News & Events

 

Topics will include:

Changes to our winter 2018/2019 outlook

A review of key production and demand fundamentals

A 2018 year in review

We want to hear from you. When registering, please submit your questions and any topics that you would be interested in learning about in future webinars.

https://events.constellation.com/energymarketintelwebinar-dec2018

 

Unable to attend? Register to receive a copy of the webinar recording.

 

Washington Gas Winter Preparedness Briefing for Interruptible Service Customers
in DC, Maryland, and Virginia

AOBA hosted guests from Washington Gas at a member briefing on Monday, September 24, 2018, and discussed winter preparedness for interruptible customers in advance of the 2018-2019 heating season. Please click here to view the meeting presentation.

The Presentations are now available on the AOBA Alliance Website under the Energy Market Update tab.
For the full presentation, click here.

The month of May of 2018 was the warmest on record, and June is proving to be one of the top three warmest as well.  Year-to-date natural gas demand for electric power generation is up 3.2 BCF per day, which is a 14% increase.  While gas-fired power generation is surging, natural gas production has flattened through the second quarter after an impressive upward move from last summer.  Additionally, there is a significant and persistent natural gas storage deficit relative to the same period last year and the five-year average that is providing some bullish underpinnings to summer 2018 natural gas and power markets.

As we exit the second quarter, the natural gas market (and subsequently, the electric power market) has matriculated from a bearish near-term outlook that was dominated by the significant increase in year-over-year production, to a bullish near-term outlook characterized by strong power-generation demand coupled with a wide storage deficit and flattening production.  Summer temperatures in key urban markets will be the decisive factor in the coming thirty, sixty and ninety-day near-term market.  A hotter than normal summer is supportive of a higher gas-price scenario and of course a cooler than normal solution would likely see a softening in the market.

NOAA’s forecast for July calls for above normal temps from east Texas thru New England, but the Pacific Northwest will see the most persistent heat.

Regionally, we could see volatility in Texas and California this summer driven by tighter gas generation reserve margins in Texas after three large coal plants retired this winter, and restricted gas supply in Southern California due to pipeline maintenance.

Texas wind-power generation started the month of June averaging 4-6 GW in the afternoon hours, but on June 5th there was a decided and persistent drop off in wind generation as it declined to less than 2 GW, about half of what had been forecast.  The result was a spike in real time prices to $3,100/MWh or $3.1/KWh for one 15-minute interval. The price for June 5th averaged $169/MWh vs. $22/MWh the preceding and following days illustrating the ongoing risk as we approach peak cooling load in ERCOT later this summer.

Register today for our July Market Intel Webinar, taking place on July 18, 2018 at 2:00PM ET.

The MD PSC approved the Joint Merger Application of AtlaGas Ltd and WGL Holdings, Inc. on April 4, 2018.  In its decision, the Commission stated the merger is “consistent with the public interest, convenience and necessity; we have adequately mitigated any potential harms to consumers; and it benefits both Washington Gas customers and consumers generally”. As part of the merger approval, the Commission revised the conditions outlined in the settlement entered into by WGL, AltaGas, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. After AOBA presented testimony and argued during hearings that non-residential customers were entitled to a rate credit, the PSC agreed and approved an $8.8 million rate credit for WG non-residential customers.

The State Corporation Commission of Virginia approved the WG acquisition on October 23, 2017. The process and legal standard for acquisition review is different in Virginia, unlike in Maryland and DC, formal evidentiary hearings are not required and were not held. There are no rate credits for any Washington Gas customers in Virginia.

In the District, AOBA, WG the Office of People’s Counsel and all parties entered into a Unanimous Settlement Agreement on May 8, 2018. As part of the Agreement, AltaGas agreed to fund $5,422,582 for one-time rate credits for WG non-residential customers in the District. The amount of each customer’s credit will be determined on a volumetric basis. The non-residential rate credits will be provided within 60 days after the merger closing and will be based on active customer accounts as of the billing cycle 30 days after the merger closing. Importantly, no portion of the rate credits will be recovered in utility rates.  WG’s last rate case was decided on March 3, 2017 and granted WG an $8,510,251 increase in rates. Of the $8.5 million approved, non-residential rates were increased by $2,738,000. Essentially, this rate credit offsets approximately two years of the rate increase granted in March, 2017.

