Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 447

    February Session, 2012

 

*_____SB00447ET____032812____*

AN ACT MODERNIZING THE STATE'S TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAWS.

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

Section 1. Section 16-247f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) The authority shall regulate the provision of telecommunications services in the state in a manner designed to foster competition and protect the public interest.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 16-19, the following telecommunications services shall be deemed competitive services: (1) A telecommunications service offered on or before July 1, 1994, by a certified telecommunications provider and a wide area telephone service, "800" service, centrex service or digital centrex service offered by a telephone company, (2) a telecommunications service offered to business customers by a telephone company, (3) a home office service offered by a telephone company, and (4) a telecommunications service provided by a telephone company to a residential customer who subscribes to two or more telephone company services, including basic local exchange service, any vertical feature or interstate toll provided by a telephone company affiliate. Unless reclassified pursuant to this section, any other service offered by a telephone company on or before July 1, 1994, shall be deemed a noncompetitive service, provided such initial classification shall not be a factual finding that such service is noncompetitive. [Notwithstanding subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b, prior to January 1, 2010, a telephone company shall not obtain a waiver from the authority of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b for any service reclassified as competitive pursuant to subdivision (2), (3) or (4) of this subsection.]

(c) On petition [,] or on its own motion, [or in conjunction with a tariff investigation conducted pursuant to subsection (f) of this section,] after notice and hearing, and within ninety days of receipt of a petition or its motion or within the time period set forth in subsection (f) of this section, as applicable, the authority may reclassify a telecommunications service as competitive, emerging competitive or noncompetitive, in accordance with the degree of competition which exists for that service in the marketplace, provided (1) a competitive service shall not be reclassified as an emerging competitive service, and (2) the authority may extend the period (A) before the end of the ninety-day period and upon notifying all parties to the proceedings by thirty days, or (B) in accordance with the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, as applicable.

(d) In determining whether to reclassify a telecommunications service, the authority shall consider:

(1) The number, size and geographic distribution of certified telecommunications providers of the service, provided the authority shall not reclassify any service as competitive if such service is available only from a telephone company or an affiliate of a telephone company that is a certified telecommunications provider;

(2) The availability of functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic area at competitive rates, terms and conditions, including, but not limited to, services offered by certified telecommunications providers, providers of commercial mobile radio services, as defined in 47 CFR 20.3, voice over Internet protocol providers and other services provided by means of alternative technologies;

(3) The existence of barriers to entry into, or exit from, the relevant market;

(4) Other factors that may affect competition; and

(5) Other factors that may affect the public interest.

(e) On and after July 1, 2012, any certified telecommunications provider or telephone company may, upon written notice to the authority, elect to be exempt from any requirement to file or maintain with the authority any tariff for competitive or emerging competitive intrastate telecommunications services offered or provided to residential or business retail end-user customers and, instead, shall make the terms and conditions for those services available to customers in a customer service guide or in such other manner determined by such provider or company providing such services. Such provider or company shall annually file a copy of the customer service guide or other listing of terms and conditions with the authority. The tariff requirements for noncompetitive services, including for residential basic local exchange service in effect on the effective date of this section, shall remain in effect.

[(e) Each] (f) Unless a certified telecommunications provider or telephone company elects to be exempt from filing or maintaining tariffs for a competitive or emerging competitive intrastate service pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, each certified telecommunications provider and each telephone company shall file with the authority a new or amended tariff for each competitive or emerging competitive intrastate telecommunications service authorized pursuant to section 16-247c. A tariff for a competitive service shall be effective on five days' written notice to the authority. A tariff for an emerging competitive service shall be effective on twenty-one days' written notice to the authority. A tariff filing for a competitive or emerging competitive service shall include (1) rates and charges which may consist of a maximum rate and a minimum rate, (2) applicable terms and conditions, (3) a statement of how the tariff will benefit the public interest, and (4) any additional information required by the authority. A telephone company filing a tariff pursuant to this section shall include in said tariff filing the information set forth in subdivisions (1) to (4), inclusive, of this subsection, a complete explanation of how the company is complying with the provisions of section 16-247b, as amended by this act, and, in a tariff filing which declares a new service to be competitive or emerging competitive, a statement addressing the considerations set forth in subsection (d) of this section. If the authority approves a tariff which consists of a minimum rate and a maximum rate, the certified telecommunications provider or telephone company may amend its rates upon five days' written notice to the authority and any notice to customers which the authority may require, provided the amended rates are not greater than the approved maximum rate and not less than the approved minimum rate. A promotional offering for a previously approved competitive or emerging competitive tariffed service or a service deemed competitive pursuant to this section shall be effective on three business days' written notice to the authority.

