The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) agrees with the overall thrust of your editorial and supports customers having access to the information they need to make wise decisions about obtaining the best value for their energy dollars (Utility costs, Aug. 30).
New York electricity customers can obtain competitive pricing information from the New York Public Service Commissions Power to Choose website (www.newyorkpowertochoose.com), as well as from the websites, call centers and marketing materials of licensed energy services companies. Meanwhile, the member companies of RESA are working with interested parties before the Public Service Commission to address concerns about price transparency and steps that can be taken to make the bills customers receive from their utility company more accessible.
However, in helping customers compare offers from competing energy services companies, it is important to preserve competition. As RESAs pleading before the PSC clearly states, there are sound reasons for preserving the confidentiality of information involving competing service providers. That is why the law protects the confidentiality of sensitive business information. RESA does not consider energy services companies prices a trade secret, as your editorial asserted. Rather, RESA is saying that customers personal billing information should be treated confidentially.
Competition among energy suppliers drives innovation in service offerings designed to meet the individual needs of customers. Competition for customers leads to innovative service offerings that include value-added provisions beyond just price. Thats what creates value in a competitive retail energy market like New Yorks.
But removing valid protections for commercially sensitive business information could actually reduce the number of energy service companies competing for customers in New York. Such an outcome would ultimately harm electricity customers in the state.
New York City
The writer is New York state electricity chair, Retail Energy Supply Association.