As part of its natural gas retail market investigation (I-2013-2381742), the Pennsylvania PUC has immediately commenced a review of changes to the natural gas disclosure requirements related to residential and small business customers.
The Pennsylvania PUC has issued a final order establishing the scope of its review of improvement to the retail natural gas market, and has accelerated its consideration of standard offer customer referral programs for natural gas.
The Pennsylvania PUC has issued a tentative order to implement Act 155 of 2014, which allows the PUC to assess annual fees to electric generation suppliers and natural gas suppliers related to the PUC's oversight costs of such suppliers.
FERC has granted a complaint from GDF Suez Energy Resources, NA concerning Consolidated Edison's submission of estimated data to NYISO for billing purposes which grossly overstated the consumption of a Suez customer, and has ordered resettlement of the affected November/December 2012 billing period, which will provide a refund to Suez
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• California to Allow Utilities to Own Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
• Local Business Turn Power Off to Protest Default Service Rate Hikes
• Uncertain Marketplace Causes Village To Idle Electric Aggregation Program
The Maryland PSC has assigned to the Public Utility Law Judge Division the question of whether three retail suppliers' marketing and pricing practices were "misleading" or otherwise provided inadequate information to allow a customer to make an informed choice regarding the purchase of electricity and natural gas services
The Maine PUC has directed Central Maine Power to proceed with development and implementation of a system that will allow customers to elect to make their interval usage data available to competitive electricity providers, and directed that a workgroup facilitate such development
• Ohio Adopts Rule for Retail Suppliers to Disclose Renewable Compliance Costs to Customers
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The New York PSC has taken no action on the natural gas utilities' annual reconciliation filings, meaning that large reconciliation credits for default service customers at Consolidated Edison and Orange & Rockland will take effect.
Duquesne Light has informed the Pennsylvania PUC that it was not able to meet the original December 15, 2014 deadline to implement an interim form of three-day accelerated switching, and has again asked for a waiver until January 16, 2015 to implement the interim solution.
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• Massachusetts Default Service Rate Hikes Prompt Heightened Interest in Municipalization
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The New York PSC has accepted Staff's modified accelerated switching proposal, which jettisoned an earlier proposal for the use of off-cycle switches, and instead retains the on-cycle meter read for switches.
Dayton Power & Light CEO Derek Porter has filed a letter with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio arguing that ratepayer-backed power purchase agreements, such as those proposed by the FirstEnergy utilities, are a, "key component to allowing reliable coal generation to continue operating and meeting the objectives of long-term reliability and stable prices."
The New York PSC has instituted a proceeding to begin the development and implementation of distribution-level demand response programs and other dynamic load management programs to be implemented prior to the summer of 2015.
The New Hampshire PUC has approved changes to the design of Public Service Company of New Hampshire's alternative default service rate (Rate ADE), and related provisions applicable to customers returning to PSNH from competitive supply.
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• SunPower Invests $20 Million in Tendril to Bring Smart Energy Solutions to Market
• Liberty Power CEO Interviewed Regarding Michigan Choice Cap
• Update: Southeast, MA Cities Pursuing Municipal Aggregation
As part of a wide-ranging proceeding to update a host of retail electric market provisions, the Massachusetts DPU will consider changes to the disclosure labels required to be produced by retail electric suppliers.
As part of a wide-ranging proceeding to update a host of retail electric market provisions, the Massachusetts DPU is proposing to eliminate, for residential and small C&I customers, the basic service cost recalculation applicable to customers who leave basic service for competitive supply.
The Massachusetts DPU, as part of a wide-ranging proceeding to update a host of retail electric market provisions, proposes that competitive suppliers who intend to market door-to-door to residential customers be required to provide notice to the Department prior to initiating a door-to-door campaign, and keep the Department apprised of any customer complaints received during the marketing campaign.
As part of a wide-ranging proceeding to update a host of retail electric market provisions, the Massachusetts DPU has proposed new provisions governing the assignment of a retail suppliers' customers to another retail supplier.
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• Report: Regulator To Consider Spreading Out Default Service Rate Hike
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The Massachusetts DPU's position that it may only narrowly review opt-out municipal aggregation plans to determine whether they conform to specific statutory criteria, "creates a substantial void in the regulatory and oversight structure for municipal aggregators, a void that leaves ratepayers and municipalities vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement," the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General said in a letter to the DPU.
The Small Customer Marketer Coalition has asked the New York PSC to resolve the "continuing inability" of KeySpan New York and KeySpan Long Island (collectively referred to as National Grid) to provide, "adequate, consistent and accurate billing services in connection with National Grid's ESCO customer billing program."
