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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 09-1049

Tentative Order

Public Meeting held
May 14, 2009

Commissioners Present:  James H. Cawley, Chairperson; Tyrone J. Christy, Vice Chairperson, Statement; Kim Pizzingrilli; Wayne E. Gardner; Robert F. Powelson, Statement

PPL Electric Utilities Corporation Retail Markets;
Doc. No. M-2009-2104271

Tentative Order

   (Editor's Note: Footnote No. 1 was inadvertently deleted at 39 Pa.B. 2912. The Tentative Order is being reprinted with the footnote inluded.)

By the Commission:

   Two years ago we approved PPL Electric Utilities Corporation's (PPL's) revised Competitive Bridge Plan which allows the company to begin purchasing generation supplies for default electric generation service after the expiration of a current generation rate cap. Petition of PPL Electric Utilities Corporation for Approval of a Competitive Bridge Plan, Docket No. P-00062227, Order entered May 17, 2007. That plan was designed, inter alia, to provide a transition from the existing capped rates to market-based prices for default electric generation service for PPL consumers.

   At this time, PPL consumers are paying capped generation rates pursuant to the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act (Competition Act), 66 Pa.C.S. §§ 2801--2812 and the PPL Restructuring Settlement.1 The Competition Act also requires electric utilities to provide open and non-discriminatory access to their transmission and distribution systems so that competitive electric generation suppliers (EGSs) can sell electricity directly to consumers. 66 Pa.C.S. § 2802(14). As part of the transition to a competitive retail market, the legislature directed that transmission, distribution and generation rates be capped for a period of time. 66 Pa.C.S. § 2804(4). PPL's final remaining rates caps--those on electric generation rates--will expire December 31, 2009.

   The Competition Act requires electric distribution companies (EDCs) such as PPL, or a Commission-approved alternative supplier, to provide default electric generation service to customers who have not selected an alternative generation supplier. After the rate caps expire, the default service prices for electric generation service will be based on the results of competitive procurement processes. 66 Pa.C.S. § 2807(e)(3.1). Thus, the price of electricity charged to default service customers will be determined largely by market forces, as opposed to cost-based regulation. However, this in and of itself will not guarantee that retail customers will have competitively priced alternatives to the default service still offered by incumbent EDCs. Rather, it is essential that alternative suppliers of retail generation service have the non-discriminatory access to customer data and utility facilities necessary to fulfill the legislative goal of a competitive retail market for generation in Pennsylvania.

   In the years following the enactment of Chapter 28, the actual market-based costs of obtaining wholesale electricity have escalated above the level of capped generation rates under the various restructuring settlements approved by the Commission. Due to this escalation in wholesale costs, many alternative providers of retail generation service have been unable to offer service to consumers in Pennsylvania at rates that allow those firms to be profitable and, accordingly, these firms have left the market. In the PPL service territory, for example, the percent of customers obtaining generation service from alternative suppliers is virtually zero. See Office of Consumer Advocate statistics as of April 1, 2009 at While the expiration of rate caps will bring about default service rates that approximate current market-based costs for wholesale electricity, that fact alone will not ensure the success of retail competition. Rather, the operating rules for EGS firms that seek to enter Pennsylvania's market and offer retail generation service must be non-discriminatory and must not unduly favor the incumbent EDC. Otherwise, the efficiencies, innovations and potential costs savings of a fully competitive retail market will not be realized.

   Therefore, in order to promote the goals of Chapter 28 and to assure an orderly transition to a market which is truly competitive, we find it necessary and in the public interest to consider and direct actions that are necessary to achieve these goals in the PPL service territory, given the scheduled expiration of PPL's rate caps later this year.

   Over the past several years the Commission has presided over the end of capped generation rates for several small and mid-sized electric distribution companies. Based upon our experience with those companies, we believe there are certain standards, rules and operational protocols which will make the retail market viable for those EGSs which wish to offer retail generation service to PPL customers. Insofar as PPL is one of the largest EDCs in the Commonwealth, it is important that its market contain competitive alternatives for its customers, that its customers are aware of these competitive alternatives and that there are no barriers to entry from the incumbent EDC.