[(f)] (g) On petition or its own motion, the authority may investigate a tariff or any portion of a tariff, which investigation may include a hearing. The authority may suspend a tariff or any portion of a tariff during such investigation. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, an inquiry to determine whether the tariff is predatory, deceptive [,] or anticompetitive. [or violates the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b.] Not later than seventy-five days after the effective date of the tariff, unless the party filing the tariff, all statutory parties to the proceeding and the authority agree to a specific extension of time, the authority shall issue its decision, including whether to approve, modify or deny the tariff. If the authority determines that a tariff filed as a new service is, in fact, a reclassification of an existing service, the authority shall review the tariff filing as a petition for reclassification in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.

[(g) The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the authority from ordering different tariff filing procedures or effective dates for an emerging competitive service, pursuant to a plan for an alternative form of regulation of a telephone company approved by the authority in accordance with the provisions of section 16-247k.]

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) The date and time of filing of each document with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall be the date and time by which the authority first receives a complete electronic or paper version of the document, provided such electronic version or paper version is filed in accordance with section 16-1-14 of the regulations of Connecticut state agencies. If payment of a fee is required, a document shall not be deemed filed until the fee is received by the authority. If a document is electronically submitted when the offices of the authority are not open, such electronic document shall be deemed filed at the time the offices next open. Paper versions of an electronic filing shall not be required to be filed except (1) three paper copies of each document shall be filed with the authority for any electronic filing which is made and such paper copies may be sent to the authority via regular United States Postal Service, (2) any party or intervenor in a specific docket may specifically request of the authority to receive a paper copy from any other party or intervenor of any filings related to that docket if they do not have computer access, and (3) the Office of Consumer Counsel may request up to three paper copies and such paper copies may be sent to the Office of Consumer Counsel by United States mail.

Sec. 3. Section 16-32 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

Each public service company, except telegraph companies and express companies subject to the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission or its successor agency and telephone companies, community antenna television companies, certified competitive video service providers, and holders of a certificate of cable franchise authority, owned, directly or indirectly, by a parent company, the accounts and operations of which are required to be audited annually in accordance with federal law, shall have an annual comprehensive audit and report made of its accounts and operations by independent public accountants satisfactory to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. A copy of such annual audit report shall be filed with the authority, together with the company's annual report. In the absence of such an audit report, or if the authority, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, determines that such audit report is insufficient or unsatisfactory, the authority shall cause such an audit to be made at the expense of the company either by independent public accountants satisfactory to the authority or by any staff of the authority engaged in the activities contemplated by subsection (b) of section 16-8. The authority may require additional information regarding the accounts and operations of a telephone company, community antenna television company, certified competitive video service provider or holder of a certificate of cable franchise authority otherwise exempt from the audit required pursuant to this section, which the authority has determined is necessary to carry out the authority's obligations. The authority may waive the compliance with the provisions of this section by any public service company whose annual gross income is less than one hundred thousand dollars. Nothing in this section shall modify or limit the power of the authority to conduct a management audit or otherwise exercise its authority under section 16-8.

Sec. 4. Section 16-247b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) On petition or its own motion, the authority shall initiate a proceeding to unbundle a telephone company's network, services and functions that are used to provide telecommunications services and which the authority determines, after notice and hearing, are in the public interest, are consistent with federal law and are technically feasible of being tariffed and offered separately or in combinations. Any telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof shall be offered under tariff at rates, terms and conditions that do not unreasonably discriminate among actual and potential users and actual and potential providers of such local network services.

(b) Each telephone company shall provide reasonable nondiscriminatory access and pricing to all telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof necessary to provide telecommunications services to customers. The authority shall determine the rates that a telephone company charges for telecommunications services, functions and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof, that are necessary for the provision of telecommunications services. The rates for interconnection and unbundled network elements and any combination thereof shall be based on their respective forward looking long-run incremental costs, and shall be consistent with the provisions of 47 USC 252(d).

[(c) (1) The rate that a telephone company charges for a competitive or emerging competitive telecommunications service shall not be less than the sum of (A) the rate charged to another telecommunications company for a noncompetitive or emerging competitive local network service function used by that company to provide a competing telecommunications service, and (B) the applicable incremental costs of the telephone company.

(2) On and after the date the authority certifies a telephone company's operations support systems interface pursuant to section 16-247n, the authority shall, upon petition, conduct a contested case proceeding to consider whether modification or removal of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection for a telecommunications service deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f is appropriate. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if the authority determines that such a modification or removal is appropriate and is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a, the authority shall so modify or remove said pricing standard for such telecommunications service.

