Energy Regulatory Issues
A Level Playing Field is our Guiding Light
(a.k.a. our Regulatory Blog)
2018-21: Expanded Direct Access (DA) for Electricity Users
Commercial Energy was intimately involved to increase the cap on Electricity Direct Access choice by 20% via the passage and implementation of rules for SB237 approved in 2018. CE’s advocacy led to the rollout of each year’s annual lottery where utility customers can submit their NOI (Notice of Intent) and, if selected, can choose their own energy supplier a year later.
2018-20: Allocation of Energy Attributes to DA customers
Commercial Energy provided compelling expert testimony in the CPUC Rulemaking 17-06-026 (Order Instituting Rulemaking to Review, Revise, and Consider Alternatives to the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment). The Final Order required PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E to use CE’s methodology to allocate the attributes of Renewable Energy and Resource Adequacy held in their portfolio (which are paid for by all customers, including DA customers) to the DA customers at NO additional cost to CE or its customers.
2019-21: PG&E Divestiture of Gas Storage Fields
CE’s experience as a natural gas producer through its affiliate Ranck Oil provided a unique perspective in a 2019 case with PG&E. They tried to dump over $200 million of costs on natural gas customers by claiming that two of their rundown storage fields should be abandoned and plugged rather than sold to willing buyers interested in producing the remaining reserves. CE’s forceful comments were instrumental in the CPUC ordering PG&E to put these fields up for sale in 2020 (since delayed by PG&E) and deferring any extra costs on the ratepayers.
2004-now: Core Natural Gas Customer Advocacy in California
From entering the California market in 2004, when less than 3% of core gas customers of PG&E chose their own supplier, to 2020 where almost 20% of those same customers choose an alternative, CE has been a constant voice for the small and medium sized businesses, schools and nonprofits. Our pursuit of a level playing field led to the seven-year phase out of the gas transmission and storage subsidy from 2011-2018 and contributed to the rationalizing of out of state transmission capacity to meet customer peak day requirements.
1996-7 Montana Natural Gas Deregulation
After the Perry’s acquired Ranck Oil Company in 1994, they realized the only buyer they were legally allowed to sell to was the statewide utility, Montana Power. When Montana Power refused to recognize the unique value created by in-state natural gas producers (royalties, taxes, and employment), Mr. Perry asked the Montana Public Service Commission (MPSC) to rule that they should have a choice who to sell their energy to, and businesses should have a choice who they buy it from. Over the next 18 months, this initial two-page letter led to rancorous debates across Montana and various interest groups. They ultimately all signed a Stipulation Agreement to allow customers and producers to mutually decide if and when they wanted to work together. That Agreement in Case 96.2.22 was the groundwork for the Commercial Energy of today. Those rules are still in place, and so are those first 40 customers. And today, all we still ask for is a level playing field for customers, suppliers, and the utility.