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On January 26, 2017, the New York Public Service Commission held the first procedural conference concerning the Track I evidentiary process described in the Notice of Evidentiary and Collaborative Tracks and Deadline for Initial Testimony and Exhibits that was issued on December 2, 2016. The purpose of the procedural conference was to identify parties, discuss a procedural schedule and address issues related to discovery for Track I of the evidentiary process. In Track I of this proceeding, the Commission intends to build an evidentiary magnifying_glass_files.jpgrecord of the current state of the retail energy market—a record that the New York Supreme Court found lacking in the Reset Order litigation earlier this year. That record may include extensive and detailed historic data related to the actual prices charged to retail electric and gas mass-market ESCO customers, number of ESCO customers served, volume of sales, complaint data and more.
Continue Reading New York Public Service Commission Evidentiary Hearing Update: DPS Staff Expected To Seek Discovery From All ESCOs, Regardless of Party Status

bulb_coins.jpgNew York’s Energy Service Companies (“ESCOs”) will face significant challenges in the first quarter of 2017. The Public Service Commission’s December 16, 2016 Order Adopting a Prohibition on Service to Low-Income Customers by Energy Service Companies (“Low-Income Order”) gives each utility 60 days from the date of that Low-Income Order to communicate to each ESCO identifying which accounts the ESCO is no longer eligible to serve. Within 30 days of receiving that communication, the ESCO must then de-enroll the identified customers at the expiration of the existing agreement. However, the Commission included an important exception to the prohibition that ESCOs may want to take advantage of – the prohibition does not apply if an ESCO receives a waiver from the Commission.
Continue Reading Deadline Looms for ESCO Petitions Seeking Waiver of Low-Income Customer Prohibition

renewable-energy-illustration.jpgOn December 15, 2016, the New York Public Service Commission (“Commission” or “PSC”) issued an Order on Petitions for Rehearing (“Rehearing Order”) which modifies certain aspects of the Clean Energy Standard Order issued August 1, 2016, and requires PSC Staff to explore resource eligibility issues and prepare recommendations to the Commission prior to the first triennial review. While the Rehearing Order dismissed most of the petitions for reconsideration, it opened the door for Staff to develop proposals that could modify the way in which Load Serving Entities (“LSEs”) comply with the Clean Energy Standard (“CES”).
Continue Reading New York PSC Modifies Clean Energy Standard Order

Lightbulb-Dollarsign.jpgThe New York Public Service Commission (“Commission” or “PSC”) continues to push for major restructuring of New York’s retail energy market. On December 16, 2016, the PSC issued an Order Adopting a Prohibition on Service to Low-Income Customers by Energy Service Companies (“Low-Income Order”). The Low-Income Order establishes a permanent prohibition on energy service company (“ESCO”) service to customers who are participants in utility low-income assistance programs (“Assistance Program Participants” or “APPs”). The Low-Income Order comes in the wake of two recent PSC orders that sought to establish a moratorium on ESCO service to APPs—the Order Regarding the Provision of Service to Low-Income Customers by Energy Service Companies issued on July 15, 2016, and the Order on Rehearing and Providing Clarification issued on September 19, 2016—both of which are subject to a temporary restraining order issued by the Albany County Supreme Court.
Continue Reading New York PSC Prohibits ESCOs from Serving Low-Income Customers

Considers Full-scale Regulation, Tariffs and Voiding Existing Contracts

On December 2, 2016, the New York Public Service Commission issued a Notice of Evidentiary and Collaborative Tracks and Deadline for Initial Testimony and Exhibits, which initiates a new round in the agency’s regulatory investigation of New York’s retail energy markets. The proceeding will examine measures that may be taken to ensure customers are receiving “valuable services and paying just and reasonable rates for commodity and other services” from Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). In its notice, the Commission reiterated its determination (from 2014) that the retail markets serving mass-market customers “are not providing sufficient competition or innovation.” The Commission will consider three broad questions:
Continue Reading New York PSC Opens Evidentiary Hearing on ESCO Markets

EnergySources.jpgLSE Obligation Deadlines Approaching

In August 2016, the Public Service Commission (“Commission”) issued the Clean Energy Standard Order to set the framework for accomplishing two goals: achieving 50 percent renewable generation by 2030 and preserving the economic viability of three zero-emissions nuclear power plants as a bridge to the clean energy future. To meet the first goal, the Commission directed each Load Serving Entity (“LSE”) to purchase Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”) from new renewable sources built after January 1, 2015. LSE’s are required to meet their obligations in one of three ways: (1) by purchasing RECs from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”), (2) purchasing RECs from other eligible sources, or (3) making Alternative Compliance Payments (“ACPs”) to NYSERDA.
Continue Reading New York Public Service Commission Clarifies REC and ZEC Obligations

Meter_Solar_Panel.jpgThe debate over the future of net metering and the proper valuation of distributed energy resources has reached Congress. In the wake of a debacle over retroactive changes to net metering rules in his home state of Nevada, Senator Harry Reid (with Senator Angus King of Maine) recently proposed legislation on the subject. The proposal, known as Amendment 3120 would add language to Section 111(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 ( PURPA) aimed at protecting net metering customers from retroactive changes to net metering rules and requiring any such changes to consider the benefits of distributed energy resources.
Continue Reading Concerns Over Retroactive Changes to Net Metering Lead to Proposed Federal Regulation

nys-green-eco-icons.jpgThis week New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a number of policy proposals aimed at New York’s clean energy sector in conjunction with his annual State of the State address. Fundamentally, the Governor proposes that New York “become an international capital for clean and green energy products.” Consistent with the State’s clean energy policies, the Governor announced a plan to close or repower New York’s last two operating coal-fired power plants by 2020.
Continue Reading Cuomo’s 2016 State of State Address Sets Stage for Banner Year in Clean Energy Sector

The New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”) recently issued a press release announcing its plans to undertake a new study on the potential for growth in the net metered (aka “customer sited”) solar sector to determine the impact on New York’s electricity grid. The study is based upon the explosive growth in net metered solar projects in the state. Under the NY-Sun Program, New York experienced 300 MW of new net metered capacity (installed or under contract) in just the first two years after the program was launched in 2012. In total, the aggressive NY-Sun Program calls for installation of 3,000 MW of solar capacity by 2023.
Continue Reading NYISO Announces Study of Fast Growing Solar Industry

Under New York State Public Service Law Section 66-j, certain remote net metered renewable energy projects, including solar energy facilities, are limited to 2 MW on a single deeded parcel in order to qualify for net metering.

The Public Service Commission (“PSC”), in its December 14, 2014 “Order Raising Net Metering Minimum Caps, Requiring Tariff Revisions, Making Other Findings, and Establishing Further Procedures” (“December Order”), addressed the 2 MW issue. In clarifying the 2 MW limitation, the PSC addressed requests from Cornell University regarding whether, under the limitation, a non-residential solar customer can collocate multiple 2 MW remote net metered projects on adjacent or contiguous parcels.
Continue Reading New York State Public Service Commission Order on Remote Net Metering May Require Solar Projects to Obtain Subdivision or Lot Line Adjustment Approvals