February 23, 2016
Commission Effectively Ends Right To Choose for Small Energy Consumers
Harrisburg, PA – The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA), the nation’s leading organization representing competitive energy suppliers dedicated to creating and sustaining vibrantly competitive electricity and natural gas markets for the benefit of consumers, issued the following statement in response to today’s actions by the New York Public Service Commission:
Today the New York Public Service Commission took the unprecedented action of effectively eliminating retail choice for residential and small commercial customers in New York by substituting the Commission’s judgment for that of consumers in determining what energy products offer value.
Today’s sweeping decision would effectively end a customer’s option to choose what energy products and pricing plans best suit his or her needs. Under the Commission’s Order, retail suppliers would be forced to guarantee savings against a future utility price that, as a monthly variable price, is unknown. The only alternative allowed under the Commission’s Order is a premium “green” product. However not all consumers want green energy or are willing to pay extra for it. The Commission’s action would remove all other pricing plans and force ESCOs to terminate service with consumers who have actively chosen a supplier.
The Commission’s actions today were partly in response to the marketing practices of a few ESCOs. Consumer protection is a key objective for all market participants, including RESA members. The Commission has promulgated myriad rules governing market conduct that can be effectively used to address abusive marketing practices. Rather than exercise its existing authority to penalize rule violations, the Commission instead is seeking to shut down retail competition for all ESCOs, including the majority of suppliers who diligently follow the rules. This action is akin to shutting down the highway in order to stop a few drivers from speeding.
RESA is concerned that the measures enacted today will have unintended adverse consequences for the competitive energy market and consumers including loss of jobs, marketplace confusion, uncertainty for customers, and loss of investment by companies integral to increasing customer choice and expanding value-added services for New York energy consumers.
We stand ready to continue our support for developing the best market practices possible. But any changes going forward need to be carefully balanced with other initiatives pending before the commission, such as Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) and development of new renewable energy goals. Ultimately, today’s actions don’t support these initiatives.
RESA intends to work diligently with the Commission, staff and other interested stakeholders to secure the benefits of competition for New York consumers.
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