   We have identified eight areas in which we believe PPL, and later other EDCs, can improve the conditions for retail competition in its service territory in accordance with the policy goals and statutory provisions of Chapter 28. We expressly recognize and appreciate that PPL has taken many important steps, beginning with the PPL Restructuring Settlement, to allow retail competition for generation in its service territory. Nevertheless, we are concerned that some additional impediments remain which may act as barriers to entry to EGS firms seeking to offer retail generation service.

   The Legislature has given us broad authority to ensure that customers will have the ability to make meaningful choices among competing suppliers of electricity:

[T]he commission shall allow customers to choose among electric generation suppliers in a competitive generation market through direct access. Customers should be able to choose among alternatives such as firm and interruptible service, flexible pricing and alternate generation sources, including reasonable and fair opportunities to self-generate and interconnect. These alternatives may be provided by different electric generation suppliers.

   66 Pa.C.S. § 2804(2). Moreover, the Competition Act defines ''direct access'' as:

The right of electric generation suppliers and end-use customers to utilize and interconnect with the electric transmission and distribution system on a nondiscriminatory basis at rates, terms and conditions of service comparable to the transmission and distribution companies' own use of the system to transport electricity from any generator of electricity to any end-use customer.

   66 Pa.C.S. § 2803, emphasis supplied. Thus, this grant of authority is accompanied by the responsibility to ensure that it is more than an empty promise of an open market for retail electric power. We are instructed to make competition not just possible, but also a reality.

   Moreover, we are taking this action at this time because PPL is not only the first of a group of large and mid-sized EDCs which will come out from under the rate caps beginning at the end of this year, but because we also believe it is well suited to assist the Commission in developing and implementing the measures necessary to improve competition and remove barriers to market entry by competitive suppliers. This opportunity gives the Commission the ability to apply the knowledge gained from prior EDCs to develop a competitive market in the second largest EDC in PA, and develop the final details necessary for competition statewide about 18 months from now. We believe that PPL possesses the technical know-how to address difficult problems, and will rise to the challenge and make retail competition work in its service territory.

   Therefore, pursuant to our authority under Sections 501(a), 2801--2809, and 2811, we are directing that PPL take certain actions to reduce barriers to entry for competitive retail suppliers of generation. Those actions, and the reasons for them, are discussed below. Also, in order that the company not be financially harmed by the implementation costs that may be associated with some of these actions, we are also offering it the opportunity to recover its incremental costs of implementing these measures through a trued-up surcharge on all customers, which is also discussed below.

1.  Customer Information Database (Customer List)

   Communication remains the cornerstone of an effective competitive market place. If buyers and sellers cannot reach each other to make offers and acceptances, and speak in the same ''language,'' commerce will be impeded and, even if it can take place, additional and unnecessary costs are incurred. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the distribution utility and the EGSs seeking to sell electricity to end-users exchange information in an accurate and consistent manner. In order to do this, EGSs must first have the information they need on the customer base they wish to serve. Therefore, they must be able to have up-to-date and precise information on the utility's customers.

   PPL should review its customer list for accuracy and refresh it, if it has not done so recently. If PPL has not refreshed the list at least quarterly, it should be refreshed now. Going forward, the database should be updated monthly, on a pre-set date, and on the same day of the month each month. This will allow customers to set a narrow access window if they only want to remove the restriction on access for a few suppliers for a limited time. Moreover, customers that have restricted access should be able to authorize the release of their information using a web-based form or by providing the EGS or EDC with a letter of authorization. Customers should be able to do this with respect to multiple accounts at a time. This is important particularly with respect to customers who take service at more than one location and have multiple utility accounts.

   With regard to the necessary standard data set itself, we have provided a template which is appended to this tentative order as Attachment A. The recommended data elements are included. Interval data would be included, but should be accessible separately. Interval energy data is a detailed record of energy consumption, with readings made at regular intervals throughout the day, every day.

