CHAPTER 276

HB 1329 - FINAL VERSION

30march00.....3890h

5/11/00.....4446s

31may00.....4636-CofC

31may00.....4788-EBA

2000 SESSION

00-2571

03/10

HOUSE BILL 1329

AN ACT relative to the termination of residential electric or gas utility service, the public utility commission's rulemaking authority, energy performance contract requirements, and the establishment of a gas utility restructuring oversight committee.

SPONSORS: Rep. MacGillivray, Hills 21

COMMITTEE: Science, Technology and Energy

AMENDED ANALYSIS

This bill :

I. Allows an electric or gas public utility to provide certain notice prior to terminating residential service.

II. Authorizes the public utilities commission to adopt rules governing the requirement for suppliers of natural gas and aggregators of natural gas customers.

III. Establishes a gas utility restructuring oversight committee.

IV. Amends energy performance contract requirements.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

30march00.....3890h

5/11/00.....4446s

31may00.....4636-CofC

31may00.....4788-EBA

00-2571

03/10

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand

AN ACT relative to the termination of residential electric or gas utility service, the public utility commission's rulemaking authority, energy performance contract requirements, and the establishment of a gas utility restructuring oversight committee.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

276:1 New Section; Notification of Property Owner or Condominium Association. Amend RSA 363-B by inserting after section 2 the following new section:

363-B:3 Notification of Property Owner or Condominium Association. Notwithstanding any other provisions of state law, any electric or gas public utility may, prior to terminating residential service to a tenant or to a condominium owner, provide notice of the termination to the property owner, in the case of a tenant, or any associated condominium association when:

I. The termination of service is to occur between November 1 and April 30, inclusive of beginning and end dates; and

II. The property owner or the condominium association has requested that it, or its agents, be notified in such instances.

276:2 New Section; Rulemaking Authority. Amend RSA 365 by inserting after section 8 the following new section:

365:8-a Suppliers of Natural Gas and Aggregators of Natural Gas Customers; Rulemaking. The commission is authorized to adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, establishing requirements for suppliers of natural gas and the aggregators of natural gas customers, including registration of such suppliers and aggregators before soliciting or doing business in the state, registration fees, disclosure of information to customers, standards of conduct, submission to commission jurisdiction for mediation and resolution of disputes, imposition of penalties for failure to comply with commission requirements, and consumer protection and assistance requirements. This section shall not in any way affect the utility or non-utility status of any supplier of natural gas or aggregator of natural gas customers, nor shall it be construed to limit the commission's existing authority with regard to the regulation of gas utilities or the scope of the commission's authority in considering whether to expand the availability of competitive natural gas supplies through the distribution system of gas utilities.

276:3 New Subdivision; Gas Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee. Amend RSA 374 by inserting after section 59 the following new subdivision:

Gas Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee

374:60 Gas Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee Membership and Duties.

I. There is established a gas utility restructuring oversight committee to work with the commission to oversee issues related to competitive supply of natural gas to individual customers and potential restructuring of the gas utility industry in New Hampshire.

II. The members of the committee shall be as follows:

(a) At least 3 but not more than 5 members of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate.

(b) Five members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house. The speaker of the house may also appoint up to 5 additional house members as alternates, if deemed appropriate.

III. The first-named house member shall call the first meeting which shall be held within 60 days of the effective date of this section. The members shall elect a chairperson at the first meeting. Members of the committee shall receive mileage at the legislative rate when attending to the duties of the committee.

IV. The committee shall:

(a) Work with the commission to examine and oversee issues related to the competitive supply of natural gas to individual customers in New Hampshire, including the development of any new legislation necessary to provide for gas utility restructuring and retail choice of gas suppliers.

(b) Work with the commission and other agencies, where necessary, to implement gas utility restructuring.

V. The committee shall submit an annual report on or before November 1 of each year to the speaker of the house, the senate president, the house clerk, the senate clerk, the governor, and the state library.

276:4 New Section; Public Utilities; Shared Tenant Services; Regulation of Competitive Telecommunications Providers. Amend RSA 374 by inserting after section 22-n the following new section:

374:22-o Regulation of Competitive Telecommunications Providers Limited. Any person or business entity authorized by the commission to engage in business as a competitive local exchange carrier shall not be required to seek prior commission approval of financings or corporate organizational changes, including, without limitation, the issuance or transfer of its securities or the sale, lease or other transfer of its assets. Nothing in this section shall exempt any such competitive telecommunications service provider from the requirements of RSA 374:28-a, including such advance notice as the commission may prescribe.

276:5 New Paragraph; Department of Administrative Services; State Facility Energy Cost Reduction; Definition of Date of Project Implementation. Amend RSA 21-I:19-b by inserting after paragraph IV the following new paragraph:

V. "Date of project implementation" means the expected date established in the energy performance contract that the construction, improvement, repair, alteration, or betterment is to be completed and become operational. If the energy performance contract includes more than one energy cost saving measure, the "date of project implementation" may be alternatively defined by the contracting state agency or municipality to be the date that the last of the energy cost saving measures is expected to become operational.

276:6 Term of Energy Performance Contract. Amend RSA 21-I:19-d, II(d) to read as follows:

(d) The term of any energy performance contract entered into pursuant to this section shall not exceed 10 years from the date of project implementation.

276:7 Energy Performance Contract Requirements. Amend RSA 21-I:19-d, II(f) to read as follows:

(f) Any energy performance contract should require the contractor to include all energy efficiency improvement in selected buildings that are calculated to recover all costs within 10 years from the date of project implementation at existing energy prices. The contract shall require that the public utility or energy services provider be repaid [solely from energy cost savings and] only to the extent of energy cost savings guaranteed by the contractor to accrue over the term of the contract. Repayments to the public utility or energy services provider shall be interest-free.

276:8 State Treasurer; State Leases. Amend 6:35 to read as follows:

6:35 State Leases. The 10-year limitation does not apply to leases for state facility energy cost reduction projects pursuant to RSA 21-I:19-a through RSA 21-I:19-e, which shall be subject to the term limitation applicable to energy performance contracts, as defined therein. The treasurer, with the approval of the governor and council, may enter into leases of equipment at the request of any state agency or department for a term not exceeding 10 years. For purposes of this section "leases" shall include lease-purchase, sale and lease back, installment sale, or other similar agreements to acquire such equipment from time to time for various agencies or departments; provided that funding for such equipment leases was specifically approved by the legislature in a budget. Payment obligations under any lease entered into under this section shall be subject to annual appropriation and shall not be treated as debt obligations of the state. The treasurer may execute any related documents, including any document creating or confirming any security interest retained by the seller or lessor of the equipment.

276:9 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

(Approved: June 16, 2000)

(Effective Date: June 16, 2000)