Retail Energy Choice Thought Leader, Advocate Ron Cerniglia Retiring
June 16, 2023 Email This Story Copyright 2010-23 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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Ron Cerniglia, a long-time advocate of customer choice in retail energy, has announced his voluntary retirement after nearly 40 years in the retail energy and utilities industry, effective Friday, June 23rd.
Entrants into the industry during the last boom right after the 2008 recession and the end of rate caps in Pennsylvania may best know Cerniglia for his tireless advocacy for customer choice in various leadership positions at Direct Energy and later NRG Energy.
However, Cerniglia's greatest contributions to customer choice may have been his leadership during the earlier days of retail competition in New York where, among other roles in nearly 20 years of public service, he served as the Director of the Office of Retail Market Development (ORMD) at the New York Department of Public Service.
New York's ORMD was the first such office at any utility regulator in the country, and served as a successful model for later states.
Cerniglia's efforts as ORMD Director led to New York staking a genuine claim as the best competitive retail market in the country during the mid-2000s. Innovative programs to unlock the value of choice for customers and remove barriers to competition, such as customer referral programs, can trace their origins to incubation in New York at this time.
Cerniglia also served as a fair and impartial referee in moderating informal disputes among ESCOs and utilities, and sometimes between ESCOs themselves (we speak from personal experience on this latter point), in implementing current tariffs or programs and charting a course on improvements if the need arose.
After leaving the New York DPS, Cerniglia led market development and related efforts at Direct Energy, and later NRG, holding a variety of senior titles at each company, including Director - Corporate & Regulatory Affairs for Centrica in the U.S., and most recently, Director - Strategic Alliances at NRG. Cerniglia also served as an officer of the Retail Energy Advancement League (REAL).
In these roles, Cerniglia exhibited an unwavering commitment to bring the consumer benefits of energy choice to new states, and to expand existing limited or capped programs in others. If lawmakers were holding a hearing on restructuring, Cerniglia would be front-and-center touting the savings and innovation experienced by customers when given choice, while also working behind the scenes to educate policymakers on how to bring these benefits to their state, and, more importantly, combating misinformation of selectively chosen "facts".
In a message to colleagues, Cerniglia wrote, "I am hopeful that the projects we have worked on together will first and foremost continue to result in benefits to energy consumers and our environment for years to come," adding that, "Much progress in our industry has been made, but the realization is that much more work needs to be done and I have faith in all of your continued efforts."
While the entire industry will miss the contributions and professionalism of Cerniglia, we share these sentiments, and wish Cerniglia the best on a well-deserved retirement.