AUSenergy News Update 05/08/2014
May 8, 2014

In today’s AUSenergy News Update: ComEd customers will experience steep price increases June 1st, Hudson Valley community members wonder why their electricity bills have doubled or tripled, and Connecticut’s House of Representatives approves Bill of Rights for electricity customers.

ComEd customers will experience steep price increases June 1

Summary: ComEd’s residential rates will rise 20% beginning in June. ComEd’s energy charge increased 38% from 5.52 cents per kWh to 7.596 cents per kWh for the summer. Rates will change again in October. ComEd says that the rate increase will likely increase the average monthly residential customer’s electricity bill to around $82.
AUS Comment: This increase is the direct result of the annual procurement auction that ComEd just concluded. ComEd and suppliers alike are feeling the impact of the higher capacity rates for this year, which increased nearly 350% from last year. The ICC is also still reviewing ComEd’s request for a $275 million delivery rate hike which could go into effect January 2015, raising the average monthly residential bill to $85.

Hudson Valley community members wonder why their electricity bills have doubled or tripled

Summary: Representatives from Central Hudson and Rural Ulster Preservation Company (RUPCO), along with Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, addressed concerns from Hudson Valley (NY) community members regarding electricity bills that have doubled or tripled. The primary reasons cited included an abnormally cold winter which drove up supply costs due to increased demand. A spokesperson from Central Hudson warned residents that the rate increases are “just beginning,” referring to a FERC decision to grant NYSIO a new capacity zone that went into effect May 1.
AUS Comment: NYSIO hopes that the new capacity zone will attract investments in new and existing generation and demand response resources while helping maintain system reliability. Opponents to the decision state that NYSIO’s decision to create a new capacity zone was premature and did not take into account supply and transmission expansion, and that customers would end up paying more on their electricity bills for no reason.

Bill of Rights for electricity customers approved by the Connecticut House of Representatives

Summary: This legislation was also approved by the Connecticut Senate last month. It awaits the Governor’s signature. It calls for several measures to help protect residential electricity customers from “misleading and deceptive marketing practices” in the state’s third-party competitive electricity supplier market. One of the consumer advocacy groups that supported the legislation was AARP. It’s Connecticut State Director, Nora Duncan believes the legislation doesn’t go far enough in protecting consumers from “unscrupulous marketing practices of third-party electric suppliers…”
AUS Comment: The legislation calls for the redesign of the electricity bills, the Energize Connecticut Website, and provisions to help customers change suppliers quickly, and reduce early termination fees for those who switch providers. The redesigned electric bill would be required to display the third-party supplier’s rate and the standard offer rate for comparison. The bill must also reflect any change in the customer’s rate effective for the next billing cycle, the term and expiration date of current rates, as well as the dollar amount that would have been billed under standard service and any applicable cancellation fees.

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