Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 2

Public Act No. 14-75

AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIC CUSTOMER CONSUMER PROTECTION.

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

Section 1. Section 16-245d of the 2014 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) (1) The 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 authority shall alter or repeal any relevant regulation in conjunction with the implementation of a redesigned standard billing format described in subdivision (2) of this subsection. The 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 (f) 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.

(2) On or before July 1, 2014, the authority shall initiate a docket to redesign (A) the standard billing format for residential customers implemented pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection to better enable such residential customers to compare pricing policies and charges among electric suppliers, and (B) the account summary page of a residential customer located on the electric distribution company's Internet web site. The authority shall issue a final decision on such docket not later than six months after its initiation. Such final decision shall include the placement of the following items on the first page of each residential customer's bill from an electric distribution company pursuant to subdivision (4) of this subsection: (i) The electric generation service rate; (ii) the term and expiration date of such rate; (iii) any change to such rate effective for the next billing cycle; (iv) the cancellation fee, if applicable, provided there is such a change; (v) notification that such rate is variable, if applicable; (vi) the standard service rate; (vii) the term and expiration date of the standard service rate; (viii) the dollar amount that would have been billed for the electric generation services component had the customer been receiving standard service; and (ix) an electronic link or Internet web site address to the rate board Internet web site described in section 16-244d, as amended by this act, and the toll-free telephone number and other information necessary to enable the customer to obtain standard service. Such final decision shall also include the feasibility of (I) an electric distribution company transferring a residential customer receiving electric generation service from an electric supplier to a different electric supplier in a timely manner and ensuring that the electric distribution company and the relevant electric suppliers provide timely information to each other to facilitate such transfer, and (II) allowing residential customers to choose how to receive information related to bill notices, including United States mail, electronic mail, text message, an application on a cellular telephone or a third-party notification service approved by the authority. On or before July 1, 2015, the authority shall implement, or cause to be implemented, the redesigned standard billing format and Internet web site for a customer's account summary. On or before July 1, 2020, and every five years thereafter, the authority shall reopen such docket to ensure the standard billing format and Internet web site for a customer's account summary remains a useful tool for customers to compare pricing policies and charges among electric suppliers.

[(1)] (3) An electric supplier that chooses to provide billing and collection services 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 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 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)] (4) 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. ]

(b) 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.

(c) From the effective date of this section, and until one year after the effective date of this section, inclusive, each electric distribution company shall, on a quarterly basis, include the following items in a bill insert to each residential customer who obtains standard service or electric generation service from an electric supplier: (1) The electric generation service rate; (2) the term and expiration date of such rate; (3) any change to the standard service rate not later than forty-five days after the standard rate is approved by the authority; and (4) before any reference to the term "standard service", the name of the electric distribution company.

(d) From the effective date of this section, and until one year after the effective date of this section, inclusive, each electric supplier shall, on a quarterly basis, include the following items in a mailing to each residential customer receiving electric generation service from such supplier: (1) The electric generation service rate; (2) the term and expiration date of such rate; (3) any change to such rate effective for the next billing cycle; (4) the cancellation fee, if applicable, provided there is such a change; (5) notification that such rate is variable, if applicable; (6) the standard service rate; (7) the term and expiration date of the standard service rate; and (8) the dollar amount that would have been billed for the electric generation services component had the customer been receiving standard service.

(e) On and after July 1, 2015, if a residential customer is enrolled in automatic electronic bill payments and does not receive a bill through United States mail, an electric distribution company shall send such customer a link to such customer's bill in electronic mail with confirmation of bill payment.

Sec. 2. Subsection (g) of section 16-245 of the 2014 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2014):

