Carolyn Brakey Honored as a 2021 Crain’s Cleveland Business General Counsel of Note
Carolyn Brakey, General Counsel to Brakey Energy and Principal of Brakey Law, has been selected as a 2021 recipient of Crain’s Cleveland Business Notable General Counsels award. This award recognizes individuals in the position of General Counsel who demonstrate the versatility needed to be a “jack of all legal trades.” As a Notable General Counsel honoree, Carolyn was featured in the April 16, 2021 edition of Crain’s Cleveland Business.
Peak Loads for Summer 2021
Brakey Energy provides email alerts in advance of potential Capacity and Transmission Coincident Peaks (CPs) to those clients that elect to receive them. As of August 19, 2021, Brakey Energy has issued 12 Capacity CP alerts, nine FirstEnergy-Ohio (FE) Transmission CP alerts, and five American Electric Power-Ohio (AEP) CP alerts for Summer 2021.
Capacity CPs occur during the five one-hour intervals when demand on the PJM Interconnection (PJM) grid is at its highest. Transmission CPs for FE customers occur during the five one-hour intervals when demand on FE’s zonal grid is at its highest. The Transmission CP for AEP customers occurs during the one-hour interval when demand on AEP’s zonal grid is at its highest.
The tables below list PJM’s and FE’s five highest loads and AEP’s single highest load this year, as well as the day and time of each occurrence. This is based on preliminary data.
Table 1: Five Highest Loads for PJM through August 18, 2021
Table 2: Five Highest Loads for FE through August 18, 2021
Table 3: Single Highest Load for AEP through August 18, 2021
Sustained heat over much of the eastern United States during the last week of June, first week of July, and second week in August resulted in the highest peak loads seen so far this summer. However, with the second half of August and all of September yet to come, it is possible that some of the loads shown in the tables above could be displaced.
Brakey Energy will continue to monitor weather and load forecasts and will issue alerts to participating clients when warranted.
If you are a Brakey Energy client that has not signed up for these alerts but would like to, please email Catherine Nickoson.
FE Winter SSO Rates Become Effective on September 1, 2021
Electric costs will be decreasing on September 1 for FE customers that take electric generation service under the utilities’ Standard Service Offer (SSO). The SSO is the default rate charged by the utility for generation services to customers that do not contract with an alternative supplier. The SSO generation rate is higher during the three summer months of June, July, and August than it is during the other nine months of the year.
The current and September 1, 2021 SSO rates per kilowatt hour (kWh) for customers served under Ohio Edison (OE), the Illuminating Company (CEI), and Toledo Edison (TE) Residential (RS), Secondary (GS), Primary (GP), Subtransmission (GSU), and Transmission (GT) rate schedules are shown in the tables below. These rates will change again on October 1.
Table 4: OE SSO Rates
Table 5: CEI SSO Rates
Table 6: TE SSO Rates
If you would like more information about how FE’s SSO rate update will impact your monthly electric costs, please contact Jennifer Lemley.
PUCO Orders FE to Refund All HB 6-Related Decoupling Revenue
RS and GS customers of FE’s Ohio operating companies will receive a one-time credit on their August or September electric bills. The credit is the result of a recent Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) order that directed FE to refund $27,447,717 in House Bill 6 (HB 6) related decoupling revenue that was collected from RS and GS customers during the period of January 1 through February 8, 2021. FE terminated its collection of its decoupling revenue on February 9, 2021 in response to the Ohio Attorney General’s investigation into HB 6.
Refunds will be made to customers via FE’s Conservation Support Rider (CSR). The tables below show the cents per kWh and dollars per kilowatt (kW) CSR rates for OE, CEI, and TE RS and GS customers. These rates will remain in effect for a single billing month, beginning August 1, 2021. Customers served under OE, CEI, and TE GP, GSU, and GT rate schedules were never subject to any HB 6-related decoupling charges and will not receive the CSR credit.
Table 7: August 1, 2021 CSR Rates for OE RS and GS Customers
Table 8: August 1, 2021 CSR Rates for CEI RS and GS Customers
Table 9: August 1, 2021 CSR Rates for TE RS and GS Customers
If you have any questions about the refund of FE’s HB 6-related decoupling revenue, please contact Jennifer Lemley.
