Home Table of Contents

§ 7-510.3. Community Choice Aggregation Pilot Program; Montgomery County

West's Annotated Code of MarylandPublic UtilitiesEffective: June 1, 2021

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Public Utilities (Refs & Annos)
Division I. Public Services and Utilities [Titles 1-15] (Refs & Annos)
Title 7. Gas, Electric, and Water Companies (Refs & Annos)
Subtitle 5. Electric Industry Restructuring (Refs & Annos)
Part II. Electric Industry Restructuring Enabled (Refs & Annos)
Effective: June 1, 2021
MD Code, Public Utilities, § 7-510.3
§ 7-510.3. Community Choice Aggregation Pilot Program; Montgomery County
“Small commercial electric customer” defined
(a) In this section, “small commercial electric customer” means a commercial electric customer that has a peak electric load of not more than 25 kilowatts and includes master-metered multiple occupancy residences that have a peak electric load of not more than 25 kilowatts.
Application of section
(b) This section applies only in Montgomery County.
Established
(c)(1) There is a Community Choice Aggregation Pilot Program.
(2) Beginning December 31, 2023, a county may form a community choice aggregator under this section.
Aggregation plan
(d)(1) At least 60 days before initiating the process to form a community choice aggregator, a county shall:
(i) develop an aggregation plan;
(ii) give written notice of the aggregation plan to each residential and small commercial electric customer in the county;
(iii) publish a fair summary of the aggregation plan in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county;
(iv) if the county maintains a website, publish the full text of the aggregation plan on the website; and
(v) give, for the Commission's approval, written notice of its intention to initiate a process to form a community choice aggregator.
(2) The aggregation plan shall:
(i) detail the processes related to participating in the aggregation activities of a community choice aggregator;
(ii) contain information on the operations, funding, and organizational structure of the community choice aggregator;
(iii) provide details on:
1. the rate setting and costs to participants, including an analysis of historical and forecasted trends in electricity prices and a purchasing plan designed to save ratepayers money;
2. methods that the community choice aggregator must use for entering into and terminating agreements with other entities;
3. the rights and responsibilities of participating electric customers; and
4. the termination of the aggregation program, if any; and
(iv) provide for universal electricity access, reliability, and equitable treatment of all residential and small commercial electric customers in the county.
Formation of community choice aggregator
(e)(1) At least 60 days after developing an aggregation plan and giving the notice required under subsection (d) of this section, a county may initiate the process of forming a community choice aggregator by filing with the Commission:
(i) a notice of intent to form a community choice aggregator;
(ii) a copy of the aggregation plan developed in accordance with subsection (d) of this section;
(iii) a draft local law forming a community choice aggregator; and
(iv) proposed terms of service, rates, and categories of charges, fees, or any other costs to customers unrelated to the actual cost of the electricity supply.
(2) The notice of intent shall include the name of the county in the community choice aggregator.
(3) A county is a community choice aggregator after:
(i) submitting the notice of intent and aggregation plan required under this subsection;
(ii) the Commission has approved its aggregation plan and proposed terms filed in accordance with paragraph (1)(iv) of this subsection; and
(iii) enacting a local law that provides that the county shall act as a community choice aggregator.
Notice to customers
(f)(1) In accordance with a schedule established by the Commission under subsection (l) of this section, if a county enacts a local law to act as a community choice aggregator, the county shall provide or cause its selected electricity supplier, if any, to provide written notice of the formation of the community choice aggregator to all residential and small commercial electric customers in the county.
(2) The notice required under this subsection shall include:
(i) the identity and Commission-issued license numbers of any selected electricity supplier;
(ii) terms and conditions of service;
(iii) new rates, charges, and fees for service under the community choice aggregator;
(iv) a comparison of the new rates and the rates under the current standard offer service;
(v) information on how to access the standard offer service available from an electric company; and
(vi) the total renewable component of the electricity to be supplied through a community choice aggregator, including the specific sources of any renewable energy compared to the requirements under current law, if any.
(3) In the notice required under this subsection, the county shall provide to the residential and small commercial electric customers in the county the opportunity to refuse to participate in the aggregation activities of the community choice aggregator:
(i) by return submission of the notice to the community choice aggregator or the electric company indicating the customer's decision to refuse to participate in the aggregation activities of the community choice aggregator; or
