Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 6473

    January Session, 2013

 

*_____HB06473FIN___050113____*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY, WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION, THE PURCHASED GAS ADJUSTMENT CLAUSE, ELECTRIC SUPPLIER DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS, THE CALL BEFORE YOU DIG PROGRAM, AND MINOR AND TECHNICAL CHANGES TO THE UTILITY STATUTES.

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

Section 1. Subsection (c) of section 16-2 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(c) Any matter coming before the authority may be assigned by the chairperson of the authority to a panel of one or more directors. Except as otherwise provided by statute or regulation, the panel shall determine whether a public hearing shall be held on the matter, and may designate one or two of its members to conduct such hearing. [or] Said chairperson may request the appointment of a hearing officer to ascertain the facts and report thereon to the panel. The decision of the panel, if unanimous, shall be the decision of the authority. If the decision of the panel is not unanimous, the matter shall be approved by a majority vote of the panel.

Sec. 2. Section 16-2c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

There is established a Division of Adjudication within the [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. The staff of the division shall include, but not be limited to, hearing officers appointed pursuant to subsection (c) of section 16-2, as amended by this act. The responsibilities of the division shall include, but not be limited to, hearing matters assigned under said subsection and advising the [commissioner and the] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority concerning legal issues. The [commissioner] chairperson of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall appoint such hearing officers pursuant to section 16-2, as amended by this act, and assign such other staff as are necessary to advise the [chairperson of the] authority.

Sec. 3. Section 16-8 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may, in its discretion, delegate its powers, in specific cases, to one or more of its directors or to a hearing officer to ascertain the facts and report thereon to the authority. The authority, or any director thereof, in the performance of its duties or in connection with any hearing, or at the request of any person, corporation, company, town, borough or association, may summon and examine, under oath, such witnesses, and may direct the production of, and examine or cause to be produced and examined, such books, records, vouchers, memoranda, documents, letters, contracts or other papers in relation to the affairs of any public service company as it may find advisable, and shall have the same powers in reference thereto as are vested in magistrates taking depositions. If any witness objects to testifying or to producing any book or paper on the ground that such testimony, book or paper may tend to incriminate him, and the authority directs such witness to testify or to produce such book or paper, and he complies, or if he is compelled so to do by order of court, he shall not be prosecuted for any matter concerning which he or she has so testified. The fees of witnesses summoned by the [department] authority to appear before it under the provisions of this section, and the fees for summoning witnesses shall be the same as in the Superior Court. All such fees, together with any other expenses authorized by statute, the method of payment of which is not otherwise provided, shall, when taxed by the authority, be paid by the state, through the business office of the authority, in the same manner as court expenses. The authority may designate in specific cases a hearing officer who may be a member of its technical staff or a member of the Connecticut Bar engaged for that purpose under a contract approved by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management to hold a hearing and make report thereon to the authority. A hearing officer so designated shall have the same powers as the authority, or any director thereof, to conduct a hearing, except that only a director of the authority shall have the power to grant immunity from prosecution to any witness who objects to testifying or to producing any book or paper on the ground that such testimony, book or paper may tend to incriminate him or her.

(b) (1) The authority may [, within available appropriations,] employ professional personnel to perform management audits. The authority shall promptly establish such procedures as it deems necessary or desirable to provide for management audits to be performed on a regular or irregular schedule on all or any portion of the operating procedures and any other internal workings of any public service company, including the relationship between any public service company and a related holding company or subsidiary, consistent with the provisions of section 16-8c, provided no such audit shall be performed on a community antenna television company, except with regard to any noncable communications services which the company may provide, or when (A) such an audit is necessary for the authority to perform its regulatory functions under the Communications Act of 1934, 47 USC 151, et seq., as amended from time to time, other federal law or state law, (B) the cost of such an audit is warranted by a reasonably foreseeable financial, safety or service benefit to subscribers of the company which is the subject of such an audit, and (C) such an audit is restricted to examination of the operating procedures that affect operations within the state.

(2) In any case where the authority determines that an audit is necessary or desirable, it may (A) order the audit to be performed by one of the management audit teams, (B) require the affected company to perform the audit utilizing the company's own internal management audit staff as supervised by designated members of the authority's staff, or (C) require that the audit be performed under the supervision of designated members of the authority's staff by an independent management consulting firm selected by the authority, in consultation with the affected company. If the affected company has more than seventy-five thousand customers, such independent management consulting firm shall be of nationally recognized stature. All reasonable and proper expenses of the audits, including, but not limited to, the costs associated with the audit firm's testimony at a public hearing or other proceeding, shall be borne by the affected companies and shall be paid by such companies at such times and in such manner as the authority directs.

(3) For purposes of this section, a complete audit shall consist of (A) a diagnostic review of all functions of the audited company, which shall include, but not be limited to, documentation of the operations of the company, assessment of the company's system of internal controls, and identification of any areas of the company which may require subsequent audits, and (B) the performance of subsequent focused audits identified in the diagnostic review and determined necessary by the authority. All audits performed pursuant to this section shall be performed in accordance with generally accepted management audit standards. The [department] authority shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 setting forth such generally accepted management audit standards. Each audit of a community antenna television company shall be consistent with the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 USC 151, et seq., as amended from time to time, and of any other applicable federal law. The authority shall certify whether a portion of an audit conforms to the provisions of this section and constitutes a portion of a complete audit.

