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Promoting ethical behavior in U.S. energy markets

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This is a guest blog by Michael Harris, CEO of Unified Energy and President of The Energy Professionals Association (TEPA) of which Direct Energy is an associate member. Over the years, members of TEPA have formed a powerful alliance to promote consistent and ethical business in the Texas marketplace, and soon the Northeast U.S. marketplace.

TEPA has opened its first chapter outside of the state of Texas due to the ever-increasing use of brokers, consultants and aggregators across the United States for deregulated energy. Nearly all of the current TEPA members in Texas are active in markets outside the state and the need for targeted training, interaction and management of the consultant channels beyond current members was evident.

With more and more retail energy providers entering multiple markets, it is important to TEPA to be at the epicenter of helping to promote ethical behavior and be intelligent customer advocates given the ever-changing market landscape. Nearly 40 people attended the first informational session in New York and the current board is working on drafting new bylaws as well as integrating the structure of the national organization toward embracing the regional market specifics of the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The hope is to bring the same level of education, accountability and credibility on a national scale that has been demonstrated in Texas.

PJM-ISO is the largest ISO in North America in terms of demand, but TEPA professionals also need to be experts on ISO-New England and New York ISO in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Each of these ISOs have multiple utilities as well as the added component of being capacity markets. Thoroughly understanding the individual characteristics of each market is a founding principal of TEPA and will be the driving focus in our Northeast/MidAtlantic expansion. Additionally, these markets are providing the growth for most of the TEPA membership with regard to new business, so a clear understanding of market structure, including state licensing and bonding processes, is critical for our membership.

Many of the same components of TEPA including its Code of Ethics and Certified Energy Professional designation are being introduced in the Northeast. Additionally, a localized board is being voted on and will be introduced at the TEPA National Conference in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, November 14th. By expanding the national reach of TEPA, our hope is to create a wider spectrum of market specialists acting ethically and providing best-in-class services to all their customers. Partner companies such as Direct Energy are indispensable in helping us achieve this goal by adding to our national education, regulatory and compliance initiatives.

Learn more about TEPA.

Posted: September 24, 2013