Resolution in Support of Minimum Disclosure Requirements Where the Retail Marketing of Electricity is Adopted

WHEREAS, consumers in several states are beginning to choose among competing electricity providers and retail access to competitive electricity suppliers is under consideration in man other states;

WHEREAS, electricity purchases make up a significant portion of the budget of many households;

WHEREAS, a major rationale in states which have provided for a competitive supply of electricity has been to give consumers the means to select providers that offer the most economical and otherwise preferable terms and conditions of service;

WHEREAS, the production of electricity imposes substantial resource and environmental impacts, and market research has shown that many customers are concerned about the, environmental impact of electricity production;

WHEREAS, Pilot retail access programs have shown that customer confusion and misleading claims are highly likely;

WHEREAS, Clear and uniform disclosure of relevant information will promote efficiency through informed product comparisons;

WHEREAS, the desirability and feasibility of such disclosure has been clearly established in energy ratings for large household appliances, nutrition labeling, uniform food pricing, truth-in-lending, and many other consumer protection programs;

WHEREAS, Consumers value low prices, the ability to manage variability in prices over time, customer service and convenience; and

WHEREAS, consumers in many states have experienced confusion and frustration because alternative providers of telecommunications services have not always provided clear, accurate and comparable information regarding prices and other key and conditions of service.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) believes that informed customer choice may promote efficient markets, resource diversity, and environmental awareness and such informed customer choice should be facilitated as part of any electric industry restructuring;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NASUCA supports minimum, verifiable, enforceable, uniform standards for the form and content of disclosure and labeling that would allow consumers to easily compare items of consumer interest such as price, price variability, contract terms and conditions, resource and environmental characteristics of their electricity purchases;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA urges states adopting retail direct access programs to include minimum, verifiable, enforceable, uniform standards of disclosure and labeling that would allow retail customers to easily compare items of consumer interest such as price, price variability, contract Terms and conditions, resource mix, and environmental characteristics of their electricity purchases;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all providers of electricity should be required to provide the following information to potential customers: 1) The duration of the agreement; 2) The price of each unbundled component of electric service sold by the provider, and any other fees that the provider may charge or levy separately at any time during the term of the agreement; 3) Clear specification of the degree of variability of each price or charge over time, including whether the price for each component is fixed, any minimum or maximum level for any price that is not fixed, and any index, formula or objective measure by which prices that are not fixed shall be ascertained; and 4) the effective price in cents per kilowatt-hour for all electric energy services sold under the agreement for various levels and patterns of consumption;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any electric restructuring legislation passed by Congress should not preempt or limit the ability of the states to require additional information disclosure and such other consumer protections as each state may determine is appropriate for its citizens; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA authorizes its Executive Committee to develop specific positions and to take appropriate actions consistent with this resolution. The Executive Committee shall advise the membership of any proposed action prior to taking action if possible. In any event, the Executive Committee shall notify the membership of any pursuant to this resolution.

Approved by NASUCA:

Boston, Massachusetts

November 12, 1997

Submitted by:

NASUCA Electricity Committee

Larry Frimerman (OH), chair
Anne Becker (IN)
Barry Cohen (OH)
Nancy Vaughn Coombs (SC)
Steve Corneli (MN)
Anne Curtin (NY)
George Dean (MA)
Letitia Wiggins (DC)
Greg Eisenstark (NJ)
William Fields (MD)
Margaret Force (NC)
Walker Hendrix (KS)
Bruce Johnson (CT)
Robert Kelter (IL)
Lewis Mills (MO)
Thomas Nicholson (VA)
Charles Noble (NM)
Gerry Norlander (NY)
Mark Payne (NC)
William Perkins (ME)
Blossom Peretz (NJ)
Irwin Popowsky (PA)
Fred Schmidt (NV)
Lynda Spears (IN)
Ben Stead (IA)
Kenneth Traum (NH