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PUC Approves Expansion Of Purchase Of Receivables Program

Other Retail Market Terms Approved As Part Of Utility Acquisition

January 16, 2020

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Copyright 2010-20
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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The Pennsylvania PUC adopted, with modifications, a non-unanimous stipulation which approves Aqua America, Inc.'s acquisition of Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC, Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC – Equitable Division, and Peoples Gas Company LLC

The PUC's modifications to the settlement did not impact the terms of any retail market provisions contained in the settlement discussed below. However, since the settlement was modified, any party to the stipulation may elect to withdraw from the settlement, which would result in further litigation of the case at the PUC. The most notable modification is clarification that a provision in the settlement related to $120 million in cost recovery for rehabilitation of a gas gathering system, which the settlement provides will be addressed in a base rate case rather than through the DSIC rider, shall mean that such costs are eligible for recovery in such base rate case, but are subject to the customary scrutiny in a base rate proceeding, and that cost recovery is not guaranteed

Under the adopted settlement, the Peoples Companies will increase the purchase of receivables customer eligibility from 300 Mcf annually to 1000 Mcf annually, for Rate SGS customers.

The adopted settlement also provides that, within 90 days of the closing of the merger, the Peoples Companies will commence a process to obtain the input of interested stakeholders, including but not limited to, retail suppliers (NGSs), public advocates, and customers, regarding the broad subject of increasing customer participation in the competitive natural gas market in their service territories.

The settlement provides that, "While the topic of this collaborative may be broad, it shall not include or recommend elimination of the supplier of last resort function on the Peoples Companies systems."

The approved settlement also includes the following terms related to the retail natural gas market:

• The Peoples Companies agree to undertake an assessment on the ability to accelerate the timing of issuance of daily delivery requirements (Targets) and capacity (gate space) requests. The results of this assessment and any resulting proposed modifications will be shared with suppliers prior to any implementation.

• Upon request, the Peoples Companies will provide Choice suppliers heat load and baseload factors for their Priority One Choice pools on a monthly basis.

• Upon request for non-residential customers with load greater than 300 mcf/year and with appropriate authorization from the customer of record, the Peoples Companies will provide heat load and baseload factors.

• Upon request, the Peoples Companies will provide the daily temperatures used to produce Priority One Choice daily targets.

• The Peoples Companies will provide 20 rate codes for each pool. Upon request, the Peoples Companies will provide 10 additional rate codes, up to a maximum of 50 rate codes per pool. Any requests greater than 50 rate codes per pool must be reviewed and approved by the Peoples Companies. In no case shall the Peoples Companies provide more than 100 rate codes per pool. 119.

• The Peoples Companies will identify the customers’ billing cycles on its invoices.

• The Peoples Companies will add a posting date to the daily billing files to serve as an indicator of the month being billed for all accounts, including the largest high-pressure accounts.

• The Peoples Companies will provide to each supplier, through existing billing files, the total number of individual customer burns that make up the aggregate burn pool.

• The Peoples Companies will maintain the Local Production Pool Tracking System.

• The Peoples Companies will maintain their upgraded Electronic Bulletin Board.

• The Peoples Companies will maintain Local Production Pool invoicing that includes identifying information.

• The Peoples Companies will maintain the group contact e-mail process.

Among the settling parties were Direct Energy Business Marketing, LLC and Direct Energy Small Business Marketing, LLC, the Natural Gas Supplier Parties, and the Retail Energy Supply Association

A-2018-3006061 et al.

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