- A month after the New York Supreme Court for the County of Albany upheld state's authority to ban energy service company (ESCO) sales to low-income customers, Energy Choice Matters reports a court has temporarily blocked the Public Service Commission from enforcing that directive.
- The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department issued the order in response to a motion filed by the National Energy Marketeers Association, Bluerock Energy, Inc. Residentis Energy and Verde Energy, and is in place through at least August 23. According to Energy Choice Matters, regulators must respond to the motion to stay by that date.
- Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for new rules governing ESCO operations after accusations emerged of wide-scale overcharging.
At the end of last year, regulators opened a formal review of retail energy markets to ensure ESCOs faced scrutiny for their marketing practices. By some estimates, low-income households make up almost one-third of the state's gas and power consumers — and at the end of last year, about 173,000 were purchasing electricity from an ESCO.
Before the review, the PSC launched an audit of ESCOs in February 2016, blocking new contracts "unless they provide guaranteed cost savings, or at least 30 percent of the supply comes from renewable energy."
In December, the commission halted the sale of electricity and natural gas by ESCOs to low-income customers, seeking to protect them from "unscrupulous" marketers. The National Energy Marketers Association challenged the December order, arguing the commission lacked authority.
The new rules aim to ensure low-income customers benefit financially from retail electricity shopping. According to a statement issued last year by Gov. Cuomo, during collaborative meetings on reforms, "some ESCOs confirmed that they were not likely to provide a guaranteed savings to low-income customers."