(3) Prior to the date that the authority certifies a telephone company's operations support systems interface pursuant to section 16-247n, the authority may, upon petition, conduct a contested case proceeding to consider whether modification or removal of the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection for a telecommunications service deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f is appropriate. Any petition filed pursuant to this subdivision shall specify the geographic area in which the applicant proposes to modify or remove such pricing standard. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if the authority determines that such modification or removal is appropriate, is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a and facilities-based competition exists in the relevant geographic area, the authority shall so modify or remove said pricing standard for such telecommunications service. In determining whether facilities-based competition exists in the relevant geographic area, the authority shall consider:

(A) The number, size and geographic distribution of other providers of service;

(B) The availability of functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic area at competitive rates, terms and conditions;

(C) The financial viability of each company providing functionally equivalent services in the relevant geographic market;

(D) The existence of barriers to entry into, or exit from, the relevant geographic market;

(E) Other indicators of market power that the authority deems relevant, which may include, but not be limited to, market penetration and the extent to which the applicant can sustain the price for the service above the cost to the company of providing the service in the relevant geographic area;

(F) The extent to which other telecommunications companies must rely upon the noncompetitive services of the applicant to provide their telecommunications services and carrier access rates charged by the applicant;

(G) Other factors that may affect competition; and

(H) Other factors that may affect the public interest.]

[(d)] (c) A telephone company shall not use the revenues, expenses, costs, assets, liabilities or other resources derived from or associated with providing a noncompetitive service to subsidize the provision of competitive, emerging competitive or unregulated telecommunications services by such telephone company or any affiliate that is a certified telecommunications provider.

Sec. 5. Section 16-247m of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

[(a)] On and after July 1, [2001] 2012, a telephone company may [apply to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to] withdraw from the retail provision of a telecommunications service, upon thirty days' notice to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, provided such telecommunications service has been deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f, as amended by this act, prior to the date such [application] notice is submitted. Any such [application] notice shall specify (1) the service that the telephone company no longer wishes to provide, and (2) the geographic area or areas in which the telephone company proposes to no longer provide the service. [, and (3) the number of customers of the telephone company that will be affected by the proposed withdrawal and a discussion of ways to mitigate such impact.]

[(b) In considering any application by a telephone company pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the authority shall consider (1) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the goals set forth in section 16-247a, (2) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the financial, managerial and technical ability of the telephone company to provide other retail and wholesale telecommunications services and the quality of such services, (3) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the rates paid by retail customers for the service that the telephone company no longer wishes to provide at retail, (4) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the retail availability of such service, and (5) the impact the proposed withdrawal will have on the ability of certified telecommunications providers to provide a functionally equivalent service at retail. The authority shall not approve any such application for withdrawal unless it finds that such withdrawal (A) is consistent with the goals set forth in section 16-247a, and (B) is not contrary to the public interest. The authority shall not approve any such application or authorize the withdrawal of a telephone company from the provision of a telecommunications service at retail unless the service that the telephone company no longer wishes to provide has been deemed competitive pursuant to section 16-247f. The authority, in approving any such application, shall develop a method to allow customers receiving such service from the telephone company to choose a new provider of such service, provided the authority shall not order the allocation or assignment of any customer.

(c) Any proceeding conducted pursuant to this section shall be considered a contested case, as defined in section 4-166.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not (1) preclude the withdrawal of a competitive or an emerging competitive tariff pursuant to section 16-247f, (2) preclude a telephone company from withdrawing a noncompetitive service in the normal course of business, or (3) apply to any certified telecommunications provider or any telephone company serving fewer than seventy-five thousand customers.]

Sec. 6. Section 16-256k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

Each telephone company, as defined in section 16-1, and each certified telecommunications provider, as defined in said section 16-1, shall clearly and conspicuously disclose, in writing, to customers, upon subscription and annually thereafter, (1) whether the removal or change in any telecommunications service will result in the loss of a discount or other change in the rate charged for any telecommunications service subscribed to or used by the customer; and (2) for any promotional offering filed on and after October 1, 2002, with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority pursuant to subsection [(e)] (f) of section 16-247f, as amended by this act, that the offering is a promotion and will be in effect for a limited period of time.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) (a) For the purposes of chapter 283 of the general statutes, "interconnected voice over Internet protocol service" or "interconnected VoIP service" means any service that: (1) Enables real-time, two-way voice communications that originate or terminate from the user's location using Internet protocol or a successor protocol; (2) uses a broadband connection from the user's location; and (3) permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public-switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public-switched telephone network.

(b) Except as set forth in subsections (c) to (e), inclusive, of this section, and notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes or any special act, no department, authority, agency, commission or political subdivision of the state shall enact, adopt or enforce, either directly or indirectly, any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, standard, order or other provision having the force or effect of law that regulates or has the effect of regulating, the entry, rates, terms or conditions of interconnected VoIP service.

(c) Subsection (b) of this section shall not be construed to affect the authority of the Attorney General to apply and enforce the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, sections 42-110a to 42-110q, inclusive, of the general statutes, or other consumer protection laws of general applicability.

(d) Subsection (b) of this section shall not be construed to affect, mandate or prohibit the assessment of enhanced 9-1-1 fees, telecommunications relay service fees or lifeline service fees, and nothing in subsection (b) of this section shall affect the authority of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority pursuant to subsection (a) of section 16-247e of the general statutes.

