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September 9, 2011
Upcoming NEM Meetings

October 2011 NEM Fall Leadership Roundtable – NEM’s Fall Leadership Roundtable will be held in Trenton, NJ on October 11-12, 2011. The Chairman of the NJBPU has confirmed his attendance and invitations to the other Commissioners, the Governor’s office and state legislators are also being extended for this event.

Early Bird registration is now available on the NEM website. Special NEM hotel rates are $99 per night at the Marriott Trenton Downtown, 1 West Lafayette Street, Trenton, NJ 08608, and (866) 373-9806. Use this hotlink for hotel reservations.

January 2012 Executive Committee Meeting - NEM’s Annual Winter Executive Committee Meeting will be held at the headquarters of SCRA in Charleston, South Carolina on January 24-25, 2012. The Winter Executive Committee Meeting is where Executive Committee members set NEM's course for the coming year. Many thanks to Bill Mahoney and SCRA for hosting the Winter Executive Committee meeting.

You may register for the meeting at this hotlink. NEM has a room block at the Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport, 5265 International Blvd in North Charleston, SC. You may register for the hotel at this hotlink or call the reservation number 843-308-9330 or 1-800-HILTONS and reference group code NLL.

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Commission Finds that Curtailment Service Providers Are Electric Suppliers

The Commission has issued an Order in response to a Staff Request for Hearing as to whether curtailment service providers (CSPs) are within the statutory definition of “electricity suppliers.” The Commission decided that, "the services CSPs provide in Maryland fall within the definition of electricity supply services contained in PUA § 1-101(j). The term “electricity supply services” is not defined in the statute, but it is included in § 1-101(j) as an addition to 'electricity' as well as 'competitive billing services' and 'competitive metering services.' While the Commission agrees that demand response does not constitute electricity, the aggregation of demand response resources is a service directly related to and comparable with the supply of electricity. As Staff correctly observed, demand response can act as a substitute for electric supply." The Commission reasoned that, "although they are not selling electricity as such, CSPs are selling a service that aggregates, and secures payment for, an electricity resource that is treated comparably in the wholesale electricity market with electric generation. Accordingly, the Commission finds that CSPs do provide electricity supply services which they purchase from Maryland customers and sell to PJM, and therefore that they must obtain electric supplier licenses in order to do business in Maryland." Staff is to file proposed amendments to the electric supplier license application form to adapt it to CSPs, by September 30, 2011. Staff is also directed to convene a stakeholder collaborative to examine issues associated with demand response reporting and CSPs and file a report with the Commission by December 29, 2011. The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

New York
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Staff Meeting on Retail Market Issues

Commission Staff will convene a meeting on September 26, 2011, at 10:30AM to discuss retail market issues. The meeting will be held at the Commission's Albany offices.

Issues for discussion at the meeting include:
• Implementation of Contest Period
• Authorization of Customer Enrollments
• Validation of Customer Block
• Slamming Investigations – Liability and Penalty Treatment
• Definition of Direct Customer
• Electronic/Social Media Applications – Marketing Standards and Customer Privacy
• Contract Renewal – Customer Affirmation
• Power to Choose Website

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

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Order on Columbia Gas Standard Choice Offer

In December 2009 the Commission approved a settlement providing for Columbia Gas' procurement of natural gas through an auction method, initially to be a standard service offer (SSO) structure, and then subsequently by a standard choice offer (SCO) structure. In response to a Columbia filing in 2011 on implementation of the SCO, OCC filed objections to the SCO auction and requested that the Commission suspend Columbia's proposal to conduct an SCO auction in favor of conducting an SSO auction. The Commission issued an Order concluding that there is, "sufficient evidence to show that the anticipated benefits from the SCO auction support the continuation of the stipulation approved in this case on December 2, 2009, which provides for the transition from an SSO to an SCO in 2012. Therefore, Columbia should proceed with its transition to an SCO."

The Commission did require, "Columbia and the marketers to work with Staff to develop information on SCO customer migration from the SCO to the Choice program, including the number of customers that chose fixed price contracts, and such other information that Staff determines will assist the Commission in evaluating the SCO program. . . . In addition, marketers must provide Staff a detailed explanation of the types of products and services offered to customers that provide added value to participating in the Choice program." Staff shall file a report of this information in September 2013.

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

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Proposed Rulemaking on Electric Code of Conduct Regulations

The Commission adopted electric code of conduct regulations in 2000. Last year, it issued an ANOPR to reconsider the code in view of changes that have occurred in the marketplace since that time. The Commission has now issued a proposed rulemaking that would make certain substantive and organizational changes to the regulations. The Commission proposes to divide the rules into six subject matter categories: 1) non-discrimination requirements; 2) customer requests for information; 3) prohibited transactions and activities; 4) accounting and training requirements; 5) dispute resolution procedures; and 6) penalties.

Substantive changes to the rules include:
1) requiring utility representatives to refer customers to the Commission’s retail choice website and offer to provide customers with a list of current suppliers;
2) expressly prohibiting the utility from financially subsidizing an affiliated supplier;
3) prohibiting the transfer of any regulated utility assets to an affiliated supplier at less than market value;
4) requiring a supplier to enter into a licensing agreement with a utility before using the utility’s service mark or trademark and to use a prominent disclaimer advising that the supplier is not the same company as the utility and that a customer need not buy the supplier’s services or products in order to continue receiving services from the utility;
5) prohibiting a supplier (affiliated or non-affiliated) from having the same or substantially similar name or fictitious name as the utility or its corporate parent; and
6) prohibiting joint marketing, sales and promotional activities by utilities and affiliate suppliers unless the joint marketing, sales, or promotional activities are offered to all suppliers in the same manner under similar terms and conditions.

Comments are due 45 days after publication of the NOPR in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The full text of the NOPR is available on the NEM Website.

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