Cost Increases on the Horizon for Columbia Gas Customers
Natural gas customers served by Columbia Gas of Ohio (“Columbia”) will see significant increases in gas distribution costs pending PUCO approval of Columbia’s recent “Application to Increase Rates” filing. In the application, Columbia cites its “substantial investment in pipelines, meters, and other jurisdictional assets” and its need to generate sufficient revenue as justifications for increasing rates. Columbia has not increased base rates since 2008.
As part of the application, Columbia is proposing to set rates for its Infrastructure Replacement Program (IRP) Rider and its Capital Expenditure Program (CEP) rider to $0 and to recover costs currently associated with these programs through increases in the fixed monthly customer charges. (IRP and CEP rates will increase in the future as Columbia continues to invest in these programs.) Columbia is also proposing to increase volumetric-based rates for all customer classes.
Table 10 below compares the current and proposed base distribution rates for Columbia’s General Service (GS) and General Transmission Service (GTS) customers. Table 11 compares the current and proposed rates for Large General Service (LGS) Large General Service Transmission Service (LGTS) customers.
Table 10: Current and Proposed Base Distribution Rates for Columbia’s GS and GTS Customers
Table 11: Current and Proposed Base Distribution Rates for Columbia’s LGS and LGTS Customers
Brakey Energy will continue to monitor Columbia’s rate case and will provide updates as warranted. If you are a Columbia customer that has questions about how the proposed rates would impact your monthly natural gas distribution costs, please contact Jennifer Lemley.
The highly competitive generation offers we have been able to highlight for residential customers continue to dry up. It was not too long ago we were identifying residential offers below 3.50¢/kWh.
Better Buy Energy is offering a 12-month deal for 5.09¢/kWh. While this represents an increase of 0.30¢/kWh from the very same offer we highlighted last month, it still offers a compelling value relative to current market conditions. And importantly, there is no monthly or early termination fees. So, in the event we highlight a more compelling offer prior to expiration, you can transition without penalty.
Actual rates and availability may vary based on service territory. Be sure to contract for a new offer upon term expiration to avoid extremely expensive post-term charges.
Brakey Energy has long and often found defaulting to distribution utilities’ Standard Choice Offer (SCO) a prudent strategy for natural gas supply. We encourage our readers to employ this strategy if they’re comfortable riding the volatility of the natural gas market.
Natural Gas Market Update
The NYMEX settlement price for August is $4.044 per million British Thermal Units (MMBtu), up 11.8% from July’s price of $3.617 per MMBtu. This settlement price is used to calculate August gas supply costs for customers that contract for a NYMEX-based index gas product.
The graph below shows the year-over-year monthly NYMEX settlement prices for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 to-date. Prices shown are in dollars per MMBTU of natural gas. Driven by continuing record natural gas exports and rising demand, August gas prices are substantially higher than prices for the previous three years.
Figure 1: NYMEX Monthly Natural Gas Settlement Prices
Electricity Market Update
The graph below shows the around-the-clock (ATC) 12-month price strip for electric generation and how it has changed over the past 36 months for three Ohio utility service territories: AEP, FE (the ATSI zone), and AES-Ohio (formerly Dayton Power & Light (the DAY zone)). Buoyed by higher gas prices and increased demand due to higher-than-normal temperatures across the region, prices are above (for AEP and DAY) or near (for ATSI) 3-year highs.
Figure 2: 12-Month Energy Price Strip
*ATC pricing as of August 18, 2021. Data provided by Direct Energy Business.
The graph below provided by Direct Energy Business shows the August 18, 2019 through August 18, 2021 ATC forward prices for calendar years 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026 for the AEP-Dayton (AD) hub. Forward calendar year strip prices for all years are at two-year highs. Calendar year 2022 is continuing to trade at a notable outsized premium to all other years.
Figure 3: AD Hub Calendar Year Strip Prices
*ATC pricing as of August 18, 2021.