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January 28, 2005
Performix Technologies Elected to NEM Executive Committee

The National Energy Marketers Association (NEM) is pleased to announce that Bill Mahoney, CEO of Performix Technologies (Performix) was unanimously reelected to NEM’s Executive Committee and National Policy Development Team. Performix is a global leader in software based management systems for the energy, banking, credit card, insurance, telecommunications, and travel/leisure industries. Performix has deployed about 120 systems in about 50 companies (Scottish power being one of its more experienced energy clients). One of its leading systems, “Performix4,” is a real-time, fully automated, management system, which continuously aligns the performance of individual employees with the overall performance of business units or corporations. The system helps to drive performance improvements such as increased revenues, lowered costs, improved service level, customer/employee satisfaction and improved retention. Performix showcases clients who have experienced multi-million dollar returns approximating 12-15 times system costs.

Bill joined Performix in September 2004, following successful tenures at Excelergy Corp., SCT, and D&B Software. Excelergy built a leading position in Revenue Cycle Management, more than doubling revenues and eliminating significant losses during Mr. Mahoney’s four year term.

Bill graduated from Harvard University, and did graduate work at the University of Massachusetts. He was Captain of the Harvard Heavyweight Crew, and a member of the US National Rowing Team.

Bill has generously contributed significant time, and resources to help the industry lower costs, eliminate barriers to entry and open new markets for competition. Bill serves as Chairman of the NEM’s Energy Technology Policy Development Team, National Membership Co-chair, and member of the NEM’s Board of Directors.

Please help welcome Bill Mahoney back onto the Executive Committee. Bill can be reached at 781-238-3546.

NEM Executive Committee Identifies Priority Issues and States

On January 19, 2005, the NEM Executive Committee met in executive session to identify and prioritize the significant issues, promising states and progressive utility service territories on which NEM should focus its advocacy, messaging and other resources in 2005. The Executive Committee agreed that the highest priority issues nationwide are the implementation of laws, regulations, tariffs, rate structures, operational procedures, business processes as well as tax and investment cost recoveries that accelerate the migration of (1) energy prices, (2) commodity risks and 3) educated customers into liquid, transparent, and competitively neutral, natural gas and electricity markets.

Until a utility has fully exited the merchant function, the most practical yet efficient, demand responsive, market-based price structure for electricity would reflect the time of day or near real time, billed monthly. Practical efficiency relative to utility sales of natural gas would track monthly indexes or be priced daily and averaged over a monthly billing cycle. A consensus has emerged within the industry that the public interest increasingly argues strongly in favor of migrating from the ratepayer to the marketplace the costs and risks inherent in the hyper-competitive energy commodity business. Permitting utilities to offer competing products and services financed with no risk ratepayer capital is extraordinarily anticompetitive to the competitive supplier, but it is also undermines efforts at energy efficiency and demand response misleading to the consumer and contrary to sound conservation policies as well. And

The States identified as high value strategic business opportunities include New York, Ohio, Illinois Pennsylvania California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia, not necessarily in this order. Utilities that have been invited to NEM’s April 26th event to share their reasons for actively seeking to exit the merchant and other competitive functions include Orange and Rockland (Con-Ed), National Grid (NiMo), Central Hudson and Dominion East Ohio. Ron Cerniglia will moderate the panel.

NEM's Annual Restructuring Conference - April 26 & 27, 2005

NEM's Annual Spring Membership Meeting and National Restructuring Conference will be held at the Marriott Metro Center on April 26-27, 2005. in Washington, DC. Many thanks to Centrica, Commerce Energy Group, ESG, Excelergy, Interstate Gas Supply, Itron, Proliance and SAP for offering to sponsor this event. Sponsorship ads and logos are due for advertisements as soon as possible.

FERC Chairman Patrick Wood, Commissioners Brownell, Kelly and Kelliher addition to CA Deputy Secretary of Energy Joseph Desmond, NYPSC Chairman William Flynn, Orange and Rockland Ulilities President John McMahon, MADTE Chairman Paul Afonso and Chairman Alan Schriber from Ohio have already confirmed to speak. In addition, Michigan PSC Chair Laura Chappelle, Ronald Cerniglia of the New York PSC, Jeanne Fox of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and CA PUC President Michael R. Peevey have also confirmed. Governors Schwartzenegger and Pataki as well as DOE Secretary Bodman have been invited to make Keynote addresses.

