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August 7, 2009
Upcoming NEM Meeting Dates

Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for the following NEM meetings:

September 2009 Fall Leadership Roundtable - NEMís Fall Leadership Roundtable Meeting will be held on September 15 & 16, 2009, at the Hampton Inn & Suites, Albany Downtown, Albany, NY 12210. NEMís room rate has been secured at $129.00 per room per night. Many thanks to Matt Picardi of Shell Energy North America for the generous offer to host this meeting. Please register for the Fall Leadership Roundtable at this hotlink.

January 2010 Executive Committee Meeting - NEMís Annual Winter Executive Committee Policy and Planning Meeting will be held January 19 & 20, 2010, at the headquarters of South Carolina Research Authority in Charleston, South Carolina. NEMís room rate has been secured at $129.00 per room per night at the Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport, 5265 International Blvd., N. Charleston, SC 29418. The Executive Committee sets the course for NEMís advocacy in the coming year at this meeting. Many thanks to Bill Mahoney and South Carolina Research Authority for the generous offer to host this meeting.

April 2010 Annual Global Energy Forum Ė NEMís Annual Global Energy Forum, will be held April 27 & 28, 2010, at the Embassy Suites Convention Center, Washington DC, 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. NEMís room rate has been secured at $289.00 per room per night. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

CFTC Hearing on Speculative Position Limits in Energy Futures Markets

The CFTC convened another hearing this week on potential speculative position limits in energy futures markets. Chairman Gensler suggested that CFTC, "should seriously consider setting position limits in the energy markets." CFTC Commissioner Dunn stated that, "the CFTC does not have the authority to set speculative position limits in all of the venues that may be affected by excessive speculation, specifically over-the-counter markets (OTC) and on foreign boards of trade (FBOT). Unilateral Commission action in only the markets we currently regulate may not have the desired effect of reigning in excessive speculation in the futures market. Without similar steps in the OTC markets and on FBOTs, those seeking to evade the limits we set could simply move to venues outside our authority. To achieve a true level of efficacy, two additional events must take place. First, Congress must act to grant the Commission jurisdiction to set speculative limits in OTC markets. . . Second, truly effective regulation in this area requires greater harmonization of international regulatory regimes." CFTC will accept comments on the topics raised at the hearing through August 12, 2009. The full texts of the Hearing Participants' Testimony is available at this hotlink.

Wellinghoff Testimony on Climate Change Legislation

Chairman Wellinghoff testified this week before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the need for climate change legislation. Chairman Wellinghoff stated that, "FERC is using its statutory authorities aggressively to eliminate barriers to renewable resources and consumer energy use management, and to encourage greater efficiency in the electricity system. But those efforts and the efforts of other Federal and State agencies, while helpful, are not enough to prevent the growing accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Climate change legislation is the key to altering this trend. This legislation will also set an example of leadership for other countries, and help our Nation change from an importer of energy to an exporter of 'green energy technology.' Congress should enact this legislation now." The full text of Wellinghoff's Testimony is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Central Hudson Gas and Electric Rate Cases

Central Hudson filed new gas and electric rate cases for proposed rates to become effective July 1, 2010. CenHud says the filing is needed to increase delivery rates to recover its costs of providing gas and electric service. The proposed tariffs would increase electric delivery rates by $15.207 million and gas delivery rates by $3.997 million.

Central Hudson's filing also includes proposed increases to the Merchant Function Charge Administration and Supply Charges. The full text of the proposed electric MFCs and proposed gas MFCs are available at these hotlinks. The billing services credit for electric is proposed to remain the same at $1.42 per bill and the billing credit for gas is proposed to increase to $1.04 from $0.98.

