ACE participates in Choice Gas workshop

November 04, 2019

For the first time in the 21-year history of the Nebraska Choice Gas program, the Nebraska Public Service Commission opened a docket and held a workshop to review the program.

The workshop, held Sept. 25, included Commissioners, Commission staff, Black Hills Gas Distribution as Choice Gas Administrator, the Nebraska Public Advocate, and representatives from all six suppliers currently participating in the program.

ACE is a supplier in the Choice Gas Program and was represented by several staff members and Andrew Devine, Chair of the ACE Board of Directors.

Topics addressed included customer education, annual reports, and the code of conduct, but a bulk of the focus was on current marketing practices and an extended marketing period that is conducted using delegation agreements to get selection commitments from customers.

The Choice Gas Program is built upon a dedicated two-week selection period held each year in April during which time customers may choose their natural gas supplier. In recent years, the use of delegation agreements from January through March has skyrocketed.

“Many customers, especially residential customers, are confused about this early marketing period, and don’t understand all the options they have,” said Beth Ackland, Director of Gas Operations for ACE. “ACE has taken the position that the dedicated two-week selection period in April provides customers with the most competitive options.”

The Commission also explored the confusion that exists for customers to understand the distinction between Black Hills Gas Distribution as the local utility and Administrator of the Choice Gas Program, and Black Hills Energy Services, a program participating supplier.

Following the day-long workshop, Commission staff indicated there would be a continuation of the docket to address additional questions, including the future of the Choice Gas Program in Nebraska. Black Hills Gas Distribution is evaluating what – if any – changes will be made in time for the 2020-21 Choice Gas Year. 

ACE staff will continue to stay engaged and provide input in advocating for Choice Gas customers.