Sessions at the meeting include: - Serving the Public Interest : Shifting Commodity Risks to the Marketplace, Modification of the Obligation to Serve and Incentives for Sustainable Growth; and Transition to a Competitive Market – Cutting Edge Accelerated Customer Migration Strategies, Incentives and Timing of Utilities’ Exit from the Merchant Function.

Please use this hotlink to register for the event. Please click here to view the draft agenda.

Brunenkant & Cross Join NEM

NEM is pleased to announce that Brunenkant & Cross has joined the association. Brunenkant & Cross is a law firm that specializes in energy law. Brunenkant & Cross provides expertise and advice on federal and state regulatory matters, as well as on transactional, contractual and commercial matters, related to natural gas, electricity, oil, petrochemical products and other energy related products and services. Brunenkant & Cross will be represented within NEM by Joelle Ogg.

The Association gratefully appreciates the assistance of Joelle Ogg as well as her partners John Brunenkant and Lorraine Cross, a former NEM member. All three attorneys are experienced energy attorneys and Joelle will be assisting NEM staff as outside legal counsel in a wide range of legal and regulatory matters including the proceedings monitored in the updates.

Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Energy Nominee, Discusses Energy Bill

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously approved Samuel W. Bodman to serve as Secretary of Energy on January 26, 2005. According to Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM), "Mr. Bodman will make an excellent Secretary of Energy. His education, business experience and previous leadership service at Commerce and Treasury will be a tremendous asset to the Department of Energy. I will ask Senate leadership to swiftly schedule a full Senate vote on his nomination. I look forward to working closely with Mr. Bodman to deliver energy legislation to the President this Congress."

In addition, Chairman Domenici plans to use the results of the Natural Gas Conference to institute a bipartisan discussion about possible energy legislation. "[The] conference was the ideal way to begin bipartisan discussion about energy legislation for the 109th Congress. Natural gas is clean, abundant and was, until recently, affordable. There is strong support for this energy that crosses party lines and regional differences. We all agree that we must act proactively address the looming gap between supply and demand," Domenici said. Democrats on the Committee submitted a letter to the White House, asking for an increase in funding for research and development for domestic oil and gas. The full text of the letter is available here. Click here to view the Committee's web site.

Senate Plans Hearing on Renewable Energy

In anticipation of an energy bill being introduced this year, a hearing by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on renewable energy portfolio standards is expected to be held in February 2005.

Chairman Powell Leaves Federal Communications Commission

Michael Powell recently submitted his resignation as Chairman of the FCC. During his time as Chairman, Powell has worked to promote broadband over cable and fiber lines, requiring minimal regulation of cable modems and instituting incentives for residential deployment of fiber optics. He employed the same approach with broadband over power lines, creating minimal regulation for BPL in order to encourage expanded deployment in October 2004. Powell expects to step down in March 2005. Click here to read about Chairman Powell's achievements during his tenure at the FCC.

EIA Posts Electricity Restructuring Fact Sheets

EIA noted that the states that have opened their markets to competition have traditionally had higher energy prices, citing California and Pennsylvania. EIA provided a map showing the status of restructuring as of February 2001. In terms of wholesale competition, EIA stated that wholesale electricity markets have increased to 20% of total generating capacity in 1999, up from 6% in 1991. Also, by 1999, power marketers were trading in 400 million MWh.

In addition, EIA has provided specific fact sheets for the following states: California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Texas. EIA plans to release more fact sheets in the future. Please click here to view EIA's Fact Sheets.

FERC Issues Order on Capacity Tie-Back Provisions of Georgia's Unbundling Program

FERC issued an order regarding capacity release provisions of the Atlanta Gas Light natural gas unbundling program. As long as the capacity release complies with FERC's regulations, FERC generally upheld Georgia's ability to tie capacity back to the utility under certain circumstances.

