Competitive Customer Billing Arrangements

Case - 99-M-0631

About the Initiative

Through the competitive energy market, more options have been made available to consumers on their choice of providers and service offerings. Instead of purchasing all aspects of electric and natural gas service from their local utilities, consumers may choose to purchase their energy and related services instead from energy service companies (ESCOs).

Within this new paradigm, different or additional billing arrangements have been developed and others may also be appropriate. On June 7, 1999, the Commission issued a Staff Report on Alternative Billing Arrangements and asked for comments on the billing issues raised by Staff and on a specific "ESCO Single Bill" proposal. On March 22, 2000, the Commission issued an Order providing for customer choice of billing entity.

In November 2001, the Commission requested comments from interested parties concerning the appropriateness of the methodology for allocation of customer payments between ESCOs and utilities, including a Staff proposal. In an Order issued February 19, 2003, the Commission adopted the Staff proposal, with some modifications, and required that billing practices be modified accordingly. The billing and payment processing practices are now included as part of the Commission's Uniform Business Practices.

In February 2003 the Commission requested comments and recommendations on general policies for the implementation of Chapter 686 of the Laws of 2002 (relating to amendments to the Home Energy Fair Practices Act). At the same time, it requested comments on a proposal to require pro-ration of residential and small commercial customer payments on consolidated bills. The Commission issued its Order on this matter on June 20, 2003 and on the implementation of Chapter 686, implementing changes to the Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA).

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