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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities and Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
Chapter 312. Rules Governing Retail Access to Competitive Energy Services
1/25/2020

20VAC5-312-30. Codes of Conduct.

A. An affiliated competitive service provider may use the name or logo of its affiliated local distribution company in advertising and solicitation materials. A disclaimer shall be used when an affiliated competitive service provider offers services in the certificated service territory of its affiliated local distribution company. Such disclaimer shall clearly and conspicuously disclose that the affiliated competitive service provider is not the same company as the local distribution company. Disclaimers shall not be required, however, on company vehicles, clothing, or trinkets, writing instruments, or similar promotional materials. Upon complaint of any interested person, the Attorney General, staff motion, or on its own motion, the State Corporation Commission may, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, make a determination whether any such usage is misleading, and if so, take appropriate corrective actions.

B. An affiliated competitive service provider shall operate independently of its affiliated local distribution company and shall abide by the following provisions with respect to any competitive energy service it offers in the certificated service territory of the affiliated local distribution company:

1. Each affiliated competitive service provider shall implement internal controls to ensure that it and its employees, contractors and agents that are engaged in the (i) merchant, operations, transmission, or reliability functions of the electric generation or natural gas supply systems, or (ii) customer service, sales, marketing, metering, accounting or billing functions, do not receive information from an affiliated local distribution company or from entities that provide similar functions for or on behalf of its affiliated local distribution company or affiliated transmission provider as would give such affiliated competitive service provider an undue advantage over non-affiliated competitive service providers. For purposes of this subdivision, "undue advantage" means an advantage that is reasonably likely to adversely affect the development of effective competition within the Commonwealth.

2. An affiliated competitive service provider shall file with the State Corporation Commission a revised listing and description of all internal controls required in subdivision 1 of this subsection within 10 days of any modification to such controls as was originally provided under 20VAC5-312-40 A 8 as part of the requirements of the affiliated competitive service provider's application for license.

3. An affiliated competitive service provider shall document each occasion that an employee of its affiliated local distribution company, or of the transmission provider that serves its affiliated local distribution company, becomes one of its employees and each occasion that one of its employees becomes an employee of its affiliated local distribution company or the transmission provider that serves its affiliated local distribution company. Upon staff's request, such information shall be filed with the State Corporation Commission that identifies each such occasion. Such information shall include a listing of each employee transferred and a brief description of each associated position and responsibility.

C. Each affiliated competitive service provider shall maintain separate books of accounts and records.

D. The local distribution company shall not give undue preference to an affiliated competitive service provider over the interests of any other competitive service provider related to the provision of electric transmission, distribution, generation, or ancillary services, or natural gas supply or capacity. For purposes of this subsection, "undue preference" means a preference that is reasonably likely to adversely affect the development of effective competition within the Commonwealth.

E. The local distribution company shall provide information related to the transmission, distribution or provision of electricity, ancillary services, or natural gas supply or capacity to an affiliated competitive service provider only if it makes such information available simultaneously, through an electronic bulletin board or similar means of public dissemination, to all other competitive service providers licensed to conduct business in Virginia. This provision shall not apply to daily operational data, information provided in response to inquiries regarding the applicability of tariffs and terms and conditions of service, or similar data provided by the local distribution company to any competitive service provider in the ordinary course of conducting business. Nothing in this provision shall require the local distribution company to disseminate to all competitive service providers information requested and deemed competitively sensitive by a competitive service provider and supplied by the local distribution company.

F. Joint advertising and marketing shall be prohibited between the local distribution company and its affiliated competitive service provider unless made available to all competitive service providers upon the same price, terms, and conditions.

G. The local distribution company shall not condition the provision of any services on the purchase of any other service or product from its affiliated competitive service provider.

H. The local distribution company shall operate independently of any affiliated competitive service provider and shall observe the following requirements with respect to any competitive energy service offered by such affiliated competitive service provider in the local distribution company's certificated service territory:

1. Each local distribution company having an affiliated competitive service provider shall develop and implement internal controls to ensure that it and its employees, contractors, and agents that are engaged in the (i) merchant, operations, transmission, or reliability functions of the electric generation or natural gas supply systems, or (ii) customer service, sales, marketing, metering, accounting or billing functions, do not provide information to an affiliated competitive service provider or to entities that provide similar functions for or on behalf of such an affiliated competitive service provider as would give such affiliated competitive service provider an undue advantage, as defined in subdivision B 1 of this section, over non-affiliated competitive service providers.

2. An affiliated local distribution company shall file with the State Corporation Commission a listing and description of all internal controls required in subdivision 1 of this subsection not later than 30 days prior to implementation or within 10 days of any modification to such controls.

3. The local distribution company shall document each occasion that an employee of its affiliated competitive service provider becomes one of its employees and each occasion that one of its employees becomes an employee of its affiliated competitive service provider. Upon staff's request, such information shall be filed with the State Corporation Commission that identifies each such occasion. Such information shall include a listing of each employee transferred and a brief description of each associated position and responsibility.

I. With respect to affiliate transactions, the local distribution company shall abide by the following:

1. The local distribution company shall be compensated at the greater of fully distributed cost or market price for all nontariffed services, facilities, and products provided to an affiliated competitive service provider. An affiliated competitive service provider shall be compensated at the lower of fully distributed cost or market price for all nontariffed services, facilities, and products provided to the local distribution company. If market price data are unavailable, nontariffed services, facilities and products shall be compensated at fully distributed cost and the local distribution company shall document its efforts to determine market price data and its basis for concluding that such price data are unavailable. Notification of a determination of the unavailability of market price data shall be included with the report required in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

2. The local distribution company shall file annually, with the State Corporation Commission, a report that shall, at a minimum, include: the amount and description of each type of nontariffed service provided to or by an affiliated competitive service provider; accounts debited or credited; and the compensation basis used, i.e., market price or fully distributed cost. The local distribution company shall maintain the following documentation for each agreement and arrangement where such services are provided to or by an affiliated competitive service provider and make such documentation available to staff upon request: (i) component costs (i.e., direct or indirect labor, fringe benefits, travel or housing, materials, supplies, indirect miscellaneous expenses, equipment or facilities charges, and overhead); (ii) profit component; and (iii) comparable market values, with supporting documentation.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-235.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 17, Issue 22, eff. August 1, 2001.

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