Energy/Utility Issues Update

September 29, 2008

I wanted to provide you with a quick update on several important regulatory and legislative developments regarding energy/utility issues in New York State.

RGGI Auction
The results of the first RGGI allowance auction were announced today. Information on the results are available here. (Web site address is www.rggi.org/co2-auctions/results). Just over 12.5 million allowances were auctioned, with a clearing price of $3.07/ton, compared to reserve price of $1.86. Potomac Economics, RGGI’s “auction monitor,” reported that 59 entities submitted bids, with bids for four times the amount of allowances available in this auction round. Note that New York, New Jersey, Delaware and New Hampshire did not participate in this auction. New York intends to participate in the next scheduled auction on December 17, 2008.

Call Center Bill Vetoed
On Friday, Governor Paterson announced his veto of the so-called utility call center bill. This legislation, S.2007 (Volker)/A.606 (Cahill) would have required energy utilities to provide call center service assistance from centers located within within their in-state service areas. The Business Council, along with an number of individual member companies, strongly opposed this legislation and argued for a gubernatorial veto. The text of the Governor’s veto message is not yet available.

“Streetcutter” Legislation Approved
Governor Paterson also announced his signing of S.7916-A (Padavan)/A.10774 (Gianaris), which requires public utilities, and their contractors and subcontractors, to pay union prevailing wage and maintain certified payroll records in circumstances where a local government requires such as a condition of issuance of a permit to use or open a street. The Business Council and member companies had oppose this legislation, arguing that it would impose extremely costly and unmanageable obligations on utilities to maintain original payroll records and transcripts that are currently kept by the contractors and subcontractors. Under this legislation, now Chapter 591 of the Laws of 2008, failure to keep accurate records subscribed and sworn to under penalties of perjury could bring criminal and civil penalties for noncompliance. The Governor’s approval memo is not yet available.