(g) As conditions of continued licensure, in addition to the requirements of subsection (c) of this section: (1) The licensee shall comply with the National Labor Relations Act and regulations, if applicable; (2) the licensee shall comply with the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and applicable regulations; (3) each generating facility operated by or under long-term contract to the licensee shall comply with regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, pursuant to section 22a-174j; (4) the licensee shall comply with the portfolio standards, pursuant to section 16-245a; (5) the licensee shall be a member of the New England Power Pool or its successor or have a contractual relationship with one or more entities who are members of the New England Power Pool or its successor and the licensee shall comply with the rules of the regional independent system operator and standards and any other reliability guidelines of the regional independent systems operator; (6) the licensee shall agree to cooperate with the authority and other electric suppliers in the event of an emergency condition that may jeopardize the safety and reliability of electric service; (7) the licensee shall comply with the code of conduct established pursuant to section 16-244h; (8) for a license to a participating municipal electric utility, the licensee shall provide open and nondiscriminatory access to its distribution facilities to other licensed electric suppliers; (9) the licensee or the entity or entities with whom the licensee has a contractual relationship to purchase power shall be in compliance with all applicable licensing requirements of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; (10) each generating facility operated by or under long-term contract to the licensee shall be in compliance with chapter 277a and state environmental laws and regulations; (11) the licensee shall comply with the renewable portfolio standards established in section 16-245a; (12) the licensee shall offer a time-of-use price option to customers. Such option shall include a two-part price that is designed to achieve an overall minimization of customer bills by encouraging the reduction of consumption during the most energy intense hours of the day. The licensee shall file its time-of-use rates with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority; [and] (13) the licensee shall acknowledge that it is subject to chapters 208, 212, 212a and 219, as applicable, and the licensee shall pay all taxes it is subject to in this state; (14) the licensee shall make available to the authority for posting on the authority's Internet web site and shall list on the licensee's own Internet web site, on a monthly basis, the highest and lowest electric generation service rate charged by the licensee as part of a variable rate offer in each of the preceding twelve months to any customer eligible for standard service; and (15) any contract between a licensee and a residential customer eligible for standard service entered into on and after the effective date of this section shall provide for the same electric generation service rate that may not be exceeded for at least the first three billing cycles of the contract, provided the licensee may decrease such rate at any time. Also as a condition of licensure, the authority shall prohibit each licensee from declining to provide service to customers for the reason that the customers are located in economically distressed areas. The authority may establish additional reasonable conditions to assure that all retail customers will continue to have access to electric generation services.

Sec. 3. Subsection (i) of section 16-244c of the general statutes is amended by adding subdivisions (6) and (7) as follows (Effective from passage):

(NEW) (6) An electric distribution company shall transfer a residential customer to the standard service rate not later than seventy-two hours after receipt of a request from a residential customer eligible for standard service, provided such customer shall remain on the standard service rate for at least the remainder of that billing cycle. An electric distribution company shall transfer a residential customer to the electric generation service rate of an electric supplier not later than forty-five days after the electric distribution company receives from the electric supplier a successful enrollment of such residential customer.

(NEW) (7) Notwithstanding any other provision of the general statutes, nothing shall prohibit a residential customer who moves from one dwelling to another dwelling within the state from immediately receiving electric generation service from an electric supplier, provided such customer was receiving such service from an electric supplier immediately prior to such move.

Sec. 4. Section 16-245o of the 2014 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(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 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] 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 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) On or before January 1, 2015, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall initiate a contested proceeding to develop a standard summary form of the material terms and conditions of the contract for electric generation services signed by a residential customer. Such form shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) A description of the rate the customer will be paying; (2) whether such rate is a fixed or variable rate; (3) the term and expiration date of such rate; (4) whether the contract will automatically renew; (5) a notice describing the customer's right to cancel the service, as provided in this section; (6) information on air emissions and resource mix of generation facilities operated by and under long-term contract to the electric supplier; (7) the trade name of the electric supplier; (8) the toll-free telephone number for customer service of the electric supplier; (9) the Internet web site of the electric supplier; and (10) the toll-free telephone number for customer complaints of the authority.

[(e) Each] (f) (1) Until January 1, 2015, each electric supplier shall, prior to the initiation of electric generation services, provide the potential residential 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. On and after January 1, 2015, each electric supplier shall, prior to initiation of electric generation services, provide the potential residential customer with a completed summary form developed pursuant to subsection (e) of this section. Each electric supplier shall, prior to the initiation of electric generation services, provide the potential commercial or industrial 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.

(2) 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)] (A) An independent third-party telephone verification; [(2)] (B) 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)] (C) the customer signs a contract that conforms with the provisions of this section; or [(4)] (D) 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 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)] (g) (1) Between thirty and sixty days, inclusive, prior to the expiration of a fixed price term for a residential customer, an electric supplier shall provide a written notice to such customer of any change to the customer's electric generation price. Such residential customer shall select the method of written notice at the time the contract is signed or verified through third-party verification as described in subdivision (2) of subsection (f) of this section. Such selection shall include the option for written notice through United States mail, electronic mail, text message, an application on a cellular telephone or a third-party notification service approved by the authority. Such customer shall have the option to change the method of notification at any time during the contract.

