August 30, 2019
|NEM Retail Energy and Advanced Technology Forum and Executive Committee Meeting|
NEM will convene a Retail Energy and Advanced Technology Forum 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
• K.R. Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Bloom Energy
• 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 last week. As discussed in last week's update, Commissioner Olson supported the proposal for Staff to prepare a rules package on full retail electric competition. Commissioner Kennedy advocated for an "informed, deliberative approach to examining retail electric competition," and Commissioner Marquez Peterson expressed concerns about moving ahead without first obtaining additional stakeholder input on various issues.
Commissioner Dunn responded to Chairman Burns' proposal this week. He similarly expressed concern about asking Staff to prepare a rules package without first obtaining more information on various issues.
"At this time, I still have many issues to be resolved before I am ready to direct staff to prepare a rules package in any form.
I have raised a variety of issues that need more investigation. Broadly, these topics include consumer protection, RTOs, renewables, rate impacts, and CCAs. As of today, these issues have yet to be resolved.
At the July workshop, we directed Commission Staff to perform a comprehensive review of retail electric competition in other jurisdictions. At the August staff meeting, we agreed to docket questions for staff and stakeholders. It would be beneficial to wait until we have all the data before we consider drafting the rules."
Commissioner Dunn suggested it would be beneficial to discuss next steps at a future Staff meeting.
The full texts of Chairman Burns' Letter, Commissioner Dunn's Response 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.
|Supreme Court Arguments on Energy Choice Amendment Ballot Initiative|
The Attorney General of Florida petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for an opinion as to whether the text of the proposed energy choice amendment ballot initiative complies with legal requirements that it address a single subject and that the ballot title and summary accurately informs voters of the purpose of the amendment. The utilities, the Commission and other parties filed briefs in response to the AG's petition opposing the amendment. Competitive Suppliers, including NEM and NEM members, filed briefs in support of the initiative and explaining how the ballot language is indeed in compliance with legal requirements. Moreover, in response to superfluous and misleading arguments filed by opponents, the Competitive Suppliers explained how the ballot initiative is premised on the successful Texas retail electric market; how the economic justification for utility monopoly in generation and related services no longer exists; the costs and risks borne by captive ratepayers in markets without energy choice; and the benefits to be realized by allowing consumers to shop for energy choice.
This week, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments from the ballot initiative proponent and supporters as well as the opponents. Questions from the Justices touched upon:
1) the average consumer's understanding of the changes associated with the introduction of retail electric competition;
2) a ballot summary doesn't have to advise voters of any and all outcomes, it just has to fairly inform the voters;
3) whether a ballot that effects the legislature and judiciary is a "single subject"?
4) is a ballot misleading if it communicates the chief purpose but the myriad potential particularized outcomes are not?;
5) what constitutes an "investor owned utility" under the amendment and is there somehow a language inconsistency related to the requirement to divest generation assets;
6) will voters understand the role of the public service commission in setting rates and whether rates will be judicially reviewable;
7) is there a lack of clarity in the amendment text related to the right to sell;
8) is there a disconnect between the amendment language regarding customer choice on one hand but restrictions imposed on IOU functions, i.e., would a reasonable voter understand a "choice" cannot include FPL?
The full text of the Stakeholder Briefs are available at this link.
Click here to view all past updates.
|SB651 Signed by Governor|
The Governor signed SB651 into law this week, imposing new restrictions on supplier certification and product offerings and expanding consumer protection requirements. SB651 provides that:
1) The Commission shall grant alternative retail electric supplier (ARES) certification based on a verified application including "whether the applicant is the subject of any lawsuit filed in a court of law or formal complaint filed with a regulatory agency alleging fraud, deception, or unfair marketing practices or other similar allegations, and if the applicant is the subject of such suit or formal complaint, the applicant shall identify the name, case number, and jurisdiction of each lawsuit or complaint."
2) ARES applicants shall maintain a license bond of $30,000 to serve only nonresidential customers with maximum electric demands of one megawatt or more; $150,000 to serve only nonresidential customers with annual electrical consumption greater than 15,000 kWh; or $500,000 to serve all eligible customers.