   The process by which customers may opt out of providing their information to EGSs should be repeated prior to the removal of the generation cap and annually thereafter. PPL's continuing education efforts should inform customers that if they wish to receive and consider competitive offers they should not opt out. Customers cannot take advantage of better offers for service, if they are unaware that they exist. We recognize that we cannot require PPL to provide phone numbers of residential and small business customers without their permission, but it should provide EGSs with the numbers for commercial and industrial accounts. Those customers should be able to restrict that information through an opt-out option, if they choose.

2.  Data Access

   By order entered June 19, 1998, this Commission mandated that all EDCs and EGSs operating in Pennsylvania shall use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to implement Electric Choice. EDI is a standard industry format that facilitates automated communication of customer data through the use of ASC X12 standard open architecture that can be administered in-house or by a third party. The most recent Commission approved EDI standards and business practices are found in the Revised Plan Version 2.6.2

   (a)  EDI and Validation, Estimation and Editing

   One area that EDI does not address is validation, estimation and editing (VEE) of customer data. VEE is basically the process of converting raw meter data to billing quality usage data. For implementing smart metering, this becomes a big issue for EGSs and Conservation Service Providers (CSPs). If there are any gaps in interval data, the EDC has to estimate customer usage. If raw, unedited interval data has significant data gaps, then the company has to validate and edit this information. PPL and other EDCs are doing VEE today or they have set up an intermediary to perform this task. EGSs want and need post-VEE interval data, especially for larger currently interval-metered commercial and industrial accounts, and later for potentially all customer accounts once the smart metering provisions of Act 129 are fully implemented. We, therefore, direct PPL to provide EGSs automated electronic access to customer post VEE interval data at no incremental fee.

   (b)  EDI 867 and EDI 814

   (b)(1)  Background

   The EDI 867 standard addresses energy sales information.3 In Pennsylvania, the EDI 867 standard has been adapted to provide customer usage information needed for billing for all customers regardless of the billing scenario (as defined below at (3) Bill Ready vs. Rate Ready Options). The EDI 867 Monthly Usage (MU) transaction is used to transmit current month usage information as captured from the meter for non-interval metered customers, and we use the EDI 867 Interval Usage (IU) to transmit interval monthly usage information as captured from the advanced meter for interval metered customers. EDI 867 is also used to transmit un-metered usage for non-metered accounts. An EDI 867 Historical Usage (HU) transaction transmits the previous 12 months of customer data regardless of the way the customer is metered. Currently, there is no requirement for the EDC to provide Historical Interval Data through an EDI transaction.

   The EDI 814 standard addresses general request, response or confirmation information.4 The EDI 814 standard has been adapted for use in Pennsylvania to communicate enrollment information and the customer/EGS relationship information between the EDC and the EGS. EDI 814 standards address the following scenarios:  (a) the 814 Enrollment (E) is used to enroll the customer's selection of an EGS; (b) the 814 (E) is used for customer account maintenance and is used to request customer historical usage; and (c) the 814 ND is used to provide an advanced notice of potential customer drops, where required by Commission order.

   All EDI 867 and 814 definitions and scenarios are defined in the Revised Plan Version 2.6.

   (b)(2)  Historical Usage

   The Pennsylvania electric industry implemented the 867 Historical Usage (HU) for communicating 12 months of historical monthly data for ''eligible'' customers. Eligible customers are those who authorized PPL to release this information to EGSs because they are interested in receiving offers. To successfully market their competitive services, EGSs prefer the opportunity to obtain historical usage information on behalf of a customer on the eligible customer list, without the necessity of a written customer authorization. If a customer is not included on the eligible customer list, PPL should allow the EGS to obtain their prospective customer's permission and upon the EGS's request, send the 867 HU. The manual sending of the customer's authorization by the EGS to PPL is not required, but the EGS may be audited by PPL or the Commission for compliance with customer authorization documentation after the fact.

   The Commission's Electric Choice implementation technology stakeholder group, the Electronic Data Exchange Working Group (EDEWG), recently approved an EDC's request to update the EDI 814 Enrollment (E) transaction to allow requests for historical interval data, and to create an EDI 867 Historical Interval Usage (HIU) transaction for providing interval detail data at the lowest level recorded by the EDC. See EDEWG Change Request #050 and 09/04/2008 EDEWG Meeting Minutes at ''Electricity'' ''Issues'' EDEWG Files for Downloading. As approved, these EDI changes are optional in Pennsylvania. Although PPL currently provides monthly metered interval data, this data is handled manually and is very time consuming for PPL and EGSs. EGSs have complained of the cost to acquire this data and that there are still gaps of missing information in PPL's response to their requests for interval data.