(4) A complete audit of each portion of each gas, electric or electric distribution company having more than seventy-five thousand customers shall begin no less frequently than every six years, so that a complete audit of such a company's operations shall be performed every six years. Such an audit of each such company having more than seventy-five thousand customers shall be updated as required by the authority.

(5) The results of an audit performed pursuant to this section shall be filed with the authority and shall be open to public inspection. Upon completion and review of the audit, if the person or firm performing or supervising the audit determines that any of the operating procedures or any other internal workings of the affected public service company are inefficient, improvident, unreasonable, negligent or in abuse of discretion, the authority may, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, order the affected public service company to adopt such new or altered practices and procedures as the authority shall find necessary to promote efficient and adequate service to meet the public convenience and necessity. The authority shall annually submit a report of audits performed pursuant to this section to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public utilities which report shall include the status of audits begun but not yet completed and a summary of the results of audits completed. Any such report may be submitted electronically.

(6) All reasonable and proper costs and expenses, as determined by the authority, of complying with any order of the authority pursuant to this subsection shall be recognized by the authority for all purposes as proper business expenses of the affected company.

(7) After notice and hearing, the authority may modify the scope and schedule of a management audit of a telephone company which is subject to an alternative form of regulation so that such audit is consistent with that alternative form of regulation.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to interfere or conflict with any powers of the authority or its staff provided elsewhere in the general statutes, including, but not limited to, the provisions of this section and sections 16-7, 16-28 and 16-32, to conduct an audit, investigation or review of the books, records, plant and equipment of any regulated public service company.

Sec. 4. Subsections (c) and (d) of section 16-8a of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2013):

(c) (1) Not more than [thirty] ninety business days after receipt of a written complaint, in a form prescribed by the authority, by an employee alleging the employee's employer has retaliated against an employee in violation of subsection (a) of this section, the authority shall make a preliminary finding in accordance with this subsection.

(2) Not more than five business days after receiving a written complaint, in a form prescribed by the authority, the authority shall notify the employer by certified mail. Such notification shall include a description of the nature of the charges and the substance of any relevant supporting evidence. The employer may submit a written response and both the employer and the employee may present rebuttal statements in the form of affidavits from witnesses and supporting documents and may meet with the authority informally to respond verbally about the nature of the employee's charges. The authority shall consider in making its preliminary finding as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection any such written and verbal responses, including affidavits and supporting documents, received by the authority not more than twenty business days after the employer receives such notice. Any such response received after twenty business days shall be considered by the authority only upon a showing of good cause and at the discretion of the authority. The authority shall make its preliminary finding as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection based on information described in this subdivision, without a public hearing.

(3) Unless the authority finds by clear and convincing evidence that the adverse employment action was taken for a reason unconnected with the employee's report of substantial misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that an employee was retaliated against in violation of subsection (a) of this section if the authority finds that: (A) The employee had reported substantial misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the management of the public service company, holding company or licensee; (B) the employee was subsequently discharged, suspended, demoted or otherwise penalized by having the employee's status of employment changed by the employee's employer; and (C) the subsequent discharge, suspension, demotion or other penalty followed the employee's report closely in time.

