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September 13, 2013
NEM CT Policy Leadership Roundtable and Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable

Many thanks to the NEM members and prospective members that attended NEM’s CT Policy Leadership Roundtable this week at The Hartford Club in Hartford, Connecticut. CT DEEP Commissioner Esty, CT PURA Vice Chairman John W. Betkoski III, Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, CT State Representative Lonnie Reed, Co-Chair of Energy & Technology Committee, CT State Representative Laura Hoydick, Ranking Member, Energy & Technology Committee, CT State Senator Gary LeBeau, Vice Chair of Energy & Technology Committee, CT State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Vice Chair of Energy & Technology Committee, and CT State Representative Henry Genga, Assistant Majority Leader all participated in the dialogue. It was a productive discussion focusing on how to revise the standard electric utility standard service model to an auction mechanism that uses private capital and resources to leverage the maximum benefits and maximum protections to consumers. Many thanks to our sponsors North American Power, Connecticut Gas & Electric, Verde Energy, EC Infosystems, 2QuoteItNow, Nexant, Nodal Exchange and LCH.Clearnet for making the Roundtable possible.

Please 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.

Click here to view all past updates.
Commission Launches Investigation of Retail Natural Gas Market

At its agenda meeting this week, the Commission issued an Order launching an investigation into the Commonwealth's retail natural gas market. Despite the Commission'a past efforts to enhance retail gas competition, "the number of current customers purchasing gas from a competitive supplier remains dismal at less than thirteen percent on a statewide basis. This causes us great concern because we believe that there are more opportunities for customers to benefit from robust competition in the retail natural gas market." The Commission also noted the abundance of natural gas resources in Pennsylvania. "To that end, we believe that the time is right for the Commission to renew its inquiry and initiate a formal investigation into the current status of Pennsylvania's retail natural gas market to assess whether effective competition exists and make recommendations for improvements to ensure that a properly functioning and workable competitive retail natural gas market operates in the state." The investigation will be a two phase process. First, an assessment of the current status of the market and needed changes. Second, an examination of how to resolve issues and make "prudent" changes.

The Commission issued the following questions for comment in that regard:

"1. What is the current status of retail natural gas competition for customers, by class and by service territory, and for NGSs? For each such customer class and service territory, how accessible are competitive suppliers?
2. Are currently effective NGDC rates properly structured to reflect the separation between the costs of the NGDC’s role as a distribution utility and its role as a Supplier of Last Resort (SOLR)?
3. Does the existing market design of NGDCs serving as the SOLR present barriers that inhibit customer choice or prevent suppliers from fully participating in the retail market?
4. Should NGDCs continue in the role of SOLR?
5. Are there enhancements and updates to the current SOLR model that would further improve the state of competition within the retail natural gas market?
a. Are there opportunities through the potential restructuring of the SOLR model and retail gas market to encourage expansion of natural gas distribution facilities into areas of the Commonwealth that do not currently have access to natural gas facilities?
b. Are there changes to the retail natural gas market that the Commission can undertake de novo through regulation or policy that would promote retail natural gas competition?
c. Are there changes to the retail natural gas market that the Commission can undertake de novo through regulation or policy that would remove barriers to retail natural gas competition?
d. What legislative changes should be made to further improve the retail natural gas market in Pennsylvania?
6. Are there outcomes from the Commission’s recently completed electric RMI that would be applicable and useful to implement in the retail gas market? To the extent possible, please provide comments on the following topics:
a. Seamless Move
b. Accelerated Switching Timeframes
c. Standard Offer Program
d. Low-income customer shopping
e. Expanded Consumer Education about shopping
f. Any additional RMI initiative that would translate well to the retail natural gas market
7. To take advantage of the opportunity that is present through the Marcellus Shale resource, should NGDCs and NGSs be encouraged to explore opportunities with natural gas exploration and production companies?
8. Recognizing that the Commission withdrew the proposed rulemaking addressing NGDC business practices at Docket No. L-2009-2069117 and committed to commencing a new proposed rulemaking on these issues, please provide comments on the continued need to address standardized supplier tariffs and business practices with regard to imbalance trading, tolerance bands, cash out and penalties, nominations and capacity."

Comments are due December 12, 2013. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

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