(2) No electric supplier shall charge a residential customer month-to-month variable rates for electric generation services following the expiration of a contract entered into after the effective date of this section without providing written notification to such residential customer forty-five days prior to the commencement of such month-to-month variable rates. Such notice shall include the highest and lowest electric generation service rate charged by such supplier as part of a variable rate offer in each of the preceding twelve months to any customer eligible for standard service. The residential customer shall select the method of written notification at the time the contract is signed or verified through third-party verification as described in subdivision (2) of subsection (f) of this section. Such selection shall include the option for written notice through United States mail, electronic mail, text messages, an application on a cellular telephone or a third-party notification service approved by the authority. Such customer shall have the option to change the method of notification at any time during the contract.

(3) No electric supplier shall charge an electric generation service rate to a residential customer that is twenty-five per cent more than (A) the original contract price, or (B) the last rate notification provided by the electric supplier, without disclosing the rate change described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision fifteen days before it takes effect. The notification shall be provided pursuant to the method agreed to by the customer in the contract and may include written notice through United States mail, electronic mail, text message, an application on a cellular telephone, or third-party notification service approved by the authority.

[(g)] (h) (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] 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 and shall not wear apparel, carry equipment or distribute materials that includes the logo or emblem of an electric distribution company or contains any language suggesting a relationship that does not exist with an electric distribution company, government agency or other supplier.

(3) No electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator shall (A) 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, or (B) make any statement, oral or written, suggesting a prospective customer is required to choose a supplier. When advertising or disclosing the price for electricity, the electric supplier, aggregator or agent of an electric supplier or aggregator shall [(A)] (i) disclose the electric distribution company's current charges, including the competitive transition assessment and the systems benefits charge, for that customer class, and [(B) on and after January 1, 2014,] (ii) indicate, using at least a ten-point font size, in a conspicuous part of any advertisement or disclosure that includes an advertised price, (I) the expiration of such advertised price, and (II) any fixed or recurring charge, including, but not limited to, any minimum monthly charge.

(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, if any, such supplier will purchase other than 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 sections 16-245a and 16-243q and shall report to the authority the renewable energy sources of such credits and any changes to the types of renewable energy sources offered.

(6) Any electric supplier offering any services or products that contain renewable energy attributes other than the minimum renewable energy credits used for compliance with the renewable portfolio standards pursuant to section 16-245a shall disclose in each customer contract and marketing materials for each such service or product the renewable energy content of the product or service offering and shall make available, on the electric supplier's Internet web site, information sufficient to substantiate the marketing claims about such content.

(7) (A) 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] fifty 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, and provided further it shall not be considered a termination or early cancellation of a contract if a residential customer moves from one dwelling within the state and remains with the same electric supplier.

(B) If a residential customer does not have a contract for electric generation services with an electric supplier and is receiving a month-to-month variable rate from such supplier, there shall be no fee for termination or early cancellation.

(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, including a summary of any new or altered terms, and of the option not to accept the renewal offer, provided no fee pursuant to subdivision (7) of this [section] subsection 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.

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

(10) Each electric supplier shall develop and implement standards and qualifications for employees and third-party agents who are engaged in the sale or solicitation of electric generation services by such supplier.

[(h)] (i) 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.

[(i)] (j) 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.

[(j)] (k) Any violation or failure to comply with any provision of this section shall be subject to (1) civil penalties by the 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.

[(k)] (l) (1) The 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, provided the authority shall alter or repeal any relevant regulations in conjunction with the development and implementation of the standards and practices described in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2) On or before July 1, 2014, the authority shall initiate a contested proceeding to develop and implement, or cause to be implemented, standards relating to abusive switching practices, solicitations and renewals by electric suppliers, the hiring and training of sales representatives, door-to-door sales and telemarketing practices by electric suppliers. Such docket shall examine a disclosure statement for all electric suppliers to use on all promotional materials directed to residential customers that will direct consumers where they can find the highest and lowest electric generation service rate charged by such supplier as part of a variable rate offer in each of the preceding twelve months to any customer eligible for standard service. The authority shall issue a final decision on such docket not later than six months after its initiation.

