Con Edison Media Relations
Contact: D. Joy Faber
Telephone: (212) 460-4111
For Immediate Release: February 3, 1998
CON EDISON ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF RETAIL CHOICE PROGRAM;
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES AVAILABLE FOR MANY WHO CHOOSE NEW ELECTRICITY SUPPLIERS
Con Edison (Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.) today outlined details of its retail choice program that will enable electric customers to purchase electricity from other suppliers, beginning June 1. Certain classes of small customers will receive financial incentives of $50 or $75 for participating in the program.
Initially, the program will enable up to 63,000 Con Edison customers to choose registered energy services companies (ESCOs), from which they can purchase their electricity. Five hundred megawatts of electric load, or enough electricity to power the entire borough of Staten Island during a period of peak demand, will be made available to customers in this phase of the program. Retail choice will be phased in for all customers no later than year-end 2001.
The initial phase of the retail choice program will run from June 1, 1998 through March 31, 1999. The utility will continue to deliver electricity to all customers through its transmission and distribution lines, whether they purchase it from ESCOs or do not choose an alternative supplier and continue to receive full service from Con Edison. No additional metering equipment is necessary to participate in the program and Con Edison will continue to respond to service interruption calls from all customers. Selecting an alternative supplier for electricity will have no effect on Con Edison's transmission and distribution system reliability, which is the best in the nation.
Retail choice registration will be conducted during April 1998. During the one-month period, ESCOs that have signed up customers can provide their enrollment lists to Con Edison. Only one ESCO may be selected to serve an individual account. Customers must authorize ESCOs to obtain account and energy usage information from Con Edison before the utility will release it.
Once a customer chooses and is accepted by an energy services company, the ESCO will notify Con Edison. If more customers apply for retail choice than the limits of the initial phase of the program can accommodate, an independent lottery will be conducted to choose participating customers. At the conclusion of the registration period, and lottery if necessary, the utility will notify customers of their acceptance into the retail choice program. Those not selected will be given preference for the next phase of the program, scheduled to begin in 1999.
BILLING INFORMATION AND FINANCIAL INCENTIVES
Under the plan, each customer who chooses a supplier other than Con Edison will receive two bills: one for delivery of the electricity from Con Edison; and the other bill for the commodity itself from the ESCO they selected. Beginning later this month, Con Edison bills will show a "retail choice shopping credit." This number, expressed in cents per kilowatt-hour, represents the amount customers' bills will be reduced if they purchase electricity from another supplier. The shopping credit can be used by customers to evaluate offers from ESCOs to determine if they can save money on the electricity supply portion of their bills.
The New York State Public Service Commission has authorized Con Edison to pay a one-time incentive of $50 to residential and religious customers (service classes 1 and 7) and $75 to small non-residential customers (service class 2) to encourage participation in retail choice. Customers selected for retail choice and who agree to remain in the program for at least ten months, until March 31, 1999, will receive the incentive in the form of a credit on their first retail choice bill from Con Edison.
A customer education program is currently underway to inform Con Edison customers about the retail choice program, as well as the opening of the electricity market to competition. Broadcast and print advertising informing customers about where they can obtain detailed information on the retail choice program will begin this weekend. Beginning in mid-February, all customers will receive an information brochure about the retail choice program, including a list of ESCOs eligible to serve them. Additionally, fact sheets and question and answer documents on electric competition are currently available through the Con Edison toll-free Competition Information Line at 1-800-780-2884. All natural gas customers already can choose their gas suppliers. Customers can request information on this option by calling the Competition Information Line as well.
For copies of printed materials, write to Con Edison, Corporate Communications, Box 900, New York, N.Y. 10003.
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. is one of the nation's largest utility companies, with more than $7 billion in annual revenues and $15 billion in assets. The company, a subsidiary of Con Edison, Inc., provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.