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May 20, 2016
New York
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Order Adopted on Utility Ratemaking Reform in REV Proceeding

The Commission adopted an Order to reform the utility business model and ratemaking practices to better achieve the goals of the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) case. The Order provides four ways for utilities to achieve earnings: "traditional cost-of-service earnings; earnings tied to achievement of alternatives that reduce utility capital spending and provide definitive consumer benefit; earnings from market-facing platform activities; and transitional outcome-based performance measures." The Order identifies specific utility earnings opportunities including, platform service revenues associated with the operation and facilitation of distribution-level markets; earnings adjustment mechanisms; and earnings tied to utilities reduction in the overall cost of achieving the Clean Energy Standard goal.

Unregulated utility subsidiaries are allowed to engage in competitive value-added services, subject to standards of conduct to avoid affiliate abuse.

Utilities are directed to examine their existing opt-in Time of Use rates, with reference to design characteristics and practices used by utilities with higher customer adoption rates.

Utilities are directed to collaborate with NYSERDA and third party developers to identify one or more Smart Home Rate (SHR) demonstration projects. The Commission noted that, "ESCOs argued that SHRs should only be offered by third parties because they include DER products that utilities are not allowed to provide. In the long term, this argument may have merit, and it should be revisited when the market demand for SHRs is better established."

With respect to customer data, utilities may not charge for basic levels of customer usage data shared with the customer or authorized vendors. The Commission agreed with NEM that, "information should be free of charge where the cost of installation and use of utility meters and the information they generate is borne by utility customers as part of regulated rates. Further, precluding utilities from charging for this basic data will reduce barriers to consumer use and is consistent with our objective to facilitate market development." The basic level of customer data to be provided free of charge is defined as "the usage for each applicable rate element, including usage bands specified in the applicable tariff." This will evolve as AMI is deployed.

Utilities are permitted to charge for information beyond basic customer data, such as the provision of monthly customer data to an ESCO for a period in excess of 24 months, or data provided on a more granular or frequent basis than basic data.

Utilities are permitted to file tariffs to charge customers for analysis and assessments of energy use.

Individual customer usage data may only be released to customer-authorized developers on an opt-in basis.

The full text of the Order is available on the NEM Website.

Pennsylvania
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Tentative Order on Instant Connect Process

The Commission issued a Tentative Order proposing a three year waiver of its regulations at 52 Pa. Code § 57.173(2) regarding the electric utilities provision of confirmation letters in instances in which a customer requests an instant connect (initiation of competitive supply service on the first day of new utility service, without the customer first having to take utility-provided default service). The proposal was prompted by OCMO's communications with utilities to ascertain their progress on implementing instant connects and seamless moves which revealed that the current confirmation letter requirements could be problematic in the instant connect situation.

The Commission explained that, "Frequently, customers notify their new utility in advance of moving into their new residence/business to ensure the availability of electric service when they move. Customers may also notify their selected EGS in advance of moving, to ensure they are receiving their competitive supply service as soon as possible at their new location. In such a scenario, as outlined in the regulations, an EDC would be required to mail, by the end of the next business day, a confirmation letter to the mailing address on the new account. 52 Pa. Code § 57.173(2). In an instant connect scenario, that mailing address will most likely be the new residence/business where the customer will be receiving service. In many instances, the customer will not yet reside or be operating at that new residence. Therefore, the letter would either be delivered to someone other than the customer of record or be returned to the utility.

This inability to provide the confirmation letter directly to the appropriate customer defeats the purpose of the letter. Therefore, we propose the provision outlined at 52 Pa. Code § 57.173(2) be temporarily waived in instant connect scenarios for a period of no longer than three years. During this three-year waiver period, the confirmation letter shall be mailed by the end of the next business day after the start of service at the new account location. In such cases, it is anticipated that the customer will be in residence or operating at the new location and able to receive the confirmation letter directly."

Comments are due thirty days from the date of the Tentative Order. The Tentative Order is available on the NEM Website.



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