(ii) by contracting for service with a retail electricity supplier or by choosing standard offer service from an electric company.
(4) A county that enacts a local law to act as a community choice aggregator under this section may not exclude from the ability to participate in the aggregation activities of the community choice aggregator:
(i) any residential or small commercial electric customer in the county; or
(ii) for the provision of electric service for facilities located within the jurisdiction of the community choice aggregator, any governmental entity.
Permission to act on customer’s behalf
(g) A residential or small commercial electric customer is deemed to have given permission to the county to act on the customer's behalf as a community choice aggregator:
(1) when the county receives from the customer:
(i) a reply from the notice required under subsection (f) of this section by which the customer explicitly grants permission for the customer to receive service with the community choice aggregator; or
(ii) an application to receive service with the community choice aggregator;
(2) in the case of a customer receiving standard offer service, within 30 days after the notice required by subsection (f) of this section is given if:
(i) the county has not received a returned notice by that date; or
(ii) after the creation of the community choice aggregator and receipt of the notice, the customer has not contracted with a retail electricity supplier or contacted an electric company to select standard offer services; or
(3) on applying for new electric service within the territory served by the community choice aggregator, unless the customer has:
(i) contracted with a retail electricity supplier for service; or
(ii) contacted an electric company to select standard offer service.
Automatic enrollment
(h) Except for a contract that automatically renews, at the end of a contract term with an electricity supplier a residential or small commercial electric customer in the jurisdiction of a community choice aggregator shall be automatically enrolled as a participant in the aggregation activities of the community choice aggregator unless the customer:
(1) gives written notice to the county declining to participate in the aggregation activities of the community choice aggregator; or
(2) contracts for service with a retail electricity supplier or contacts an electric company to select standard offer service.
Choice
(i) This section may not be construed to prevent a residential or small commercial electric customer in the county from choosing at any time:
(1) to enter into a contract with an electricity supplier other than the community choice aggregator; or
(2) the standard offer service offered by an electric company.
New fees, taxes, or charges
(j)(1) A community choice aggregator may not assess any new fee, tax, or other charge in the aggregation charges or rates that is not related to the cost of:
(i) providing electricity supply and electricity supply service, including service from a generating station owned by the community choice aggregator;
(ii) promoting the use of renewable energy; and
(iii) providing and promoting energy efficiency programs promoted under paragraphs (2) or (3) of this subsection.
(2) A community choice aggregator, in consultation with all investor-owned electric companies whose service territories include all or part of the county and the Department of Housing and Community Development, may promote energy efficiency programs that are:
(i) offered by the investor-owned electric companies; or
(ii) filed by the investor-owned electric companies with the Commission for its approval in accordance with § 7-211 of this title.
(3) In addition to the authority granted under paragraph (2) of this subsection, a community choice aggregator may provide and promote energy efficiency programs that are supplemental to any programs that are promoted under paragraph (2) of this subsection.
Electricity supplier; ownership of facilities
(k)(1) Except for the purposes of meeting the requirements of the renewable energy portfolio standard under Subtitle 7 of this title, a community choice aggregator may not be considered to be an electricity supplier under § 7-507(a) of this subtitle.
(2)(i) A community choice aggregator may own an electric generating facility or an electric storage facility in accordance with this article if the facility is designed to provide energy primarily for use by the participants of the community choice aggregator.
(ii) When a community choice aggregator builds or acquires an electric generating facility or electric storage facility, the community choice aggregator shall submit to the Commission a plan for the use or disposition of the facility if the community choice aggregator is dissolved.
(3)(i) A community choice aggregator may contract for service from an electric generating facility in accordance with this article if the amount of contracted electricity supply from the facility is not greater than the amount estimated to be necessary to meet the electrical demand of the participants of the community choice aggregator.
(ii) When a community choice aggregator contracts for service from an electric generating facility for a period exceeding 2 years, the community choice aggregator shall submit to the Commission a plan for the transfer of the contract to another electricity supplier if:
1. the community choice aggregator is dissolved; or
2. the pilot program ends without an extension or the creation of a permanent community choice aggregator.
(4) Any contract relating to the provision of electric service by a community choice aggregator, including any contract for the supply of electricity or the procurement or financing of electric generation services shall allow for or anticipate the potential adoption of an alternative resource adequacy mechanism that could apply in the State.
Mitigation of volumetric risk
(l)(1) Based on a determination of the mitigation of volumetric risk, the Commission may establish by order or regulation a schedule that may not exceed a period of 2 years, by which a community choice aggregator may transfer load from standard offer service to retail or wholesale contracts under an aggregation plan.
(2) The Commission shall consider the impacts to the price and stability of the procurement of standard offer service when considering a schedule under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
Preenrollment usage data
(m)(1) A county that is forming a community choice aggregator is deemed to have obtained electric customer authorization to retrieve preenrollment usage data for residential and small commercial electric customers in the county.
(2) In accordance with procedures established by the Commission, an electric company shall provide to a community choice aggregator any relevant data for customers in the jurisdiction of the community choice aggregator, including:
(i) preenrollment usage data; and
(ii) any other appropriate billing and electrical load data.
(3) An electric company shall provide to a county that is forming a community choice aggregator data under this subsection as follows:
(i) only aggregate data when the county initiates the process of forming a community choice aggregator; and
(ii) any customer-specific data after the aggregation plan is approved by the Commission.
Commission review
(n) The Commission shall review applicable fees, request formats, and the format of data provided to facilitate the intent of this section.
Procedures for assistance
(o) The Commission shall establish procedures for an electric customer that is receiving electricity supply through a community choice aggregator to receive any bill assistance credit or arrearage assistance to which the customer may be entitled under § 7-512.1 of this subtitle or any other federal or State bill and arrearage assistance administered by the Office of Home Energy Programs.
Allocation of delinquent accounts
(p) The Commission may allocate the portion of delinquent accounts receivable that is attributable to electricity supply between the electric customers participating in the aggregation activities of a community choice aggregator and the electric customers throughout the electric company's service territory if the Commission determines that:
(1) the amount of delinquent accounts receivable attributable to electric customers receiving standard offer service is projected to increase to an extent that will materially adversely impact the cost of providing standard offer service; and
(2) the projected increase in the amount of delinquent accounts receivable attributable to electric customers receiving standard offer service is directly or indirectly caused by the migration of a substantial number of electric customers from standard offer service to participation in the aggregation activities of a community choice aggregator.
Identification of supplier
(q) Bills sent to electric customers that participate in the aggregation activities of a community choice aggregator shall identify the community choice aggregator as the electricity supplier.
Community Choice Energy Workgroup
(r)(1) In this subsection, “Workgroup” means the Community Choice Energy Workgroup established in accordance with this subsection.
(2) On or before September 1, 2021, the Commission shall establish a Community Choice Energy Workgroup.
(3) The Workgroup shall consist of at least the following members:
(i) one representative of the Montgomery County government;
(ii) one representative of the Office of People's Counsel;
(iii) one representative of each investor-owned electric company whose service territory includes all or part of a county that participates in the pilot program;
(iv) one representative of any competitive electricity supplier;
(v) one representative of residential and small commercial electric customers;
(vi) one representative of low-income communities;
(vii) one representative of minority residential communities;
(viii) one representative with expertise in implementing community choice aggregation programs; and
(ix) any other individuals identified by the Commission.
(4) The Commission shall provide staff for the Workgroup.
(5) Nothing in this subsection may be construed to limit the authority of the Commission to take any action, including the adoption of regulations, without a recommendation from the Workgroup.
(6)(i) During any year that a community choice aggregator operates in the State, the Workgroup shall submit an annual report on the status of the community choice aggregator to the Commission.
(ii) The Workgroup shall include in the annual report information regarding:
1. rates, charges, and fees for service under each community choice aggregator;