(e) Subsection (b) of this section shall not be construed to (1) modify or affect the rights, obligations or authority of any entity, including, but not limited to, the authority, to act pursuant to, or enforce the provisions of 47 USC 251, 47 USC 252, any applicable tariff, or any state law, rule, regulation or order related to wholesale rights, duties and obligations, including the rights, duties, and obligations of local exchange carriers to interconnect and exchange voice traffic; (2) modify or affect the power of the authority to implement, carry out, and enforce such provisions, rights, duties, obligations or tariff through arbitration proceedings or other available mechanisms and procedures; or (3) affect the payment of switched network access rates or other intercarrier compensation rates, as applicable.

Sec. 8. Section 16-262d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) No electric, electric distribution, gas, telephone or water company, no electric supplier and no municipal utility furnishing electric, gas or water service may terminate such service to a residential dwelling on account of nonpayment of a delinquent account unless such company, electric supplier or municipal utility first gives notice of such delinquency and impending termination by first class mail addressed to the customer to which such service is billed or by electronic mail to the electronic mail address of such customer, provided such customer authorizes such company, electric supplier or municipal utility to send termination notices to such electronic mail address and such company, electric supplier or municipal utility allows such customer to withdraw such authorization at any time, at least thirteen calendar days prior to the proposed termination, except that if an electric, electric distribution or gas company, electric supplier or municipal utility furnishing electric or gas service has issued a notice under this subsection but has not terminated service prior to issuing a new bill to the customer, such company, electric supplier or municipal utility may terminate such service only after [mailing] sending the customer an additional notice of the impending termination, addressed to the customer to which such service is billed either (1) by first class mail or electronic mail at least thirteen calendar days prior to the proposed termination, or (2) by certified mail, at least seven calendar days prior to the proposed termination. In the event that multiple dates of proposed termination are provided to a customer, no such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall terminate service prior to the latest of such dates. For purposes of this subsection, the thirteen-day periods and seven-day period shall commence on the date such notice is [mailed] sent. If such company, electric supplier or municipal utility does not terminate service within one hundred twenty days after [mailing] sending the initial notice of termination, such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall give the customer a new notice at least thirteen days prior to termination. Every termination notice issued by a public service company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall contain or be accompanied by an explanation of the rights of the customer provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(b) No such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall effect termination of service for nonpayment during such time as any resident of a dwelling to which such service is furnished is seriously ill, if the fact of such serious illness is certified to such company, electric supplier or municipal utility by a registered physician within such period of time after the [mailing] sending of a termination notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may by regulation establish, provided the customer agrees to amortize the unpaid balance of his account over a reasonable period of time and keeps current his account for utility service as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.

(c) No such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall effect termination of service to a residential dwelling for nonpayment during the pendency of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal, initiated by a customer within such period of time after the [mailing] sending of a termination notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may by regulation establish; provided, any telephone company during the pendency of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal may terminate telephone service if the amount of charges accruing and outstanding subsequent to the initiation of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal exceeds on a monthly basis the average monthly bill for the previous three months or if the customer fails to keep current his telephone account for all undisputed charges or fails to comply with any amortization agreement as hereafter provided.

(d) Any customer who has initiated a complaint or investigation under subsection (c) of this section shall be given an opportunity for review of such complaint or investigation by a review officer of the company, electric supplier or municipal utility other than a member of such company's, electric supplier's or municipal utility's credit authority, provided the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may waive this requirement for any company, electric supplier or municipal utility employing fewer than twenty-five full-time employees, which review shall include consideration of whether the customer should be permitted to amortize the unpaid balance of his account over a reasonable period of time. No termination shall be effected for any customer complying with any such amortization agreement, provided such customer also keeps current his account for utility service as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.

(e) Any customer whose complaint or request for an investigation has resulted in a determination by a company, electric supplier or municipal utility which is adverse to him may appeal such determination to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or a hearing officer appointed by the authority.

(f) If, following the receipt of a termination notice or the entering into of an amortization agreement, the customer makes a payment or payments amounting to twenty per cent of the balance due, the public service company or electric supplier shall not terminate service without giving notice to the customer, in accordance with the provisions of this section, of the conditions the customer must meet to avoid termination, but such subsequent notice shall not entitle such customer to further investigation, review or appeal by the company, electric supplier, municipal utility or authority.

(g) No electric distribution, gas, telephone or water company, certified telecommunications provider, gas registrant or municipal utility furnishing electric, gas or water service shall submit to a credit rating agency, as defined in section 36a-695, any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for electric, gas, telephone, telecommunications or water service unless the customer is more than sixty days delinquent in paying for such service. In no event shall such a company, certified telecommunications provider, gas registrant or municipal utility submit to a credit rating agency any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for such service if the customer has initiated a complaint, investigation hearing or appeal with regard to such service under subsection (c) of this section that is pending before the authority. If such a company, certified telecommunications provider, gas registrant or municipal utility intends to submit to a credit rating agency information about a customer's nonpayment for service, it shall, at least thirty days before submitting such information, send the customer by first class mail notification that includes the statement, "AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, FOR RESIDENTIAL ACCOUNTS, WE SUPPLY PAYMENT INFORMATION TO CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. IF YOUR ACCOUNT IS MORE THAN SIXTY DAYS DELINQUENT, THE DELINQUENCY REPORT COULD HARM YOUR CREDIT RATING.".