(4) If such findings are made, the authority shall issue an order requiring the employer to immediately return the employee to the employee's previous position of employment or an equivalent position pending the completion of the authority's full investigatory proceeding pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(d) Not later than thirty days after making a preliminary finding in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, the authority shall initiate a full investigatory proceeding in accordance with the provisions of section 16-8, as amended by this act, at which time the employer shall have the opportunity to rebut the presumption. The authority may issue orders, [or] impose civil penalties, order payment of back pay or award attorneys' fees in a manner that conforms with the notice and hearing provisions in section 16-41 against a public service company, holding company or licensee or a person, firm, corporation, contractor or subcontractor directly or indirectly providing goods or services to such public service company, holding company or licensee, in order to enforce the provisions of this section.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 16-19 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(a) No public service company may charge rates in excess of those previously approved by the Public Utilities Control Authority or the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, except that any rate approved by the Public Utilities Commission, [or] the Public Utilities Control Authority or the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall be permitted until amended by the [Public Utilities Control Authority or the] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, that rates not approved by the [Public Utilities Control Authority or the] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may be charged pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, and that the hearing requirements with respect to adjustment clauses are as set forth in section 16-19b, as amended by this act. For water companies, existing rates shall include the amount of any adjustments approved pursuant to section 16-262w since the company's most recent general rate case, provided any adjustment amount shall be separately identified in any customer bill. Each public service company shall file any proposed amendment of its existing rates with the authority in such form and in accordance with such reasonable regulations as the authority may prescribe. Each electric, electric distribution, gas or telephone company filing a proposed amendment shall also file with the authority an estimate of the effects of the amendment, for various levels of consumption, on the household budgets of high and moderate income customers and customers having household incomes not more than one hundred fifty per cent of the federal poverty level. Each electric and electric distribution company shall also file such an estimate for space heating customers. Each water company, except a water company that provides water to its customers less than six consecutive months in a calendar year, filing a proposed amendment, shall also file with the authority a plan for promoting water conservation by customers in such form and in accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into by the authority pursuant to section 4-67e. Each public service company shall notify each customer who would be affected by the proposed amendment, by mail, at least one week prior to the first public hearing thereon, but not earlier than six weeks prior to such first public hearing, that an amendment has been or will be requested. Such notice shall also indicate (1) the date, time and location of any scheduled public hearing, (2) a statement that customers may provide written comments regarding the proposed rate request to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or appear in person at any scheduled public hearing, (3) the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority telephone number for obtaining information concerning the schedule for public hearings on the proposed amendment, and [(2)] (4) whether the proposed amendment would, in the company's best estimate, increase any rate or charge by twenty per cent or more, and, if so, describe in general terms any such rate or charge and the amount of the proposed increase, provided no such company shall be required to provide more than one form of the notice to each class of its customers. In the case of a proposed amendment to the rates of any public service company, the authority shall hold [a public hearing] one or more public hearings thereon, except as permitted with respect to interim rate amendments by subsections (d) and (g) of this section, and shall make such investigation of such proposed amendment of rates as is necessary to determine whether such rates conform to the principles and guidelines set forth in section 16-19e, or are unreasonably discriminatory or more or less than just, reasonable and adequate, or that the service furnished by such company is inadequate to or in excess of public necessity and convenience. The authority, if in its opinion such action appears necessary or suitable in the public interest may, and, upon written petition or complaint of the state, under direction of the Governor, shall, make the aforesaid investigation of any such proposed amendment which does not involve an alteration in rates. If the authority finds any proposed amendment of rates to not conform to the principles and guidelines set forth in section 16-19e, or to be unreasonably discriminatory or more or less than just, reasonable and adequate to enable such company to provide properly for the public convenience, necessity and welfare, or the service to be inadequate or excessive, it shall determine and prescribe, as appropriate, an adequate service to be furnished or just and reasonable maximum rates and charges to be made by such company. In the case of a proposed amendment filed by an electric, electric distribution, gas or telephone company, the authority shall also adjust the estimate filed under this subsection of the effects of the amendment on the household budgets of the company's customers, in accordance with the rates and charges approved by the authority. The authority shall issue a final decision on each rate filing within one hundred fifty days from the proposed effective date thereof, provided it may, before the end of such period and upon notifying all parties and intervenors to the proceedings, extend the period by thirty days.

Sec. 6. Subsection (h) of section 16-19b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(h) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall continually monitor and oversee the application of the purchased gas adjustment clause, the energy adjustment clause, and the transmission rate adjustment clause. The authority shall hold a public hearing thereon whenever the authority deems it necessary or upon application of the Office of Consumer Counsel, but no less frequently than [once every six months] annually, and undertake such other proceeding thereon to determine whether charges or credits made under such clauses reflect the actual prices paid for purchased gas or energy and the actual transmission costs and are computed in accordance with the applicable clause. If the authority finds that such charges or credits do not reflect the actual prices paid for purchased gas or energy, and the actual transmission costs or are not computed in accordance with the applicable clause, it shall recompute such charges or credits and shall direct the company to take such action as may be required to insure that such charges or credits properly reflect the actual prices paid for purchased gas or energy and the actual transmission costs and are computed in accordance with the applicable clause for the applicable period.

Sec. 7. Subsection (a) of section 16-49 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Company" means (A) any public service company other than a telephone company, that had more than one hundred thousand dollars of gross revenues in the state in the calendar year preceding the assessment year under this section, except any such company not providing service to retail customers in the state, (B) any telephone company that had more than one hundred thousand dollars of gross revenues in the state from telecommunications services in the calendar year preceding the assessment year under this section, except any such company not providing service to retail customers in the state, (C) any certified telecommunications provider that had more than one hundred thousand dollars of gross revenues in the state from telecommunications services in the calendar year preceding the assessment year under this section, except any such certified telecommunications provider not providing service to retail customers in the state, (D) any electric supplier that had more than one hundred thousand dollars of gross revenues in the state in the calendar year preceding the assessment year under this section, except any such supplier not providing electric generation services to retail customers in the state, or (E) any certified competitive video service provider issued a certificate of video franchise authority by the [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority in accordance with section 16-331e that had more than one hundred thousand dollars of gross revenues in the state in the calendar year preceding the assessment year under this section, except any such certified competitive video service provider not providing service to retail customers in the state;

(2) "Telecommunications services" means (A) in the case of telecommunications services provided by a telephone company, any service provided pursuant to a tariff approved by the authority other than wholesale services and resold access and interconnections services, and (B) in the case of telecommunications services provided by a certified telecommunications provider other than a telephone company, any service provided pursuant to a tariff approved by the authority and pursuant to a certificate of public convenience and necessity; and

(3) "Fiscal year" means the period beginning July first and ending June thirtieth.

