The 2011 Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States Report Shows Retail Energy Choice Continues to Expand Consumer Offerings and Footprint

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 5th Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and The United States (ABACCUS) report, a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of residential, commercial and industrial restructured electricity markets in the U.S. and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Ontario, was released today. The report included an analysis showing the average price of electricity is falling in states with successful competitive markets and that wholesale power market reforms support retail supplier access to reliable sources of power at competitive prices. The report also noted there have been significant increases in the rate of residential consumer choice in Texas, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Alberta, Canada in 2011. It goes on to say, no markets are reverting back to a monopoly structure, the regulated states of Arizona and Florida have shown renewed interest in restructuring and more than a dozen states and Washington, D.C. and Alberta, Canada have workable commercial and industrial competition.

"As the leading national association of retail energy suppliers, we are pleased to see the expansion of pro-market policies and consumer energy buying habits across the country," said David Fein, President of RESA. "This quantifiable data shows competition and customer choice continues to develop for all customer classes. As competitive market forces and structures grow and evolve, so too do the number of competitive suppliers and their offerings of innovative products and services. Clearly innovation goes hand-in-hand with the adoption of policies that foster the competitive market."

Key goals of the ABACCUS report are  to assess the progress of states and provinces in achieving the goals of electric restructuring, to identify innovative approaches and then recommend best practices.  The 2011 report finds there is a good deal of non-uniformity in market structures across the United States and Canada, but notes such policy variations have not prevented the development of retail competition as long as core market ingredients are in place. Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois demonstrate that there is more than one way to bring about competition, service innovations and lower prices to retail consumers when core ingredients are in place and requirements are well-structured and consistently applied. The report goes on to identify a set of best practices to consider in restructured markets including: greater transparency in the setting of default service rates, supportive utility billing options, other enhancements or reforms to the default service structure, the unbundling of rates and services, the creation of codes of conduct to govern regulated entities and their affiliates, and ongoing consumer education, consumer protection and policy monitoring efforts.

"This report identifies where competitive markets are succeeding and highlights the policies that foster fair and balanced market structures," said Fein. "We hope these insights are of use to policy-makers in Michigan, California, Arizona and Florida and other states as they explore market reforms."  Both Michigan and California received a ranking of 'unsatisfactory' in the Report due to limits on direct access and competitive markets but are currently actively debating reforms. Texas, New York and Pennsylvania all received a ranking of "excellent". Currently, Pennsylvania is undergoing a review of the retail market and New York recently reformed their commercial and industrial default structure to expand hourly pricing for large commercial customers.

Consumer product innovations that have come about as a result of the competitive electricity market were also highlighted in the report. For residential or mass market customers, the report found more consumers were taking advantage of month-to-month pricing, fixed rate pricing (2 to 60 months), green content products ranging from 25 to 50 and 100 percent and electronic innovations such as pay as you go, and mobile website APPS to enable enrollment. The report ties these innovations to competitive market structures and consumer demands.

Members of the 2011 ABACCUS Advisory Board included Chairman Garry Brown, New York State Public Service Commission; Chairman Robert Powelson, Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission; Commissioner Timothy Simon, California Public Utilities Commission; Commissioner Sherman Elliott, Illinois Commerce Commission; Commissioner Greg White, Michigan Public Service Commission; Commissioner Paul Roberti, Rhode Island Public Utility Commission and Commissioner Barry Smitherman, Railroad Commission of Texas. Bill Massey and Pat Wood III former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members, and industry representatives from ConEdison Solutions, Constellation NewEnergy, Direct Energy, Green Mountain Energy, and PPL EnergyPlus also served on the 2011 advisory board. To view a copy of the full Report written by Distributed Energy Financial Group (DEFG), LLC, visit www.defgllc.com.

About RESA

RESA's members include:  Champion Energy Services, LLC; ConEdison Solutions; Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.; Direct Energy Services, LLC; Energetix, Inc.; Exelon Energy Company; GDF SUEZ Energy Resources NA, Inc.; Green Mountain Energy Company; Hess Corporation; Integrys Energy Services, Inc.; Just Energy; Liberty Power; MC Squared Energy Services, LLC; Mint Energy, LLC; MXenergy; NextEra Energy Services; Noble Americas Energy Solutions LLC; PPL EnergyPlus, LLC; Reliant and TriEagle Energy, L.P..  The comments expressed in this filing represent the position of RESA as an organization but may not represent the views of any particular member of RESA. For more information, contact RESA Executive Director Tracy McCormick at (717) 566-5405 or go to www.RESAUSA.org.

SOURCE Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA)



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