If the Pennsylvania PUC wants more market-reflective default service, as it indicated (but did not order) in its much-hyped end-state retail electric market order, utilities have not gotten the message.
The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA), representing Ontario utilities, recently "commended" a call from Andrea Horwath, leader of Ontario's New Democrats, to curtail fixed commodity price retail electricity contracts for residential customers.
The next time you see a study by The NorthBridge Group touting a centralized capacity market, or how a capacity market wouldn't cost materially any more than an energy-only market, keep in mind the following testimony from Scott Fisher, Principal with The NorthBridge Group, who was testifying on behalf of PECO in support of PECO's proposed residential default service portfolio, the majority of which would be served under 24-month contracts.
Not that we needed more evidence that the PJM capacity market is designed to inflate wealth transfers to incumbent asset owners, but PJM's latest filing to reform the Reliability Pricing Model to curb alleged "speculation" (behavior which has the effect of reducing consumer prices) is simply another example of this reality.
The District of Columbia PSC has ruled on Pepco's purchase of receivables discount rates as filed in September, which excluded any offset resulting from late payment revenues paid by competitive supply customers.
The Pennsylvania PUC has sought more information regarding a settlement between Enforcement Staff and a retail supplier under which the supplier would pay $59,000 to resolve an investigation into alleged slamming, Do Not Call violations, and other marketing violations.
With respect to rate issues, the Pennsylvania PUC denied reconsideration of its order granting PECO electric Customer Assistance Program (CAP) customers eligibility to shop, with no cap on retail supplier rates, and in doing so, PUC Chairman Robert Powelson and Commissioner Pamela Witmer gave an excellent illustration of how the continued offering of default service by utilities skews the competitive retail market.
In a reversal of migration trends year-to-date, four Pennsylvania electric utilities saw the net number of residential accounts on competitive supply decrease from about February 26 to March 5, according to the latest stats on PA Power Switch.
A U.S. Appeals Court will hear arguments regarding whether class action status should have been granted to a lawsuit against Stream Gas & Electric, its marketing unit Ignite Holdings, several subsidiaries, and several affiliated individuals.
ERCOT notified the Public Utility Commission of Texas, "of its violation of Section 1.3.1(k) of the ERCOT Protocols," due to the transmission of a file to two unintended recipients which could have been interpreted to match the number of ESI IDs identifiable to another LSE.
In a contrast to recent default service procurements, Delmarva Power's Delaware procurement of SOS supplies for the period starting June 1, 2014 resulted in clearing prices lower than those from last year's RFP, as well as the prices from the 2010-11 auction (whose results are being rolled out of the portfolio for mass market customers)
A Pennsylvania utility seeking to institute a nonbypassable surcharge to recover a default service undercollection resulting from extreme pricing in the PJM market during January has filed to lower its bypassable default service charge by 8% effective April 1.
An EDC has become the second Pennsylvania utility to petition for a nonbypassable rider to recover an undercollection of supply costs due to, "abnormal and sustained cold weather conditions," during January.
ERCOT has proposed Nodal Protocol Revision Request 601 to revise, "the calculation of credit exposure for Counter-Parties that are registered as Qualified Scheduling Entities (QSEs) and Load Serving Entities (LSEs) and provide Provider of Last Resort (POLR) service as a result of Mass Transition of a defaulting Counter-Party with Load."
Integrys Energy Services performed as expected during the extreme cold in January, with negative impacts from load following electric contracts offset on the natural gas side, executives said during an earnings call last week.
As first reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com in January, a class action lawsuit against a retail supplier has been "certified" to proceed on a class action basis, opening the door for similar suits and potentially threatening the viability for the entire multi-level marketing sales channel approach used by retail suppliers.
A retail provider announced that it has entered into a five year agreement with Shell Energy North America (US) L.P. for a structured supply arrangement and credit facility, and announced a timeline for New England market entry
The New York PSC, in its retail markets order, has revised the uniform business practices (UBPs) to allow customers to aggregate their electric load in order to meet the threshold of a "direct customer" and participate in the market without an ESCO.
The Maryland PSC granted a start-up retail supplier an electric supplier license to serve all customer classes, as the supplier has now publicly posted its pricing for its initial markets of PECO and PPL in Pennsylvania
Energy Marketing Conferences LLC's inaugural New York energy marketing conference held on February 27, named the "Most Innovative Energy Supplier", which went to the energy supplier with the most innovative marketing ideas, and the "Energy Supplier of the Year", which went to the energy supplier, "who succeeded in building a stellar organization and a thriving business."
Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have filed a draft proposal for adoption to revise the rules governing retail electric provider certification, with the draft proposal for adoption further revising changes to the definition of "principal" under the rules.
Unless current lawmakers are even more oblivious than apocryphal characterizations of the French nobility of the late 18th century, no legislator can cast a vote this year to terminate the availability of utility-offered, hedged default service, because the current runaway variable pricing in the retail market has made default service the "third rail" of utility policy.
