Energy Service Companies Eye Reforms in NY's Competitive Energy Market RESA Calls for Registration of Marketing Vendors, Developing Best Practices
HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) is proposing several retail energy market reforms in a proceeding before the New York Public Service Commission to consider measures that will enhance the shopping experience for residential and small commercial consumers of electricity and natural gas.
"RESA fully shares the Commission's concerns with ensuring that retail marketing activity and practices are conducted in accordance with all applicable standards and that customers are fully informed of the specific offers made by each (energy supply company, or) ESCO," RESA said in its filing with the Commission. "RESA supports efforts to improve the integrity of the retail energy market and market participants, and consideration of additional steps that can help consumers to make better informed choices."
RESA offered several specific reforms for the Commission's consideration:
- The use of a web-based price-comparison calculator can provide useful information to residential consumers, if it is properly developed and implemented to distinguish between the various value-added product and service offerings made by ESCOs, such as fixed-price offerings and "green" energy, RESA said.
Comparative pricing analyses applied to utility commodity charges are subject to misinterpretation when applied to fixed-price service in which the customer is being offered price stability rather than necessarily lower-price service.
Similarly, green energy products are usually more expensive than traditional energy sources.
"The critical element is to promote full customer understanding of the available competitive choices presented by ESCOs. Without such knowledge and understanding the consumer's ability to make an informed choice is impaired," RESA said.
- Many ESCOs contract with third-party marketing services vendors to solicit new customers on their behalf. The Commission should consider registration and bonding requirements for third-party marketing vendors and make them subject to Uniform Business Practices requirements rather than imposing prohibitions on specific marketing approaches. "In this manner, the vendor would have a direct interest in ensuring that the vendor-based marketing practices are carried out in an acceptable manner," RESA said.
- RESA urged the Commission to develop best practices for door-to-door (DTD) marketing and standardized vendor monitoring and quality control procedures that would be implemented by all ESCOs in New York. "These standards would reflect best practices and help ensure that each ESCO and DTD vendor has the knowledge and obligation to implement effective quality control measures," RESA said.
"Retail energy competition is working in New York," observed Christopher Wentlent, RESA's New York state chair.
"The Commission has made substantial progress over the past 15 years in empowering consumers to choose from a wide variety of competitive energy offers and the level of competition for customers both large and small is robust," Wentlent said. "We are at a critical stage where enhanced market transparency and consumer comparison tools will further motivate consumer choice. We believe our recommendations will assist in meeting these objectives."
RESA is the nation's leading organization representing competitive retail suppliers of electricity and natural gas. RESA members active in New York's competitive retail energy market are a subset of the ESCOs participating in New York's competitive retail energy market. RESA's 18 members are dedicated to creating vibrant and sustainable competitive electricity markets that operate in the best interests of consumers.
RESA represents competitive energy suppliers dedicated to creating and sustaining vibrantly competitive electricity and natural gas markets for the benefit of consumers. RESA's members include: Champion Energy Services, LLC; ConEdison Solutions; Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.; Direct Energy Services, LLC; GDF SUEZ Energy Resources NA, Inc.; Hess Corporation; Integrys Energy Services, Inc.; Just Energy; Liberty Power; MC Squared Energy Services, LLC; Mint Energy, LLC; NextEra Energy Services; Noble Americas Energy Solutions LLC; NRG, Inc.; PPL EnergyPlus, LLC; Stream Energy; TransCanada Power Marketing Ltd. and TriEagle Energy, L.P. For more information about RESA please contact Tracy McCormick, Executive Director, at (717) 566-5405, or visit www.resausa.org.
Bryan Lee, 301-717-2988
SOURCE Retail Energy Supply Association