Sec. 8. Subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of section 16-244c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(3) An electric distribution company providing electric generation services pursuant to this subsection shall cooperate with the procurement manager of the [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and comply with the procurement plan for electric generation services contracts. Such plan shall require that the portfolio of service contracts be procured in such manner and duration as the authority determines to be most likely to produce just, reasonable and reasonably stable retail rates while reflecting underlying wholesale market prices over time. The portfolio of contracts shall be assembled in such manner as to invite competition; guard against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, fraud and corruption; and secure a reliable electricity supply while avoiding unusual, anomalous or excessive pricing. An affiliate of an electric distribution company may bid for an electric generation services contract, provided such electric distribution company and affiliate are in compliance with the code of conduct established in section 16-244h.

Sec. 9. Subsection (i) of section 16-244c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(i) The [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall establish, by regulations adopted pursuant to chapter 54, procedures for when and how a customer is notified that his electric supplier has defaulted and of the need for the customer to choose a new electric supplier within a reasonable period of time or to return to standard service.

Sec. 10. Subsection (l) of section 16-244c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(l) Each electric distribution company shall offer to bill customers on behalf of participating electric suppliers and to pay such suppliers in a timely manner the amounts due such suppliers from customers for generation services, less a percentage of such amounts that reflects uncollectible bills and overdue payments as approved by the [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Sec. 11. Section 16-245d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall, by regulations adopted pursuant to chapter 54, develop a standard billing format that enables customers to compare pricing policies and charges among electric suppliers. The [department] authority shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to provide that an electric supplier, until July 1, 2012, may provide direct billing and collection services for electric generation services and related federally mandated congestion charges that such supplier provides to its customers with a maximum demand of not less than one hundred kilowatts that choose to receive a bill directly from such supplier and, on and after July 1, 2012, shall provide direct billing and collection services for electric generation services and related federally mandated congestion charges that such suppliers provide to their customers or may choose to obtain such billing and collection service through an electric distribution company and pay its pro rata share in accordance with the provisions of subsection (h) of section 16-244c. Any customer of an electric supplier, which is choosing to provide direct billing, who paid for the cost of billing and other services to an electric distribution company shall receive a credit on their monthly bill.

(1) An electric supplier that chooses to provide billing and collection services shall, in accordance with the billing format developed by the [department] authority, include the following information in each customer's bill: (A) The total amount owed by the customer, which shall be itemized to show (i) the electric generation services component and any additional charges imposed by the electric supplier, and (ii) federally mandated congestion charges applicable to the generation services; (B) any unpaid amounts from previous bills, which shall be listed separately from current charges; (C) the rate and usage for the current month and each of the previous twelve months in bar graph form or other visual format; (D) the payment due date; (E) the interest rate applicable to any unpaid amount; (F) the toll-free telephone number of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for questions or complaints; and (G) the toll-free telephone number and address of the electric supplier. On or before [February 1, 2012] October 1, 2013, the authority shall conduct a review of the costs and benefits of suppliers billing for all components of electric service, and report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy regarding the results of such review. Any such report may be submitted electronically.

(2) An electric distribution company shall, in accordance with the billing format developed by the authority, include the following information in each customer's bill: (A) The total amount owed by the customer, which shall be itemized to show, (i) the electric generation services component if the customer obtains standard service or last resort service from the electric distribution company, (ii) the distribution charge, including all applicable taxes and the systems benefits charge, as provided in section 16-245l, (iii) the transmission rate as adjusted pursuant to subsection (d) of section 16-19b, (iv) the competitive transition assessment, as provided in section 16-245g, (v) federally mandated congestion charges, and (vi) the conservation and renewable energy charge, consisting of the conservation and load management program charge, as provided in section 16-245m, and the renewable energy investment charge, as provided in section 16-245n; (B) any unpaid amounts from previous bills which shall be listed separately from current charges; (C) except for customers subject to a demand charge, the rate and usage for the current month and each of the previous twelve months in the form of a bar graph or other visual form; (D) the payment due date; (E) the interest rate applicable to any unpaid amount; (F) the toll-free telephone number of the electric distribution company to report power losses; (G) the toll-free telephone number of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for questions or complaints; and (H) if a customer has a demand of five hundred kilowatts or less during the preceding twelve months, a statement about the availability of information concerning electric suppliers pursuant to section 16-245p.

(b) The regulations shall provide guidelines for determining until October 1, 2011, the billing relationship between the electric distribution company and electric suppliers, including, but not limited to, the allocation of partial bill payments and late payments between the electric distribution company and the electric supplier. An electric distribution company that provides billing services for an electric supplier shall be entitled to recover from the electric supplier all reasonable transaction costs to provide such billing services as well as a reasonable rate of return, in accordance with the principles in subsection (a) of section 16-19e.

Sec. 12. Section 16-245o of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(a) To protect a customer's right to privacy from unwanted solicitation, each electric company or electric distribution company, as the case may be, shall distribute to each customer a form approved by the [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority which the customer shall submit to the customer's electric or electric distribution company in a timely manner if the customer does not want the customer's name, address, telephone number and rate class to be released to electric suppliers. On and after July 1, 1999, each electric or electric distribution company, as the case may be, shall make available to all electric suppliers customer names, addresses, telephone numbers, if known, and rate class, unless the electric company or electric distribution company has received a form from a customer requesting that such information not be released. Additional information about a customer for marketing purposes shall not be released to any electric supplier unless a customer consents to a release by one of the following: (1) An independent third-party telephone verification; (2) receipt of a written confirmation received in the mail from the customer after the customer has received an information package confirming any telephone agreement; (3) the customer signs a document fully explaining the nature and effect of the release; or (4) the customer's consent is obtained through electronic means, including, but not limited to, a computer transaction.

