Monthly Archives: November 2009

FERC Closes to Save Energy

No, you didn’t read it in The Onion. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) posted a notice saying all its national and regional offices were yesterday, the day after Thanksgiving, “in an effort to conserve energy.” Perhaps when FERC returns to work it will have conserved enough energy to investigate whether its “market-based rate” system Read more…

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Utilities Ask PSC to Keep Data on ESCOs Secret (New York’s Utility Project)

The PSC issued orders in 1999 and 2000 requiring distribution utilities to report data including the number of customers taking service from each ESCO and the number of customers leaving each ESCO to take full service again from the distribution company. A recent letter filed by NYSEG describes the regularly reported data: In the Orders, Read more…

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Utilities Ask PSC to Keep Data on ESCOs Secret

The PSC issued orders in 1999 and 2000 requiring distribution utilities to report data including the number of customers taking service from each ESCO and the number of customers leaving each ESCO to take full service again from the distribution company. A recent letter filed by NYSEG describes the regularly reported data: In the Orders, Read more…

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Niagara Mohawk dba National Grid Seeks Continued Secrecy on Cost of Its "Smart Grid" Proposals

The New York PSC invited New York investor owned electric utilities to submit “smart meter/smart grid” proposals in 2006. They submitted proposals that would have cost billions of dollars to implement. at customer expense. None of the utilities has proposed to put any of its shareholders’ funds at risk to invest in the initiatives, suggesting Read more…

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Universal Telephone Service Reform Slowly Begins in New York

In the telephone world, Universal Service means that for every location, telephone service can be had by all at a reasonable rate. In order to accomplish this goal, which dates back to the original Communications Act of 1934, carriers providing service in “high cost areas” (such as rural and remote locations) can receive financial support Read more…

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Will "Smart" Meters Pass The Test of Time?

“Smart” meters are being sold as the best thing since sliced bread, though we remain skeptical. See Not so Smart? High Tech Metering May Harm Low Income Electricity Customers, PULP Network, April 16, 2007. See also Consumer Uprising Against California Smart Meter Program, PULP Network, October 28, 2009; PSC Requires More Study Before Allowing Major Read more…

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Private Utility Assistance Programs for New York’s Low Income Customers

In addition to the federally funded HEAP program and the state/local funded emergency utility assistance program, funded with public dollars, New York’s investor owned utilities have a variety of programs designed to assist low-income customers having difficulty in paying their utility bills. These utility sponsored programs, some run with charitable funds and some approved by Read more…

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California Report Shows Rising Number of Disconnections of Low Income Utility Customers

The California Division of Ratepayer Advocates recently issued a Status Report on California Energy Utility Service Disconnections finding that the number of low income customers losing utility service due to bill collection methods based on service termination is rapidly rising. The study finds that the number of low income customers whose service was termination grew Read more…

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FERC Requires Identification of Sellers in Market Abuse Case

The NYISO petitioned FERC on September 4, 2009 asking for permission to change its market rules after an apparent instance of market abuse by sellers. The sellers have been allowed to charge “market-based rates” after FERC (routinely) found they individually lacked market power. Market based rates are not filed in advance and thus are not Read more…

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