FERC retained its exclusive jurisdiction over the release and reassignment of capacity. However, FERC's capacity release regulations "do permit a state commission to condition a marketer's participation in a retail unbundling program on its agreeing in advance to a pre-arranged release back to the LDC that would permit the LDC to obtain the marketer's capacity at the maximum rate, if the marketer became unable to fulfill the needs of its retail customers and the LDC needed the capacity to meet its obligations as a supplier of last resort."

FERC also stated that utilities can direct capacity release solely to the marketers in its retail unbundling program if the marketers pay the maximum rate.

Atlanta Gas Light is required to file a Statement of Operating Conditions regarding its capacity release provisions, as FERC will review AGL's capacity allocation method for compliance with FERC's capacity release regulations.

FERC Issues Report on Reactive Power Supply

On February 4, FERC issued a staff report on the issue of reactive power supply. Both reliability and cost issues are addressed in the report. FERC is interested in the technical aspects of reactive power supply and the economics of the issue, including the possible development of cost recovery mechanisms. A technical conference is scheduled for March 8, with comments due by April 4.

FERC Holds Second Conference on Market-Based Rate Authority

FERC held its second two-day technical conference to explore the prongs that FERC uses to determine whether to grant market-based rate authority. Following the last conference that discussed vertical/transmission market power and other barriers to entry, the focus of this conference was generation market power and affiliate abuse. Specifically, the conference addressed the interim generation market power screens, data issues, market power mitigation measures, geographical scopes, regional markets, as well as affiliate abuse, reciprocal dealings, and mitigation measures.

FERC Extends its Deadline for Comments on Pipeline Discounts

The Commission granted an extension until March 2, 2005 for comments on the Commission’s pipeline discount policy. Under Order 436, pipelines are allowed to discount their rates to meet competition, provided they do so in a non-discriminatory fashion. The Commission has issued a series of questions on discounting, including the following topics: the effect of discounts on captive customers and others; the elimination of the discount adjustment for ratemaking purposes; the elimination of discounting; discounts for gas-on-gas competition; affiliate discounts; and alternatives.

Click here to view all past updates.
California Issues Draft Decision on Demand Response Programs.

In late December 2004, the Commission issued a draft decision approving the 2005 Demand Response Goals, Programs and Budgets. The order was issued in response to the requests by the utilities for approval of their demand response programs and budgets for 2005-2008.

A final decision is expected shortly.

Click here to view all past updates.
Georgia Reviews Security Deposit Requirements for Gas Suppliers

The Commission issued an order outlining what market services could be included in Atlanta Gas Light’s (“AGL”) security deposit requirements for gas suppliers. Although the Commission held that AGL could not include Bundled Pipeline Peaking Sales Service and Firm and Interruptible Nominated Sales Service in its security deposit calculations, on reconsideration, the Commission stated that AGL could file a revised tariff to explicitly include such services in its security deposit calculation.

Currently, AGL may collect up to “at least two times the maximum monthly bill” of charges as estimated by AGL from gas suppliers. The Commission stated that the parties should address what charges should be included in future security deposit calculations in AGL’s 2004-2005 rate case, which is currently ongoing before the Commission.

Georgia Revises Late Fee Regulations

In response to a customer complaint, the Commission revised the regulations governing late fees imposed by gas suppliers. Specifically, gas suppliers can not charge late fees unless there is a minimum past due of $30. The late fee can be $10.00 or 1.5% of the past due balance, whichever is greater.

Click here to view all past updates.
ComEd Has Revised its Method to Determine Monthly Market Prices

Commonwealth Edison (“ComEd”) was granted expedited approval by the Commission to change the method it uses to determine the monthly off-peak Market Price, as set forth in ComEd’s Power Purchase Option, Rider PPO. Specifically, ComEd expanded the “snapshot window” used when there is insufficient market data for an off-peak forward contract. When determining the Off-Peak Market Price, ComEd polls the Intercontinental Exchange (“ICE”) twice a year during a pre-determined 20 day period to determine the market value energy charges. According to ComEd, there is insufficient off-peak data due to the low trading volume of forward off-peak products. For this reason, when there is insufficient market data, ComEd may expand the polling period back to find market data for forward contracts. The polling period can not be extended back by more than 365 days.