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall conduct a performance review of every person, entity or company holding a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide community antenna television service, a certificate of cable franchise authority or a certificate of video franchise authority, as such terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of each such certificate as applicable. The performance review may include, but not be limited to, issues concerning customer service, community access providers, management of outages, service to handicapped and low-income customers and cooperation with the authority. Each performance review shall be limited to a review of conditions or requirements specifically set forth in statute. After the initial review required pursuant to this section, the authority shall conduct subsequent reviews every five years. Each performance review pursuant to this section shall be conducted as an uncontested case and include an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes. The Attorney General and the Office of Consumer Counsel shall be parties to any such contested case. The authority shall designate the applicable advisory council as an intervenor in any such contested case.

Sec. 10. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) Any company or nonprofit organization, including any municipality, responsible for community access operations that receives funds pursuant to subsection (k) of section 16-331a of the general statutes, may use such funds for the creation and development, including, but not limited to, labor and staff expenses, of town-specific community access programming.

Sec. 11. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Any community antenna television company or nonprofit organization providing community access operations that supplied original programming from locally run operations and provided funding to town-specific programming on January 1, 2008, shall continue to fund town-specific programming in such proportions to funding for original programming from locally run operations as of January 1, 2008.

Sec. 12. Section 20-340b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Telecommunications electrical work" means work permitted to be performed by holders of a limited electrical contractor's license (T-1) as provided by regulation adopted under this chapter.

(2) "Public service technician" means an employee of a public service company or certified telecommunications provider, as defined in section 16-1, or any affiliate of any such company or provider, who is engaged in telecommunications electrical work and who is not otherwise exempt from licensing pursuant to section 20-340.

(3) "Out-of-state public service technician" means any person whose principal place of operations is outside the state who is hired by a public service company or certified telecommunications provider, as defined in section 16-1, or any affiliate of any such company or provider, and who is engaged in telecommunications electric work.

(4) "Declared disaster emergency" means a disaster or emergency event for which the Governor has proclaimed that a state of civil preparedness emergency exists, pursuant to section 28-9, or for which a presidential declaration of a federal major disaster or emergency has been issued.

(5) "Disaster or emergency period" means a period that begins not later than ten days after a declared disaster emergency and ends not later than sixty days after a declared disaster emergency.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, a public service technician may be issued a certificate of registration by the Department of Consumer Protection, upon authorization of the Electrical Work Board, in lieu of any license which otherwise might be required under this chapter, which shall entitle the holder of such certificate to perform telecommunications electrical work only as provided in this section, provided the public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate which employs the public service technician certifies to the Electrical Work Board that the employee has obtained such training and experience deemed necessary by the public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate to perform telecommunications electrical work included in such employee's job functions.

(c) The content and duration of the training and experience programs provided by the public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate must be relevant to the duties of the employee and must be approved biennially by the Labor Department. In reviewing the programs and training provided by a public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate, the Labor Department shall consider the specialization of the employees of the company or provider, the employee's previous company or provider training, the service record of the company or provider, the experience of the company or provider in training employees to perform telecommunications electrical work, and the quality assurance measures used by the company or provider.

(d) An employee enrolled in the training programs of the public service company or certified telecommunications provider shall be issued a trainee's certificate by such company or provider, valid for the duration of the training program, and may perform telecommunications electrical work only under the supervision of an employee of the public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate who is a registered public service technician or holds a journeyman's license.

(e) A public service company or certified telecommunications provider employing a public service technician shall inform the Electrical Work Board upon the change in job description or termination of any registered public service technician previously certified to the board pursuant to subsection (b) of this section and upon the issuance or termination of a trainee's certificate provided to an employee pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(f) A registered public service technician or employee of a public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate issued a trainee's certificate by such company or provider may only perform such work on behalf of such public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate and only while in the direct employment of such public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate. Such registration or trainee's certificate will be immediately relinquished upon termination of employment from such public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate.

(g) A registered public service technician may not supervise any duly registered apprentice performing work under a permit issued pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of section 20-334a.

(h) The public service technician's registration shall expire annually. The fee for registration as a public service technician shall be the same fee as that charged for a journeyman's license under section 20-335.

(i) Registered public service technicians shall be subject to the same disciplinary actions as journeymen, including, but not limited to, actions authorized under sections 20-334, 20-341 and 21a-9.

(j) Supervisory personnel of a public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate authorized to employ registered public service technicians pursuant to this section may act as an agent of such company or provider for the purpose of taking out a permit pursuant to section 20-332-16(b) of the regulations of Connecticut state agencies.