(m) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may initiate a docket to review the feasibility, costs and benefits of placing on standard service all customers of all electric suppliers (1) who are hardship cases for purposes of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of section 16-262c, (2) having moneys due and owing deducted from such customers' bills by the electric distribution company pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (b) of section 16-262c, (3) receiving other financial assistance from an electric distribution company, or (4) who are otherwise protected by law from shut off of electricity services. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 16-245r, the authority may, in a final decision issued pursuant to this subsection, order all such customers to be placed on standard service. If the authority issues such an order, it shall reopen such docket not less than every two years.

Sec. 5. Section 16-244d of the 2014 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, in consultation with the Office of Consumer Counsel, shall establish a program for the dissemination of information regarding electric suppliers. Such program shall require electric distribution companies to distribute an informational summary on electric suppliers to any new customer and to existing customers beginning on January 1, 2004, and semiannually thereafter. Such informational summary shall be developed by the authority and shall include, but not be limited to, the name of each licensed electric supplier, the state where the supplier is based, information on whether the supplier has active offerings for either residential or commercial and industrial consumers, the telephone number and Internet [address] web site of the supplier, and information as to whether the supplier offers electric generation services from renewable energy sources in excess of the portfolio standards established pursuant to section 16-245a. The authority shall include pricing information in the informational summary to the extent the authority determines feasible. The authority shall post the informational summary in a conspicuous place on its Internet web site and provide electronic links to the Internet web site of each supplier. The authority shall update the informational summary on its Internet web site on at least a quarterly basis.

(b) (1) On or before October 1, 2014, the authority shall redesign the rate board Internet web site to better enable customers to compare pricing policies and charges among electric suppliers. Such redesign shall (A) reflect the best practices of similar rate board Internet web sites in other states and the development of a process to remove an electric supplier's price listings from such Internet web site based on protocols established by the authority to ensure compliance with this chapter and to address customer complaints, and (B) emphasize (i) uniformity in how electric suppliers provide information for each category on the rate board Internet web site, (ii) ease of use by customers, and (iii) ease of selecting and purchasing a specific contract from an electric supplier shown on the rate board Internet web site.

(2) On or before July 1, 2017, and every two years thereafter, the authority shall review the rate board Internet web site and to make any improvements to ensure such Internet web site remains a progressive tool for customers to compare pricing policies and charges among electric suppliers.

Sec. 6. Section 16-245u of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective September 1, 2014):

(a) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall monitor the market for electric generation services and electric distribution services to end use customers and take actions to prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices, anticompetitive or discriminatory conduct, and the unlawful exercise of market power.

(b) (1) Upon complaint or upon its own motion, for cause shown, the authority shall conduct an investigation of any possible anticompetitive or discriminatory conduct affecting the retail sale of electricity or any unfair or deceptive trade practices. Such investigations may include, but are not limited to, (A) the effect of mergers, consolidations, acquisition and disposition of assets or securities of electric suppliers, as defined in section 16-1, or transmission congestion on the proper functioning of a fully competitive market, or (B) targeting, with an artificially elevated electric generation services rate, a customer eligible for standard service who is (i) a hardship case for purposes of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of section 16-262c, (ii) having moneys due and owing deducted from such customer's bill by the electric distribution company pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (b) of section 16-262c, (iii) receiving other financial assistance from an electric distribution company, or (iv) otherwise protected by law from shut off of electricity services.

(2) The authority may require an electric supplier to provide information, including documents and testimony, in accordance with the procedures contained in subsection (a) of section 16-8 and section 16-8c.

(3) Confidential, proprietary or trade secret information provided under this section may be submitted under a duly granted protective order. Any hearings that may be held during the course of the investigation may also be conducted in camera to prevent the inadvertent revelation of such confidential information.

(4) The [Office] office of the Attorney General and the Office of Consumer Counsel shall have the right to participate in such investigations under appropriate nondisclosure agreements.

(5) At the conclusion of the investigation, and notwithstanding any previously granted protective orders, if the authority finds that facts exist that indicate any violation of state or federal law, it shall transmit such written findings along with supporting information gathered in its investigation to appropriate enforcement officials. Such referrals may recommend that further investigation be made or that immediate enforcement procedures be initiated. Such referrals may be made to the [Office] office of the Attorney General, the Department of Consumer Protection, the United States Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or any other appropriate enforcement agency. The authority may intervene as permitted by law in any proceeding initiated under this subsection. The results of such investigations may also serve as a basis for authority sanctions, after notice and hearing, under subsection (l) of section 16-245.

(c) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed so as to restrict the right of any person to pursue any other remedy available to the person under law.

Approved June 3, 2014