Gas Utilities Required to Functionally Separate Regulated and Non-Regulated Services

The Commission opened two proceedings related to standards of conduct and functional separation for certain public utilities that make unregulated retail sales of natural gas and electricity, as well as regulated sales of retail gas. Emergency functional separation rules were adopted by the Commission as of January 14, 2005 with a notice of proposed rules also issued.

A prehearing conference is scheduled for February 15, with the Commission expected to act on the proposed rules in June 2005. According to the Commission's utility-specific order, MidAmerican Energy Company is the only gas utility required to functionally separate its unregulated retail natural gas sales from its regulated retail sales of natural gas services. The utility–specific case also has a prehearing conference on February 15, with MidAmerican’s direct testimony due February 10, and Commission action expected in late April 2005.

Click here to view all past updates.
Standard Offer Prices Increase for Commercial and Industrial Customers

The standard offer service rates for commercial and industrial customers in the Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro-Electric service territories will increase during the period from March 1, 2005 to August 2005. The prices for customers in the Central Maine Power territory are as follows: 6.8 cents/kWh (for the medium class) and 6.56 cents/kWh (for the large class). For customers in the Bangor Hydro-Electric territory, the prices are: 6.88 cents/kWh (for the medium class) and 6.30 cents/kWh (for the large class). The new prices reflect increases ranging from .2% - 3.5%.

Stranded costs for BHE customers will decrease by approximately 3/4 cent, while stranded costs in the CMP territory will stay roughly the same. Residential customers will be charged the following standard offer service rates from March 1, 2005 to February 2006: 6.95 cents/kWh (CMP customers) and 7.1 cents/kWh (BHE customers). Please click here to read the full text of the Commission's release.

Click here to view all past updates.
Maryland Creates 4 Sub-teams on Technical Implementation Issues

The Commission has developed a Competition Technical Implementation Working Group, with 4 sub-teams. The sub-teams will be co-chaired by a supplier representative and a utility representative. The sub-teams are: (1) EDI/Data Transfer Technology; (2) Billing and Metering; (3) Enrollment Issues; and (4) Business Policy.

New Jersey
Click here to view all past updates.
Board to Hold Hearing on Proposed Green Power Choice Program

The Board has proposed a program to allow retail electric customers interested in green energy to pay a small premium for such energy without having to change suppliers. The sign-up option would be on the customer's utility bill. Each of the four incumbent utilities will "host" the program, providing a delivery platform as well as consolidated billing, unless the marketer opts to bill separately. Utilities will then receive cost recovery for performing these functions.

All marketers who meet Green Marketer qualifications (such as creditworthiness and EDI capability) and minimum product quality requirements may participate in the program. Utility affiliates may also participate. A two-year commitment will be required. The program will be administered by the Board's Office of Clean Energy and will be statewide. The Board will hold a hearing on the program on February 10, 2005 and is seeking comments on the program, which will be due by February 18, 2005. Please click here for the full text of the draft proposal.

New York
Click here to view all past updates.
The New York Commission Continues to Support Competition in Retail Markets

In the unbundling proceeding, the Commission issued an order on rehearing on the Commission’s unbundling order in response to ConEd’s request for rehearing. The request for rehearing challenged the order on unbundled rates, retailing costs related to a supplier’s account receivables, and lost revenues. NEM filed in opposition to ConEd’s request and specifically argued that customer care and credit and collection costs should not be hidden in an utility’s delivery rates. The Commission rejected ConEd’s arguments and stated that nothing new was offered by ConEd. The Commission further noted that it is “concerned with the potential for adding to the complexity of the retail consumer’s decision to enter the energy market, as well as the potential for adding complexity to the utility’s unbundled bill.”