(k) In lieu of displaying a contractor's license number pursuant to section 20-334, each public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate authorized pursuant to this section to employ registered public service technicians shall display its name, logo or other trademark which clearly identifies the company or provider on all commercial vehicles used in its business and in a conspicuous manner on all printed advertisements, bid proposals, contracts and invoices and on all stationery used in its business.

(l) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, during any disaster or emergency period, any out-of-state public service technician may perform telecommunications electrical work without first obtaining a certificate of registration from the Department of Consumer Protection, provided the public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate of such company or provider that hires such out-of-state public service technician certifies, in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, to the Electrical Work Board that such out-of-state public service technician has obtained training and experience deemed necessary by such company, provider or affiliate to perform such electrical work.

(2) Any public service company, certified telecommunications provider or affiliate of such company or provider that hires any out-of-state public service technician pursuant to this section shall notify the Department of Consumer Protection as soon as practicable that such company, provider or affiliate has hired such technician to perform electric work during any disaster or emergency period. Such notification shall identify the name, state of domicile, business address and contact information of such technician, and the dates such technician performed electrical work in the state and shall include certification by such company, provider or affiliate that such technician has obtained training and experience deemed necessary by such company, provider or affiliate to perform such electrical work. No electric work performed by such out-of-state public service technician during such disaster or emergency period shall be deemed to have established such technician's residency in the state.

Sec. 13. Section 16-50p of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) (1) In a certification proceeding, the council shall render a decision upon the record either granting or denying the application as filed, or granting it upon such terms, conditions, limitations or modifications of the construction or operation of the facility as the council may deem appropriate.

(2) The council's decision shall be rendered in accordance with the following:

(A) Not later than twelve months after the deadline for filing an application following the request for proposal process for a facility described in subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i or subdivision (4) of said subsection (a) if the application was incorporated in an application concerning a facility described in subdivision (1) of said subsection (a);

(B) Not later than one hundred eighty days after the deadline for filing an application following the request for proposal process for a facility described in subdivision (4) of said subsection (a), and an application concerning a facility described in subdivision (3) of said subsection (a), provided such time periods may be extended by the council by not more than one hundred eighty days with the consent of the applicant; and

(C) Not later than one hundred eighty days after the filing of an application for a facility described in subdivision (5) [or] of said subsection (a) and not later than one hundred fifty days after the filing of an application for a facility described in subdivision (6) of said subsection (a), provided such time period may be extended by the council by not more than one hundred eighty days with the consent of the applicant.

(3) The council shall file, with its order, an opinion stating in full its reasons for the decision. The council shall not grant a certificate, either as proposed or as modified by the council, unless it shall find and determine:

(A) Except as provided in subsection (b) or (c) of this section, a public need for the facility and the basis of the need;

(B) The nature of the probable environmental impact of the facility alone and cumulatively with other existing facilities, including a specification of every significant adverse effect, including, but not limited to, electromagnetic fields that, whether alone or cumulatively with other effects, on, and conflict with the policies of the state concerning, the natural environment, ecological balance, public health and safety, scenic, historic and recreational values, forests and parks, air and water purity and fish, aquaculture and wildlife;

(C) Why the adverse effects or conflicts referred to in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision are not sufficient reason to deny the application;

(D) In the case of an electric transmission line, (i) what part, if any, of the facility shall be located overhead, (ii) that the facility conforms to a long-range plan for expansion of the electric power grid of the electric systems serving the state and interconnected utility systems and will serve the interests of electric system economy and reliability, and (iii) that the overhead portions, if any, of the facility are cost effective and the most appropriate alternative based on a life-cycle cost analysis of the facility and underground alternatives to such facility, are consistent with the purposes of this chapter, with such regulations or standards as the council may adopt pursuant to section 16-50t, including, but limited to, the council's best management practices for electric and magnetic fields for electric transmission lines and with the Federal Power Commission "Guidelines for the Protection of Natural Historic Scenic and Recreational Values in the Design and Location of Rights-of-Way and Transmission Facilities" or any successor guidelines and any other applicable federal guidelines and are to be contained within an area that provides a buffer zone that protects the public health and safety, as determined by the council. In establishing such buffer zone, the council shall take into consideration, among other things, residential areas, private or public schools, licensed child day care facilities, licensed youth camps or public playgrounds adjacent to the proposed route of the overhead portions and the level of the voltage of the overhead portions and any existing overhead transmission lines on the proposed route. At a minimum, the existing right-of-way shall serve as the buffer zone;

(E) In the case of an electric or fuel transmission line, that the location of the line will not pose an undue hazard to persons or property along the area traversed by the line;

(F) In the case of an application that was heard under a consolidated hearing process with other applications that were common to a request for proposal, that the facility proposed in the subject application represents the most appropriate alternative among such applications based on the findings and determinations pursuant to this subsection; and

(G) In the case of a facility described in subdivision (6) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i that is proposed to be installed on land under agricultural restriction, as provided in section 22-26cc, that the facility will not result in a material decrease of acreage and productivity of the arable land.

