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Marketer Certification Proposed for Iowa

Marketer Certification Proposed for Iowa

The Iowa Utilities Board has moved toward certifying natural gas marketers in the state after issuing a proposed rulemaking that sets different standards for small- and large- volume customers, specifically focusing on smaller customers who may not have the resources to evaluate a potential marketer.

Gas marketers have been serving large volume customers for several years in Iowa, and the amended rules would require those marketers that want to serve smaller customers to provide "significantly more information" than those only serving large-volume customers.

"Because small volume customers do not have the resources to research and evaluate a marketer's operational ability and business practices, or the bargaining position or sophistication to demand certain rights, the Board believes it is appropriate to include more protections for small volume customers," according to the proposal.

A large-volume user is defined in the proposal as one that consumes more than 25,000 therms in any month, or 100,000 therms in any consecutive 12-month period. A small-volume user is defined as one that uses less than those figures.

Any competitive gas provider (CNGP) offering service to an Iowa retail end-user would have to have a certificate in order to provide service, and pay a $125 filing fee. Under the rules, a CNGP is a person who "takes title to natural gas and sells it for consumption by a retail end-user in the state of Iowa." CNGP includes an affiliate of an Iowa public utility and an aggregator. It does not include a public utility subject to rate regulation under the Iowa Code, or a municipally-owned utility that provides gas service within its incorporated area or within the municipal gas competitive service area.

To ensure competitive service, marketers would be required to deliver at least 90% of the gas required for their end users within a 24-hour period or the public utility would be allowed to buy gas on the open market, billing the marketer three times the actual replacement cost.

A public hearing will be held to discuss comments on Aug. 23. Call the Board at (515) 281-5563 for more information, and refer to Docket RMU-00-7.

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