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• Lame-Duck Gov. Seeks to Impose New Obligation on Retail Suppliers
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Similar to a recent protest concerning Consolidated Edison, the Small Customer Marketer Coalition has protested a reconciliation filing by Orange & Rockland under which O&R seeks to apply a GSC refund of $1.370/Mcf to default service customers over the twelve month period commencing January 1, 2015.
Public Service Company of New Hampshire has floated the idea that it retain its generating assets, but that the assets not be used to serve default service customers, with costs or benefits of the units instead applied to all customers via nonbypassable charge.
Public Service Company of New Hampshire raised the specter of a purchaser of its generating plants, should the PUC compel a divestiture, using the purchase to remove the PSNH plants from the ISO New England capacity market to drive up prices, citing the recent controversy over the removal of the Brayton Point plant from the market.
ISO New England has filed at FERC proposed changes to its minimum capitalization requirements, claiming that the changes are needed to protect market participants against, "thinly capitalized," load serving entities which do not own physical assets.
Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have recommended that a complaint filed against Ambit Energy, which implicated the responsibility of retail electric providers to notify customers of changes in TDU charges and when new charges could be collected, be dismissed.
A retail energy supplier recently won a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) contract to serve power to the vast majority of Federal departments and agencies in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
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• New York Utilities Say Capacity Market Buyer-Side Mitigation Rules Bar Competitive Plants
• FERC to Appeal Demand Response Jurisdiction, Compensation Ruling
The Pennsylvania PUC has adopted an electric default service plan at PECO for the period June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2017 which will lower the cutoff for hourly priced default service, upon deployment of advanced meters.
Pennsylvania electric distribution companies must "carefully consider" including long-term contracts in their default service plans once legacy long-term contracts expire, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Gladys Brown said in a statement regarding the PUC's approval of a new default service plan for PECO.
The Pennsylvania PUC has approved PECO's compliance plan to implement accelerated switching, under which electric customers are to be switched to their chosen EGS within three business days, which includes issuing a new bill to the customer when the customer switches in the middle of a billing cycle.
PJM informed stakeholders that its board has authorized the filing of a capacity performance proposal with FERC, though the Board has made several changes to the PJM Staff's proposal, including revisions to the transition period.
The Small Customer Marketer Coalition has asked the New York PSC to not permit Consolidate Edison to implement a 10¢/therm credit for default service natural gas customers, as calculated under ConEd's annual reconciliation proceeding, because, "allowing the credit to be implemented would materially and improperly shift the competitive market in favor of the incumbent utility."
It appears that the polar vortex has made the trial lawyer community aware of the competitive retail energy supplier industry, and the industry now serves as a perpetual target for class action lawsuits, as the latest development is similar suits filed against multiple retail suppliers over alleged Do Not Call violations.
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• Higher Electric Rates Could Jolt General Assembly
• Connecticut Official Urge "Caution" When Shopping for Energy Supplier
• Salem, MA Seeking to Create Municipal Aggregation
ERCOT has filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas a report on the monthly coincident peak (Four Coincident Peak - 4CP) Loads in the ERCOT system for the months of June, July, August and September 2014
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• Gulf Electricity Enhances Rewards Program as It Promotes Service in Wake of SOS Rate Hikes
• Michigan Utilities Tout Report Stating Choice "Handicaps" New Generation, Raises Reliability Risk
• Panoramic Power, Autodesk to Collaborate on Joint Development of Applications for Real-time Facility
An updated proposal under which Texas retail electric providers would be reimbursed for providing low-income customers with programmable communicating thermostats (PCTs) and in-home displays (IHDs) would initially limit how many customers for which each REP would be reimbursed.
FERC on November 28 approved most of PJM's sought revisions to the PJM capacity market variable resource requirement (VRR) curve and related revisions sought under the triennial review process, adopting changes which lead to gold-plating of the reliability target and which load interests have said will cost consumers billions of dollars annually
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• Illinois Proposes Authorization Form for Retail Supplier Access to Non-Billing Customer Interval Data
• "Market": Generators Seek to Raise Capacity Prices Through Complaint at FERC
• Retail Supplier Affiliate Agrees to $7 Million Fine
Oncor has filed at the Public Utility Commission of Texas to reduce the charge for a Priority Move-In for a Self-Contained Meter, for non-AMS meters or AMS meters without remote connect/disconnection functionality
At least two more lawsuits seeking class action status have been filed against retail suppliers whose only allegation is that suppliers' rates were not "market-based" as claimed in various supplier materials.
