PSC: Comparison Of Costs Of Default Service, Retail Supply For Low-Income Customers, "Merits Further Exploration"
September 27, 2018 Email This Story Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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In an order on the 2019 Electric Universal Service Program plan, the Maryland PSC said that a comparison of costs paid by low-income customers under default service versus competitive retail supply, "merits further exploration," but declined to require the utilities to provide aggregate cost comparisons at this time
As first reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, the Office of People's Counsel had asked the PSC to direct utilities to provide data comparing costs billed to low-income customers under SOS versus service from a retail supplier. OPC has specifically sought: (1) number of EUSP and MEAP [Maryland Energy Assistance Program] customers receive electric or gas supply from a retail supplier; (2) the total aggregate amount those customers paid in retail supply charges; and (3) the total aggregate amount those customers would have paid for default (SOS or SS) service from the utility.
In the EUSP order, the PSC said, "This topic merits further exploration and discussion; however, it appears from the discussion that some of the information requested by OPC is already available either via platforms such as the 'agency portal' described by the PHI Companies, or through a combination of such platforms and the information that is available through the Commission’s website."
The PHI Companies had said that, through its agency portal, the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) is able to view, on a customer-specific basis, payments and balances of each customer’s current bill. However, for aggregate data, the PHI Companies said that the utilities would have to develop an automated program to run additional queries, which would entail additional costs.
"Nonetheless, at a minimum, the utilities should provide to OPC the number of EUSP (and MEAP) customers that receive electric or gas supply from a retail supplier," the PSC ordered
"However, the Commission will not direct the utilities to provide the total aggregate amounts those customers paid in retail supply charges and the total aggregate amount those customers would have paid for default (SOS) service from the utility. The Commission finds that further discussion among the stakeholders is needed at this time. When the Advisory Board reconvenes, the Commission directs that Staff provide periodic progress reports with regard to this issue," the PSC said