2. renewable energy;
3. customer satisfaction;
4. enrollment; and
5. any other information or metric determined by the Workgroup or requested by the Commission.
Consumer rights
(s)(1) The Commission shall by regulation establish standards and procedures to protect the consumer rights of residential customers within the territory of a community choice aggregator that receive electricity supply through the community choice aggregator.
(2) The regulations shall prohibit discrimination against a customer on the basis of the location of the customer.
(3) The Commission shall seek the advice and recommendation of the Community Choice Energy Workgroup established under subsection (r) of this section when carrying out the provisions of this section and adopting regulations.
Dates
(t)(1) The pilot program shall:
(i) begin on the earlier of:
1. the date that a county gives notice to the Commission of its intention to initiate a process to form a community choice aggregator, in accordance with subsection (d)(1)(v) of this section; or
2. April 1, 2024; and
(ii) end 7 years after the beginning date, but not sooner than April 1, 2031.
(2) On or before April 1 of the sixth year after the beginning of the pilot program, the Commission shall, in accordance with § 2-1257 of the State Government Article, report to the General Assembly on the status and effectiveness of the pilot program.
Study
(u)(1) At the conclusion of the pilot program described in this section, the Commission shall study:
(i) the overall costs and benefits of the pilot program;
(ii) whether there were any incremental costs borne by standard offer service customers resulting from the migration of customers between the community choice aggregator and standard offer service; and
(iii) what mechanisms could be implemented to hold standard offer service customers harmless from any incremental costs borne by standard offer service customers identified under item (ii) of this paragraph.
(2) The Commission shall seek the advice and recommendation of the Community Choice Energy Workgroup in the study required under this subsection.
(3) On or before December 31, 2031, the Commission shall report the findings of the study to the Governor and the General Assembly, in accordance with § 2-1257 of the State Government Article.
Regulations
(v) On or before December 31, 2023, the Commission shall adopt regulations to implement this section, including regulations for:
(1) consumer protection;
(2) procedures to consider and review the analysis of historical and forecasted trends in electricity prices and a purchasing plan designed to save ratepayers money, submitted by county;
(3) a tariff structure for community choice aggregation noncommodity fees and charges;
(4) a protocol for data exchange between community choice aggregators, retail suppliers, and electric companies, including prohibitions on the community choice aggregator from sharing, disclosing, or otherwise making accessible to a third party a customer's personal information;
(5) procedures by which a community choice aggregator may transfer load from standard offer service to retail or wholesale contracts under an aggregation plan;
(6) the method by which the cost of delinquent accounts of a community choice aggregator may be recovered from customers;
(7) procedures for enrolling a customer for service with a community choice aggregator on expiration of the customer's retail supply contract;
(8) procedures to protect customer's privacy and confidential data collected or held by a community choice aggregator;
(9) procedures to mitigate any risk to standard offer service customers caused by the potential for customers to migrate from a community choice aggregator to standard offer service;
(10) procedures by which a community choice aggregator may be dissolved, including procedures for the transfer of customers to standard offer service and the resale of contracted electricity supply;
(11) the approval of a tariff structure for community choice aggregrator1 interactions with electric companies, including:
(i) billing and payment collection;
(ii) dispute resolution;
(iii) financial settlement;
(iv) losses;
(v) metering services;
(vi) PJM Interconnection requirements;
(vii) scheduling; and
(viii) utility charges;
(12) procedures to require that:
(i) a community choice aggregator that transfers all customers back to standard offer service is considered to be dissolved; and
(ii) if a community choice aggregator is considered to be dissolved, it may not be reformed except through the process of forming a new community choice aggregator in accordance with this section.
Montgomery County government responsibilities
(w) The Montgomery County government shall:
(1) be solely responsible for the costs associated with any stranded costs for:
(i) contracts entered into by the community choice aggregator for electric supply; or
(ii) generation owned by a community choice aggregator; and
(2) pay for any costs the Montgomery County government is responsible for under item (1) of this subsection.

Credits

Added by Acts 2021, c. 449, § 2, eff. June 1, 2021.

Footnotes

So in original.
MD Code, Public Utilities, § 7-510.3, MD PUBLIC UTIL § 7-510.3
Current through all legislation from the 2022 Regular Session of the General Assembly. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
End of Document