Residential Retail Unbundling for Wyoming
|Status: Wyoming has one customer choice program for residential customers.|
|Overview: Wyoming's residential choice
program ("Choice Gas"), which was set up by KN Energy, Inc. (now doing business
as Kinder Morgan, Inc.) and approved by the Wyoming Public Service Commission
(PSC), is in its eleventh year of operation. The program originally allowed
residential and small commercial customers in 10 eastern Wyoming
communities (Torrington division) to choose their natural gas suppliers.
In 2002, the program was expanded to include customers in Kinder Morganís
Casper and Gillette rate service areas as well, thus extending choice to
all of Kinder Morganís natural gas customers in Wyoming. The PSC also
approved a regulated rate option for the choice gas program in the Casper
and Gillette divisions. Subsequently, Torrington customers complained
about not having the option of a regulated rate, particularly since it was
less than the prices being offered by the third-party suppliers at the
time. As a result, the PSC initiated an investigation into all aspects of
the Wyoming choice program and conducted a series of public meetings in
In March 2003, the PSC concluded that Kinder Morganís choice program was in the public interest and could continue, but with some modifications. The PSC ordered that the regulated rate, which was renamed the ďpass-on rate (regulated rate),Ē should be an option for all Kinder Morgan customers and be the default rate for customers who make no selection. It also decided that the $1 customer charge associated with the choice program could not be charged to customers who choose the pass-on rate because they receive no benefits from the charge. Supplier information is to be available to customers via toll free telephone and through the Internet, and all customers are to be informed about the availability of budget billing regardless of their service choice. Kinder Morgan was also directed to clarify the distinction between its regulated distribution company and its marketing affiliate that supplies gas under the choice program.
Four suppliers besides the utility are participating in the 2006-2007 choice program, which began on June 1, 2006, and runs through May 2007. About 51 percent of Kinder Morganís customers have chosen the utilityís pass-on rate, while 28 percent are enrolled with Kinder Morganís marketing division. The State Office of Consumer Advocate filed a formal complaint with the PSC in April 2005, accusing Kinder Morganís marketing affiliate of false and deceptive advertising during the 2005-2006 choice selection period. The PSC dismissed the suit on a technicality in June, but voted in December 2005 to require companies participating in choice programs to submit ads to the PSC within 2 days of running the ads.
EIA State Data: In 2005, Wyoming had 139,215 residential and 17,904 commercial customers. They consumed 12 and 9 billion cubic feet of natural gas, respectively. The average prices paid for natural gas purchased from local distribution companies by residential and commercial customers were $10.52 and $9.19 per thousand cubic feet, respectively.
|Eligibility and Participation in Retail Choice Programs:|
|Eligibility and Participation by Customer Class, December 2006
Regulatory and Legislative Actions on Retail Unbundling
Summary: The Wyoming Public Service Commission approved a choice program for customers in Kinder Morganís Torrington service area (10 communities in eastern Wyoming) in 1997. In 2002, the program was expanded to include all Kinder Morgan customers in the State. In March 2005, the PSC approved the companyís request (November 2004) to allow customers to rollover their existing service choices without another enrollment.
|Regulatory and Legislative Actions|