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What went wrong with New York retail markets?

A webinar presented by Power Markets Today

Rockville, MD (April 29, 2016) – New York restructured back in the late 1990s, when that was in vogue, and it has been plugging along as one of the bigger retail markets since.

In 2014, it had the fifth highest number of shoppers among retail jurisdictions in the US and Canada, according to DEFG. That was also the year of the polar vortex, which roiled wholesale markets and caught retailers who were ill prepared by surprise causing them to pass the massive price spikes directly onto consumers.
That started a wave of retail reforms on the East Coast. Neighboring Connecticut ended up banning variable rates while Pennsylvania improved notification requirements and made switching easier. New York already had an open docket on retail reforms when the vortex hit, but nothing came of it until this February.
The New York PSC issued an order requiring that all retailers, or ESCOs (energy service companies) in its parlance, guarantee savings over the utility product for all residential and small commercial customers. New York’s utility rates are far more variable than other restructured states so retailers complained that the requirement would effectively kill the mass-market.
The PSC’s order found that the margins were so narrow in the mass market that retailers were trying to sign up as many customers as possible in whichever ways they could. That often led to unscrupulous sales tactics against vulnerable members of society such as the elderly, or slamming – when a retailer’s salesperson claims they work for the utility (or another retail firm) to sign up a customer.

The new rules were set to go into effect after 10 days, but retailer won a temporary restraining order from the New York Supreme Court. That is in effect until May, at which point the parties will be arguing the merits of the rule and whether retailers will continue to get a reprieve.

Get expert insight into what happened with New York retail markets and what it means for the future of competition by registering for or downloading the recording of Power Markets Today webinar titled "What went wrong with New York retail markets?" scheduled for Wednesday, May 4, 2016, from 2-3:30 PM US Eastern Time. Call +1-301-769-6812 (1-888-637-7776 toll-free in the US and Canada) or visit for details.


Richard Berkley is the executive director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York (PULP). Previously Berkley was chief of staff and counsel to Senator Kevin Parker of the New York State Senate and before that he was director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications. He was counsel to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and served as information technology attorney and assistant counsel for the State Office of Children and Family Services. He was also telecommunications and cable franchise counsel for the City of New York and worked at the State of Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission while in law school. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York and the State of New Jersey. He received his juris doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin, master of arts degree from New York University, and bachelor of arts degree from Fordham University-College at Lincoln Center.

Darin Cook is the co-founder and co-CEO of Infinite Energy, a multi-state energy supplier founded in Florida in 1994. This year, the company entered into a 20-year naming rights partnership with the popular entertainment destination Gwinnett Center, now known as Infinite Energy Center, in Duluth, Ga. Infinite Energy has more than 350 employees and does $500 million in annual revenue. As CEO, Cook maintains an active role within the company. He also mentors entrepreneurial graduate students at the University of Florida, and in 2004, the college named him Entrepreneur of the Year. Infinite Energy has been recognized numerous times as one of the best companies to work for in Florida.

Chris Kallaher is the senior director of government & regulatory affairs for Direct Energy. He focuses on the design and implementation of retail electric and natural gas markets in the Northeast United States.  Chris is responsible for representing Direct Energy’s interests in legislative and regulatory matters in New York, New Jersey and the New England states.  Kallaher directs the company’s participation in administrative proceedings before state public service commissions, manages Direct Energy’s relations with state elected officials and monitors relevant developments in the wholesale markets.  He also provides frequent input into the strategic and tactical business decisions the company faces as it navigates the disparate regulatory and legislative environments among the many states in which Direct Energy operates. Kallaher brings more than 25 years of experience in the legal and regulatory aspects of the North American electric power and natural gas industries to his current role.  Before coming to Direct Energy, he represented both regulated utilities and competitive suppliers in a number of administrative and legal proceedings in New York, New England, and Wisconsin as a lawyer in private practice.  In this role, he covered a range of issues from retail market design to the appropriate treatment of environmental externalities to the review of a spent nuclear fuel facility and steam generator replacement at Wisconsin’s Point Beach Nuclear Plant. Kallaher holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Stanford University and a juris doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Nat Treadway is a Distributed Energy Financial Group (DEFG) co-founder and managing partner. He is the author of the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS), a scorecard on electricity restructuring in North America. During 2012, he served as a member of Alberta's Retail Market Review Committee which conducted a comprehensive retail market review for the Minister of Energy. He also leads DEFG's Low Income Energy Issues Forum, a diverse group of stakeholders focused on energy affordability. Treadway previously served as a senior policy adviser to regulatory commissioners and testified as an expert witness on behalf of the public interest at the Public Utility Commission of Texas.  He is based in Houston.


  • Hear a breakdown of what went wrong in the retail markets in New York.
  • Get an update on the litigation surrounding the rules.
  • Find out what this means for the future of competition in New York.
  • Hear about the factors preventing the “mass market” from achieving the same success as C&I.

About Power Markets Today

Power Markets Today's mission is to deliver exclusive news chronicling ongoing efforts to build competitive wholesale and retail power markets with in-depth analysis on why some fail and others succeed. Power Markets Today is published 245 times a year by Modern Markets Intelligence Inc. (MMI), publisher of independent trade news for the evolving energy industry of the 21st century. It is located in Rockville, Md. Sam Spencer founded MMI in 2009 after writing, editing, marketing, publishing, running and inventing trade news publications and related products for three decades.Call +1-301-769-6812 (1-888-637-7776 toll-free in the US and Canada) or visit for details.


James Downing
Editor, Utility Markets Today
Modern Markets Intelligence Inc.

Season Crawford
VP of Marketing
Modern Markets Intelligence Inc.


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