Regulatory Matters – First Quarter 2019

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Competitive Supplier Rule Changes

Maryland – Electric & Natural Gas

The Maryland Public Service Commission is considering adopting proposed changes to regulations addressing competitive markets and retail gas and electric choice. The proposed changes include revisions to the Supplier Agent Relations rules for electricity and natural gas that would make it explicit that suppliers are responsible for agents' behavior and includes a background check process that applies to supplier services to residential customers. In addition, the revised rules would change the background check process applicable to door-to-door agents making it more stringent.

Citizens for Energy Want Electric Competition

Florida – Electric

The Citizens for Energy Choices wants to open the Florida regulated electric power market to competition allowing solar companies and others to sell power free of legal and policy barriers. The group has been gathering signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative and reached the threshold number of signatures, approximately 76,000, required for review by the Attorney General. This is the second attempt for this policy change, which failed last year before the Constitution Revision Commission. The measure would require Florida’s investor-owned utilities to sell their generation assets and open electricity supply to competition.

Northeast Supply Enhancement Project

New York – Natural Gas

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a favorable environmental impact statement for a Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. (Transco). The Northeast Supply Enhancement project is to expand capacity into New York City by 400,000 dekatherms per day. Transco intends to finish the project by late 2020 to supply National Grid customers in the New York City area. The $927 million project expands Transco's existing interstate natural gas pipeline system in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and its existing offshore natural gas pipeline system in New Jersey and New York waters. The project includes about 36 miles of onshore and offshore pipeline, a new compressor station and an expansion at an existing compressor station. New York and New Jersey regulators are reviewing water quality permits for the project.

Expansion of Direct Access for Retail Customers

California – Electric

The California Public Utilities Commission issued an order commencing a proceeding to expand direct access (the terminology for competitive electric supply) in the state of California. Under Senate Bill 237, the California legislature directed the commission to issue an order by June 1, 2019 that provides for: (a) increasing the maximum allowable total kilowatt hours annual limit by 4,000 gigawatt hours and apportion that increase among the service territories of the electric utilities; and (b) authorize that all residential and nonresidential customer accounts that are on direct access as of January 1, 2019, remain authorized to participate in direct access transactions.

State of Electric Competition

Connecticut – Electric

The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority submitted to the state legislature its annual report on the State of Electric Competition in the Constitution State. The report includes various details and statistics on customer complaints, residential and business standard offer service rates and the number of suppliers and aggregators operating within the state. In 2018, Connecticut had 45 suppliers and aggregators serving approximately 435,000 customers (27% of all electric distribution company customers) and accounted for roughly 53% of all electricity sales.

Utility Files Electric Retail Choice Pilot Program

Arizona – Electric

Tucson Electric Power Company filed an electric rate case with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Pursuant to a previous decision, Tucson Electric Power included a new Market Pricing Experimental Pilot Program that could provide medium commercial, large commercial and industrial customers with new choices for managing energy costs by purchasing power from third-party electric service providers. Participants in the program would pay existing tariff-based rates for a portion of their electric service, but also could have an option to replace a portion of their loads with market-priced block purchases competitively procured in the wholesale market by Tucson Electric Power.

Study on Electric Rates and Potential Competitive Markets

Kansas – Electric

The Kansas legislature passed a substitute version of Senate Bill 69 that requires the Kansas Corporation Commission to conduct a study on electric rates, after large businesses stated that current rates are uncompetitive with neighboring states. Among other things, the study authorized by the legislation aims to address whether competitive markets for retail electricity can benefit all Kansas consumers. The utilities subject to the study include electric public utilities, electric cooperative public utilities (those exempt from commission jurisdiction) and the three largest municipally owned or operated electric utilities. The bill awaits action by the Governor.

Local Choice Energy Act

New Mexico – Electric

Legislation has been introduced in New Mexico to open up electricity markets to competition and allow local communities choice over energy supply. The Local Choice Energy Act would allow towns and pueblos throughout the state to procure their own energy sources – particularly renewable sources.


Energy Justice North Carolina Coalition

North Carolina – Electric

A newly formed coalition is starting a campaign to challenge Duke Energy’s monopoly control over North Carolina. The Energy Justice North Carolina Coalition is a new collaboration of 15 local, state, regional and national organizations focused on promoting energy policies that will shift the state to a more affordable, safer and secure electric system, and create local jobs and community wealth through allowing consumer choice and competition. In a letter to the Governor and lawmakers, the coalition said that, North Carolina must open the electricity market up to competition and customer choice.

Written by:
Todd Bohan, Ph.D.
Regulatory Specialist

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