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PURA Denies Retail Supplier Objections To Interrogatories In Review Of Hardship Customer Shopping

November 26, 2018

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

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The Connecticut PURA has dismissed objections, raised by retail suppliers, to various interrogatories expounded on the electric distribution companies by the Office of Consumer Counsel in a proceeding reviewing whether all hardship customers should be returned to default service.

As first reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, the Connecticut PURA opened a 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). The General Statutes of Connecticut §16-245o(m) permits the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (Authority) to initiate a docket to review the feasibility, costs and benefits of placing on standard service all customers of all electric suppliers (1) who are hardship cases for purpose of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of section 16-262c, (2) having moneys due and owing deducted from such customer 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. The statute permits the Authority in a final decision to order all such customers to be placed on standard service

EnergyChoiceMatters.com was first to report that PURA, in opening the case, said it would compare the amount that hardship and other customers covered under § 16-245o(m) have paid under retail supply versus the amount the same accounts would have paid if on standard service

Certain interrogatories sought from the EDCs information on a supplier-by-supplier basis, which the Retail Energy Supply Association said was outside of the scope of the proceeding

RESA also objected to interrogatories seeking information by municipality or zip code, stating that the statute does not deal with geographic distinctions between customers

RESA also objected to interrogatories seeking information about non-hardship customers, since such customers are not covered by the statute at issue in the proceeding.

PURA overruled RESA's objections, stating that the information sought is relevant

"The Authority initiated the instant docket to review the feasibility, costs and benefits of transferring to standard service all customers referred to in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(m) and, depending on the results of the review, to implement the order described therein. See Notice of Proceeding dated July 11, 2018. The interrogatories posed by the OCC seek information that will aid the Authority in the determination of the issues in this docket. Although this docket addresses returning only hardship customers to standard service, a basis of comparison regarding such customers may be helpful to the Authority in determining the best result. Likewise, information regarding geographic distinctions and rate classes, as well as information regarding hardship customers’ interactions with their specific suppliers, will aid the Authority in gaining a more accurate picture of the current relationship between hardship customers and suppliers, and will assist the Authority in crafting the appropriate solution," PURA said

PURA also addressed a request from RESA to extend the deadline for parties to issue interrogatories, with PURA stating that the request is moot in light of the following:

"The present calendar is being revised to reflect the delay in issuing interrogatories and the delay in interrogatory responses based on pending motions. When a ruling is issued on the motions and responses filed to present discovery, the Authority will issue a new calendar indicating new discovery dates and revising the remaining calendar. All participants will have ample time to issue discovery," PURA said

PURA noted that the calendar presently reflects a Technical Meeting tentatively scheduled for December 18, 2018. The Technical Meeting will remain tentatively scheduled, but may be rescheduled based on timing of interrogatory responses, PURA said

Docket No. 18-06-02

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