Retail Suppliers Seek Declaratory Ruling On Regulator's Rate Cap Authority
September 1, 2023 Email This Story Copyright 2010-23 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Retail Energy Advancement League (REAL), the NRG Retail Companies, and Constellation NewEnergy, Inc., have filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling at the Connecticut PURA seeking a determination of the applicability (i.e. to what customers) of a statutory provision authorizing PURA to impose rate caps on retail electric supplier rates
As previously reported, PURA initiated Docket No. 18-06-02RE02, "to determine the 'appropriate limitations' with which all customer contracts with electric suppliers, entered into on and after a determined date, must comply", citing to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(m), as amended.
A copy of the suppliers' Petition for Declaratory Ruling was not immediately available, but REAL separately noted the filing of the petition in seeking a stay of the investigation under Docket No. 18-06-02RE02, pending resolution of the Petition for Declaratory Ruling
As previously reported, Section 31 of Public Act 23-102 amends Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(m) to state, in part: "The [A]uthority may initiate a docket to order all customer contracts with electric suppliers, entered into on and after a determined date, to comply with appropriate limitations the authority deems necessary."
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(m) relates to hardship customers. However, the "appropriate limitations" language, prior to Public Act 23-102, had been subject to an explicit, now-struck limitation that applied the provision to any order, "pursuant to this subsection" (i.e. pursuant to the hardship customers subsection).
While the suppliers' specific Petition for Declaratory Ruling was not available as of press time, the crux of the matter is whether the "appropriate limitations" language empowers PURA to cap all retail supplier rates, or only those of hardship customers
REAL said, "The Declaratory Ruling Petition seeks a determination of the scope of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(m) with respect to what customer classes are impacted by that statute and a determination that Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(m) and Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245(a) are separate statutes with separate standards applying to different customer classes."
"Comments filed in this proceeding to date already indicate some confusion among the participants over these issues, with the Authority’s Office of Education, Outreach and Enforcement ('EOE') and the Office of Consumer Counsel ('OCC') both indicating an understanding of this proceeding as allowing the Authority to cap the entire residential market, rather than only hardship customers, while REAL maintains that the statute and this docket apply only to hardship customers," REAL said