Author Archives: New York's Utility Project

National Grid not helping delinquent customers … National Grid rate hike criticized at L.I. hearings

National Grid not helping delinquent customers, advocate says Updated August 8, 2016 9:51 PM By Mark Harrington Rachel Burd, communications and outreach coordinator for the Public Utility Law Project of New York Inc., spoke at a public hearing Tuesday evening, July 26, 2016, at the Nassau County Legislative Chambers in Mineola. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein National Grid has failed Read more…

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ESCOs Claim their Prices for Electric and Gas Utility Service are “Trade Secrets” that Can’t be Revealed by NY PSC

Right now, there is a quiet battle occurring out of the sight of most energy consumers in New York. The battle is between the Energy Services Company (ESCO) industry, and the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Records Access Officer (RAO), over whether or not ESCOs can keep their price information secret and out of the public Read more…

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Report Cites Need for More Consumer Protection in Solar Rooftop Deals

A new report,  “Solar Power on the Roof and in the Community: Recommendations for Consumer Protection Policies”, addresses the need for essential consumer protection policies to govern the burgeoning markets for residential rooftop solar systems and community solar projects, with particular focus upon consumer protections specific to solar lease and sale transactions, with disclosures and Read more…

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Utility Project Urges Supreme Court to Reverse Decision Impeding State Electric Power Initiatives and Not to Endorse Deregulation

On December 15, 2015, the Utility Project filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in Hughes v. PPL EneryPlus, LLC.  Questions presented include: Whether, when a seller offers to build generation and sell wholesale power on a fixed-rate contract basis, the Federal Power Act field-preempts a state order directing retail utilities to Read more…

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Utility Project Amicus Brief Urges Supreme Court Not to Approve FERC’s “Demand Response” Plan to Fix Spiking Wholesale Electricity Spot Markets with “Market-Based Rate” Payments to Retail Customers for Not Using Electricity

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2011 adopted a rule it believed would avoid or reduce price spikes by requiring wholesale electricity spot market operators, such as the NYISO, to pay large retail customers to avoid using electricity at the same “market-based rates” set for the supply of electricity.  By reducing market demand at times when the price is Read more…

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The Crisis of Unaffordability and a Proposed Legislative Fix to Lower Electric and Gas Rates for New York’s Low Income Utility Customers

I. The Crisis of Unaffordability New York electric utility rates for residential customers are 59% higher than the national average. That is simply not affordable for many customers who cannot now afford essential utility service without hardship. The result of New York’s unaffordable electric rates is that increasingly, customers have fallen behind in paying their bills. As Read more…

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Excelsior! Con Edison Leads Nation’s Utilities in Highest Electricity Prices; New York PSC Considers Affordability Proposals

Three New York Utilities – Con Edison, LIPA, and Central Hudson are in the top five, Niagara Mohawk is in the top 20. Typical residential bill reports published by the New York PSC show how prices increased after the PSC implemented its 1996 “Vision Order” which reduced state utility regulation.  The asserted goal of the Vision Order Read more…

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PSC Closing “Remote Net Metering” Subsidy Loophole with 25 Year Preferential Rate Transition

Development of solar energy has been stimulated by deep tax subsidies that have ranged from tax credits to customer-owner-generators of solar panel projects, to grants and loans from NYSERDA, and by Public Service Commission rate orders.  In its “NY-Sun” Order in 2014, the Commission greatly increased the permissible scope of solar power generation at customer sites beyond then-existing Read more…

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PSC Considering “Consequences” for Alleged Violation by Five ESCOs of PSC “Uniform Business Practices”

The New York Public Service Commission commenced new proceedings against five “Energy Services Companies” (ESCOs) for alleged violation of the Commission-issued “Uniform Business Practices” relating to the interaction between distribution utilities and ESCOs providing alternative providers of utility service. ESCOs generally charge considerably more for their service, after brief introductory “teaser” rates, and have drawn a disproportionate number Read more…

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Will the New York PSC Assure Just and Reasonable ESCO Service

According to a news report, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) is investigating alleged deceptive practices of an energy services company, Ambit Energy.  See Larry Rulison,    State regulators launching investigation into Ambit Energy’s tactics, Albany Times Union, May 3, 2015.  The investigation is being conducted by the Department of Public Service, the operating agency Read more…

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