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February 11, 2005
NEM's Annual Restructuring Conference - April 26 & 27th, 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 click here to view the agenda or register for the conference.

House Holds Hearing on Energy Policy Act.

This week, the House Subcommittee of Energy and Air Quality held a hearing on the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

NERC Issues Reliability Standards.

NERC issued its Version 0 Reliability Standards, effective April 1, 2005. In support of the NERC standards, FERC stated that compliance with NERC's reliability standards will be considered "Good Utility Practice".

The standards are hot linked here.

Ontario Passes Electric Restructuring Law.

In December 2004, the Ontario legislature passed the Electricity Restructuring Act of 2004. Ontario's approach is a mix of regulated prices and market/competitively-set prices.

The Act created a new Ontario Power Authority, responsible for an adequate supply of electricity for the medium and long term, as well as a new Conservation Bureau. The Independent Electricity Market Operator's role was redfined and will be more focused on short term planning.

The Energy Board’s objectives will be consumer protection and to “promote economic efficiency and cost effectiveness in the generation, transmission, distribution, sale and demand management of electricity and to facilitate the maintenance of a financially viable electricity industry.” As part of that, the Board will establish electricity commodity prices for certain consumers under a Regulated Price Plan. Rates for medium and large businesses will reflect a combination of regulated and competitive market prices.

To view the Law, please click here.

Click here to view all past updates.
Maryland Continues Working Groups on Billing, Metering and Business Policies.

The Maryland billing and metering working group held a meeting in February to discuss Phase I issues, including agency billing, bill disputes, supplier consolidated billing, interval usage data, rate class and load profile changes, and the 35 day "rule". Phase II issues also were discussed, including metering data, re-bill/delayed bill/no bill issues, accounts receivables/utility consolidated bills, budget billing, and performance levels. The working group is expected to develop proposals and draft a report.

The Maryland business policy working group also met in February. One of the issues discussed was providing a customer list to suppliers.

Some of the "hot" issues involve whether suppliers should pay for customer lists and what billing improvements are necessary for suppliers (one budget bill, on-line web access to bills, etc.).

Click here to view all past updates.
Massachusetts Transitions to Default Service.

As of March 1, 2005, Standard Offer customers must be transitioned to Default Service.

Western Massachusetts Electric (WMECo) has proposed a default service adjustment for its street lights, interruptible and self-generation customers. The adjustment would be the difference between the default service price and the currently-effective 5.607 cent/kWh standard offer price. WMECo also proposes to allow suppliers to serve self-generation customers.

Massachusetts Electric and Nantucket Electric also have filed proposed transition charges and a default service adjustment factor.

The Commission's orders requesting comments on MECo's proposal and on WMECo's proposal are available on NEM's website. Comments are due February 14.

Massachusetts Proposes House-keeping Revisions to its Natural Gas Unbundling and Electricity Restructuring Regulations.

The Commission has issued proposed revisions to its regulations governing conservation service cost recovery, electric restructuring, telephone consumer protections, natural gas unbundling, billing and termination procedures, and pole attachments. The Commission states that the revisions are technical corrections, typographical corrections, and replacements of outdated information. NEM has not yet reviewed the proposed revisions to determine if the revisions are merely of a house-keeping nature.

Comments on the proposed revisions are due March 18, with a hearing scheduled for March 22. The proposals are available on the Commission's website.

Click here to view all past updates.
Rate Caps Ends in Michigan at the End of 2005.

In February, the Commission made a presentation to the Senate Technology and Energy Committee on the status of electric competition in Michigan. The last of the statutory rate caps expire on December 31, 2005. By March 23, 2005, DTE is required to file a rate unbundling proposal based on fully allocated embedded costs and an application to resolve rate subsidies between bundled and unbundled customers. A similar filing also is expected from Consumers.

In other DTE matters, a report on electric choice metering issues and resolutions by a collaborative including DTE, interested parties and Staff must be filed by March 15, 2005.

DTE and Consumers Are Required to Implement Renewable Portfolios.

DTE is required to implement a renewable energy program for all customers. An application and proposed tariffs must be filed by July 1, 2005. 1% of residentail sales should be from renewable resources by the end of 2006, with 2-3% by tthe end of 2008.

The Commission also approved a new renewable resource program for Consumers, with rewable resource tariffs due by March 31, 2005. Consumers must issue a RFP by March 31, 2005 for renewable resources supply. The first renewable resources must be in commercial operation by the end of 2005.

New York
Click here to view all past updates.
Settlement Discussions on NiMo Unbundling Issues and the Aggregation/Auction Proposal Continue.

With collaborative meetings held in February, Niagara Mohawk (NiMo) and interested parties attempt to move closer to a settlement in NiMo's competitive opportunities proceeding. Issues being discussed include billing (purchase of accounts receivable); supplier choice programs (Power Switch for residential and small commercial customers); rates; aggregation (S-3 aggregation program and opt-in aggregation); and customer education.

NiMo also is expected to issue an RFP for aggregation service for its SC-3 customers.

National Fuel Rate Case Settlement Discussions Continue.

Settlement discussions regarding National Fuel Gas' rate case will continue on February 14 (service quality conference call), February 15, and February 18.

Click here to view all past updates.
Consolidated Billing Fees by DP&L Approved by Ohio Commission.

The Commission approved a modified settlement on Dayton Power and Light's (DP&L) charges for consolidated billing. The settlement allows DP&L to charge suppliers 20 cents/bill to provide consolidated billing, with an intial $5,000 set-up fee for DP&L to program the supplier's rates into DP&L's system.

Returning Customer POLR Price is Set for FirstEnergy.

The Commission approved FirstEnergy's POLR proposal for returning commercial and industrial customers as a contingency plan, subject to the Midwest ISO Day 2 Market program not being in place. For residential returning customers the price is the Standard Service Offer plus 5%.

Returning customers are defined as customers who return within the term of a contract, thus returning customers do not include customers who return to FirstEnergy following expiration of a contract.

FirstEnergy may recover certain costs incurred as a result of providing POLR service, but not recovered through the tariff; however, such recovery must be approved by the Commission.

The Commission stated that the POLR price for returning customers is crucial for marketers and aggregators to offer competitive products and for the appropriate risks to be imposed on shopping customers.

Click here to view all past updates.
Columbia's Fixed Natural Gas Commodity Price Proposal Suspended and Sent to Hearing.

In response to the various complaints, including a complaint filed by NEM, the Commission suspended Columbia Gas' proposed price protection and optional sales services until August 4, 2005. Columbia's proposed sales service would offer a fixed price on the natural gas commodity. The proceeding was sent to the Administrative Law Judges for a hearing or resolution through the alternative dispute resolution process.

Pennsylvania Suspends Competitive Metering Working Group.

In response to a request by the utilities, the Commission suspended the competitive metering working group. The Commission reminded utilities that they are required to cooperate with any parties who wish to bring competitive metering to Pennsylvania. Also, the working group may be reactivated upon request.

Click here to view all past updates.
Vermont Issues Report that Restructuring Should be Considered within the Next 10 Years.

In its 10 year electricity plan for Vermont, the Commission included retail electric choice as one of the potential ways to address "tough choices" regarding supply. The report noted that Vermont should re-examine the benefits and costs of retail choice in the future.

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