Central Hudson also makes a Smart Grid proposal that it describes as follows:

"This initiative implements digital upgrades to the electric grid enabling it to work more efficiently, provides capability for advanced integration and impact measurement of renewable and energy efficient technology inclusive of demand management, and provides data for evaluation in regard to cost-effectiveness, interoperability, reliability, security, environmental impact, and operational flexibility and effectiveness. The project deploys a wireless communication platform, enabling AMI, distribution automation and Smart Grid attributes. Real time data is planned to be integrated with utility systems including OMS, CIS, and an engineering distribution model. A Meter Data Management System(MDMS), once implemented, will manage the influx of data. Home Automation Networks are envisioned to be installed with dynamic rates available and tested. Advanced relaying and control schemes are planned to be implemented for distributed resources such as Photo Voltaic Units and PHEV charging stations."

The full text of Central Hudson's Rate Case Filing is available at this hotlink.

Order on Smart Grid Proposals

The NYPSC issued an order approving certain electric utilities' smart grid and renewables project proposals intended to qualify for federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. In the Order the Commission noted the comments submitted by NEM and characterized the comments as follows:

"NEM requests that any smart grid investment be conditioned on inclusion of opens standards and information protocols that minimize duplicative, noninteroperable, closed or proprietary infrastructure investments. NEM is concerned that utility investment in smart grid technology, if not done in a manner that implements open technology, will result in the creation of a new information and/or demand or demand response-related monopolies. If the Commission authorizes "open" non-discriminatory access to the new data produced by AMI, smart thermostats, and other smart grid equipment, NEM asserts, a new level of services to customers will develop in the areas of demand response, information technologies and price offerings. NEM also states that open standards for smart grid/AMI infrastructure will minimize the potential for future stranded costs."

Upon consideration of NEM's concerns, the Commission decided that:

"We acknowledge NEMís concerns regarding the creation of an information monopoly through the deployment of AMI that is proprietary and closed to outside providers. We do not support the creation of an information monopoly through our approval of these smart grid projects, and thus, require utilities to take all steps appropriate, including adherence to the AMI minimum functional requirements, to prevent such monopoly from being created. Consequently utilities, unless otherwise waived, shall adhere to the AMI minimum functional requirement that customers or their competitive providers will be able to access meter data in an open, standard, nonproprietary format, as both NEM and EnerNOC suggest."

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

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Order on Removing Barriers to Competition in PPL Electric Market

The Commission adopted measures intended to remove barriers to a competitive retail electric market in the PPL service territory, with the pending expiration of rate caps on December 31, 2009. "[T]he Commission felt it was important that [PPL's] market contain competitive alternatives, that its customers are aware of these competitive alternatives and that no barriers exist to prevent EGS entry into the market."

Measures addressed by the Commission include:

Customer information databases;
Data access through standardized EDI transactions for post validation, estimation and editing (VEE) data;
Bill ready and rate ready options;
Timely EDI testing;
Purchase of receivables;
Customer awareness and education programs;
Commitments to a process for development of a uniform supplier tariff;
An ombudsman for supplier issues; and
PPL costs of competition related activities.

The Commission also decided that customer referral programs, provisions for billing services not covered by purchase of receivables programs, and customer shopping education efforts by EDCs and the Commission should be referred to the Retail Market Working Group for further consideration.

The Commission also noted that the measures adopted for PPL will serve as the starting point in proceedings regarding other utilities. The full text of the PPL Order will be posted on the NEM Website when made available electronically.

Click here to view all past updates.
Proposed Rules on Customer Disclosures and Billing Terms

The Commission is proposing rules to make changes to customer disclosures and billing terms to implement HB1822.

The customer disclosures rulemaking pertains to customer notice of contract expiration. It would require includsion of the contract end date on all billing statements; increase the notice window of contract expiration for residential and small commercial customers; require inclusion of a statement of applicable early termination fees for residential fixed price products in the notice of contract expiration; and require that the customer receive the EFL at least 14 days prior to contract expiration if the EFL was not included in with the contract expiration notice.

The billing terms rulemaking would require REPs to use specific terminology in customer billing and require that information about the Commission's customer website be included on customer bills. It sets forth defined terms for "charges," "fees" and "taxes" to be utilized on customer bills.

Comments on the rulemakings are due 31 days after publication in the Texas Register. The full texts of the Customer Disclosure Rulemaking and Billing Terms Rulemaking are available on the NEM Website.

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