   Therefore, to best serve the billing needs of customers who have advanced interval meters or who purchase smart meters, PPL needs to be able to provide complete and accurate post-VEE metered interval data upon request by EGSs. To meet these requirements, we direct PPL to implement the recent EDI 814 E updates and the newly created EDI 867 HIU transaction as approved by the EDEWG no later than 60 days of the entered date of a final order in this proceeding.

   Another issue related to the EDI 814 is that EGSs are not receiving timely notice of PPL's permanent termination of their customer's service. A customer that is in arrears for payment of distribution service can be terminated by PPL, but the EGS is informed of this fact when PPL sends an EDI 814 Drop transaction that notifies the EGS that a final bill will be issued for the customer. If the EGS were to receive from PPL an EDI 814 Advance Notice of Intent to Drop (ND), which currently is applicable only in Duquesne Light's service area, the EGS could manage the customer's account more effectively and provide assistance in getting the account current. We, therefore, require PPL to initiate an EDI change request with the EDEWG and to implement the EDI 814 ND within 90 days of the final entered date of a final order in this proceeding.

   (b)(3)  Interval Usage

   Similar to the 867 MU that provides actual monthly billing cycle usage data, the electricity industry communicates actual monthly billing cycle interval metered data through the EDI 867 Interval Usage (IU) transaction. To meet the ongoing, monthly billing needs of customers who have advanced interval meters or who purchase smart meters, we require PPL to implement the EDI 867 IU transaction. Additionally, we require PPL to initiate an EDI change request with the EDEWG as may be necessary to update cross reference EDI transactions related to the 867 IU. It should be noted that the most recently approved EDI 867 IU transaction states ''as of September 1999, the PUC has not determined if the date and timestamp will be required with every interval, or only with the first interval with the subsequent intervals being marked with a sequence number.'' See page 9, Implementation Guideline for Electronic Data Interchange 867 Interval Usage Ver/Rel 004010 IG867IUv4-0. To resolve this outstanding issue, we direct PPL to initiate discussion with the EDEWG and recommend to the Commission no later than 60 days of the entered date of this order, a date/time stamp resolution that best serves the data needs of competitive providers and the smart metering requirements of Act 129.

   (b)(4)  Transmission and Capacity PLCs

   In August 2008, PPL implemented a change request related to the EDI 867 HU transaction, to be used by all PJM EDCs for communicating capacity and transmission contribution factors to their respective partner EGSs. EGSs have raised an issue that the Peak Load Contribution (PLC) is not being communicated by PPL and that there is a significant difference in the pricing of services without the PLC data.

   Therefore, to address this concern, we direct PPL to implement the EDI 867 HU changes if it is not already doing so, and to determine whether we should require PPL to initiate changes to the EDI 867 HU, we solicit comments from suppliers to explain why the PLC is needed.

   (b)(5)  Meter Read Cycle Information

   Meter read cycle information is defined by the EDC to identify the number of days that comprises a customer's billing period for previous usage and to designate the date that the customer's meter is read for determining that period of usage. For example, a residential customer's bill dated May 15, could be based on thirty days' of usage commencing April 1 through April 30 with the last meter reading having been taken on April 30. EGSs need to have an idea of the customer's meter read cycle if they are to successfully enroll a customer within PPL's designated billing window. If unsuccessful, the customer continues to pay the ''old'' price for energy from PPL or the customer's former EGS. PPL should provide the EGS with a customer's meter read cycle information in the EDI 814 response transaction or in the EDI 867 HU transaction; it does not need to be communicated in both. We direct PPL to select which EDI transaction it will utilize to provide this information to EGSs. We also direct PPL to initiate an EDI change request as necessary with the EDEWG no later than 60 days of the entered date of the final order.

