Default Service
Does It Have a Future or Is It on Its Way Out?

Restructuring Today's November 29, 2011 multi-media webinar recording (audio and video slide presentation) is NOW available!

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  • Nick Fernandez, director of POLR, FirstEnergy Solutions

  • Craig Goodman, president and CEO, National Energy Marketers (NEM)

  • Dennis Urban, senior director of rates and regulatory affairs, PPL Electric Utilities

  • Stan Wise, Chairman and Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission

  • James Downing (moderator), editor, Restructuring Today

Default service has become a hot topic of late as regulators debate which is more secure for customers: having utilities provide service versus making the market 100% competitive.

Both the Texas power and Georgia natural gas markets have already completed the transition. And while the process was not without problems, both states are typically viewed as models of choice in their respective energy types.

Pennsylvania is also considering an end to “default service” in its power industry. So like Texas and Georgia, customers would not have the option of staying with the utility as their default provider.

While several states are grappling with the issue of choice, others argue that default service is a necessary option for customers. Is there a right or wrong answer in this debate or is this really just two sides of the same coin?

In states where default service has been eliminated, mass market shopping rates, not surprisingly, are quite high. But in states that have kept default service, shopping rates among small customers are much lower.

Even where default service has been eliminated, the legacy retailers born out of the old utilities are big players in the market, but many new competitors have shown up as well. And other competitive states have maintained utilities as the default supplier for power and gas, with varying degrees of shopping among small customers.

Is pushing customers into the market the best way to grow shopping or can it be done with utilities still playing a major role?

Is there really a future for default service? Is ending default service the best way to promote choice? If not, what are the alternatives?

Get answers to these questions and more when you purchase the CD of Restructuring Today's webinar “Default Service: Does It Have a Future or Is It on Its Way Out?” which originally aired on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Listen as our panel offers its expertise about the future of default service and whether states should consider its elimination to foster competition in hopes of driving down energy prices and boosting energy efficiency and conservation.

Find out what steps both states that eliminated default service took on their journey and what key factors were critical to their decision to eliminate default service. You will get lessons learned and come away with a better understanding of the potential for success (or failure) in making the transition from default service to choice in your state.

Whether you’re a utility executive, regulator, independent or green power provider or generator -- anyone who is looking to better understand pros and cons of default servicing -- purchase the CD of this webinar to get details about the opportunities that exist for growing retail markets in your state.

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Or for more information, call us toll-free at 1-888-637-7776.

Distinguished speakers

Nicholas Fernandez is director of POLR for FirstEnergy Solutions, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. He is responsible for overseeing strategy and participation in competitive bidding processes throughout PJM and MISO. The company participates in and/or serves load to approximately 20 utilities throughout Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. Fernandez joined FirstEnergy in 1999 as an analyst in the business services department of the Eastlake Power Plant and has held various energy-trader positions until he was promoted to manager of supply planning in 2006. He graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor's of business administration in accounting and received his master's of business administration from Case Western Reserve University.

Craig Goodman is president and CEO of the National Energy Marketers Association (NEM), a national nonprofit trade association representing retail suppliers of natural gas, electricity, telecom, financial-related products and services, and advanced technologies for homeowners, small businesses and industrial consumers in the US, Canada and the European Union. His experience includes fossil, non-fossil (nuclear, renewables) and electrical energy markets, as well as related advanced global technology markets. Goodman has been a leader in the energy industry through five industry deregulations, starting with oil and refined products in the late 1970s, the natural gas markets in the 1980s, and he is attempting to bring true price and technology competition to the smallest energy consumers. He has published widely and appeared as an expert on energy, technology and tax policy issues in broadcast, radio and print media. He is admitted to the bars of the states of Texas and Florida, as well as Washington, DC and the US Supreme Court. Goodman received his bachelor's degree in economics with honors from the University of Maryland and a juris doctorate degree with a concentration in international corporate law and economics from the University of Miami School of Law.

Dennis Urban is the senior director of rates and regulatory affairs for PPL Electric Utilities. He is responsible for competitive marketing strategy, customer choice and all related regulatory matters. He also upholds relationships with the Pennsylvania PUC and electric generation suppliers. Previously he served as manager of energy acquisition from 2008 to 2010. In this role, Urban oversaw all aspects of the company’s default service function, including acquisition of more than $2 billion in annual electric supply contracts and all of the interactions with more than 45 electric generation suppliers. Prior to joining PPL, Urban worked for more than 25 years with Duquesne Light, serving in electric utility operations and finance functions. His duties included corporate development, financial reporting and accounting risk manager. He earned a bachelor’s in accounting from Point Park University and a master’s in business administration from Robert Morris University. He is a certified public accountant and is a member of Financial Executives International, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants.

Stan Wise is chairman and commissioner at the Georgia State Public Utilities Commission. He has been on the commission since 1995 and served as commission chairman in 1997, 1999, 2006 and 2011. He was first elected to public office as a Cobb County commissioner in 1990 and previously served that county as a member of the Cobb County Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. Commissioner Wise was a board member of the ten-county Atlanta Regional Commission from 1992 to 1994. He was president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in 2003 and 2004 furthering his responsibilities and interaction with Congress, federal agencies, state officials, industry leaders, Wall Street, consumer groups and the news media. Commissioner Wise has testified multiple times before Congress on matters relating to energy, nuclear waste, telecommunications and pipeline safety. He is a past president of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (SEARUC) and serves on the International Relations Committee and Gas Committee of NARUC. He is also on the advisory council for the New Mexico State University Center for Public Utilities and served on the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Advisory Board. Commissioner Wise was awarded a Bachelor's in business management from Charleston Southern University in 1974.

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