Retail Supplier Says Recent Motion From Regulator's Staff On Permissibility Of Non-Supplier Agents Enrolling Customers Needs Clarification
January 31, 2023 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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Constellation NewEnergy, Inc. has filed comments with the Connecticut PURA stating that certain statements made in a recent motion from PURA's Office of Education, Outreach and Enforcement (EOE), concerning what entities may permissibly enroll customers, may require additional clarification.
Any agent of a supplier must receive training and monitoring from the supplier, EOE said
Furthermore, aggregators in Connecticut, as previously established by PURA, must act on behalf of the customer, and cannot receive compensation from suppliers (disqualifying most traditional brokers from being able to receive an aggregator certificate).
The thrust of EOE's letter, therefore, is that traditional brokers who are compensated by suppliers, including third-party websites, may not enroll customers, unless they meet the standard for being a supplier agent (which means the broker must receive training and monitoring from the supplier). Connecticut does not offer a broker or consultant license.
Constellation said that, "Constellation generally agrees with EOE’s request for clarification 'that suppliers may not accept enrollments from and/or through websites that are not either registered as the supplier’s agent (as indicated on their Form 6) or have received a Connecticut aggregator certificate' and 'that suppliers may not compensate registered aggregators.' However, Constellation has questions about some of the statements in the Motion that may require additional clarification."
"Specifically, Constellation questions the statements in the Motion that appear to define the Connecticut retail electricity supply world into licensed suppliers, their agents, and registered aggregators. In reality, there is a third category of entity, brokers who represent individual commercial customers who are shopping for competitive suppliers," Constellation said
"These brokers are not agents of any individual supplier because they shop among multiple suppliers on behalf of their customers, possibly by issuing a request for proposals, or RFP, but often just by soliciting offers and choosing among them. Brokers in Connecticut are typically not registered as aggregators, however, because they do not 'gather together electric customers for the purpose of negotiating the purchase of electric generation services,'" Constellation said
"Although technically speaking a broker could represent individual residential customers, practically speaking most such brokers would meet the definition of 'electric aggregator' under Connecticut law," Constellation said
Constellation said, "Constellation believes this discrepancy may be addressed by the Authority providing just a bit more clarification when responding to the Motion, in any one of the following ways:"
• the Authority could specify that the clarification sought by EOE applies solely to the enrollment of residential customers, which Constellation said the EOE Motion suggests but does not specify;
• the Authority could define what 'enrollment' means in this context, and specify that at least in the context of commercial customers it does not mean providing a contract to the customer for signature that is then relayed to the supplier who enrolls the customer, or entering customer information on a supplier portal along with a customer signed contract that then allows the supplier to enroll the customer; or
• the Authority could clarify that all brokers in Connecticut need to register as aggregators and, because this represents a change in interpretation of Connecticut law in that most brokers do not meet the definition of aggregator as explained above, provide a grace period of at least 180 days to allow such registrations to take place before suppliers are obligated to only work with brokers who are registered as aggregators.