Va. end-users call for greater access to alternative suppliers; Calif. utility’s exit fee deemed threat to community choice aggregation; Pa. regulators reject surcharge to encourage customers to shop

Virginia end-users ask state for enhanced access to suppliers offering renewable power. Large commercial and industry electricity consumers in Virginia sent a letter to the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy calling for greater flexibility in purchasing green energy from alternative suppliers. Virginia needs to make it easier for companies of all sizes to access greener energy sources, the letter signed by 12 major energy end-users said. “To stay competitive, Virginia should offer a range of choices for large customers to access and procure renewables from both utility and non-utility providers,” the Aug. 24 letter says. Large users “should also be able to aggregate their load across the Commonwealth and procure less than 100 percent renewable energy if they so wish.”

California utility’s proposed exit fee seen as threat to community choice aggregation. The mayor of San Jose, Calif., says an effort by Pacific Gas & Electric to collect an exit fee is intended “to limit the ability of community choice programs like San Jose to launch and to grow.” The California public Utilities Commission is weighing PG&E’s request, Emily DeRuy reports for the Bay Area News Group. PG&E maintains the payment is necessary so that customers who remain with PG&E aren’t paying for costs incurred to meet the demands of the departing customers. “Really for us, it comes down to ensuring all customers are treated equally and ensuring that customers do not pay for other customers,” a utility spokeswoman said. “By threatening the clean energy programs that are launching in San Jose and cities throughout the state, there is no more damaging decision that could be made in this state to hinder our efforts to put California on a more sustainable path,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Utility’s proposed surcharge for to encourage customer shopping rejected by Pa. PUC. A proposed surcharge intended to encourage consumers FirstEnergy’s default service utility customers to shop for competitive electricity supply was rejected by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Jim Martin reports in the Erie Times-News. Ken Springirth, who petitioned the PUC for public hearings on the matter, said he was pleased with the decision. “Customer choice is a good thing, but it has to be simplified,” Springirth said. “I think the only ones that should be offered are ones with fixed rates.”

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