Photo of Kevin C. Blake

On April 1, 2019, the State Legislature approved a $175.5 billion budget for 2019-2020, which, among other things, eliminates an important sales tax exemption that allowed certain commercial customers of Energy Service Companies (“ESCOs”) to receive electric and gas supply without paying sales tax on transmission and distribution charges.

Since 2000, shortly after New York restructured its energy markets, the NYS Tax Law has included an exemption for commercial ESCO customers that was designed to incentivize consumer choice and enhance the ability of ESCOs to offer competitive prices (“Exemption”). Under the Exemption, commercial customers that received service from an ESCO would pay sales tax on the commodity portion of their bills, but not the delivery service. In contrast, default utility customers paid sales tax on both the commodity and delivery provided by the utility.
Continue Reading

Throughout the first four years of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) initiative, the precise role of energy storage has been unclear. There was no energy storage goal, only sparse incentives were available to spur development, the regulatory framework remained under construction, and the relatively nascent storage applications did not seem to fit within currently existing market mechanisms.

New York is now paving the way for a robust storage industry. In December 2018, the Public Service Commission (“Commission”) adopted an energy storage goal of 3,000 MW by 2030, with an interim target of 1,500 MW by 2025 (the “Storage Order”). To jumpstart the program, the Commission ordered Consolidated Edison to competitively procure and deploy 300 MW of energy storage by 2022, and the remaining utilities to each procure 10 MW of energy storage in their respective service territories.
Continue Reading

The New York Public Service Commission (“PSC”) appears to be creating a new Office of Investigations and Enforcement (“OIE”) and has posted a job listing for a Director of OIE (“Director”) who would report to the CEO of the Department of Public Service (“DPS”), as well as the Chairman of the PSC. The Director would be tasked with managing the OIE’s efforts in investigating and enforcing the regulations promulgated pursuant to §25 and §25-a of the Public Service Law. This mandate may include a vast field of public utilities and comes at a time when New York is in the midst of updating its complex Value of Distributed Energy Resources mechanism, which regulates electric utilities in their dealings with the ever-increasing number of privately owned distributed energy resources.
Continue Reading

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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