Substitute Senate Bill No. 1078

Public Act No. 01-46

AN ACT PROTECTING PURCHASERS OF HOME HEATING OIL.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (a) On or after October 1, 2001, no person, firm or corporation shall engage in the retail sale of home heating oil without a certificate of registration as a home heating oil dealer issued pursuant to this section.

(b) Each person, firm or corporation seeking registration as a home heating oil dealer shall apply annually for a certificate of registration with the Department of Consumer Protection on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection. Each applicant shall pay a registration fee of one hundred dollars. The commissioner shall require all applicants for registration as a home heating oil dealer to provide evidence of general liability insurance coverage and insurance to cover any potential environmental damage due to fuel oil spills caused by such applicant as a registered dealer which coverage shall be not less than one million dollars. Each registered dealer shall provide the department with evidence of each renewal of or change to such insurance coverage not later than five days after such renewal or change during the period of registration, which renewal or change shall meet the requirements of this subsection.

Sec. 2. (NEW) A contract for the retail sale of home heating oil that offers a guaranteed price plan, including fixed price contracts and any other similar terms, shall be in writing and the terms and conditions of such price plans shall be disclosed. Such disclosure shall be in plain language and shall immediately follow the language concerning the price or service that could be affected and shall be printed in no less than twelve-point boldface type of uniform font.

Sec. 3. (NEW) Any person, firm or corporation required to register as a home heating oil dealer pursuant to section 1 of this act that offers plumbing or heating work service shall submit evidence, deemed satisfactory by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, when registering, that such person, firm or corporation subcontracts with or employs only persons licensed or registered pursuant to chapter 393 of the general statutes to perform such work. Such person, firm or corporation shall attest, when applying for registration as a dealer pursuant to section 1 of this act, that all plumbing or heating work service shall be performed in accordance with the provisions of chapter 393 of the general statutes. Anyone registered under this section who offers such plumbing or heating services shall display the state license number of the subcontractor or employer performing such work for the registrant on all commercial vehicles used in their business and shall display such number in a conspicuous manner on all printed advertisements, bid proposals, contracts, invoices and stationery used in the business.

Sec. 4. (NEW) The Department of Consumer Protection may suspend or revoke any registration issued under section 1 of this act if the holder of such registration is grossly incompetent, engages in malpractice or unethical conduct or knowingly makes false, misleading or deceptive representations regarding such holder's work or violates any regulations adopted under section 5 of this act. Before any such registration is suspended or revoked, such holder shall be given notice and opportunity for hearing as provided in regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. (NEW) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection may, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this act.

Sec. 6. (NEW) A violation of the provisions of section 1, 2 or 3 of this act constitutes an unfair trade practice under subsection (a) of section 42-110b of the general statutes.

Sec. 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2001.

Approved May 31, 2001