   (c)  Multiple Accounts

   EGSs have experienced a delay in PPL's response to their data requests for multiple accounts. Every customer represents a single account and multiple accounts refer to multiple customer accounts. Pennsylvania has no approved guidelines for the handling of multiple account information; each EDI transaction is used to handle a single customer. To ensure that customer data is secure and accurate and handled in a timely manner, specific timelines for requests and responses to all EDI transmissions have been approved on an individual account basis. This timeline is found on page 17 of the Revised Plan Version 2.6. If PPL is not already following the maximum allowable time standards established for an EDC to send or respond to an EGS request for a customer's account, we direct PPL to comply with these standards within 30 days of the entered date of the final order.

   (d)  Sync List

   Some EGSs have asked for an updated ''sync list,'' which is a monthly list of customer usage and account information, specific to the customers who are already enrolled by an individual EGS. This list is different from an eligible customer list or any customer information database. It would be unique to the EGS and would contain confidential, customer account information that would allow the EGS to audit its system to ensure congruity with PPL's data. Such account information would include service start/end date, bill method, PLC values, etc. PPL is already providing customer usage information through the EDI 867 transactions that many EGSs find useful for updating their data base. Nonetheless, to satisfy the data needs of those EGSs who request it, we direct that PPL consider developing a sync list that would be accessed through an FTP (file transfer protocol) site that the requestor may navigate to download the text or comma separated value file. PPL may use the services of a third party to provide this sync list in a format that is suitable to the respective needs of the requestor.

   Therefore, to address this concern, we require PPL to provide a monthly, updated sync list on an FTP site for any EGS that requests it. PPL may use the services of a third party to provide this sync list in a format that is suitable to the respective needs of the requestor.

3.  Bill Ready and Rate Ready Options

   An EDI 810 Billing transaction is used by the billing party to transmit monthly usage and billing components to generate a customer invoice. By order entered August 13, 1998, we recognized that the settlement agreement process resulted in two different options for EDC consolidated billing--''Bill-Ready'' and ''Rate-Ready.''

   ''Bill-Ready'' means the company doing the billing receives calculated results from the other party for the other party's charges and prints them on a consolidated bill. ''Rate-Ready'' means the company doing the billing knows the rates of the other party, calculates the other party's charges, and prints them on a consolidated bill.

   In the August 13, 1998 Order, we emphasized that over time we expect to have a uniform approach among the EDCs. Since its last major rate case, PPL has supported the ''Bill-Ready'' option exclusively. To accommodate PPL market penetration by all EGSs licensed to operate within the Commonwealth, we propose requiring PPL to support Bill-Ready and Rate-Ready consolidated billing options as set forth in the Revised Plan Version 2.6.

   Additionally, to facilitate customer participation in Act 129 smart metering deployment and Time-of-Use rates, we also direct PPL to initiate a Change Request for the EDI 810 Billing transaction and other EDI transactions as may be appropriate, to manage a minimum of 50 separate and discrete rates per customer across rate classes. This minimum number of rates may vary upon order by the Commission.

4.  Timely EDI Testing--2 Month Maximum

   Since the adoption of EDI, PPL has actively participated in the EDEWG and contributed to the development of an Internet EDI Plan and Test Plan for Electronic Data Exchange for Electric Generation Deregulation. Both documents can be found on the Commission's web site at See Electricity, Issues, EDEWG Files for Downloading. Revised Plan Version 2.6 which contains changes to compliance testing for the re-certification process for EGSs that have been inactive in the EDC's service area. Inactivity is defined as a minimum of 12 months since the last EDI 867 Monthly Usage transaction had been sent, regardless of billing scenario of the EDC.

   With the expiration of PPL's capped generation rates, we anticipate that an increasing number of EGSs will want to serve PPL customers. To accommodate market participation in a timely manner, we direct PPL to schedule testing and complete the certification and recertification testing process no later than 60 days from the date an initial request is received by a licensed EGS to the date that PPL issues a notification of certification.

