From fighting excessive cybersecurity regulations to opposing Government-mandated price controls in New York, to educating stakeholders in Nevada to providing recommendations to multiple Western states looking for more competitive energy and technology markets, the National Energy Marketers Association (NEM) will continue to be a driving force in the retail energy industry as it faces the multiple challenges expected in 2019-2020.
NEM defines itself as a “national, non-profit trade association representing wholesale and retail marketers of natural gas, electricity, as well as energy and financial related products, services, information and advanced technologies throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union.” NEM members are also finding and cultivating more competitive markets in Japan, the U.K. and EU countries. What that means in practice is that stakeholders in retail energy have a responsive and active ally in NEM when it comes to the issues that arise in the competitive energy market.
NEM filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop a Government attempt to shut down a multibillion dollar industry with 10 days notice. With the help of the entire industry, NEM’s litigation is currently before the highest Court in New York. NEM’s opposition to the new rules has permitted energy companies in the state to continue conducting business for the last 3 years, as they await a final decision on the pending litigation.
For Craig Goodman, NEM’s President and CEO, another more recent and important example of NEM’s impact is the organization’s stance against excessive requirements that burden small energy businesses with millions of dollars of cybersecurity insurance. At NEM’s upcoming Western Energy Policy Summit, members of NEM and invited guests have been invited to tour some of the most sophisticated cyber security technology available.
NEM members have also been involved in both Florida and Western states to open, or consider opening, their energy markets to choice. This trend, says Goodman, is particularly exciting for NEM because of who is driving the changes: the consumers who would be enjoying the benefits of choice.
In response to this consumer-driven demand for greater competition and choice, NEM has been providing education and recommendations to a variety of interested parties, including commissioners and commissions. These activities allow NEM to bring all of the lessons learned over the last 20 years of energy deregulation in other states, to help new states follow a successful path toward deregulation.
“Each time a new market opens, we learn about how to make that market successful for the consumer as well as for the utility.”
Of course, the process of deregulation does not always go smoothly. After 72% of the citizens of Nevada voted enthusiastically in 2016 for the Constitutional Right to choose whatever electricity provider they wanted, interested parties were treated to a stark demonstration of how unlimited financial resources and monopoly market power can thwart an overwhelming majority of consumers. Driven by more than $63 million of investment from monopoly supporters, the measure’s defeat, according to Goodman, provided a striking example of monopoly market power and its abuse.
“This is precisely why PUCs have had to spend a hundred years making sure that monopolies don’t do what they just did in Proposition 3,” he said. “They spent tens of millions of dollars to keep a hundred-year-old monopoly in what has become a very competitive, modern energy market.”
Instead, says Goodman, organizations like NEM are critical in ensuring that the benefits of energy choice, and the desire for stakeholders and consumers to be in a competitive market, are brought to the forefront of discussions about opening up states to energy choice.
“When the consumers start advocating on their own to open their markets and pass amendments to their own constitution before the utilities can spend tens of millions of dollars to oppose it,” Goodman says, “I personally believe that that’s real progress in terms of restructuring energy markets nationally.”
NEM’s customer-centric focus is part of what drives the organization’s progress. From developing groundbreaking new technologies to supporting the growth of retail energy and the opening up of previously closed states, the organization is intent on creating a competitive environment that is good for all stakeholders in the energy market.
NEM relies on its members to help support and drive these initiatives. From keeping track of the pulse of the industry to developing new technologies and helping to draft responses to measures affecting retail energy, members play a key role in the success of the organization.
Businesses interested in becoming a member of NEM can visit www.energymarketers.com.
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