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PUC Adopts Supplier Consolidated Billing Pilot

Directs Staff to Review Billing of Non-commodity Services on Utility Consolidated Bills

October 23, 2017

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Copyright 2010-17
Reporting by Paul Ring •

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved, without modification to several retail market enhancements, a stipulation governing Dayton Power & Light's electric security plan that, among others things, will institute a supplier consolidated billing pilot

The SCB pilot is capped at 60,000 customers absent approval for an increase from PUCO Staff and DP&L.

The supplier consolidated billing pilot, which shall be in place for 2 years, will initially be limited to 2,500 customers per CRES (retail) provider for the first six months of active implementation. Based upon biannual review and approval by Staff, DP&L, and participating CRES providers, the customer participation cap shall be incrementally increased by 2,500 customers each six months not to exceed 10,000 customers for any individual CRES provider

While individual CRES suppliers will nominally be capped at serving 10,000 customers on SCB, individual CRESs may increase their supplier consolidated billing customers above 10,000 with Staff and DP&L approval, if the 60,000 cap has not been met

Any CRES provider that is qualified may participate in SCB

Costs of supplier consolidated billing implementation will be split 50-50 between DP&L and participating suppliers, except that DP&L will also provide a credit of $150,000.00 toward the CRES provider portion of these costs.

Such credit shall be funded by DP&L through shareholder dollars and be implemented through a onetime payment to RESA which will then allocate that payment at its discretion. DP&L shall submit such payment to RESA within thirty (30) days after DP&L provides an estimate of the total implementation costs to interested CRES providers. CRES providers that enter the program after its implementation must agree to reimburse other participating CRES providers on a pro-rata basis to ensure a fair allocation of the implementation costs to be shared by participating CRES providers.

DP&L receivables will be purchased at 100% by CRES providers under SCB

PUCO again affirmed that it believes SCB is part of its ultimate vision for the retail market to allow for greater product innovation

"As we have noted in other recent proceedings, as the marketplace is currently situated, the Commission's desired course for competitive suppliers is to ultimately offer supplier consolidated billing and dual, [sic] billing. This would facilitate the innovative marketplace that we envision for the state of Ohio and would easily resolve how suppliers can bill for the goods and services that they wish to market and then bill to their customers. Our approval today of the supplier consolidated billing pilot program in this proceeding is consistent with that goal," PUCO said

"It is time to move forward with the implementation of supplier consolidated billing in DP&L's service territory, and the provisions in the Amended Stipulation promise real progress on this issue (Co. Ex. 3 at 15-16; Jt. Ex. 1 at 21-26). The Commission finds that all customers, both shopping customers and SSO customers, benefit from a robust competitive market, and supplier consolidated billing is a positive step in the development of that competitive market ... In the Amended Stipulation, although all customers benefit from the development of a competitive market, CRES providers have agreed to contribute 50 percent of the costs of implementing the program," PUCO said

"We further find that approval of the pilot supplier consolidated billing program is consistent with the policy of this state set forth in R.C. 4928.02 to ensure the availability of unbundled and comparable retail electric service that provides consumers with the supplier, price, terms, conditions, and quality options they elect to meet their respective needs and to ensure diversity of electricity supplies and suppliers, by giving consumers effective choices over the selection of those supplies and suppliers. R.C. 4928.02(B) and (C), respectively. As a pilot program, the proposed supplier consolidated billing program is also consistent with the state policy to recognize the continuing emergence of competitive electricity markets through the development and implementation of flexible regulatory treatment. R.C. 4928.02(G). Accordingly, the Commission finds that the provisions for a pilot supplier consolidated billing program are in the public interest," PUCO said

PUCO also adopted the provisions of an amended stipulation concerning the billing of non-commodity services on utility consolidated billing, and will require a review of the issue

The amended stipulation scaled back an earlier stipulation under which DP&L had committed to implement, within 12 months, a pilot process to provide any competitive retail electric service (CRES) provider, that is interested and qualified, the opportunity to bill customers for non-commodity products and/or services on the customer's DP&L bill using bill-ready billing (see prior story for more details)

Under the new stipulation terms ultimately adopted by PUCO, implementation of utility billing for non-commodity supplier charges will be subject to a PUCO proceeding, and DP&L must make an application before PUCO to implement any such program

Specifically, no later than sixty days after a Commission order approving the stipulation, Staff will request that the Commission conduct a rule review to establish parameters for non-commodity billing in all electric distribution utility service territories. DP&L agrees to provide for a non-commodity billing on a customer's utility bills after the Commission has evaluated and approved billing requirements for non-commodity billing in a rule review process or another proceeding. DP&L will be permitted to seek cost recovery associated with providing non-commodity billing in part from CRES providers utilizing non-commodity billing and other third parties and ratepayers equally in another proceeding.

DP&L shall submit an application to the Commission to establish non-commodity billing and parameters and to establish any terms for cost recovery by DP&L no later than eighteen months after the date a Commission order is issued approving the stipulation

PUCO also approved, as set forth in a stipulation, the parameters for a "small-scale" pilot program providing an alternative means for customers to obtain and pay for services otherwise provided by or through the nonbypassable non-market-based transmission charge (TCRR-N).

See prior story for more details on the TCRR-N pilot; a later stipulation revised certain parameters but did not materially change the program

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