(b) (1) Prior to granting an applicant's certificate for a facility described in subdivision (5) or (6) of section 16-50i, the council shall examine, in addition to its consideration of subdivisions (1) to (5), inclusive, of subsection (a) of this section: (A) The feasibility of requiring an applicant to share an existing facility, as defined in subsection (b) of section 16-50aa, within a technically derived search area of the site of the proposed facility, provided such shared use is technically, legally, environmentally and economically feasible and meets public safety concerns, (B) whether such facility, if constructed, may be shared with any public or private entity which provides telecommunications or community antenna television service to the public, provided such shared use is technically, legally, environmentally and economically feasible at fair market rates, meets public safety concerns, and the parties' interests have been considered, and (C) whether the proposed facility would be located in an area of the state which the council, in consultation with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and any affected municipalities, finds to be a relatively undisturbed area that possesses scenic quality of local, regional or state-wide significance. The council may deny an application for a certificate if it determines that (i) shared use under the provisions of subparagraph (A) of this subdivision is feasible, (ii) the applicant would not cooperate relative to the future shared use of the proposed facility, [or] (iii) the proposed facility would substantially affect the scenic quality of its location, [and] or (iv) no public safety concerns require that [the] any proposed state facility be constructed in such a location. In evaluating the public need for any cellular facility described in subdivision (6) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i, there is a presumption of public need for such facility and the council shall be limited to consideration of a specific need for any proposed facility to be used to provide personal wireless service to the public.

(2) When issuing a certificate for a facility described in subdivision (5) or (6) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i, the council may impose such reasonable conditions as it deems necessary to promote immediate and future shared use of such facilities and avoid the unnecessary proliferation of such facilities in the state. The council shall, prior to issuing a certificate, provide notice of the proposed facility to the municipality in which the facility is to be located. Upon motion of the council, written request by a public or private entity which provides telecommunications or community antenna television service to the public or upon written request by an interested party, the council may conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether the holder of a certificate for such a facility is in compliance with the certificate. Following its investigation, the council may initiate a certificate review proceeding, which shall include a hearing, to determine whether the holder of a certificate for such a facility is in compliance with the certificate. In such proceeding, the council shall render a decision and may issue orders which it deems necessary to compel compliance with the certificate, which orders may include, but not be limited to, revocation of the certificate. Such orders may be enforced in accordance with the provisions of section 16-50u.

(c) (1) The council shall not grant a certificate for a facility described in subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i, either as proposed or as modified by the council, unless it finds and determines a public benefit for the facility.

(2) The council shall not grant a certificate for a facility described in subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i which is substantially underground or underwater except where such facilities interconnect with existing overhead facilities, either as proposed or as modified by the council, unless it finds and determines a public benefit for the facility, in the case of such facility that is substantially underground, and a public need for such facility, in the case of such facility that is substantially underwater.

(3) For purposes of subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, a public benefit exists if such a facility is necessary for the reliability of the electric power supply of the state or for the development of a competitive market for electricity and a public need exists if such facility is necessary for the reliability of the electric power supply of the state.

(4) Any application for an electric transmission line with a capacity of three hundred forty-five kilovolts or more that is filed on or after May 1, 2003, and that proposes the underground burial of such line in all residential areas and overhead installation of such line in industrial and open space areas affected by such proposal shall have a rebuttable presumption of meeting a public benefit for such facility if the facility is substantially underground, and meeting a public need for such facility if the facility is substantially above ground. Such presumption may be overcome by evidence submitted by a party or intervenor to the satisfaction of the council.

(d) If the council determines that the location of all or a part of the proposed facility should be modified, it may condition the certificate upon such modification, provided the municipalities, and persons residing or located in such municipalities, affected by the modification shall have had notice of the application as provided in subsection (b) of section 16-50l.

(e) In an amendment proceeding, the council shall render a decision within ninety days of the filing of the application or adoption of the resolution initiating the proceeding. The council shall file an opinion with its order stating its reasons for the decision. The council's decision shall include the findings and determinations enumerated in subsection (a) of this section which are relevant to the proposed amendment.

(f) A copy of the order and opinion issued therewith shall be served upon each party and a notice of the issuance of the order and opinion shall be published in such newspapers as will serve substantially to inform the public of the issuance of such order and opinion. The name and address of each party shall be set forth in the order.

(g) In making its decision as to whether or not to issue a certificate, the council shall in no way be limited by the fact that the applicant may already have acquired land or an interest therein for the purpose of constructing the facility which is the subject of its application.

(h) For purposes of this section, a public need exists for an energy facility if such facility is necessary for the reliability of the electric power supply of the state.

