NY Round-Up: On-Bill Rate Comparisons, Material Changes, CCA Price Cap
January 26, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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A bill, A01382, has been introduced in the New York Assembly, which, according to its summary, would, "ban non-state run energy services companies," or ESCOs
With ESCOs being banned, Section 349-d of the general business law (ESCO consumer bill of rights) would be repealed
A01382 would allow the New York Power Authority to supply end-use customers, though such supply must be entirely from renewable energy.
The bill would also give NYPA the right of first offer and refusal for acquiring any renewable generation facility, renewable energy generation project, and any power or energy created by a renewable generation facility or renewable energy generation project
A memo accompanying the bill states, "With the passage of the CLCPA, New York State has a mandate to scale up
our renewable energy infrastructure. But currently, New York only gets
around 5t of its energy from wind and solar, and most renewable energy
in the state is purchased from Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). ESCOs
employ predatory practices and are nearly always more expensive than
obtaining generation through a utility, overcharging between $30 and $40
million/month. This bill would ban ESCOs and instead allow the New York
Power Authority to build, purchase, and sell affordable 100% renewable
energy to all New Yorkers. NYPA is the Most financially viable entity
for scaling up renewables at the scale needed as it has the lowest cost
of capital, doesn't need to generate a profit for shareholders, and can
make renewable energy a right for all New Yorkers regardless of income,
race, or class. This bill unleashes NYPA, giving it the ability to own
new renewable energy generation and have the right of first offer on all
new generation projects. It commits us to the renewable energy transition that New York State needs while maintaining democratic oversight of
our energy system."
On-Bill ESCO Rate Comparisons
A01886 / S00438 would require the first bill of any bill to an ESCO customer (either utility consolidated bill or ESCO-generated bill) to include a side-by-side of the ESCO rate and the default service rate
A01886 / S00438 would also require the inclusion of an itemized list
of prices charged by the ESCO for any energy-related value-added
products provided by the ESCO during the prior billing period
Furthermore, A01886 / S00438 would require that, every twelve months, an ESCO shall provide each of its customers
with a statement comparing the price charged by the ESCO for commodity
and delivery services and other energy-related value-added products over
the prior twelve-month period with the price such customer would have
paid had they taken commodity and delivery service from their local
utility corporation or municipality, as applicable, for such period.
Such statement shall convey such information in a manner that, "unambiguously conveys whether the customer is saving money or paying a premium
for service from the ESCO over such period."
ESCO Material Contract Changes
A01006 / S02751 would add to the existing prohibition on material changes to contracts without express customer consent language explicitly stating that a change in price or change from fixed to variable rate is a material change
Specifically, the bill would modify the existing provision that, "No material change shall be made in the terms or duration of any
contract for the provision of energy services by an ESCO without the
express consent of the customer," by adding text stating that, "A change in price or a change to or
from fixed or variable pricing shall be deemed to be material."
As under the current statute, the prohibition on material changes would not prohibit auto-renewals subject to notices as provided for in the existing statute; however, A01006 / S02751 would prohibit imposition of an early termination fee for any automatic renewals which include a material change to which the customer did not give express consent.
A01006 / S02751 would also require ESCOs to provide a comparison to utility rates in their renewal notices.
Specifically, the renewal notice shall include: "(i) the price
charged for energy services; (ii) the price it proposes to charge upon
renewal; (iii) the price that is charged by the customer's distribution
utility; and (iv) information notifying the customer how they may
compare past bills with what they would have been charged had they
received energy services from their respective distribution utility,
including, the internet address of any bill calculator offered by such
customer's distribution utility's website."
Municipal Aggregation Rate Cap
A01626 would subject municipal aggregations (CCA) to commodity supply price caps, and allow CCAs to offer renewable and energy efficiency services
Specifically, A01626 provides that in awarding a supply contract to an ESCO, the CCA must ensure that per kWh supply rate for electricity and per Btu rate for gas supply services at the initiation of
service is lower than the distribution utility's average monthly rate
for supply services for the prior 12-month period, or lower than the
distribution utility's rate at the time of a request for bids
This price cap does not prohibit CCA customers from voluntarily
paying higher rates to the CCA to pay for and receive ownership benefits from energy
efficiency retrofits and/or renewable distributed generation
The bill also includes requirements for the utilities to provide various information, both aggregate and customer-specific, to the CCAs, apart from and prior to customer enrollment