The District of Columbia PSC issued show cause orders to 10 retail electric suppliers after the PSC alleged that the suppliers failed to respond to a prior directive to confirm the data used in their filed fuel mix reports, while directing numerous other suppliers to file reports or bring their filings into compliance
Staff of a PSC have proposed that the Commission adopt regulations that would require a notice of change in a retail supplier's rate prior to the rate being billed to customers and require what Staff terms a "soft verification" that demonstrates the customer's willingness to maintain the revised agreement with new rates and or fees.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has granted IGS Energy a waiver of the third party verification requirements contained in Ohio Adm. 4901:1-29-06(D)(6)(b) and 4901:1-21-06(D)(1)(h) for in-dwelling sales conducted in accordance with a tablet-reliant process described by IGS Energy.
Capacity markets, Texas policymakers were told, provide a net benefit to customers because they eliminate unpredictable and volatile instances of excessive scarcity pricing in the energy market that customers cannot stomach, and therefore the billions provided in capacity subsidies result in lower total costs.
Direct Energy is seeing improved margins in its commercial and industrial supply business, but saw its residential customer count fall during the third quarter, Centrica said in an interim management statement.
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• Pepco Files New Bypassable Transmission Rates in D.C.
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Spark Energy will, at this time, acquire a smaller Connecticut customer book from Town Square Energy than originally contemplated, after the Connecticut PURA informed the suppliers that it could not sanction the assignment of certain customers whose contracts PURA interpreted as being expired.
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• Report: Electric Rates Not Expected To Increase At Massachusetts Municipal Utilities
• Retail Supplier-Commissioned Poll Urges Maryland to Support Solar
Here are the Western Massachusetts Electric Company basic service rates for the first six months of 2015 for residential and small commercial customers, and first three months of 2015 for medium and large customers
Summer Energy Holdings, the parent of Texas REP Summer Energy, LLC, reported a wider loss for the three months ending September 30, 2014, as the company continues to attempt to obtain economies of scale.
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• Connecticut, Massachusetts Utilities Expects Gas Bills to, "Remain Stable and Very Competitive" This Winter
• Connecticut Approves Significant Increases for CL&P, UI Default Service Rates
• ERCOT Posts Analysis of Clean Power Plan Impacts
• SunEdison and TerraForm Power Sign Definitive Agreement To Acquire First Wind
• Release: Direct Energy Maintains Price Protection in CT, MA, PA
• Generators File Complaint to Disqualify Demand Response From ISO-NE Capacity Auction
• Maine PUC Issues Consumer Assistance Bulletin on Electric Choice, Shopping
The Pennsylvania PUC has ruled on whether it can interpret the terms and conditions of a contract between an electric generation supplier (EGS) and a customer to determine whether a breach has occurred, or setting the rates an EGS can charge.
The Pennsylvania PUC has affirmed that it lacks jurisdiction to enforce the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and Telemarketer Registration Act, but that the Commission may determine whether a retail electric supplier's prices conform to its disclosure statement
After receiving more information regarding the impact on customers from the alleged violations, the Pennsylvania PUC accepted without modification a settlement between its Staff and ResCom Energy LLC under which ResCom will pay $59,000 to resolve an investigation into alleged slamming, Do Not Call violations, and other marketing violations.
The Board of Directors of Genie Energy Ltd., the parent of IDT Energy, has initiated payment of a quarterly dividend to holders of its Class A and Class B common stock and declared a dividend of $0.06 per share for the third quarter of 2014.
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• ConEdison Solutions Officially Announces Massachusetts Market Entry for Individual Residential Customers
• Retail Supplier Launching Fund to Help Veteran Who Have Trouble Paying Utility Bills
Similar to action undertaken at Pepco and Delmarva, the Maryland PSC said that Baltimore Gas & Electric SOS rates should continue to include some form of an Administrative Charge, a bypassable adder reflecting certain costs to serve SOS customers not in energy commodity prices, but directed further proceedings to develop the specific level of the charge.
Nstar said that it has filed new basic service rates with the Massachusetts DPU for the six-month period beginning January 1, 2015, with the new residential basic service rate increasing to nearly 15¢/kWh.
In draft legislative recommendations for the 2015 scope of competition report, Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have recommended that the legislature explicitly provide the Commission with authority to ban certain companies or individuals from participation in the retail market.