In a related proceeding, in which NEM filed comments in support of the Commission’s policies regarding Further Steps Toward Competition in Retail Energy Markets, the Commission issued an order rejecting the requests for rehearing. The Commission re-affirmed and clarified its position regarding hedging. Specifically, the Commission stated that individual utility hedging obligations should be addressed in a full rate proceeding, in a tariff filing or in a utility-specific petition. Additionally, the Commission noted that hedging contracts for mandatory time-of-use customers should expire and not renewed, with rates then reflecting spot market prices and the net costs of public policy contracts. For other customer classes, a future proceeding should determine the availability of hedged services. At this time, the Commission will not pre-approve specific designs of spot market prices, with such issues to be considered in multi-year rate plans or as significant long-term hedging contracts expire. The Commission affirmed that it will continue to monitor procurement contracts to ensure that the contracts are not anti-competitive.

ConEd's Proposed Rates are Suspended Through March 2005.

In anticipation of ConEd’s current rates ending on March 31, 2005, ConEd proposed new rates, which have been suspended through March 31, 2005.

While the rates are suspended, ConEd and a number of active parties including NEM have agreed to a settlement in ConEd’s rate case. The settlement includes a 3 year rate plan and addresses among other things (1) electric rates and rate design; (2) changes and improvements to ConEd’s retail access program; and (3) an expanded demand management program. As part of the retail access improvements, additional discounts would be allowed for customers of suppliers, commercial gas-only programs would be extended to commercial electricity customers, a collaborative on bill formats would be formed, a collaborative on a retail auction pilot program would be formed, and a budget for retail choice education would be set.

Public comments and hearings have occurred on the settlement, with post-hearing briefs opposing and supporting the settlement also filed. Although a number of the active parties in the case are parties to the settlement, a few consumer and environmental groups oppose parts of the settlement.

ConEd Proposes Increased Bill Credits

As part of the Commission’s unbundling proceeding addressing ConEd's unbundled rates, back-out credits and lost revenue recovery mechanisms, ConEd has proposed new and higher bill credits and tariff sheets for competitive supply, competitive supply collections, competitive billing and competitive metering, along with a transition adjustment for competitive services, with an effective date of May 1, 2005. In summary, ConEd has proposed the following bill reduction credits related to competitive supply and collections costs: 3.7 mills/kWh for residential customers, 2.7 mills/kWh for general small customers, and 1.0 mill/kWh for all other customers. The back-out credit for billing and payment processing for consolidated, single bill customers would increase to $0.94/monthly billing cycle. There also would be a corresponding charge for suppliers whose customers receive a consolidated bill from ConEd. There are certain limitations and restrictions for consolidated billing and other credits. Finally, ConEd proposes to implement certain parts of the settlement filed in ConEd’s rate case.

In the meantime, ConEd and other parties currently are discussing on a settlement of the unbundling proceeding.

Renewable Energy RFP Issued

The Commission and the NYSERDA issued a schedule for implementing New York’s renewable energy portfolio requirements. New York requires at least 25% of electricity to be from renewable energy sources by 2013. The Commission decided to speed up its renewable energy program in order to allow generators to take advantage of the federal tax credits, which could expire at the end of 2005. The initial round of bids to supply renewable energy closed in mid-January; however, a series of RFPs is expected over the next several years with the next RFP expected to occur by the end of 2005.

The renewable energy projects are subject to a 10 year or shorter term, a standard contract, and a fixed price.

The Commission Considers a Third Round of System Benefits Charges

The Commission requested comments regarding the system benefits charge (“SBC”) and funding after June 30, 2006, when the current SBC funding expires. The SBC finances public policy initiatives, such as electric demand reduction programs and market transformation programs. One question asked by the Commission is whether the SBC funds should be used to fund programs that research and develop competitiveness in the retail and/or wholesale electric markets and/or transmission/distribution issues. The Commission also is considering whether SBC funds should be used for natural gas programs. Comments are due by March 4, 2005.

NFG Rate Case Suspended

In the NFG rate case that NEM filed testimony regarding accelerated migration, transparency, and embedded cost unbundling, NFG’s proposed rates are suspended and deferred through July 28, 2005. Settlement negotiations are on-going, with hearings scheduled for March 2005.

NFG Allowed to Recover Revenues Lost from Restructuring

The Commission approved NFG’s request to recover $1.6 million net lost revenues resulting from suppliers billing their customers directly and the suppliers receiving a billing credit from NFG. NFG will recover the lost revenues through NFG’s Gas Restructuring Reserve, which was created to allow NFG to recover costs related to natural gas restructuring.

