Last fall, Brian Greene discussed the Maryland Public Service Commission’s retail energy supplier consolidated billing proceeding. The Commission is considering supplier consolidated billing as an additional billing option for Maryland customers, alongside the existing utility consolidated billing and dual billing options. With supplier consolidated billing, customers would receive a single bill from their competitive retail supplier that includes both the electricity and natural gas supply charges (from the competitive supplier) and the utility’s transportation and distribution charges.
Under the existing billing paradigm in Maryland, the vast majority of customers receive a consolidated bill from their utility that includes both the energy supply charges and the utility’s transportation and distribution charges. Supplier consolidated billing would flip that model, enabling the competitive supplier to bill the customer, with the flexibility to expand product and service offerings. More information on the details of the proposal are available in the Petition and Reply Comments filed by the petitioning retail energy suppliers (NRG Energy, Inc., Interstate Gas Supply, Inc., Just Energy Group, Inc., Direct Energy Services, LLC, and ENGIE Resources, LLC).
In November 2017, stakeholders submitted extensive comments discussing the benefits and potential risks associated with the supplier consolidated billing proposal. Copies of the comments are publicly available in the Commission’s docket for Case No. 9461.
Following submission of the written comments, the Commission held a legislative-style hearing on February 20th and 21st. Here is a short summary of the two-day hearing:
- The hearing began with a presentation from the Petitioners in support of supplier consolidated billing. The panel presented and answered questions from the Commissioner for about 2.5 hours.
- Maryland’s distribution utility stakeholders followed the Petitioners, presenting their views on SCB and responding to the Petitioners’ presentation.
- Following the utilities, a competitive retail energy supplier panel offered support for SCB, with some offering tweaks to the proposed program.
- The next panel included public sector stakeholders from the Maryland Energy Administration and Montgomery County offering support for the proposed supplier consolidated billing program and suggestions regarding some of the program details. The Maryland Office of People’s Counsel also presented, discussing what it perceives as potential risks of the program.
- Commission Staff rounded out the presentations, discussing the merits of the SCB proposal, offering support for the concept and at least one recommendation to alter the proposal.
- The hearing concluded with the Petitioners offering a few final comments responding to some of the points raised by other stakeholders during the hearing.
After concluding the hearing, the next step is for the Commission to take further action on the proposal. If you are interested in the pending SCB petition in Maryland or any related competitive retail energy market issues, please contact one of GreeneHurlocker’s mid-Atlantic energy lawyers.