(b) All electric suppliers shall have equal access to customer information required to be disclosed under subsection (a) of this section. No electric supplier shall have preferential access to historical distribution company customer usage data.

(c) No electric or electric distribution company shall include in any bill or bill insert anything that directly or indirectly promotes a generation entity or affiliate of the electric distribution company. No electric supplier shall include a bill insert in an electric bill of an electric distribution company.

(d) All marketing information provided pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be formatted electronically by the electric company or electric distribution company, as the case may be, in a form that is readily usable by standard commercial software packages. Updated lists shall be made available within a reasonable time, as determined by the [department] authority, following a request by an electric supplier. Each electric supplier seeking the information shall pay a fee to the electric company or electric distribution company, as the case may be, which reflects the incremental costs of formatting, sorting and distributing this information, together with related software changes. Customers shall be entitled to any available individual information about their loads or usage at no cost.

(e) Each electric supplier shall, prior to the initiation of electric generation services, provide the potential customer with a written notice describing the rates, information on air emissions and resource mix of generation facilities operated by and under long-term contract to the supplier, terms and conditions of the service, and a notice describing the customer's right to cancel the service, as provided in this section. No electric supplier shall provide electric generation services unless the customer has signed a service contract or consents to such services by one of the following: (1) An independent third-party telephone verification; (2) receipt of a written confirmation received in the mail from the customer after the customer has received an information package confirming any telephone agreement; (3) the customer signs a contract that conforms with the provisions of this section; or (4) the customer's consent is obtained through electronic means, including, but not limited to, a computer transaction. Each electric supplier shall provide each customer with a demand of less than one hundred kilowatts, a written contract that conforms with the provisions of this section and maintain records of such signed service contract or consent to service for a period of not less than two years from the date of expiration of such contract, which records shall be provided to the [department] authority or the customer upon request. Each contract for electric generation services shall contain all material terms of the agreement, a clear and conspicuous statement explaining the rates that such customer will be paying, including the circumstances under which the rates may change, a statement that provides specific directions to the customer as to how to compare the price term in the contract to the customer's existing electric generation service charge on the electric bill and how long those rates are guaranteed. Such contract shall also include a clear and conspicuous statement providing the customer's right to cancel such contract not later than three days after signature or receipt in accordance with the provisions of this subsection, describing under what circumstances, if any, the supplier may terminate the contract and describing any penalty for early termination of such contract. Each contract shall be signed by the customer, or otherwise agreed to in accordance with the provisions of this subsection. A customer who has a maximum demand of five hundred kilowatts or less shall, until midnight of the third business day after the latter of the day on which the customer enters into a service agreement or the day on which the customer receives the written contract from the electric supplier as provided in this section, have the right to cancel a contract for electric generation services entered into with an electric supplier.

(f) Each electric supplier shall provide a customer with written notice of a change to such customer's electric generation rate at least three weeks prior to the rate change. The notice shall be distributed in the format and manner approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

[(f)] (g) (1) Any third-party agent who contracts with or is otherwise compensated by an electric supplier to sell electric generation services shall be a legal agent of the electric supplier. No third-party agent may sell electric generation services on behalf of an electric supplier unless (A) the third-party agent is an employee or independent contractor of such electric supplier, and (B) the third-party agent has received appropriate training directly from such electric supplier.

(2) On or after July 1, 2011, all sales and solicitations of electric generation services by an electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator to a customer with a maximum demand of one hundred kilowatts or less conducted and consummated entirely by mail, door-to-door sale, telephone or other electronic means, during a scheduled appointment at the premises of a customer or at a fair, trade or business show, convention or exposition in addition to complying with the provisions of subsection (e) of this section shall:

(A) For any sale or solicitation, including from any person representing such electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator (i) identify the person and the electric generation services company or companies the person represents; (ii) provide a statement that the person does not represent an electric distribution company; (iii) explain the purpose of the solicitation; and (iv) explain all rates, fees, variable charges and terms and conditions for the services provided; and

(B) For door-to-door sales to customers with a maximum demand of one hundred kilowatts, which shall include the sale of electric generation services in which the electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator solicits the sale and receives the customer's agreement or offer to purchase at a place other than the seller's place of business, be conducted (i) in accordance with any municipal and local ordinances regarding door-to-door solicitations, (ii) between the hours of ten o'clock a.m. and six o'clock p.m. unless the customer schedules an earlier or later appointment, and (iii) with both English and Spanish written materials available. Any representative of an electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator shall prominently display or wear a photo identification badge stating the name of such person's employer or the electric supplier the person represents.