New York Provides a Monthly Power to Choose Comparison Chart for Consumers

The Commission has updated its monthly Power to Choose Comparison Chart listing the historical offers of suppliers and utilities. The Comparison Chart is available on the Commission's website.

The Commission recently has streamlined how it gathers information from suppliers. All suppliers may participate in the Comparison Chart.

Click here to view all past updates.
Pennsylvania Proposes Default Service Regulations

The Commission has proposed regulations for Provider of Last Resort or default service for customers that do not receive generation service from a supplier. In the proposed regulations, the Commission treats default service as a basic generation/backstop service. The Commission wanted to develop a regulations that prefer market solutions and require supply to be acquired by the utility at prevailing market prices through a competitive procurement and bidding process. Nonetheless, utilities will provide default service at this time. The proposed regulations also address the transfer of customers to default service and the terms for determining the prevailing market price.

Comments are due within 60 days after the proposed order is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, with reply comments due 30 days later. Although the proposed order was issued by the Commission in mid-December, it does not appear that the order has been published yet in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Pennsylvania Requests Comments on Small Generation Interconnections

The Commission has requested comments regarding interconnection procedures and standards for small generation, including fuel cells, microturbines, and other distributed generation. The Commission has requested comments on the best model for interconnection procedures, as well as technical requirements, interconnection procedures, appropriate generation sizes, with comments due by February 2, 2005. Stakeholder meetings are expected to follow.

Pennsylvania Implements Renewable Energy Portfolio Requirements

The Commission recently held a technical conference to discuss the new renewable energy portfolio law and requested comments on various implementation issues. Reply comments are due by February 9, 2005. The Commission's order on the technical conferences and reply comments is available on NEM's website.

The new renewable energy law becomes effective on February 28, 2005. Suppliers and utilities must include a certain percentage, which will increase over time, of “alternative energy sources,” such as solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, and demand side management resources, as part of the electricity sold to retail customers. A renewable energy credits program and a trading platform will be administered by an independent party. In addition to setting up the credits program, the Commission also is focusing on the development of alternative compliance payments, as well as technical standards for net metering and interconnection. Furthermore, the renewable energy sources must meet certain technical standards and be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Click here to view all past updates.
Commission Releases Report on Scope of Competition in Electricity Markets

The Center for the Advancement of Energy Markets Retail Energy Deregulation Index ranks Texas as the top of its list of competitive energy markets within the United States and number three in the world. Even though energy prices have increased, the Commission expressed confidence that competitive forces were working in Texas. Currently, 85 competitive suppliers are registered with the Commission and 55 are actively serving customers.

According to the Commission's Report, as of September 2004, over one million customers were taking service from a non-affiliated provider. By this date, ERCOT had also processed 1.5 million switch requests. Despite these statistics and the fact that new competitors continue to enter the market even with increasing natural gas prices, the Commission expressed concern over the development of competition in non-ERCOT areas. Competition will not begin in the El Paso Electric service territory until August 2005, and competition has been delayed by the legislature for both Entergy and Southwestern Electric Power's respective service territories as well.

The Commission has promulgated rulemaking for advanced metering that allows commercial and industrial customers to choose and own their own meters. The Commission also noted a decrease in energy-related complaints. The Commission will also continue its customer education efforts, in both English and Spanish, despite a significant decrease in funding. The Commission is reviewing its rules to close loopholes and address deficiencies in market design. The report also addresses emerging issues, such as the price to beat, opt-out aggregation, and default service options, and legislative recommendations. Click here to read the full text of the Commission's Report.

Click here to view all past updates.
Virginia Power Issues RFP for Competitive Bid Supply Service Pilot.

Dominion Virginia Power has issued a RFQ (request for qualifications) for suppliers to provide electric supply under Virginia Power's pilot to residential customers or small and intermediate general customers in Northern Virginia, Central/West Virginia or East Virginia, beginning April 18, 2005. The service will be supply to a sub-block (either residential or non-residential customers) in 1 of the 3 regions.

Responses to the RFQ are due by February 8, 2005, with responses to the RFP from invited entities due by February 15, 2005.

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