Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ruling: ESCO Charge Data Provided to PSC by Utilities Not A “Trade Secret” Under the New York Freedom of Information Law

In a ruling issued March 27, 2014, the Department of Public Service Records Access Officer rejected an effort of ESCOs to block release of price comparison data provided by utilities to the Commission.  For background, see ESCOS OPPOSE RELEASE OF ELECTRIC AND GAS BILL COMPARISONS, New York Utility Project, March  14, 2014. The Records Access Officer, in Read more…

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OTDA Receiving Public Input for Development of Next Year’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

New York Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits for the 2013-14 winter are no longer being issued.  The Regular HEAP Program ended March 14, and the Emergency HEAP Program ended March 17.  HEAP benefits are limited because New York law does not directly supplement the federal funding for that program. Much of the HEAP money Read more…

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Utilities Attack Creation of Independent State Utility Consumer Advocate Office

Most states have a state agency devoted to representing residential customers with the resources to participate in legal and regulatory proceedings and the independence to challenge actions of the utilities and their regulators.  Unsurprisingly, the regulated utilities have registered their opposition to bills under consideration by the New York legislature that would create a new Read more…

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FERC Heeds Consumer Opposition and Rejects Effort of Power Traders and Generators to Raise California ISO Wholesale Spot Market Price Caps

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 14 rejected a March 4 petition filed by a number of power marketers and generators who operate in the California market. They asked FERC to waive certain existing California market rules due to gas price spikes that were allegedly causing these companies (which include Shell Energy America Read more…

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Budget Proposal to Allow PSC to Deregulate Basic Phone Service, Eliminate Review of Phone Company Mergers, Reduce Landlord Liability for Shared Meters, and Reduce Review of Cable TV Opposed

The Ranking Minority Member of the New York State Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, Senator Kevin S. Parker, has asked Governor Cuomo to withdraw from his Executive Budget proposal several substantive measuress that would amend longstanding Public Service Law provisions.  The Governor’s budget request would give the PSC power to deregulate basic phone service, Read more…

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Assembly Budget Bill Provides for State Utility Consumer Advocate

On March 12, 2014, the Assembly passed its version of the State Operations budget bill, A.8555-C, Part N, which beginning at page 62 creates a new state office of the utility consumer advocate.  Critical reforms address the inadequate  structure and powers of the current  “Utility Intervention Unit (UIU) within the general consumer protection office of the Department Read more…

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Tenants Can Check if Owners Charge More than the Price Cap on Submetered Electric Service

Electricity prices in New York spiked this winter.  See Mid-winter power price spike for NYsers on Con Ed bills.  This could become a significant problem for submetered tenants, whose landlords are allowed by PSC orders to resell electricity to the tenants.   Landlords of master metered multi family housing  take service at bulk rates that Read more…

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Unhedged!

New York electricity customers in many areas of the state have received soaring electric bills in the last two months. The basic reason given is that the NYISO spot market prices soared with the combination of cold weather and high prices for natural gas used to fuel the generators that win the day-ahead and hourly Read more…

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