(i) For a facility described in subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 16-50i, with a capacity of three hundred forty-five kilovolts or greater, there shall be a presumption that a proposal to place the overhead portions, if any, of such facility adjacent to residential areas, private or public schools, licensed child day care facilities, licensed youth camps or public playgrounds is inconsistent with the purposes of this chapter. An applicant may rebut this presumption by demonstrating to the council that it will be technologically infeasible to bury the facility. In determining such infeasibility, the council shall consider the effect of burying the facility on the reliability of the electric transmission system of the state and whether the cost of any contemplated technology or design configuration may result in an unreasonable economic burden on the ratepayers of the state.

Sec. 14. Section 23-11 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may grant revocable licenses for public purposes to any person for the use of any portion of any state forest or state park if said commissioner finds that such purposes are not in conflict with park or forest purposes.

(b) The construction of any telecommunications tower, or any other telecommunications equipment, owned or operated by the state, any public service company or any certified telecommunications provider, or used in a cellular system, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, Part 22, as amended, is deemed to be a public purpose and not in conflict with park or forest purposes.

Sec. 15. Section 23-14 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may grant rights-of-way or other easements on or with respect to any state park or state forest, if said commissioner finds that such purposes are not in conflict with park or forest purposes with respect to such lands.

(b) The construction of any telecommunications tower, or any other telecommunications equipment, owned or operated by the state, any public service company or any certified telecommunications provider, or used in a cellular system, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, Part 22, as amended, is deemed to be a public purpose and not in conflict with park or forest purposes.

Sec. 16. Section 23-25 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may, with the approval of the Governor, grant leases for public purposes to any public authority for any portion of any state forest or state park if said commissioner finds that such purposes are not in conflict with park or forest purposes. The commissioner may, with the approval of the Governor, grant leases to any public authority or any other entity for the construction of any telecommunications tower, or any other telecommunications equipment.

(b) The construction of any telecommunications tower, or any other telecommunications equipment, owned or operated by the state, any public service company or any certified telecommunications provider, or used in a cellular system, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, Part 22, as amended, is deemed to be a public purpose and not in conflict with park or forest purposes.

Sec. 17. Subsection (f) of section 25-32 of the 2012 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(f) Nothing in this section shall prevent the lease or change in use of water company land to allow for recreational purposes that do not require intense development or improvements for water supply purposes, for leases of existing structures, or for radio towers, telecommunications towers, or any other telecommunications equipment, owned or operated by the state, any public service company or any certified telecommunications provider, or used in a cellular system, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, Part 22, as amended, or telecommunications antennas on existing structures. For purposes of this subsection, intense development includes golf courses, driving ranges, tennis courts, ballfields, swimming pools and uses by motorized vehicles, provided trails or pathways for pedestrians, motorized wheelchairs or nonmotorized vehicles shall not be considered intense development.

Sec. 18. Section 26-3b of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (d) as follows (Effective July 1, 2012):

(NEW) (d) The construction of any telecommunications tower, or any other telecommunications equipment, owned or operated by the state, any public service company or any certified telecommunications provider, or used in a cellular system, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, Part 22, as amended, is deemed to be in the interest of the state.

Sec. 19. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2012) Not later than February 1, 2013, the Governor or his designee shall prescribe procedures by which each state department and agency shall make available, on a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis, any property, rights-of-way and easement under the control of such department or agency for the placement of new wireless facilities that are dependant, in whole or in part, upon the utilization of federal spectrum rights for the transmission or reception of personal wireless services, as defined in 47 USC 332(c)(7), as amended from time to time. Such procedures will establish a presumption that any request for the use of such property, rights-of-way or easements for construction of any wireless facility should be granted, provided the construction of such facility does not directly conflict with such department's or agency's current or planned use for such property, rights-of-way and easements. The state may charge any reasonable fee for the use of such property, rights-of-way and easements.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2012

16-247f

Sec. 2

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 3

July 1, 2012

16-32

Sec. 4

July 1, 2012

16-247b

Sec. 5

July 1, 2012

16-247m

Sec. 6

July 1, 2012

16-256k

Sec. 7

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 8

July 1, 2012

16-262d

Sec. 9

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 10

July 1, 2012

New section

Sec. 11

from passage

New section

Sec. 12

July 1, 2012

20-340b

Sec. 13

July 1, 2012

16-50p

Sec. 14

July 1, 2012

23-11

Sec. 15

July 1, 2012

23-14

Sec. 16

July 1, 2012

23-25

Sec. 17

July 1, 2012

25-32(f)

Sec. 18

July 1, 2012

26-3b

Sec. 19

July 1, 2012

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

The last sentence of section 1(b), which contained references to provisions of subsection (c) of section 16-247b of the general statutes, was bracketed for statutory consistency to reflect that said provisions were bracketed in section 4; and in section 1(g), "or violates the pricing standard set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b" was bracketed for statutory consistency to reflect that subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of section 16-247b was bracketed in section 4.

ET

Joint Favorable Subst.-LCO