As noted by EnergyChoiceMatters.com's extensive coverage (click here), the New York PSC's retail markets investigation order directed a wealth of significant, market-altering changes, including the introduction of a measure of recourse to POR, subjecting ESCO service to certain low-income customers to various conditions, requiring independent TPVs of certain sales channels, ending the ESCO referral programs, and requiring the publication of ESCO rate histories, to name a few.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has directed Staff to convene an informal workshop to review the financial security requirements applicable to retail suppliers, as PUCO addressed rehearing requests regarding recently adopted changes to the electric market rules.
On rehearing, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has deleted from the requirements for third party verifications of retail natural gas contracts a question seen as confusing, and even seen as suggesting to the customer that they should enroll with a provider other than the one for whom the TPV is being conducted.
FirstEnergy Corp. CEO Anthony Alexander told investors during yesterday's earnings call that given the volatility that has been introduced into the retail market, there's a question of, "whether or not a retail market for customers exists in the same format that we see it today."
The New York PSC's written retail markets order details the specific sales introduction that ESCOs must now use in mass market sales, and specifies what the newly required independent third party verifications must include
The sweeping changes that the New York PSC has ordered in the retail market were adopted, "[i]n light of the apparent scarcity of energy-related value-added products and services available in the residential and small non-residential markets; the high complaint rates; and what appears to be a large number of active ESCOs generating revenues by offering consumers little more than higher prices," the PSC said.
With the prohibition on electric and natural gas ESCOs serving customers in utility low-income assistance programs, except under certain conditions, the PSC's written retail markets order explains how utility low-income assistance program customers currently shopping with an ESCO are to be treated.
As part of its continued retail market investigation focused on facilitating the development of value-added product and service offerings for mass market energy consumers, the New York PSC has issued a series of questions for stakeholder comment regarding ESCO customer acquisition costs, billing (including ESCO consolidated billing), enrollment processes, customer data availability, net metering, and other issues.
Staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio have recommended approval of an alternative proposal from AEP Ohio to mitigate the impact of the transition to market-based rates on residential customers at Columbus Southern Power (CSP).
A report from Regulatory Compliance Services says that the total volume of electric complaints filed by consumers with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in calendar year 2013 decreased for the fifth consecutive year, but the "violation" rate increased for the third year in a row.
The Pennsylvania PUC has directed retail electric suppliers to provide, within six business days, copies of disclosure statements of variable price products offered to residential and small business customers for the period December 1, 2013 to February 20, 2014.
"Our energy market seems to be healthy," Texas Public Utility Commissioner Brandy Marty said during Friday's open meeting, as the Commission agreed to focus on the appropriate reliability standard, rather than immediate changes to market design.
Members of the Retail Energy Supply Association, "remain deeply concerned about the lack of transparency regarding January market conditions that precipitated record BOR [Balancing Operating Reserves] charges for one month," RESA said in a letter to the PJM board of managers.
With more than 750 high bill informal complaints filed by consumers so far this year, the Pennsylvania PUC has opened an investigation into disclosures and other regulations governing variable rate electric contracts
Concerns that PECO Customer Assistance Program customers will suffer "irreparable harm" under the program adopted by the PUC to allow these customers to shop for their electric supplier are not "speculative," given, "the recent volatility we have seen in the energy markets," Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Gladys Brown said in a partial dissent yesterday.
The Pennsylvania PUC has issued for comment a proposed rulemaking that would revise certain regulations of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) of 2004, including regulations pertaining to net metering, interconnection and compliance provisions of the AEPS Act
Direct Energy operating profit fell 11% for the year 2013 to $436 million, as increases in profitability in the residential energy supply and residential services segments were offset by compressed margins for Direct's commercial and industrial energy supply business.
There's a lot of absurdities when trying to wade through the inconsistent and illogical arguments in favor of a Texas centralized capacity market, but the latest line being pitched by capacity market supporters may be our favorite.
Staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio have filed the Retail Price Adjustment resulting from Dominion East Ohio's Standard Choice Offer auction, for default service for the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.
Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have filed testimony recommending a lower upfront advanced meter opt-out charge at AEP Texas Central and AEP Texas North, with a marginally higher monthly ongoing opt-out charge.
As noted in our related story today, a Texas customer has taken up the fight to introduce electric choice to El Paso Electric, which is the latest example of a disturbing trend in Texas of so-called competitive market advocates not proactively seeking to extend choice to the still significant areas of the state without electric choice.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Pennsylvania PUC issued a news release in which the PUC, "urges customers using a competitive supplier to review their contract as wholesale energy prices have been pushed higher due to cold temperatures and high demand."
Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have filed a draft proposal for adoption to implement the Commission's cease and desist authority, which includes in the preamble a discussion of the circumstances under which the authority may be applied with respect to retail electric providers.
Those doing the yeoman's work to expand electric choice in Michigan can thank Texas generators for making their life harder, by creating the narrative that Texas, and its current market, face blackouts.