• Dominion Retail Now Selling Residential Natural Gas at PECO
• Oncor Seeks to Ratebase, Socialize Cost of Batteries, Storage
• In Wake Of National Grid Rate Hike, Electric Customers Turning To Alternatives
• Calpine Completes Purchase Exelon Power Plant in New England
• BGE Forecasts 13% Lower Natural Gas Bills This Winter (Provides Estimate of Default Service Rate)
• City Warns That Energy Solicitors Spreading False Information Regarding Aggregation Suspension
• Court: Petroleum Lobby's Site ChooseEnergy.org Doesn't Infringe on Broker Choose Energy's Trademark
• Report: Founder of Lobby Firm McBee Strategic to Join NRG Energy
• ISO New England Cites "Deteriorating Resource Performance" in Announcing 2014 Regional System Plan
The Retail Energy Supply Association requested that the District of Columbia PSC establish a working group of interested stakeholders to hold a series of meetings to discuss modifications to the customer protection rules proposed by the PSC.
The Connecticut PURA has adopted forms and associated requirements to be used for several statutorily required notices to be sent by retail electric suppliers, adopted new product definitions, and clarified several rules, including a finding that sending generic terms and conditions do not meet certain statutory mandates.
Renewable Power Direct, a wholesale power marketer which heretofore has concentrated on providing wholesale renewable power to customers via the customer's existing load serving entity (essentially as a matchmaker), is expanding its service to include serving customers at retail in states with electric choice.
The retail customer base of Genie Energy, parent of IDT Energy and new brand Residents Energy, essentially stabilized during the third quarter, as churn returned to normalized levels after the polar vortex.
The Maryland PSC says that responses from U.S. Gas & Electric and affiliate Energy Service Providers, Inc. to show cause orders issued by the PSC show that the complaints levied against USG&E in the show cause orders should be dismissed — with one exception
• Avoid The Risk Premium? Maine SOS RFP Seeks 10-Month Bids to Supply Non-shoppers
• Ohio Discloses Winning Bidders from FirstEnergy Utilities' Default Service Auction
• CPower Brand Resurrected for New DR Company Formed from Constellation, Comverge
• N.H. Further Directs Exploration Default Service Procurement Issues, Including Alternative Plans
A final Connecticut PURA decision concerning retail supplier customer notice requirements (click here for related story today) does not state any intent by PURA to investigate two suppliers' compliance with the rule governing the use of third-party agents.
Energy Future Holdings reported in a 10-Q that its competitive retail businesses recorded a net loss of residential customers from June 30, 2014 to September 30, 2014, but the loss was less than 1% of its customer base.
Results from recent default service auctions in Pennsylvania and Ohio appear to reflect an increased risk premium, which FirstEnergy Solutions believes is, "associated with volatility and uncertainty in PJM," Leila Vespoli, FirstEnergy Corp.'s Executive Vice President, Markets, said during an earnings call.
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• City Asks PUCO to Bar FES from Terminating Contract While Polar Vortex Dispute Pending
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• Impression Made: NRG Energy TV Ad Cited As Analogy By Local Press
Power Resources, Ltd. would pay $37,000 under a settlement with Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to resolve allegations that Power Resources violated PURA § 39.151(d), and P.U.C. SUBST. R. 25.503(f)(2), concerning failure to adhere to Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Operating Guide §§ 2.2.5(2), related to automatic voltage regulators, and 2.6.2(1), related to generators.
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• Rates Rising for Maine Consumer-Owned Utility (With Choice)
• Judge Allows EFH Sale of Oncor to Proceed With Conditions
• Report: Aggregation Implementation Confuses Some Residents
Duquesne Light should maintain the use of laddered 12-month contracts to serve small C&I customers due to the potential for market shock such as the "Polar Vortex", a Pennsylvania ALJ said in a recommended decision on Duquesne Light's default service plan for the period beginning June 1, 2015.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) expects the region will have sufficient electric supplies this winter, based on a broad range of planning scenarios in the Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) released Friday.
• Massachusetts DPU Plans on Launching Energy Shopping Comparison Site
• Constellation Completes Acquisition of Integrys Energy Services
• National Fuel Gas Distribution Lowers Supply Charge
• Proposed Aggregation Draws Mixed Opinions
FERC approved without modification a series of tariff revisions filed by PJM to revise PJM's rules related to offer price adders ("FMU adders") for generation units that are frequently offer capped, referred to as Frequently Mitigated Units.
FERC announced that on January 7, 2015 it will convene a technical conference concerning the justness and reasonableness of PJM's existing tariff provisions related to the Financial Transmission Rights (FTR) forfeiture rule and uplift allocations as applied to Up-to Congestion (UTC) transactions and virtual (INC/DEC) transactions.