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ESCOs Seek New Lists Of Low-Income Customers From New York Utilities Prior To Prohibition Implementation

September 11, 2017

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Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • ring@energychoicematters.com

Several ESCOs filed individual requests with the New York PSC on Friday asking that the PSC direct the utilities to send updated lists of assistance program participant (APP) customers prior to starting the process of ending service to such customers, and also sought more time so they may comply with applicable UBP requirements for customer notice of such drops

As we reported last Friday, with the TRO lifted, PSC Staff informed ESCOs that the transfer of low-income customers from energy service companies to utilities required by the Prohibition Order shall commence by Monday, September 25, 2017

Spark Energy, LLC and Kiwi Energy NY LLC, in jointly filed comments, stated, "Although the ESCO Parties recognize Staff’s desire to promptly implement the Low-Income Order, it is likely that the customer lists previously sent by the utilities to the ESCOs are no longer accurate because more than one month has passed since issuance of the lists and such lists apparently frequently change. For example, according to reports issued by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. ('Con Edison'), low-income customers participating in Con Edison’s electric and gas service changed by more than 5,700 and 1,000 customers, respectively, between the first and second quarters of 2017."

Spark Energy, LLC and Kiwi Energy NY LLC noted that in recognition of this fact, "the Low-Income Order requires that 'the list of customer accounts that the ESCO will no longer be eligible to serve will be updated no less than once every month.'"

In separately filed comments, Infinite Energy, Inc. also noted that relying on the prior lists, "could lead to ESCOs inadvertently violating the privacy rights of their customers."

Infinite Energy, also stated, "The timeline the Commission has given for beginning implementation is unreasonably short in light of the Commission’s Uniform Business Practices ('UBP'). Under the UBP, ESCOs must give customers 15 days’ notice before a disconnection. If disconnections of low-income customers are to begin on September 25, ESCOs must begin sending disconnection notices today – less than 24 hours after receiving the Commission’s [September 6] guidance on this issue."

Genie Energy, in separately filed comments, similarly stated that Staff's deadline, "is an unreasonable expectation, especially for those ESCOs who, following advice of counsel, never accessed, or even destroyed, the [old] lists provided by the utilities for fear that accessing them would be a violation of their customers’ privacy rights."

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