3) Alternative gas supplier (AGS) applicants shall maintain a license bond of $150,000 to serve only nonresidential customers or $500,000 to serve all eligible customers.
4) ARES and AGS applicants must submit an additional $500,000 bond if the supplier intends to market to residential customers using in-person solicitations.
5) Beginning by May 31, 2020 and continuing every May 31 thereafter, ARES shall submit to the Commission and the Attorney General “the rates the retail electric supplier charged to residential customers in the prior year, including each distinct rate charged and whether the rate was a fixed or variable rate, the basis for the variable rate, and any fees charged in addition to the supply rate, including monthly fees, flat fees, or other service charges;” and “shall make publicly available on its website, without the need for a customer login, rate information for all of its variable, time-of-use, and fixed rate contracts currently available to residential customers, including, but not limited to, fixed monthly charges, early termination fees, and kilowatt-hour charges.”
6) Beginning by January 1, 2020 and continuing every January 1 thereafter, AGS shall submit to the Commission and the Attorney General “the rates the alternative gas supplier charged to residential customers in the prior year, including each distinct rate charged and whether the rate was a fixed or variable rate, the basis for the variable rate, and any fees charged in addition to the supply rate, including monthly fees, flat fees, or other service charges; and “shall make publicly available on its website, without the need for a customer login, rate information for all of its variable, time-of-use, and fixed rate contracts currently available to residential customers, including but not limited to, fixed monthly charges, early termination fees, and per therm charges.”
7) All ARES marketing materials must include the electric price to compare, its effective date and expiration date. All ARES marketing materials must include the following statement:
"(Name of the alternative retail electric supplier) is not the same entity as your electric delivery company. You are not required to enroll with (name of alternative retail electric supplier). Beginning on (effective date), the electric supply price to compare is (price in cents per kilowatt hour). The electric utility electric supply price will expire on (expiration date). The utility electric supply price to compare does not include the purchased electricity adjustment factor. For more information go to the Illinois Commerce Commission's free website at www.pluginillinois.org." If applicable, the statement shall also include the following: "The purchased electricity adjustment factor may range between +.5 cents and -.5 cents per kilowatt hour." These requirements do not apply to goodwill or institutional advertising.
8) All AGS marketing materials must include utility gas supply cost rates per therm price, its effective date and the expiration date. All AGS marketing materials must include the following statement: "(Name of the alternative gas supplier) is not the same entity as your gas delivery company. You are not required to enroll with (name of alternative gas supplier). Beginning on (effective date), the utility gas supply cost rate per therm is (cost). The utility gas supply cost will expire on (expiration date). For more information go to the Illinois Commerce Commission's free website at www.icc.illinois.gov/ags/consumereducation.aspx." These requirements do not apply to goodwill or institutional advertising.
9) Written disclosures to a consumer must be in a language the consumer can understand and communicate. In-person and telephone solicitations shall be in a language the consumer can understand and communicate. A supplier shall not switch a customer who is unable to understand and communicate in a language in which the marketing or solicitation was conducted.
10) The Commission may require an ARES or AGS to enter into a compliance plan for law and rules violations. Failure to follow the compliance plan may result in revocation or suspension of the supplier’s license.
11) Starting January 1, 2020, ARES shall not serve LIHEAP or PIPP customers other than as part of a government aggregation program or under a Commission-approved savings guarantee plan. Starting January 1, 2020, AGS shall not serve LIHEAP or PIPP customers other than under a Commission-approved savings guarantee plan.
12) Supplier consolidated bills and utility consolidated bills to residential customers shall include the current utility electric supply price/current utility gas supply cost rate per therm (as applicable) that would apply to the customer for the billing period.
13) Beginning January 1, 2020, residential and small commercial retail customers shall have a right to terminate their contracts with ARES and AGS at any time without any termination fees or penalties.
14) Each disclosure made during a TPV must be made “individually to obtain clear acknowledgment of each disclosure. The alternative retail electric supplier/alternative gas supplier must be in a location where he or she cannot hear the customer while the third-party verification is conducted. The alternative retail electric supplier/alternative gas supplier shall not contact the customer after the third-party verification for a period of 24 hours unless the customer initiates the contact.”
