Attorney General Martha Coakley Applauds Creation of Regional Energy Consumer Group
"We commend ISO-NE for the creation of the CLG," said Attorney General Coakley. "Our regional electric system should be designed and managed for those who ultimately pay the bills, the ratepayers of New England, and the ratepayers deserve information and an opportunity to be part of the process impacting transmission and wholesale energy costs."
ISO-NE, the organization responsible for operation of the New England transmission system and wholesale electric markets, announced the creation of the CLG after a months-long process established to review ISO-NE's responsiveness to regional stakeholders. The CLG is designed to provide consumers with access to information on the planning and cost of transmission and the administration of wholesale electricity markets in New England. It was also set up to provide a mechanism for consumers to raise concerns directly with ISO senior management and its board of directors.
The creation of the CLG is the result of an order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that required regional transmission operators such as ISO-NE's to review its responsiveness to its customers. Attorney General Coakley's Office served as a chair of a working group that met over the first quarter of 2009 to discuss these and other issues.
During this process, Attorney General Coakley's Office and other regional advocates raised concerns over accessibility to ISO-NE leadership and its board, the openness of its processes and the ability for customers, who have limited resources, to participate in formal decision making processes that can involve between 100 and 200 meetings per year. Many of these concerns were also raised during a Ratepayer Summit hosted by Attorney General Coakley and other regional advocates in September 2008. In response to these concerns, the working group recommended that ISO provide more information on the cost implications of its decisions and the creation and support of the CLG.
The CLG comprises of interested consumer organizations, advocates, ratepayers, and consumers who will meet with senior ISO-NE staff on a regular basis. The purpose of the CLG is to create a forum to allow for the flow of information between ISO-NE and those who ultimately use and pay for electricity in New England. In turn, ISO-NE will benefit from direct communications with consumer representatives and develop a better understanding of consumer issues and concerns relative to the electric system and its costs.
The CLG had its first meeting on July 26, 2009. The meeting included over 60 consumers, consumer groups, government advocates and other energy stakeholders. The CLG is planning at least two additional meetings over the course of the fourth quarter of 2009.
The Attorney General serves as the ratepayer advocate and is authorized to intervene in administrative and/or judicial proceedings on behalf of consumers in connection with any matter involving the rates, charges, prices or tariffs of any gas company doing business in the Commonwealth.