(3) No electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator shall advertise or disclose the price of electricity to mislead a reasonable person into believing that the electric generation services portion of the bill will be the total bill amount for the delivery of electricity to the customer's location. When advertising or disclosing the price for electricity, the electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator shall [also] (A) disclose the electric distribution company's current charges, including the competitive transition assessment and the systems benefits charge, for that customer class, and (B) indicate, in a conspicuous part of any advertisement or disclosure that includes an advertised price, the expiration of the term of such advertised price using the same font size and color as is used for the advertised price.

(4) No entity, including an aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator, who sells or offers for sale any electric generation services for or on behalf of an electric supplier, shall engage in any deceptive acts or practices in the marketing, sale or solicitation of electric generation services.

(5) Each electric supplier shall disclose to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority in a standardized format (A) the amount of additional renewable energy credits such supplier will purchase beyond required credits, (B) where such additional credits are being sourced from, and (C) the types of renewable energy sources that will be purchased. Each electric supplier shall only advertise renewable energy credits purchased beyond those required pursuant to section 16-245a and shall report to the authority the renewable energy sources of such credits and whenever the mix of such sources changes. No electric supplier shall advertise, offer, sell or charge a premium for any type of renewable energy source other than renewable energy credits generated by a Class I or Class II renewable energy source or a Class III source.

(6) Any electric supplier offering any services or products that contain renewable energy credits other than renewable energy credits used for compliance with the renewable portfolio standards pursuant to section 16-245a shall disclose clearly on each customer contract and marketing materials for each such service or product (A) the class from which the renewable energy credits were generated, (B) the percentage above the mandated requirement in section 16-245a, and (C) any other information required by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Prior to offering any such services or products, an electric supplier shall submit a copy of a sample or standard contract or marketing materials for the authority's approval.

[(6)] (7) No contract for electric generation services by an electric supplier shall require a residential customer to pay any fee for termination or early cancellation of a contract in excess of (A) one hundred dollars; or (B) twice the estimated bill for energy services for an average month, whichever is less, provided when an electric supplier offers a contract, it provides the residential customer an estimate of such customer's average monthly bill.

[(7)] (8) An electric supplier shall not make a material change in the terms or duration of any contract for the provision of electric generation services by an electric supplier without the express consent of the customer. Nothing in this subdivision shall restrict an electric supplier from renewing a contract by clearly informing the customer, in writing, not less than thirty days or more than sixty days before the renewal date, of the renewal terms and of the option not to accept the renewal offer, provided no fee pursuant to subdivision [(6)] (7) of this section shall be charged to a customer who terminates or cancels such renewal not later than seven business days after receiving the first billing statement for the renewed contract.

[(8)] (9) Each electric supplier shall file annually with the authority a list of any aggregator or agent working on behalf of such supplier.

[(g)] (h) Each electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator shall comply with the provisions of the telemarketing regulations adopted pursuant to 15 USC 6102.

[(h)] (i) Any violation of this section shall be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice under subsection (a) of section 42-110b. Any contract for electric generation services that the authority finds to be the product of unfair or deceptive marketing practices or in material violation of the provisions of this section shall be void and unenforceable. Any waiver of the provisions of this section by a customer of electric generation services shall be deemed void and unenforceable by the electric supplier.

[(i)] (j) Any violation or failure to comply with any provision of this section shall be subject to (1) civil penalties by the [department] authority in accordance with section 16-41, (2) the suspension or revocation of an electric supplier or aggregator's license, or (3) a prohibition on accepting new customers following a hearing that is conducted as a contested case in accordance with chapter 54.

[(j)] (k) The [department] authority may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to include, but not be limited to, abusive switching practices, solicitations and renewals by electric suppliers.

Sec. 13. Subsection (a) of section 16-245y of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Not later than October 1, 1999, and annually thereafter, each electric company and electric distribution company, as defined in section 16-1, shall report to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority its system average interruption duration index (SAIDI) and its system average interruption frequency index (SAIFI) for the preceding twelve months. For purposes of this section: (1) Interruptions shall not include outages attributable to major storms, scheduled outages and outages caused by customer equipment, each as determined by the [department] authority; (2) SAIDI shall be calculated as the sum of customer interruptions in the preceding twelve-month period, in minutes, divided by the average number of customers served during that period; and (3) SAIFI shall be calculated as the total number of customers interrupted in the preceding twelve-month period, divided by the average number of customers served during that period. Not later than January 1, 2000, and annually thereafter, the authority shall report on the SAIDI and SAIFI data for each electric company and electric distribution, and all state-wide SAIDI and SAIFI data to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy.

Sec. 14. Subsection (c) of section 16-245y of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(c) Not later than January 1, 2011, and annually thereafter, the [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy the number of applicants for licensure pursuant to section 16-245 during the preceding twelve months, the number of applicants licensed by the [department] authority and the average period of time taken to process a license application. Any such report may be submitted electronically.

Sec. 15. Section 16-345 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

As used in this chapter:

[(a)] (1) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or association, including a person engaged as a contractor by a public agency but excluding a public agency.

[(b)] (2) "Public agency" means the state or any political subdivision thereof, including any governmental agency.

[(c)] (3) "Public utility" means the owner or operator of underground facilities for furnishing electric, gas, telephone, telegraph, communications, pipeline, whether for hire or not, sewage, water, community television antenna, steam, [or] traffic signal, fire signal or similar service, including a municipal or other public owner or operator. A public utility does not include the owner of facilities for utility service solely for such owner's private residence.

