Retail Unbundling - District of Columbia
|Status: All residential customers in the District of Columbia may choose their own natural gas supplier.|
|Overview: All residential natural gas
customers in the District of Columbia (D.C.) are eligible to participate in a
customer choice program through Washington Gas Light Company, the area's sole
natural gas local distribution company (LDC). In February 2001, the Public
Service Commission (PSC) gave approval for a full-scale choice program for
all D.C. residents. A pilot program had been underway since January 1999
with enrollment peaking at 17,622 in December 2000, then falling to less
than 11,000 in the summer of 2001. Participation increased sharply in
2002, with about 26,400 enrolled as of December 2002 (19.5 percent).
Participation has generally declined since then, with about 12,000 residential customers (9 percent) enrolled in December 2008 and 2009.
The PSC established a working group in February 2001 to recommend incentives for increased supplier participation, develop licensing and certification procedures for marketers, propose customer protection standards, and develop a consumer education program. The PSC adopted most of the working groupís recommendations in April 2003, and licensing requirements and consumer protection measures for marketers became law in November 2004. Five marketers were licensed to serve residential customers in 2009, although only three were accepting new customers.
All D.C. small commercial customers (using less than 40,000 therms annually) also have full access to customer choice. According to the PSC, there were 10 alternative suppliers serving about one-third of all commercial accounts as of December 2009.
|EIA State Data: In 2008, the District of Columbia had 142,819 residential and 10,024 commercial customers who consumed approximately 13 and 18 billion cubic feet of natural gas, respectively. The average prices residential and commercial customers paid for natural gas from the local distribution company were $16.49 and $13.89 per thousand cubic feet, respectively.|
|Eligibility and Participation in Retail Choice Programs:|
|Eligibility and Participation by Customer Class, January 1, 2010
|Legislative and Regulatory
Actions on Retail Unbundling
Summary: The D.C. Public Service Commission approved a 2-year customer choice pilot program through Washington Gas Light Company (Washington Gas Light tariff GT96-2) in April 1998 for 13,000 residential customers with enrollment starting in the fall of 1998. In May 1999, the PSC removed the cap on the number of customers who can enroll and allowed customers to sign up at any time. The PSC also approved expansion of the "large commercial" customer pilot program to include those who use more than 40,000 therms per year (the previous criterion was 60,000 therms), and approved a pilot aggregation program for small commercial customers (less than 40,000 therms per year) beginning November 1999. The pilot program for residential customers was made permanent in February 2001, and a working group was formed to address the issue of declining marketer participation. The group was also tasked with developing licensing procedures for marketers, a consumer education plan, and customer protection standards. Most of these recommendations were adopted by the PSC in April 2003. The Retail Natural Gas Supplier Licensing and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (D.C. Law 15-227), signed on November 1, 2004, established licensing requirements and consumer protection measures for marketers providing retail gas service in D.C.
|Regulatory and Legislative Actions|