Conn. Draft Would Maintain Clean Energy Options Program Email This Story March 14, 2011
A draft Connecticut DPUC decision would reinstate the Connecticut Clean Energy Options (CCEO) program for the period January 1, 2012 through January 1, 2017, maintaining the use of two REC suppliers which may offer RECs to offset a specified portion of default service customers' usage.
Although there are now several competitive suppliers that offer renewable products in excess of the RPS requirement, the draft cites several distinctions as justifying continuation of the Clean Energy Options program, especially considering its "modest" cost.
"First, because the CCEO suppliers rely exclusively on clean energy demand, they have a greater interest in marketing clean energy products and are also instrumental in advancing additional supply of clean energy capacity. Second, the existing CCEO suppliers have developed a partnership with the CCEF [Connecticut Clean Energy Fund] and its Clean Energy Communities program to promote renewable energy in towns across Connecticut. As such, their joint activities with CCEF and local clean energy committees strengthen the commitment to support clean energy in towns and among citizens across Connecticut. Third, CCEO suppliers offer a portfolio of renewable energy products as approved in the last CCEO procurement that may adhere to a higher standard of clean energy," the draft finds.
The draft would continue the current practice that procurements of RECs for RPS requirements shall not offset a portion of the obligations of the Connecticut Clean Energy Option suppliers. In other words, customers served under the Connecticut Clean Energy Option program would be served at their specified REC percentage under the CCEO program plus the RPS requirement, even in cases where the customer elects the 100% CCEO option.
"The Department recognizes that competitive suppliers that are not in the CCEO program can add a renewable product mix to the RPS requirement to develop a green product that is clean in accordance with the sum of the two percentages. Although this may give the non-CCEO competitive suppliers a price advantage, it is up to the CCEO suppliers to explain to customers the features of the CCEO program that set it apart from non-CCEO products. The appropriate venue to bring up any claims about competitive suppliers' labeling and product disclosure of 'green' energy products is in the annual Department-initiated docket that evaluates the activities of competitive suppliers," the draft states.
Residential CCEO percentages would remain 50% or 100% of usage. The business percentage options would be revised to be 25%, 50%, and 100%, eliminating the current 10%, 20%, 30%, and 40% options for administrative ease.
The Draft would continue the use of two approved CCEO suppliers, which, "allows for customer choice of suppliers while minimizing customer confusion and program administration costs."
A new competitive RFP would select the CCEO suppliers, rather than automatically extending the terms of current suppliers Community Energy and Sterling Planet. "An RFP selection process will ensure that bidders put forward their best efforts and lowest pricing portfolios to be selected," the draft states.
The distribution companies shall, at the request and at the expense of the CCEO suppliers, facilitate the distribution of up to two bill stuffers per year, the draft holds.
The draft would also find that more information should be provided to customers by CCEO suppliers regarding product content. "[S]uppliers should provide more detailed descriptions of their renewable resource geographic and project locations and technologies that are easily accessible on their respective websites. The Department recognizes that the precise product mix and locations of renewable generation for RECs may change. However, the suppliers could provide examples of renewable projects, as well as indicate the states or regions that have supplied resources for RECs, etc. Websites should be updated on a periodic basis and when the information becomes obsolete. The Department believes that both suppliers should provide more narrative and descriptive information on geographic and project locations and resource type, beyond the percentage content requirement. This descriptive information will provide better online customer information and the Department believes that better product information will facilitate more customer sign-ups," the draft states.