This past week several events focused on Delaware’s fastest growing financial services industry- captive insurance. On Monday, November 9th, Governor Jack Markell issued a proclamation honoring the growth of Delaware’s captive industry. Under Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart’s leadership, the number of Delaware active licensed captive companies has grown from 38 in 2009 to over 1,000 today. Delaware presently is the third largest captive domicile in the United States and also ranks as the sixth largest domicile in the world.
On November 11th and 12th, the Delaware Captive Insurance Association held their annual forum. The DCIA, a private industry group, is comprised of service providers (attorneys, accountants, and captive managers) for our captive industry. The forum held at the Chase Center, drew approximately one hundred fifty attendees.
As part of the forum, Commissioner Stewart recognized Delaware’s 1,000th active licensed captive – AWI, Inc. Its’ parent company- American Water is a publicly traded company (NYSE: AWK) founded in 1886. American Water is the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the United States, employing almost 7,000 professionals, serving the needs of 15 million customers in 47 states and Canada.
In her remarks, Commissioner Stewart noted that American Water- already incorporated in Delaware- chose to form its captive insurance company here due to the professionalism and accessibility of the Insurance Department’s Captive Bureau staff and Delaware’s reputation as a business – friendly jurisdiction. Deb Degillio, President of AWI, Inc. proudly accepted the honor of being Delaware’s 1,000th captive insurance company.
By James DeChene
The Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Delaware Public Advocate (DPA) have directed Delmarva Power & Light (DP&L) to modify the way in which they charge their gas transport fees, including what’s known as “balancing”, plus assessing user fees on infrastructure purchased from other companies. DP&L contends that the change is needed to more appropriately allocate the “balancing fee” to all customers the costs for storage and swing capacity and pressure support associated with the Eastern Shore contract (the 3rd party pipeline that DP&L uses to transport the resource to meet all its customer demand).
Simply put, the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Delaware Public Advocate (DPA) are urging DP&L to (1) increase the “balancing fee” for transport customers and (2) create a “pressure support fee”.
The “balancing” fee is both the overage and underage of usage a company is charged on their gas usage, and a company can lower this fee if they become better “guess-timators” or “predictors” on what their usage will be on a given day. This is also known as ‘nominations’ or when a company predicts their usage for the following day or week. Transport customers can be industrial users, e.g., chemical companies, but also restaurants, apartment complexes and schools. PSC staff and DPA are concerned that residential customers are presently subsidizing 150 transport customers in the amount of $2.3M/year. The goal is to redistribute this $2.3M.
Via this regulatory change, the balancing fee is projected to increase from $0.34 per mcf to $0.55 per mcf. Residential GCR customers create about 65% of the annual imbalance, but according to the report have been paying 90% of the balancing fee. Additionally, the user fee for transport on infrastructure will be a set rate of $.19 per mcf total used. The pressure support fee is associated with the support of the infrastructure for the Eastern Shore pipeline, which DP&L uses to transport gas. All users must contribute to this maintenance. The total bill spread across users is $4.3M/year.
DP&L indicated that transport customers can minimize the impact of the increase in balancing fees by more accurately predicting their nominations.
The State Chamber encourages all affected parties to attend a workshop on Tuesday, August 4th at PSC headquarters in Dover beginning at 9:30am.
In anticipation of next week’s workshop, companies can assess how this change will affect their bottom lines by utilizing the following formula:
1) Proposed $0.55 Balancing Rate X Company Balancing Volume (Can be found on utility bill)
2) $0.19 Fixed Pressure Support Fee X Total Natural Gas Usage
Compared to current costs, you will get the total financial impact. We recommend that each member apply this formula to their own companies and share with the State Chamber their total overall impact so that we can reiterate the average impact to the PSC and DPA next Tuesday.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.