[(d)] (4) "Central clearinghouse" means the [group of] organization organized and operated by public utilities [formed] pursuant to section 16-348, as amended by this act, for the purposes of receiving and giving notice of excavation, discharge of explosives and demolition activity within the state.

[(e)] (5) "Excavation" means an operation for the purposes of movement or removal of earth, rock or other materials in or on the ground, or otherwise disturbing the subsurface of the earth, by the use of powered or mechanized equipment, including but not limited to digging, blasting, auguring, back filling, test boring, drilling, pile driving, grading, plowing-in, hammering, pulling-in, trenching, [and] tunneling, [; excluding the movement of earth by tools manipulated only by human or animal power and the tilling of soil for agricultural purposes] dredging, reclamation processes and milling.

[(f)] (6) "Demolition" means the wrecking, razing, rending, moving or removing of any structure.

[(g)] (7) "Damage" includes, but is not limited to, the substantial weakening of structural or lateral support of a utility [line] facility such that the continued integrity of such utility facility is or is likely to be imperiled, penetration or destruction of any utility [line] facility protective coating, housing or other protective device or the severance, partial or complete, of any utility [line] facility.

[(h)] (8) ["Approximate location of underground facilities"] "Approximate location of an underground utility facility" means a strip of land not more than three feet wide centered on the actual location of an underground utility facility or a strip of land extending not more than one and one-half feet on either side of the actual location of an underground [facilities] utility facility.

Sec. 16. Section 16-346 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

No person, public agency or public utility shall engage in excavation, [or] discharge of explosives [at or near the location of a public utility underground facility or demolish a structure located at or near or containing a public utility facility] or demolition without having first ascertained the location of all underground facilities of public utilities in the area of such excavation, discharge or demolition in the manner prescribed in this chapter and in such regulations as the [department] Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall adopt pursuant to section 16-357.

Sec. 17. Section 16-347 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

A public utility shall [file] register with the [Public Utilities Regulatory Authority the location of its] central clearinghouse the geographic areas in which it owns or operates underground facilities, [except facilities for storm sewers,] by reference to a standard [grid] mapping system, to be established by the [authority] central clearinghouse, and the title, address and telephone number of its representative designated to receive the notice required by section 16-349, as amended by this act.

Sec. 18. Section 16-348 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

The public utilities of the state shall, under the direction of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, organize and operate a central clearinghouse within the state for receiving and giving the notices required by section 16-349, as amended by this act. The authority shall apportion the cost of this service equitably among the public utilities, [for those underground facilities registered with the authority, as provided in section 16-347, except sanitary sewer or water facilities owned or operated by] except a city, town or borough that owns or operates only a sanitary sewer or water facilities.

Sec. 19. Section 16-349 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

Except as provided in section 16-352, as amended by this act, a person, public agency or public utility responsible for excavating, [or] discharging explosives [at or near the location of public utility facilities] or demolishing a structure [containing a public utility facility] shall notify the central clearinghouse of such proposed excavation, discharge or demolition [, orally or in writing, at least two full days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, but not more than thirty days before commencing such excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives] in a manner as prescribed by regulations adopted pursuant to section 16-357. Such notice shall include the name, address and telephone number of the [entity giving notice, the name of the] person, public agency or public utility performing the [work] excavation, discharge of explosives or demolition and the date, location and type of excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives. The central clearinghouse shall immediately transmit such information to the public utilities whose facilities may be affected. In the event the proposed excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives has not [commenced] been completed within [thirty days] the allotted time frame prescribed by regulation of such notification, or the excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives will be expanded outside of the location originally specified in such notification, the person, public agency or public utility responsible for such excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives shall again notify the central clearinghouse [at least two full days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, but not more than thirty days before commencing or expanding such excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives] in a manner as prescribed by regulations adopted pursuant to section 16-357.

Sec. 20. Section 16-350 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

Any permit issued by a public agency for excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives shall require compliance with this chapter. No such permit shall be issued by any public agency unless such public agency receives satisfactory evidence from the person, public agency or public utility seeking such permit that the requirements of this chapter have been met. Such evidence shall be obtained from the central clearinghouse and shall be in such form as the [department] authority may prescribe by regulations pursuant to section 16-357.

Sec. 21. Section 16-351 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

A public utility receiving notice pursuant to section 16-349, as amended by this act, shall inform the person, public agency or public utility proposing to excavate, discharge explosives or demolish [a structure] of the approximate location of its underground facilities in the area in such manner as will enable such person, public agency or public utility to establish the [precise] actual location of the underground facilities, and shall provide such other assistance in establishing the [precise] actual location of the underground facilities as the [department] authority may require by [regulation] regulations adopted pursuant to section 16-357. Such person, public agency or public utility shall designate the area of the proposed excavation, demolition or discharge of explosives as the [department] authority may prescribe by regulation. The public utility receiving notice shall mark the approximate location of its underground facilities in such manner and using such methods, including color coding, as the [department] authority may prescribe by regulation. If the [precise] actual location of the underground facilities cannot be established, the person, public agency or public utility shall so notify the public utility whose facilities may be affected, which shall provide such further assistance as may be needed to determine the [precise] actual location of the underground facilities in advance of the proposed excavation, discharge of explosives or demolition.

