Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2019 budget originally proposed the elimination of an important sales tax exemption that allows certain customers of Energy Service Companies (“ESCOs”) to receive electric and gas supply without paying transmission and distribution sales tax. Currently, nonresidential default utility customers pay sales tax on both commodity and delivery, while nonresidential ESCO customers pay sales tax only on commodity. The sales tax exemption is designed to incentivize consumer choice and allows ESCOs to offer competitive prices to their customer base.

Early Saturday morning, New York State lawmakers approved a $168 billion budget for fiscal year 2019. The budget for fiscal year 2019, which began on April 1, 2018, does not include the controversial repeal of the ESCO sales tax exemption.

Maintaining the long-standing ESCO sales tax exemption in the final budget is good news for ESCOs and their customers, which remain under continued pressure from the Public Service Commission to reform their business practices.

Following a series of extensions, the New York Public Service Commission (“Commission”) has once again extended the deadline for Community Distributed Generation (“CDG”) and on-site mass market distributed generation (“DG”) providers to file a completed registration package in conformance with the Uniform Business Practices for Distributed Energy Suppliers (“UBP-DERS”). The Commission extended the deadline to allow Department of Public Service Staff to modify the Standard Customer Disclosure Statements based on feedback received from stakeholders. With this extension, CDG and on-site DG providers are required to submit their registration package by May 1, 2018. For more information regarding the registration process, please see our most recent Client Alert.

The Public Service Commission’s (“PSC” or “Commission”) recently enacted Uniform Business Practices for Distributed Energy Resource Suppliers (“UBP-DERS”) Order establishes multiple tiers of regulatory oversight based on the characteristics of a DER provider’s business model. For entities engaged in residential sales of community distributed generation (“CDG”) subscriptions and on-site mass market distributed generation (“DG”) installations, the UBP-DERS requires, among other things, registration with the PSC, compliance with marketing and advertising standards, inclusion of specified terms and disclosures in sales agreements, and customer complaint procedures/reporting requirements.

Pursuant to the Commission’s UBP-DERS Order, all CDG and on-site mass market DG providers must file a completed registration form, including sample contracts and bills, in conformance with the UBP-DERS regulations. DER providers must submit these materials by April 2, 2018. For more information regarding the registration process, please see our most recent Energy Client Alert.

New York Public Service Commission Creates Opportunity for Relief from Expensive “Zero Emissions Compliance” Payments in Cases of Substantial Hardship

New York’s Clean Energy Standard (“CES”) requires, among other things, each Load Serving Entity (“LSE”) to purchase Zero Emission Credits (“ZECs”) from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”) in proportion to the statewide load served by such LSE in a given compliance year. The ZEC payments, in turn, subsidize the continued operation of nuclear baseload power to assist New York in meeting its ambitious clean energy and environmental goals. Continue Reading Need a Break from Excessive Zero Emissions Compliance Payment Obligations? You Have Options.

On February 22, 2018, the New York Public Service Commission (“PSC”) issued an order (“Expansion Order”) expanding the size cap on projects eligible to receive compensation under the State’s Value of Distributed Energy Resources (“VDER”) tariff from 2MW to 5MW. The VDER tariff is designed to compensate Distributed Energy Resources (“DERs”) based on their actual value to the electric grid, such as proximity to load and ability to create certain system efficiencies. Prior to the Expansion Order, eligible projects were limited to a 2MW size cap, which created artificial inefficiencies. Continue Reading New York Expands Size Cap to 5MW for Eligible Distributed Energy Resources

Six months after the legislature adopted an Energy Storage Deployment Program (“Storage Program”), Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on November 29, 2017, signaling continued support for energy storage development in New York. The Storage Program − which will be subject to further modifications as described below − would amend the Public Service Law by requiring the New York Public Service Commission (“PSC” or “Commission”) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”) to develop an energy storage deployment program to encourage the installation of qualified energy storage systems. Continue Reading New York Sets the Stage for Energy Storage – Details to Be Developed in 2018 Public Service Commission Proceeding

As New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) initiative continues to promote increased deployment of Distributed Energy Resources (“DER”), the Public Service Commission (“PSC” or “Commission”) recently established the first set of Uniform Business Practices for DER providers (referred to as the “UBP-DERS”). See Case 15-M-0180, In the Matter of Regulation and Oversight of Distributed Energy Resource Providers and Products, Order Establishing Oversight Framework and Uniform Business Practices for Distributed Energy Resource Suppliers (issued October 19, 2017). Continue Reading New York Public Service Commission Establishes Regulatory Framework for Distributed Energy Resource Providers – Registration Required by February 1, 2018

lightbulb_solar.jpgOn September 14, 2017, the New York Public Service Commission (“PSC” or the “Commission”) issued an Order on Phase One Value of Distributed Energy Resources, which finalizes the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (“VDER”) Phase One Value Stack, as originally articulated in the Commission’s March 9, 2016 VDER Phase One Order. This milestone represents a major step toward moving beyond net energy metering (“NEM”) to articulate a refined valuation methodology for Distributed Energy Resources (“DER”) which recognizes the unique values DER provides to the grid. Continue Reading New York Moves Beyond Net Metering, Recognizing Unique Value of DER

Battery.jpgNotwithstanding New York’s aggressive efforts to lead the way in renewable energy and carbon reduction, New York’s programs have been relatively anemic when it comes to encouraging energy storage. In 2015, New York launched the NY-Sun Commercial / Industrial Incentive Program, which offered performance-based incentives for large-scale solar photovoltaic (“PV”) systems, and provided a $50,000 additional incentive for projects that integrated energy storage. Most recently, the New York Public Service Commission adopted a mandate requiring that each individual New York utility deploy two separate energy storage projects at two separate substations or feeders by the end of 2018, which spurred the utilities to file a number of Requests for Proposals to address deficiencies on their networks. Continue Reading NY Legislature Adopts Energy Storage Program to Address Peak Load and Intermittent Renewables: Legislation Would Require Storage Target by End of 2017

Renewable_Energy.jpgOn June 1, 2017, New York Governor Cuomo, California Governor Brown and Washington State Governor Inslee declared their states’ commitment to the ideals of the Paris Climate Agreement (“Agreement”) by forming a United States Climate Alliance (“Alliance”). This action came in response to President Trump’s announcement earlier that day which stated the United States would immediately cease implementation of the Agreement which they joined in 2016. Governor Cuomo also issued an Executive Order which condemned President Trump’s decision as “an abdication of leadership” which “threatens the environmental and economic health of all New Yorkers.” Continue Reading New York Announces Major Climate Policies in Response to President Trump: A Multi-State “Climate Alliance” and 40,000 Clean Energy Jobs Projected by 2020