5.  Purchase of Receivables

   In the Commission's judgment, the use of purchase of receivables (POR) programs can reduce barriers to market entry. We explained this with respect to the natural gas industry, but it is just as applicable to the electric industry:

In a ''Purchase of Receivables'' (POR) program, the NGDC purchases a NGS's accounts receivable, most often at a discount. The discount may be attributable to uncollectible expense, i.e., bad debt of the NGS's customers, and the NGDC's administrative costs for billing and collection. Purchase of receivables was also discussed as a means to satisfy security requirements for suppliers operating on certain NGDC systems. SEARCH Report, pp. 18, 20. Decreasing the security requirement for suppliers would remove a barrier to market entry for some suppliers and, thus, would increase supplier participation in the market.5

   This can also translate into reduced costs to consumers. Some Pennsylvania EDCs have POR programs now.6 Recently we proposed regulations for voluntary POR programs for the natural gas industry as a means of increasing supplier participation in the retail natural gas supply market. Natural Gas Distribution Companies and the Promotion of Competitive Retail Markets, Docket No. L-2008-2069114, Proposed Rulemaking Order entered on March 27, 2009 (Natural Gas Rulemaking Order), 52 Pa. Code § 62.224.

   Because the availability of POR programs will likely enhance the viability of retail generation competition in the PPL service territory, we will direct PPL to use proposed section 62.224 as a template for its POR plan, but with the following differences. There should be little or no discount in the purchase of receivables. The purpose of the POR program is to facilitate the growth of the competitive market. It should not become a mechanism by which PPL makes or loses money.

   Insofar as PPL is taking possession of the receivable from the EGS, the EGS should be kept whole and, therefore, there is no need to revert to separate billing when the arrearage exceeds 90 days. The EGS will recover its full bill. PPL will still retain the ability to terminate customers for no payment subject, of course, to Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code and the consumer protection provisions of Chapter 56 of our regulations. PPL can also still offer its customers payment plans.

   Additionally, PPL is not to require an EGS to sell it all accounts receivable or none at all. If an EGS wishes to sell only a portion of its accounts receivable, it may do so. There should not be any ''all-in/all-out'' provisions.

   Finally, an EGS can bill only for basic supply service via POR. However, there are no limitations on the provision of other billing options if the EGS is participating in the POR program. EGSs have unique programs, such as green power for example, which require billing needs the utility cannot supply. Thus, EGSs may still need to separately bill for complex supply pricing options or environmental/renewable products.

   Because PPL's rate caps come off on December 31, 2009, we ask PPL to implement a POR program to commence on January 1, 2010.

6.  Customer Awareness Education Program

   Consumer education remains a critical pillar of a vibrant competitive retail market for electricity in Pennsylvania and PPL's service territory in particular. The market with the greatest number of shopping choices is of no use if no one knows that it is there. Therefore, it is necessary that PPL undertake a program of customer education to make sure that its consumers know not only that the rate caps are coming off, but that there are choices that they now have as users of electric power.

   The program is intended to educate the consumer and not market any brand of electric power. It should begin no later than the first billing cycles 30 days after this order becomes final and last at least six months after the rate cap has terminated. The intent is to make consumers aware of their choices for electric power and educate them as to how to contact those EGSs. PPL may use bill inserts, media advertising and the Internet and any other medium it normally uses to reach its customers. The costs of this program may be recoverable through the surcharge for competition related activities discussed below, subject to the limitation established under Docket M-2008-2032279.

7.  Commit To A Process For Development Of A Uniform Supplier Tariff

   As we stated in our Policy Statement on default service:

The public interest would be served by the adoption of supplier tariffs that are uniform as to both form and content. Uniform supplier tariffs may facilitate the participation of EGSs in the retail market of this Commonwealth and reduce the potential for mistake or misunderstandings between EGSs and EDCs.

   Default Service and Retail Electric Markets:  Final Policy Statement, Docket No. M-00072009, Order entered May 10, 2007 (Policy Statement). It would be in the interest of all parties to standardize supplier tariffs for EGSs operating in PPL's service territory as well as those in the Commonwealth as a whole. Such standardization is absent in Pennsylvania at this time. While we acknowledge that the PPL Restructuring Settlement included a supplier tariff, there are variation in terms and operational rules among different EDCs. This results in inefficiencies across the retail market for electricity.

