Consumer Advocates’ Funding Request Sparks Sharp Words
Seeking OK on Pepco Deal, Exelon Offers Support
VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — Nearly everyone who spoke at last week’s PJM Members Committee meeting agreed that stakeholder discussions are enhanced by the participation of the Consumer Advocates of the PJM States. But not everyone wants to pay to have them in the room.
A proposal by CAPS Executive Director Dan Griffiths that the RTO fund the group’s $450,000 budget through an assessment on electric customers won support from state regulators and other load interests but drew sharp opposition from suppliers.
Griffiths and West Virginia Consumer Advocate Jacqueline Roberts proposed that CAPS’ budget be funded in part through an assessment on electric sales similar to the funding Organization of PJM States (OPSI). They said it would amount to eight-tenths of a cent for a residential customer using 12,000 KWh annually.
Opposed in Principle
But while the charge would be miniscule, some market participants said they opposed it in principle.
“Our company is a great believer in markets and competitive markets, and we have trouble funding an organization that is comprised of entities that have challenged competition at the state level and at PJM,” said Marji Philips of Direct Energy. “Frankly that was why our company decided we could not get behind this proposal.
“Some [advocates] have been vehemently anti-competition at the retail level,” she added.
“Silencing views that don’t agree with you doesn’t give you a better stakeholder process. It might give you a quieter stakeholder process,” Roberts responded.
“There’s nothing to keep you from dialing in” to the meetings, Philips countered.