PSC Re-Adopts APP Moratorium Through Emergency Order

By: Meghan Boland, Esq.

In another step aimed at ramping up customer protections, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued an Order on Rehearing and Providing Clarification (Rehearing Order) as a follow up to the September 15 regular session of the PSC denying rehearing requests of its July order prohibiting ESCO service to Assistance Program Participant (APP) customers, and also established a process for considering the duration of the moratorium, and conditions for lifting the moratorium. Continue reading

Forced Disclosure Demonstrates Low-Income ESCO Customers Pay More

By: Meghan Boland, Esq.

Citing average ESCO cost data made public by the utility under discovery, the Public Utility Law Project (PULP) asserts that the vast majority of low income customers obtaining their supply from an ESCO at National Fuel Gas Distribution (NFGD) in New York paid more than they would have if they had purchased it from the utility.
Specifically, PULP stated that “more than half of the gas volume ESCOs supplied to the Company’s low income customers during the period in question was priced at least 44.6% higher than gas supplied by the Company.”

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Is Conscious Decoupling the Future for New Jersey’s Utilities?


By: Lena Golze Desmond, Esq.

On July 11, 2016, New Jersey’s Senate Committee and Energy Committee met to address an increasingly important issue: changes in the production and consumption of energy are undermining the continued viability of utilities’ current revenue models. Citing the possibility of a “utility death spiral” if action is not taken, Committee Chairman Smith convened a special stakeholder group to consider the viability of an increasingly popular revenue alternative called “decoupling.”

Under the current model, a utility’s revenue is tied to the amount of energy consumed by its customers. In the last decade; however, energy conservation initiatives combined with high energy prices and consumer-produced energy (such as roof-top solar) have led to a significant reduction in consumption and a corresponding loss in revenue. Reportedly, New Jersey’s utilities saw a loss of 10% of their revenue from 2006 to 2013 alone. Decoupling undoes the consumption-revenue link, instead adjusting rates more frequently and offering incentives to utilities to help customers reduce energy consumption. Over twenty states have already adopted some form of decoupling, as well as two New Jersey utilities – South Jersey Gas and New Jersey Natural Gas, with initial signs pointing to both consumer and utility satisfaction. Continue reading

PA PUC Announces 7% Increase for Non-Solar Tier I Alternative Energy Credits


By: Meghan Boland, Esq.

OCTOBER 6 UPDATE: In its Final Order, the the PUC decided it would extend the true-up period of its 7% annual non-solar Tier 1 Alternative Energy Credits cost increase by about six months, from November 30, 2016 to May 1, 2017. However, it declined to grant the request of several energy generation suppliers to shift compliance costs of the increase to electric distribution companies. More information be found on Energy Choice Matters.

A recent Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) decision has resulted in an approximate 7% increase for the 2016 annual non-solar Tier I Alternative Energy Credits (AECs) obligation after the Commission discovered an error in its calculation. The Commission held initial stakeholder meetings to gather information on any effect this correction could have on electric generation suppliers (EGSs) and electric distribution companies (EDCs). As a result, the true-up period for these obligations was extended from September 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016. Continue reading

Judge’s Ruling on PSC Reset Order, Part 3: What Now?

The case was tried, the judge ruled, but the jury’s still out on the future of the New York energy industry: welcome to Part 3 of “Resetting the PSC’s Reset Order”!

  • Part One gave a ‘barebones’ overview of the ruling vacating the Reset Order.
  • Part Two dug deeper into the Vacating Order and what we’re likely to see in the near future.
  • Part Three discusses next steps for the retail energy industry.

As noted in Part 1 and Part 2, the New York Public Service Commission’s (“PSC”) contentious February 23 ‘Reset Order,’[1]  was successfully challenged in court by several retail energy associations. The judge found that it was the PSC’s process that was ‘arbitrary and capricious,’ but agreed with the PSC that it has the legal authority to impose ratemaking regulations on the ESCO market. Thus, the judge’s decision does little to ease the recent turbulence of the New York market or add much clarity to the limitations – or lack thereof – of the PSC’s authority. Continue reading

NY Passes New Nuclear Procurement Compliance Cost on and Imposes New Renewable Compliance Obligation on ESCOs

By: Meghan Boland, Esq.

Adding to what is shaping up to be one of the most volatile years for the New York energy market on record, the New York Public Service Commission (“PSC” or “Commission”) issued a REV-related order (“CES Order”) on August 1, 2016, amending its Clean Energy Standard to include a Renewable Energy Standard as well as a brand-new Zero-Emissions Credit Requirement (“ZEC”) program (Cases 15-E-0302 & 16-E-0270).

To meet the state’s goal of 50% renewable electricity by 2030, the CES Order added a requirement that ESCOs and all other load serving entities (LSEs) pay a compliance cost associated with administratively determined subsidies provided to “at-risk” renewable generation facilities.

In addition, it also created a Zero-Emissions Credit Requirement designed to provide financial incentives for struggling nuclear power plants facing, including Ginna and Fitzpatrick, and the resulting loss almost 1500MW from the grid.

The CES Order is broken into three tiers, which are discussed below.

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Judge Rules on PSC Reset Order, Part 2: Who Won?

By Lena Golze Desmond, Esq.

Pyrrhic victory or the Greeks at Thermopylae? Drastic expansion of ratemaking authority or continuation of the status quo? And what does this all mean for the future of New York’s retail energy market? Welcome to Part 2 of “Resetting the PSC’s Reset Order”; an examination of the recent judicial ruling on the New York Public Service Commission’s February 23 Reset Order.

  • Part One  gave a ‘barebones’ overview of the ruling vacating the Reset Order
  • Part Two digs deeper into the Vacating Order and what we’re likely to see in the near future
  • Part Three will discuss next steps and potential opportunities for the retail energy industry

As noted in Part 1, on July 22nd, a New York Supreme Court judge vacated most of the Commission’s contentious February 23 ‘Reset Order,’[1]  which was challenged in court by several retail energy associations. (For more information on the original Order, please click here). However, the judge determined that it was the PSC’s lack of proper notice – not lack of authority – that violated the law. It is still unclear whether the PSC now has to ‘go back to the drawing board’ or if its April SAPA notices are sufficient to replace the Reset Order, and if this ruling now means that the PSC has legal ratemaking authority over ESCOs. Despite these open questions, the PSC has signaled that it intends to move forward with the requirements first outlined in the February 23 Reset Order.

“Any inkling of the type of change”

After examining the history of the New York retail market, the PSC’s ongoing proceedings addressing the retail energy market, and the contents of the February 23 Reset Order, Judge Zwack concluded that the Reset Order did not meet the legal standard of providing a ‘meaningful’ opportunity to be heard and respond. Continue reading

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