Sec. 22. Section 16-352 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(a) In case of emergency involving danger to life, health or property or which requires immediate correction to continue the operation of a major industrial plant, or to assure the continuity of public utility service, excavation or demolition without explosives may be made without [the two day] notice required by section 16-349, as amended by this act, provided notice thereof [by telephone] is given as soon as reasonably possible.

(b) In case of an emergency involving an immediate and substantial danger of death or serious personal injury, explosives may be discharged if notice thereof is given at any time before discharge.

Sec. 23. Section 16-354 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

A person, public agency or public utility responsible for excavating, discharging explosives or demolition shall exercise reasonable care when working in proximity to the underground facilities of any public utility and shall comply with such safety standards and other requirements as the [department] authority shall prescribe by [regulation] regulations adopted pursuant to section 16-357. If the facilities are likely to be exposed, such support shall be provided as may be reasonably necessary for protection of the facilities. If [gas facilities are likely to be exposed] excavation is within the approximate location of facilities containing combustible or hazardous fluids or gases, only hand digging or soft digging shall be employed. As used in this section, "soft digging" means a nonmechanical and nondestructive process used to excavate and evacuate soils at a controlled rate, using high pressure water or air jet to break up the soil, often used in conjunction with a high power vacuum unit to extract the soil without damaging the facilities.

Sec. 24. Section 16-355 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

When any contact is made with or any damage is suspected or done to any underground facility of a public utility, the person, public agency or public utility responsible for the operations causing the contact, suspected damage or damage shall immediately notify the public utility whose facilities have been affected, which shall dispatch its own personnel as soon as reasonably possible to inspect the underground facility and, if necessary, effect temporary or permanent repairs. If a serious electrical short is occurring or if dangerous fluids or gas are escaping from a broken line, the person, public agency or public utility responsible for the operations causing the damage shall alert all persons within the danger area and take all feasible steps to insure the public safety pending the arrival of repair personnel. As used in this section, "contact" includes, without limitation, the striking, scraping or denting, however slight, of any underground utility facility, [the structural or lateral support of an underground utility line and] including any underground utility [line] facility protective coating, housing or other protective device. Contact does not include damage, as defined in section 16-345, as amended by this act.

Sec. 25. Section 16-356 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

Any person, public agency or public utility which the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority determines, after notice and opportunity for a hearing as provided in section 16-41, to have failed to comply with any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted under section 16-357 shall forfeit and pay to the state a civil penalty of not more than [forty] two hundred thousand dollars, provided any violation involving the failure of a public utility to mark [the] any approximate location of an underground [facilities] utility facility correctly or within the timeframes prescribed by regulation, which violation did not result in any property damage or personal injury and was not the result of an act of gross negligence on the part of the public utility, shall not result in a civil penalty of more than one thousand dollars. Notwithstanding the provisions contained in subsection (d) of section 16-41, the person, public agency or public utility receiving a notice of violation pursuant to subsection (c) of section 16-41 shall have thirty days from the date of receipt of the notice in which to deliver to the authority a written application for a hearing.

Sec. 26. Subsection (c) of section 16-262j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(c) Each public service company, certified telecommunications provider and electric supplier shall pay interest on any security deposit it receives from a customer at the average rate paid, as of December 30, 1992, on savings deposits by insured commercial banks as published in the Federal Reserve Board bulletin and rounded to the nearest one-tenth of one percentage point, except in no event shall the rate be less than one and one-half per cent. On and after January 1, 1994, the rate for each calendar year shall be not less than the deposit index as determined by the Banking Commissioner and defined in subsection (d) of this section for that year and rounded to the nearest one-tenth of one percentage point, except in no event shall the rate be less than one and one-half per cent.

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

Section 1

from passage

16-2(c)

Sec. 2

from passage

16-2c

Sec. 3

from passage

16-8

Sec. 4

July 1, 2013

16-8a(c) and (d)

Sec. 5

October 1, 2013

16-19(a)

Sec. 6

October 1, 2013

16-19b(h)

Sec. 7

from passage

16-49(a)

Sec. 8

from passage

16-244c(c)(3)

Sec. 9

from passage

16-244c(i)

Sec. 10

from passage

16-244c(l)

Sec. 11

from passage

16-245d

Sec. 12

October 1, 2013

16-245o

Sec. 13

from passage

16-245y(a)

Sec. 14

from passage

16-245y(c)

Sec. 15

October 1, 2013

16-345

Sec. 16

October 1, 2013

16-346

Sec. 17

October 1, 2013

16-347

Sec. 18

October 1, 2013

16-348

Sec. 19

October 1, 2013

16-349

Sec. 20

October 1, 2013

16-350

Sec. 21

October 1, 2013

16-351

Sec. 22

October 1, 2013

16-352

Sec. 23

October 1, 2013

16-354

Sec. 24

October 1, 2013

16-355

Sec. 25

October 1, 2013

16-356

Sec. 26

October 1, 2013

16-262j(c)

ET

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

FIN

Joint Favorable