New York DPS Staff: Some ESCOs Have Placed Themselves At Risk Of Temporarily Losing Ability To Enroll New Customers, Renew Customers, "Due To ESCO Actions Beyond The Control Of Staff"
January 20, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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Staff of the New York Department of Public Service filed a letter directed to the PSC Secretary, in the mass market reset proceeding (15-M-0127, et al.), in which Staff warned, "due to ESCO actions beyond the control of Staff," namely, what Staff alleged are incomplete or non-compliant application submissions, "some ESCOs have placed themselves at risk of temporarily losing the ability to enroll new customers or renew existing customers at the time of contract renewal."
Staff's letter was filed after several ESCOs sought an extension of the new product limits deadlines under the PSC's reset order, in which ESCOs have cited still-pending Staff review of new contracts or other submissions in response to the order (prior story here).
Staff's letter stated, "On December 12, 2019, the Public Service Commission (Commission) issued its Order Adopting Changes to the Retail Access Energy Market and Establishing Further Process (December 2019 Order) in Case 15-M-0127, et al. The December 2019 Order directed that any energy service company (ESCO) that does not file with the Department of Public Service Staff (Staff) either a revised application, or an attestation establishing that the ESCO does not intend to serve mass-market customers, shall be immediately and automatically suspended from renewing existing contracts or enrolling new customers. Additionally, on September 18, 2020, the Commission issued its Order on Rehearing, Reconsideration, and Providing Clarification (Rehearing Order) in Case 15-M-0127 et al. Ordering Clause 6 of the Rehearing Order states: “ESCOs currently operating in New York that intend to continue to renew contracts with customers in New York and/or enroll new customers in New York following the effective date of Ordering Clause No. 3 (i.e., 150 calendar days following the date of this Order) are directed to file an application in accordance with the body of this Order as well as the December 2019 Order no later than 60 calendar days of the date of this Order.” The due date for filing such an application or attestation was November 17, 2020. The implementation date of Ordering Clause No. 3 of the Rehearing Order is February 15, 2020."
Staff's letter stated, "Various ESCOs submitted applications following the December 2019 and Rehearing Orders. Department Staff has been diligently reviewing all applications received. A number of applications, however, lacked required documentation, such as complaint data, or contained non-compliant sample contracts. Rather than rejecting the noncompliant applications outright, Staff has reached out to each ESCO to notify them of the information needed in order to move forward with Staff’s review and final determination. Certain ESCOs have not promptly or comprehensively responded to Staff efforts to identify needed information to help those ESCOs remedy these failures and comply with the Commission’s application requirements. Those ESCOs risk causing a delay in a final Staff determination on their applications."
Staff letter stated that the lack of required documentation or the submission of non-compliant sample contracts, "are just two examples of the range of deficiencies identified by Staff in the various ESCO applications."
Staff's letter stated, "This is concerning for Staff as, pursuant to the December 2019 and Rehearing Orders, ESCOs who do not receive an approval letter prior to the February 15, 2021 implementation date, may encounter compliance issues. Thus, due to ESCO actions beyond the control of Staff, some ESCOs have placed themselves at risk of temporarily losing the ability to enroll new customers or renew existing customers at the time of contract renewal. In closing, Staff wishes to emphasize the importance of each ESCO providing the necessary information as soon as possible in order to enable the Staff review process."