Regulator Opens Investigation Of Retail Supplier, Return Of Customers To Default Service
February 6, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Delegated Commissioner of the Massachusetts DPU has opened an investigation and issued a Notice Of Probable Violation against Union Atlantic Electricity, LLC (UAE) for alleged violation of provisions of G.L. c. 164; 220 CMR 11.00, 14.00, 25.00; and 225 CMR 14.00, 15.00, 16.00.
The Notice Of Probable Violation principally relates to what the Notice described as Union Atlantic Electricity's default at ISO New England and a return of its customers to basic (default) service
Union Atlantic Electricity provided the following statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com: "Union Atlantic Electricity was a party to and a victim of the Clear Choice Energy Bankruptcy. We are continuing to work with the Mass DPU to resolve all matters before them."
The Notice Of Probable Violation states, "ISO-NE notified the Department of three payment defaults by UAE during August and September 2018. In addition, on September 14, 2018, the Department received notification from ISO-NE that UAE had defaulted on its wholesale market obligations. On each occasion, the Department contacted UAE to request that UAE explain in detail the circumstances that caused ISO-NE to take these actions against UAE, describe the steps UAE had taken to both remedy the defaults and prevent these situations from recurring in the future, and describe the impact that the action taken by ISO-NE would have on UAE’s retail customers in Massachusetts. In each of UAE’s responses, UAE included the following language: 'This payment default had no impact on Union Atlantic's retail customers in Massachusetts and will have no impact on them in the future. While an uncured default would result in customers being returned to default service, this default was cured, and Union Atlantic continues to take the necessary steps to ensure that no future default occurs ...'"
The Notice Of Probable Violation states, "Despite UAE’s previous assurances to the Department regarding its ISO-NE payment defaults, on November 5, 2018, Eversource contacted the Department to report that it had been notified by ISO-NE that UAE had defaulted on its wholesale market obligations and informed the Department that, because of the default, Eversource would place all of UAE’s customers in its service territory on basic service. On November 9, 2018, National Grid and Unitil reported to the Department that they had also been notified of UAE’s default by ISO-NE, and that they also would place all of UAE’s customers in their respective service territories on basic service. Furthermore, on November 13, 2018, the Department received a complaint from a consumer related to one of UAE’s defaults, stating that: (1) he entered into a two year contract with UAE that was to run through July 2019; (2) his service with UAE was terminated in November 2018, at which time he was switched to basic service; and (3) this termination may result in a ten percent increase in his electric bill."
The Notice Of Probable Violation states, "220 CMR 11.05(3)(d) states that a competitive supplier may terminate service to a residential customer during the term of service only if the customer has not paid its bill within 48 days from receipt. UAE’s default on its ISO-NE wholesale market obligations forced its customers onto basic service and effectively terminated the customers’ competitive supply service during the term of their respective service, for reasons other than non-payment of their bills. The above-described action constitutes a report of a probable violation."
The Notice Of Probable Violation states, "On December 6, 2018, DOER filed with the Department a petition requesting the Department to take specific action resulting from UAE’s alleged non-compliance with the renewable portfolio standard ('RPS') Class I, RPS Class II, and alternative portfolio standard ('APS') obligations, 225 CMR 14.00, 15.00, and 16.00, for the compliance year 2017. On December 13, 2018, the Department sent UAE another letter, notifying UAE that the scope of the informal review will include the allegations contained in DOER’s petition."
The Notice Of Probable Violation states, "In its petition, DOER asserts that UAE failed to comply with its RPS Class I, RPS Class II, and APS obligations. DOER states that the Respondent did not make ACPs as required under 225 CMR 14.08(3), 15.08(3), 16.07(3) as a means of meeting the shortfalls in its ownership of the appropriate number of GIS certificates to meet the minimum standards in 225 CMR 14.07, 15.07, 16.06. DOER filed a petition of non-compliance with the Department seeking certain licensure action."
The Notice Of Probable Violation states, "On December 19, 2018, the Department issued a letter, via email, to UAE that outlined the scope of the proposed informal remedial plan to resolve the Delegated Commissioner’s informal review of UAE’s actions. In the correspondence, the Department requested that UAE provide a detailed response to the proposed informal remedial plan, via letter or email, and populate the information set out in the accompanying Excel table no later than December 28, 2018. UAE failed to respond by the December 28, 2018 deadline. Because of UAE’s failure to respond to the Department’s request in a timely manner, the Department, on January 14, 2019, provided UAE with the opportunity to withdraw its competitive supply license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, accept the terms of the informal remedial plan, or face a formal investigation. On January 18, 2019, the Respondent replied. UAE did not choose either of the options presented by the Department, and instead proposed to modify the terms of the Department’s proposed informal remedial plan. Accordingly, the Department is opening this formal investigation pursuant to Order Establishing Final Interim Guidelines for Competitive Supply Investigations and Proceedings, D.P.U. 16-156-A (2017)."
Union Atlantic Electricity was directed to respond within thirty days. Should the Union Atlantic Electricity fail to respond to the allegations or fail to appear at the adjudicatory hearing, the Department will issue a default judgment against the company.