Regarding the Usefulness of the
Uniform Business Practices Manual
For State Regulatory Agencies

WHEREAS, A coalition of four industry groups; the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Coalition for Uniform Business Rules (CUBR), the National Energy Marketers Association (NEMA) and the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) have been engaged in an effort to develop uniform business practices (UBP) for the interaction between marketers, utilities and customers in unbundled retail electric and natural gas markets;

WHEREAS, On March 13, 2000, the coalition published the UBP Interim Report for the purpose of receiving public comment:

WHEREAS, The UBP Interim Report contained six chapters: 1) Introduction, 2) Preface, 3) Customer Switching, 4) Customer Information, 4) Billing and Payment, 5) Load Profiling, and 6) Glossary;

WHEREAS, On April 26, 2000, NASUCA and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) submitted comments on the Interim Report suggesting, in addition to a variety of specific changes, that the UBP document should not attempt to resolve the important policy issues to be addressed in state unbundling proceedings but should focus on the practices necessary to implement policy decisions;

WHEREAS, On August 1, 2000, the final versions of the six chapters in the Interim Report were published,

WHEREAS, The six chapters published on August 1 provide a listing of the important policy issues for each chapter that must be decided by regulators but does not attempt to resolve these policy issues,

WHEREAS, The six chapters published on August 1 reflect NASUCA’s overall concern with the document, but did not incorporate all of NASUCA’s proposed changes and thus contain language to which NASUCA objects,

WHEREAS, The final version of the Preface contains a section entitled “Cost Recovery”, which encourages regulators to give consideration to the recovery of the costs of implementing the Uniform Business Practices,

WHEREAS, NASUCA believes that cost recovery issues are beyond the scope of the purpose of the UBP manual and should not be a subject of the manual,

WHEREAS, The final version of the Customer Enrollment and Switching chapter contains a discussion of default service which encourages regulators to recognize the “many” risks associated with default service in the pricing and the terms and conditions of such service,

WHEREAS, The determination whether any default service provider is subject to lesser, greater or equal risk than utilities experienced prior to unbundling and whether such risk should be regulated in the pricing and/or terms of default service is a decision to be made by regulators in each jurisdiction and should not be a subject of the UBP manual,

WHEREAS, On August 1, 2000 a second Interim Report was published for public comment containing five additional chapters: 1) Supplier Licensing, 2) Creditworthiness, 3) Disputes Between Utility and Supplier, 4) Market Participant Interaction, and 5) Customer Inquiries,

WHEREAS, On September 21, 2000, NASUCA and AARP submitted comments on the August 1 Interim Report, suggesting modifications that would strengthen the consumer protections in the report,

WHEREAS, NASUCA believes that the final UBP manual will be helpful for states that decide to restructure their fully integrated electric and/or natural gas utilities,

WHEREAS, The UBP manual is the result of negotiations between utilities, marketers, consumer groups and other parties and as such reflects the minimum level of consumer protections that should be considered by regulators in developing unbundled electric or natural gas markets,

WHEREAS, The UBP manual is necessarily based upon the experience with state unbundling programs to date and should not be used as an impediment to modification of practices and procedures as more innovative approaches are developed,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) encourages state regulators to consider the use of the Uniform Business Practices (UBP) Manual as an appropriate guide for the development of procedures necessary to unbundle retail electric and natural gas markets,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA encourages the adoption of greater consumer protections than those reflected in the manual where appropriate,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA opposes the consideration of the portions of the UBP Manual that are not appropriately concerned with the procedures necessary to implement the uniform business practices outlined in the Manual,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA authorizes the Executive Committee to develop positions and take further actions consistent with the contents of this resolution. The Executive Committee shall inform the membership of such positions and actions prior to proceeding with them, if at all possible. In any event, the Executive Committee will advise the membership of any actions taken consistent with the recommendations contained herein.


Approved by NASUCA: Submitted by: NASUCA Gas Committee


Place: San Diego, California

Date : November 14, 2000