The New York State Public Service Commission (NYPUC) took action to improve the economic value that the State's retail energy suppliers provide to residential and small commercial customers. These changes will help ensure development of a competitive retail market structure that leads to innovation and consumer benefits.
"The competitive energy markets are working extremely well for large commercial and industrial customers," said Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman. "The steps we are taking today are designed to ensure that the retail energy marketplace provides similar benefits for residential and small commercial customers."
With the new decision, the Commission makes it easier for residential and small commercial energy customers to compare prices, strengthens measures to curtail inappropriate energy marketing activities, addresses concern about the possible lack of benefits received by low-income customers, and better positions third-party energy suppliers, known as energy service companies (ESCOs), to provide greater financial value to their customers.
In terms of specific steps, the Commission directed that the following improvements be made to residential and small commercial retail energy markets:
- Utilities will be required to implement on-line bill calculators for ESCO customers to enable customers to compare historically what they were charged by their ESCO as compared to what they would have paid if commodity service was obtained from the utility;
- ESCOs will be required to file historic pricing information for products without energy-related value-added services for the Department to compile and publish; and
- ESCOs can only enroll customers who participate in utility low-income assistance programs in ESCO services that guarantee savings over what the customer would have been charged by the utility, or that provide energy-related services designed to reduce a customer's overall energy bill.
The Commission will also ensure that these changes in the retail market will align with its ongoing efforts to integrate consumer-oriented energy efficiency and clean-energy technologies and improve system-wide reliability, efficiency, and resiliency, while also ensuring appropriate overall energy supply and grid management decisions are made.