15) During a solicitation an ARES shall state that it “represents an independent seller of electric power and energy service certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission and that he or she is not employed by, representing, endorsed by, or acting on behalf of, a utility, or a utility program, a consumer group or consumer group program, or a governmental body, unless the alternative retail electric supplier has entered into a contractual arrangement with the governmental body and has been authorized with the governmental body to make the statements.” The ARES shall not make deceptive or misleading representations about relationship with or to the utility.
16) The AGS shall not make deceptive or misleading representations about relationship with or to the utility. The AGS shall state that it “represents an independent seller of gas certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission and that he or she is not employed by, representing, endorsed by, or acting on behalf of a utility, or a utility program.”
17) ARES making in-person solicitations must have outer garment badges, leave a business card, leave the premises when requested to do so, and a copy of the Uniform Disclosure Statement. Suppliers must obtain consent to enter multi-unit dwellings.
18) An ARES engaged in outbound telephonic solicitation shall “provide the agent's name and identification number. Any telemarketing solicitations that lead to a telephone enrollment of a consumer must be recorded and retained for a minimum of 2 years. All telemarketing calls of consumers that do not lead to a telephone enrollment, but last at least 2 minutes, shall be recorded and retained for a minimum of 6 months.” For inbound enrollment calls, an ARES shall state that it “represents an independent seller of electric power and energy service certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission. All inbound enrollment calls that lead to an enrollment shall be recorded, and the recordings shall be retained for a minimum of 2 years. An inbound enrollment call that does not lead to an enrollment, but lasts at least 2 minutes, shall be retained for a minimum of 6 months. The alternative retail electric supplier shall send the Uniform Disclosure Statement and contract to the customer within 3 business days after the electric utility's confirmation to the alternative retail electric supplier of an accepted enrollment.”
19) Automatic renewals for an ARES fixed rate contract, must include disclosure of a side-by-side comparison of the current price and the new price; for a variable rate contract or time-of-use product in which the first month's renewal price can be determined, a side-by-side comparison of the current price and the price for the first month of the new variable or time-of-use price; or for a variable or time-of-use contract based on a publicly available index, a side-by-side comparison of the current formula and the new formula.
20) Automatic renewals for an AGS for a fixed rate or flat bill contract, must include a side-by-side comparison of the current fixed rate or flat bill to the new fixed rate or flat bill; for a variable rate contract or time-of-use product in which the first month's renewal price can be determined, a side-by-side comparison of the current price and the price for the first month of the new variable or time-of-use price; or for a variable or time-of-use contract based on a publicly available index, a side-by-side comparison of the current formula and the new formula.
21) A fixed rate ARES or AGS contract cannot automatically renew to a variable rate unless the consumer receives the required disclosure and consents to the renewal in writing or by electronic signature at least 30 days, but no more than 60 days, before the contract expires.
The full text of SB651 is available on the NEM Website.
Click here to view all past updates.
|Commission Allows NFG Cyber Tariff to Become Effective|
NFG made a tariff supplement filing to "require Self-Attestation of information security controls and data security agreements (DSA) for Daily Metered Transportation (DMT), Daily Metered Large Manufacturing Transportation (DMLMT), and Monthly Metered Transportation (MMT) customers (collectively, transportation customers) that procure their own gas supply, NGSs [natural gas suppliers] that operate under the company’s MMNGS and SATS rate schedules, their electronic data interchange (EDI) providers and other business parties who access utility business systems." The documents are modeled on those under consideration in New York with modifications to reflect Pennsylvania requirements.
The tariff supplement filing also included a change to reduce the NGS month-end storage requirements for the months ending November 30 from 90% to 86%, December 31 from 75% to 68%, and January 31 from 50% to 45%. NFG also proposed rules to provide producers of renewable natural gas with access to its distribution system, including an interconnection agreement and GTOP revisions.
At its agenda meeting this week the Commission voted to grant the tariff supplement to become effective on August 30, 2019. In doing so, the Commission stated "[h]owever, approval of this filing does not constitute a determination that this filing is lawful, just, or reasonable, but only that further investigation or suspension does not appear to be warranted at this time."
The full texts of the Order and Tariff Supplement Filing are available on the NEM Website.
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