   Therefore, we direct PPL to convene a working group with other interested parties including licensed EGSs and other Pennsylvania EDCs to develop a uniform supplier tariff for use in its retail market. The working group should commence not later than 60 days after this order becomes final and propose a uniform tariff for adoption not later than six months thereafter.

8.  Ombudsman For Supplier Issues

   No system, no matter how well designed and no matter how finely tuned, is free from flaws. It is important that, when problems arise, EGSs are able to quickly contact the appropriate person at PPL to address the difficulty. We have considered requiring each EDC to appoint an ombudsman to fulfill this function as part of our Policy Statement. See 52 Pa. Code § 69.1817. The ombudsman should be responsible for promptly responding to questions from EGSs, monitoring competitive market complaints and facilitating informal dispute resolution between EGSs as well as default service providers.

   Therefore, we will direct PPL to appoint such an ombudsman. Furthermore, we must stress that person should be familiar with the EDC/EGS interface and with the inner workings of the EDC, but must also be fully independent from the EDC sales function so that he or she may act impartially.

   So as to assist the industry with respect to the final phase of the transition into a retail market without rate caps, we will expand the mission of our Office of Competitive Market Oversight, which was established for the natural gas industry, to include oversight of the electric markets as well. When needed, EGSs may turn to it as the office of the Commission ombudsman.

9.  PPL Costs of Competition Related Activities

   The Commission recognizes that some of these actions to reduce barriers to market entry by EGS firms may require PPL to incur incremental costs, not presently included in customer rates, and which should be recoverable on a timely basis. We are guided here by our recent action with respect to natural gas utilities making the transition to fully competitive markets.

   In our Action Plan for natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs), we concluded that the NGDCs ''should be able to recover reasonable costs that are prudently incurred in connection with the implementation of any changes designed to promote the development of effective competition in the retail market.'' Action Plan at 21. At that time, we noted that these costs also include expenses associated with increasing customer participation in the market such as modifications to NGDC billing systems or increased consumer education activities. Id. Therefore, in a recent rulemaking proceeding, we determined to allow NGDCs to recover these costs through a surcharge with an automatic adjustment mechanism. Natural Gas Rulemaking Order at 7.

   Consequently, we will allow PPL to implement a surcharge mechanism under 66 Pa.C.S. § 1307(a) whereby it recovers its incremental implementation costs. It is of no difference that here we are addressing the electric utility to the extent it helps promote retail competition, the surcharge for implementing these competition related activities will benefit all customers. As such, it should be paid by all customers. Therefore, PPL may implement a rate surcharge mechanism similar to that which we proposed in our rulemaking order for codification at 52 Pa. Code § 62.226.


   In sum, the above measures are intended to create standard rules and operating protocols that will remove barriers to entry and promote retail competition in the PPL service territory, in accordance with the policy and statutory directives in Chapter 28. With the expiration of rate caps in the PPL service territory presently scheduled for December 31, 2009, and the end of rate caps in the remaining EDCs 1 year later, the Commission is obligated to insure that, when those caps are lifted, customers have real choices from alternative suppliers for their generation service needs, choices that can bring those customers lower prices, innovative services and options, and the alternatives to default service offered by the incumbent EDC.

   However, before we make a final decision as to each of the specific measures to be implemented, the Commission is inviting comments from PPL and interested persons on whether these measures or others are reasonable, lawful and appropriate to further the legislative goal of a competitive retail market for generation in each EDC's service territory. To the extent any of these measures require the amendment, waiver or modification of any existing Commission orders or regulations, we are providing, by this order and by publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, notice to all interested persons of the potential for amendment of such orders and regulations, as well as an opportunity to provide comments before our decision becomes final.

   Accordingly, under our authority under sections 501, 2801--2809 and 2811 of the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. §§ 501, 2801--2809 and 2811, we shall direct PPL to take the actions described previously so that its customers may have meaningful alternatives from which to choose when purchasing electric power; Therefore,

It Is Ordered That:

   1.  The Secretary serve a copy of this Tentative Order upon PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, all electric generation suppliers licensed to do business in its service territory, the Office of Consumer Advocate, the Office of Small Business Advocate, and the Office of Trial Staff.

