Supplier must perform criminal background checks for "persons and agents" conducting door-to-door sales and marketing activities;
6) Customer authorization to switch can be obtained by written, electronic and verbal means; and
7) Verification of customer authorization of door-to-door or telemarketing sale shall be made through an independent third party verification or supplier's own audio recording of the entire conversation.

Comments are due October 1, 2013. The Commission will convene a public hearing on the proposed rule changes on October 22, 2013. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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