Energy Choice



Daily Email







Retail Suppliers Seek Protective Order Covering Utilities Provision Of Retail Supplier Rate, Customer Data To OCC In Low-Income Default Service Review

November 6, 2018

Email This Story
Copyright 2010-17
Reporting by Paul Ring •

The following story is brought free of charge to readers by EC Infosystems, the exclusive EDI provider of

The Retail Energy Supply Association has requested that the Connecticut PURA issue a protective order and grant confidential status to various rate and customer data that the Office of Consumer Counsel has requested from the utilities during discovery in a proceeding reviewing whether hardship and similar customers should be placed on default service

As first reported by (see story here), the Connecticut PURA has opened a proceeding (Docket 18-06-02) for a review of the feasibility, costs, and benefits of placing certain customers on standard service pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(m). Such customers covered by §16-245o(m) include customers: (1) who are hardship cases for purposes of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of section 16-262c, (2) having moneys due and owing deducted from such customers' bills by the electric distribution company pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (b) of section 16-262c, (3) receiving other financial assistance from an electric distribution company, or (4) who are otherwise protected by law from shutoff of electricity services

OCC has sought various supplier rate and customer data from the utilities as part of the proceeding. RESA sought the protective order to limit disclosure of the confidential information to PURA, the Office of Consumer Counsel and the respective staffs of each, as well as representatives of the EDCs and RESA.

"[T]he information for which RESA seeks protected treatment contains confidential commercial information. The Confidential Information has commercial value. It contains valuable information about the Connecticut retail electricity market and the activities of individual Electric Suppliers, and it offers insights for the direction and allocation of marketing resources," RESA said in a motion

RESA noted that the information for which RESA seeks protected treatment ("Confidential Information") is subject to confidentiality obligations set forth in the standard service agreements between electric suppliers and EDCs. These standard agreements contain the following non-disclosure provisions: Neither party may disclose any Confidential Information obtained pursuant to this Agreement to any third party, including affiliates of such party, without the express prior written consent of the other party. As used in the agreements, the term "Confidential Information" shall include, but not be limited to, all business, financial, and commercial information pertaining to the parties, Customers of either or both parties, Suppliers for either party, personnel of either party; any trade secrets; and other information of a similar nature; whether written or in intangible form that is marked proprietary or confidential with the appropriate owner’s name.

Under the agreements, the Confidential Information may be disclosed to any governmental, judicial or regulatory authority requiring such Confidential Information pursuant to any applicable law, regulation, ruling, or order, provided that such Confidential Information is submitted under any applicable provision, if any, for confidential treatment by such governmental, judicial or regulatory authority

RESA said that the Confidential Information is also not required by statute. "Accordingly, the Confidential Information meets the requirements for protection from FOIA disclosure under Connecticut General Statutes 1-210(b)(5)(B) and should be protected," RESA said

"The Confidential Information to be provided in response to the OCC Interrogatories also consists of the type of data compilations that FOIA intends to protect as trade secrets, because the compilations will provide valuable insight into setting competitive electric supply rates and marketing competitive electric supply in Connecticut. Owing to the actual and potential economic value that the Confidential Information possesses, RESA Electric Suppliers generally undertake reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality of this information. RESA Electric Suppliers generally do not share the Confidential Information outside their particular organizations," RESA said

More specifically concerning the type of data for which RESA seeks protected treatment, Interrogatory OCC-3 requests, among other things, for each competitive supplier, for non-hardship customer accounts, data that discloses, for each month between October 2016 and September 2018: (a) the name of the competitive supplier; (b) the total kWh billed for each supply rate (i.e., each unique rate charged by the competitive supplier); (c) the supply rate charged; (d) the rate class for each supply rate; (e) the total dollar amount billed (before application of any applicable discounts) for each supply rate; (f) the total number of accounts billed for each supply rate; and (g) the total number of new accounts billed for each supply rate

Interrogatory OCC-5 requests, among other things, for non-hardship customers, data that discloses, for the months of June 2018 and September 2018 only, for each unique combination of municipality, zip code, and rate class the following: (a) the name of the supplier and total number of non-hardship residential accounts billed for each competitive supplier operating in that area at each rate offered by that supplier, the total kWh billed for each rate, and the number of new residential accounts billed. Additionally interrogatories seek similar information for various customer groups and time periods

Given such information, "competitors could learn pricing strategies for other Electric Suppliers without having to expend the substantial time and resources to develop this information on their own," RESA said

"With that information, competitors could easily learn the areas in which they should focus their marketing efforts without having to expend the substantial time and resources to develop this information on their own. Moreover, when the Interrogatories OCC 5-8 Information, combined with other information requested in the OCC Interrogatories, such as the rate classes and other information requested, is made publicly available, each Electric Supplier’s existing and future competitors would have a potential roadmap for determining how and where to focus their marketing efforts," RESA said

"[T]he number of new residential customers each Electric Supplier serves each month is not information that is publicly known or ascertainable by proper means by competitors of each Supplier. Nor is a list of the locations of each Electric Supplier’s customers publicly available," RESA said

Interrogatory OCC-12 requests the following data for June and for September for each of the years 2011 through 2018, separately by supplier, for all non-hardship accounts served: (a) total number of accounts served; (b) total dollars billed; and (c) total kWh billed

Interrogatory OCC-21 requests, to the extent not provided in response to any of the previous interrogatories, that the EDCs provide information, separately by supplier (including the EDCs), about the churn in the residential customers for whom the EDC renders bills, where churn is defined as the percent of customers that change their supplier each month

"[T]he Interrogatory OCC-21 Information is exempt from public disclosure under FOIA. The Interrogatory OCC-21 Information has actual value to the competitors of each Electric Supplier, because this information can reveal useful aspects of Electric Suppliers’ market position. Specifically, when combined with the Interrogatory OCC 5-8 Information, the Interrogatory OCC-21 Information could show competitors where the customers of Electric Suppliers’ with changing enrollments are located and enable competitors to target marketing efforts to, or away from, those areas," RESA said

Docket 18-06-02

NEW Jobs on
NEW! -- Director of Sales & Marketing -- Retail Supplier -- Houston
NEW! -- Sales Director -- Houston
NEW! -- Director of Sales
NEW! -- Energy Sales Representative
NEW! -- Manager Business Field Sales -- Retail Energy
NEW! -- Senior Energy Consultant
NEW! -- Supply Analyst -- Retail Supplier
NEW! -- Controller -- Retail Supplier -- Houston
NEW! -- Outside Sales Executive -- Retail Energy
NEW! -- Channel Sales Manager -- Retail Supplier
NEW! -- Sr Analyst, Supply and Pricing -- Retail Supplier -- Houston
NEW! -- Customer Retention Analyst -- Retail Supplier -- Houston

Email This Story


Copyright 2010-16 Energy Choice Matters.  If you wish to share this story, please email or post the website link; unauthorized copying, retransmission, or republication prohibited.



Daily Email