   2.  The Secretary shall certify this Tentative Order and Attachment A, and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

   3.  An original and 15 copies of any comments referencing the docket number of the Tentative Order be submitted within 30 days of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Attn:  Secretary, P. O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265.

   4.  The contact person for this rulemaking is Assistant Counsel Lawrence F. Barth, Law Bureau (717) 772-8579,

   5.  Absent the filing of adverse public comment within 30 days after the publication of this Tentative Order, it shall become final without further action by the Commission.

   6.  Unless specified otherwise herein, that within 30 days of this Order becoming final PPL Electric Utilities Corporation shall file tariffs necessary to implement the directives discussed within this Tentative Order.

By the Commission


Attachment A

Customer Database Data Elements
PPL Additional Items Requested
Customer Account # X
Meter # X
Name X
Service Address, including Zip +4 X
Billing Address, including Zip +4 X
Budget Indicator (is customer on a budget billing    program) X
Meter Read Cycle date X
Meter Type X
Interval Meter Flag X
Load Profile Group Indicator X
Rate Code Indicator X
Loss Factor (in some EDCs, this doesn't map directly to    the rate code, so it is necessary) X
12 Individual Months Consumption (kWh) X This should be expanded to cover 24 months of consumption (kWh) and should be provided by billing period, i.e. for individual months. Total kWh, and On/off peak values should be provided if applicable
12 Individual Months Demand (kW) X This should be expanded to cover 24 months of billing demand (kW) and should be provided by billing period
Monthly peak demand by billing month (note that this is different from billing demand)
End of billing period date for each billing month
# days in billing period for each billing month
2 years of interval data should be available but should be accessible separately from monthly summary data, so EGSs that only want summary data can access it without downloading data intensive interval data
Effective dates for current and pending rate class and procurement group classifications.
POLR indicator (is the customer a POLR customer as of the date of the list update)
Minimum stay date, if applicable. For PPL this would be an indicator if the customer is subject to the GRA and the date the GRA liability expires.
Business contact name (this may be different than the customer name)
Business contact phone number
Business contact address
Email address
Customer service start date
Municipal Tax Code (if there is a city/county tax that applies to electricity)
Sales tax percentage or sales tax exemption percentage
PLC Value (capacity obligation) and effective date of this value
Transmission obligation and effective date of this value
Date the list was last updated
Identifier for whether a customer is enrolled in rate mitigation pre-payment plan
Identifier for whether customer is enrolled in rate mitigation deferral/phase-in plan
Price to compare (most recent known price to compare for the customer)
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 09-1049. Filed for public inspection June 5, 2009, 9:00 a.m.]


1  Application of Pennsylvania Power & Light Company for Approval of its Restructuring Plan Under Section 2806 of the Public Utility Code, et al., Docket No. R-00973954, Final Order entered August 27, 1998.

2  Standards for Electronic Data Transfer and Exchange Between Electric Distribution Companies And Electric Generation Suppliers, Docket No. M-00960890F0015, Tentative Order entered December 8, 2008.

3  The ASC X12 definition for the 867 ''Product Transfer and Resale Report'' transaction is:  ''The transaction set can be used to:  (1) report information about product that has been transferred from one location to another; (2) report sales of product from one or more locations to an end customer; or (3) report sales of a product from one or more locations to an end customer, and demand beyond actual sales (lost orders). Report may be issued by either buyer or seller.''

4  The ACS X12 definition for the 814 ''General Request, Response or Confirmation'' transaction is:  ''This standard can be used to request actions to be performed, to respond to a request for actions to be performed or to confirm information related to actions performed.''

5  Investigation into the Natural Gas Supply Market:  Report on Stakeholders' Working Group (SEARCH); Action Plan for Increasing Effective Competition in Pennsylvania's Retail Natural Gas Supply Services Market, Docket No. I-00040103F0002, Final Order and Action Plan entered September 11, 2008 at 10 (Action Plan).

6  PECO Energy Company and Duquesne Light Company.

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