Additionally, the Settlement Agreement provides for the AOBA Educational Foundation (AEF), beginning upon AEF’s qualification for 501(c)(3) status, to receive $250,000 per year for 7 years post-merger close. Further, the DC Attorney General and OPC have stated in a press release that “In a separate matter, Washington Gas has agreed that it will not seek recovery of any costs beyond a previously agreed upon cap of $28 million in connection with the replacement of obsolete infrastructure in the District. This infrastructure replacement is pursuant to a previous Public Service Commission order. The agreement ensures that ratepayers won’t be responsible for cost overruns associated with the project.” AOBA submitted testimony in support of the Settlement Agreement on May 25, 2018.

Finally, AtlaGas has agreed that WG will not file a new application requesting an increase in base rates in the District of Columbia until after January 3, 2020.

On June 28, 2018, the DC PSC conditionally approved the Joint Merger of AtlaGas Ltd and WGL Holdings set forth in the Settlement Agreement entered into by AltaGas, WGL Holdings, AOBA, the DC Government and the Office of People’s Counsel.  The terms of the conditions have not been specified at this time.

Washington Gas Files Application New STRIDE Plan in Maryland

On June 15, 2018, WGL filed its Application for approval of a new gas system Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement Plan (“STRIDE 2”) and an accompanying cost recovery mechanism to become effective January 1, 2019. The estimated cost of the initial five year period of Washington Gas’s gas system infrastructure replacement plan (2019 to 2023) is approximately $393.6 million. WG proposes to fund the costs of the accelerated infrastructure replacement through a surcharge cost recovery mechanism, the STRIDE surcharge. AOBA is reviewing WG’s Application and will be intervene in the case. A PSC decision is expected by mid-December, 2018.

The proposed monthly STRIDE surcharges by customer class are shown in the chart below.

Billing Class

Estimated Monthly Surcharge

Residential Heating/Cooling

$0.37

Residential Non-Heating/Non-cooling

$0.19

C&I Heating/Cooling <3,000 therms

$0.59

C&I Heating/Cooling >3,000 therms

$3.99

C&I Non-Heating/Non-Cooling

$1.50

GMA Heating/Cooling

$4.87

GMA Non-Heating/Non-Cooling

$1.06

Interruptible

$48.15

On June 1, 2018, the Prince George’s County Office of Finance, Treasury Division notified Washington Gas of an increase in rates applicable to fuel. Effective July 1, 2018, the rate will increase from $0.057534 to $0.084949 per therm, a 47% increase from the prior rate.

 


As we enter into the spring energy buying season, AOBA would like to remind members of the unwanted complications that can arise due to slamming by third party energy suppliers.

Slamming occurs when a customer with an existing third party energy supply contract undergoes an unauthorized and often illegal transfer of supply service to another energy provider. Most often, slamming occurs when telemarketers for third party supply companies call a member’s property and switches the customer’s electric service through recorded voice authorizations. For example, a person from a member property that speaks to a telemarketer is often recorded as saying ‘Yes’ to a single question and the supply service is automatically switched.

Utilities will not contact an organization to verify whether or not the switch to the new supply provider was authorized. Once the utility receives notification of the switch to a new supplier, the switch to the new provider occurs automatically. Slamming by a supply provider creates multiple problems for members that can range from penalties for breach of contract with their current supplier to penalties from the slamming supplier, all of which may be labor intensive to correct.

AOBA and AOBA Alliance, Inc. track instances of slamming and report such occurrences to the appropriate parties. If you experience slamming by a supplier, please try to obtain the information of the representative who contacted you and the company they represent. This information can be reported to AOBA by contacting Frann Francis or April Kreller at the AOBA office.

Costly Increases to DC Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – Law Effective October 8, 2016

On July 25, 2016, Mayor Bowser signed Bill 21-650, the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion
Amendment Act of 2016. The law was approved by Congress and became effective October 8, 2016.

The law amends the current Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Act and increases the renewable
portfolio standard (RPS) requirement for suppliers while also increasing the compliance fees for suppliers that cannot meet the RPS requirements.

Under the prior legislation, compliance fees gradually decrease beginning in 2017 and each year
thereafter until 2023. Specifically, the prior legislation decreases compliance fees as follows: Fifty cents in
2011 through 2016; thirty five cents in 2017; thirty cents in 2018; twenty cents in 2019 through 2020; fifteen cents in 2021-2022; and five cents in 2023 and thereafter for each kilowatt-hour of shortfall from required solar energy assets.