PECO has provided the following statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com regarding our February 13 story concerning its request for reconsideration of the PUC's recent order on expanding shopping eligibility to electric Customer Assistance Program (CAP) customers:
New Jersey basic generation service electric rates will again decrease on June 1 for three of the state's utilities, with only PSE&G seeing a slight increase in rates unrelated to competitive generation costs, according to the result of the BPU's Basic Generation Service Auction.
PECO has sought rehearing of the Pennsylvania PUC's order extending shopping availability to the utility's electric Customer Assistance Program (CAP) customers, without any cap on retail supplier rates charged to CAP customers, as PECO argued in its request for reconsideration that non-shopping customers will be compelled to subsidize the competitive retail rates charged by electric generation suppliers (EGSs), with PECO specifically noting a recent news release from the PUC in which the PUC warned EGS customers that their variable rates may be "higher" due to recent cold weather and wholesale pricing.
A proposal from demand response providers regarding access to Texas electric customers' account information from demand response providers would compel REPs, "to act as the middleman between the electric utility and any third party for the purpose of allowing the third party access to the customer's proprietary information," a group of REPs said in opposition to the proposal.
Texas Legal Services Center and the Texas Ratepayers Organization to Save Energy requested that the Public Utility Commission of Texas publish more granular complaint data regarding retail electric providers.
In yet another order which undermines the notion of competitive markets, FERC has granted PJM a waiver, on a prospective basis, to allow offers in excess of $1,000/MWh to set the locational marginal price.
A proposed decision from the California PUC would authorize two utilities to procure generation to meet local capacity requirements, with recovery authorized through the nonbypassable Cost Allocation Mechanism.
TXU Energy and Veteran Energy have posted on PowerToChoose offers for customers in the Sharyland Utilities Brady, Stanton, Celeste and Colorado City areas (Cap Rock territories), which are newly opening to choice starting May 1.
A state regulator yesterday urged electric customers, "who have contracted with retail electric suppliers, to be aware that the recent cold temperatures and resulting spike in wholesale power prices, may affect their rates if their contract includes a variable rate."
The National Energy Marketers Association announced that its members are working on examining and developing the next steps, after NEM's National Standards of Conduct, to ensure a positive energy consumer shopping experience, including potentially self-policing mechanisms and/or a NEM seal of approval.
Exelon's strategy to match load to generation, "really has played out well" during the extreme January weather, executives said during a Thursday earnings call, in a perfect example of how capacity markets provide asset-owning retail suppliers with an unfair competitive advantage.
Simulations run by The Brattle Group and Astrape Consulting, "show that energy-only markets can attract the optimal level of generation investments from a societal-cost perspective," Brattle and Astrape said in a report to FERC.
• Pepco Files Revised SOS Rates for D.C.
• From the Archives: Ohio Staff Files Retail Market Development Workplan, Includes Recommendation on POR
• First in Matters (2/5): MC Squared Launches Mass Market Dynamic Pricing Plan in Illinois
The District of Columbia PSC has issued additional questions and sought supplemental comment regarding the provision of advanced metering interval data and historic AMI interval data to retail electric suppliers.
"[V]olatile electricity costs in the PJM market continue to pressure the earnings of our retail energy-marketing business," a retail supplier parent said in reporting earnings for the quarter ending December 31, 2013 (first fiscal quarter).
A Public Service Commission issued a news release to alert energy customers who have contracted with retail energy suppliers, "that the recent spate of extremely cold temperatures may affect their rates if they have contracted with retail energy suppliers through variable rate contracts."
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved a Retail Price Adjustment resulting from Columbia Gas' Standard Choice Offer auction, for default service for the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.
Given the recent results of the Brattle economically optimal reserve margin study, Texas Public Utility Commissioner Kenneth Anderson has recommended that the Commission study the appropriate reliability standard (1-in-10 year loss of load event or alternative) prior to instituting a comparison of the costs and benefits of various policy approaches to resource adequacy.
Businesses would be subject to the, "risk of extortionate settlements," if the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals does not reverse a lower court's ruling which granted class action status to a suit against Stream Energy and affiliates without the plaintiffs first proving the alleged improper behavior, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, the Direct Selling Association, and the National Energy Marketers Association said in an amicus brief.
A group of Texas retail electric providers have asked the Public Utility Commission of Texas to adopt changes to the Substantive Rules to prohibit the sharing of a brand by a regulated transmission and distribution utility and an affiliate offering competitive electric service.
"[T]he current energy-only market design will sustain a reserve margin of approximately 11.5%, which is 1.3 percentage points above the risk-neutral, economically optimum level of approximately 10.2%," The Brattle Group said in a report on the economically optimal reserve margin prepared for the Public Utility Commission of Texas
The City of Chicago and Integrys Energy Services announced changes to the City's electric aggregation program for small businesses meant to extend the service, on an opt-in basis, to some 40,000 additional small businesses
A coalition of industrial customers and consumer advocates said that granting PJM's requested waiver to allow offers in excess of $1,000/MWh to set the market-clearing LMP would compel customers to reward generators which failed to prudently hedge their variable costs of producing generation once they assumed a capacity supply obligation.