The newly enacted law liminates the gradual decreases and maintains the compliance fee at fifty
cents through 2023 for each kilowatt-hour of shortfall from required energy ources. The additional funds will be used in part to fund improvements to esidential energy efficiency.

AOBA proposed an amendment that grandfathered the gradual decrease in compliance fees for
existing customer supply contracts. The law was enacted with the grandfathering amendment included.

Capacity Performance Costs

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has approved a “change in regulation” for PJM that
will require electricity suppliers to incur a new category of capacity related costs which will be labeled “Capacity Performance Costs.”These new “Capacity Performance Costs” will become effective as of June 1, 2016, and are expected to add to the total costs that all electricity suppliers must incur to provide firm electricity supply to their customers. The magnitude of the cost adjustments that
electricity suppliers may seek to pass on to customers as a result of PJM’s Capacity Performance program for the next three PJM planning years (i.e., June 1 – May 31 for 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19) have been determined through incremental capacity auctions.

The increase in costs is a result of the last couple of winters, particularly during the polar vortex experienced during the winter of 2013-2014, PJM found that natural gas-fired generators on whom they were relying to provide electricity supply and ensure the reliability of service were unable to perform
during periods of peak demand. In response to this problem, PJM has proposed, and FERC has approved (with some modifications), a plan to provide generators incentives to ensure the reliability of generation from power plants during periods of peak electrical demand, regardless of whether those periods occur
during summer or winter months. Those requirements will cause generators to incur greater costs to assure the reliability of their generation commitments or face the potential for substantial penalties for failure to perform. Please keep in mind that these new costs are the result of a change in regulatory policy and are expected to impact in a similar manner, the costs incurred by all electricity suppliers operating within PJM.

Washington Gas Interruptible Preparedness Briefing

On Thursday, September 17, 2015, AOBA hosted guests from Washington Gas at a breifing specifically for AOBA members and AOBA Alliance participants with interruptible natural gas accounts in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Representatives from Washington Gas discussed the actions interruptible customers need to take this fall in order to be prepared for any potential interruption or curtailment that could be called during the upcoming winter. In addition, Washington Gas discussed the proposed changes to the Company's interruptible service tariffs in all three jurisdictions as well as the requirements that are currently in place for interruptible service customers.

Utility and Energy Market Update

On Thursday, September 17, 2015, the Utility and Energy Market Update was held for AOBA members and AOBA Alliance participants. The meeting topics included DC water rates, an energy market update, and utility updates for electricity and natural gas in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. For budgeting purposes, AOBA recommends that members carefully review the content of the utility presentations, especially the surcharge rates and bill composition charts by rate class included for each utility for each of the three jurisdictions.

The utility presentations are currently available on both the AOBA and AOBA Alliance websites. For questions regarding the meeting presentations, please contact Frann Francis or April Kreller at (202) 296-3390.

AOBA will hold the next Utility and Energy Market Update Briefing on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at the AOBA office from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm.

 

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the Utility and Energy Market Update was held for AOBA members and AOBA Alliance participants. The meeting topics included DC water rates for 2015, an energy market briefing, and utility updates for electricity and natural gas in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. For budgeting purposes, AOBA suggests members carefully review the content of the presentation, especially the budget impact charts and surcharge rates included for each utility, for each of the three jurisdictions. Although some numbers are not final at this time, we expect to have final estimates by September 2014.

The utility presenation is currently available on both the AOBA Alliance website and the AOBA website at http://www.aobaalliance.com/energy-market-update/utility-committee-presentations.html or http://www.aoba-metro.org/advocacy/utilities/utility-and-energy-market-briefings. For questions regarding the meeting presentation, please contact Frann Francis or April Kreller at (202) 296-3390.

On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, the Utility Committee Meeting was held for AOBA members and AOBA Alliance participants. The meeting topics included DC water rates for 2014, an energy market briefing, and utility updates for electricity and natural gas in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. For budgeting purposes, AOBA suggests that members carefully review the content of the presentation, especially the budget impact charts and surcharge rates included for each utility, for each of the three jurisdictions. The utility presentation is currently available on both the AOBA and AOBA Alliance websites at http://www.aoba-metro.org/advocacy/utilities/utility-committee-2.html or http://www.aobaalliance.com/energy-market-update/utility-committee-presentations.html . For questions regarding the meeting presentation, please contact Frann Francis or April Kreller at (202) 296-3390.