Chapter 409

Chapter 409

2003 -- S 0820

Enacted 08/06/03







     Introduced By: Senator William A. Walaska

     Date Introduced: February 26, 2003




It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Section 39-1-18 of the General Laws in Chapter 39-1 entitled "Public

Utilities Commission" is hereby amended to read as follows:

     39-1-18. Hearings and records -- Certified copies. -- (a) All hearings and orders of the

commission and of the division, and the records thereof, shall be public and as such, any person

shall be permitted to record all or any portion of a hearing by way of camera, video or tape

recorder of any kind, unless a party to the hearing requests, and the chairperson or administrator

grants the request, that such recording be prohibited for the protection of attorney-client privilege,

confidentiality or other interest of the parties. All reports, records, files, books, and accounts in

the possession of the commission or the division shall be open to inspection by the public at all

reasonable times. The division may charge and collect reasonable fees for copies of official

documents, orders, papers, and records, and for authenticating or certifying the same; provided

that no fee shall be charged for single copies of official documents, orders, papers, and records,

furnished to public officers of the state for use in their official capacity, nor for the annual reports

in the ordinary course of distribution.

      (b) Effective as of September 1, 2003, all filings made to the division or commission

shall also be provided digitally in a manner established by the division. The commission and

division may adopt rules exempting filings from this requirement provided that: (i) no such

exemption shall be made for filings by a state agency or by a utility serving fifty thousand

(50,000) or more customers in the state and (ii) any filing so exempted shall be converted to

digital format by the division so as to facilitate public access to these filings using the internet.

      (c) In order to support the ability of the public and interested parties to stay informed of

the activities of the commission and the division, and to promote awareness of utility

restructuring, the division shall maintain a site on the internet through which the public may


      (1) Notices of and agendas of hearings;

      (2) All filings that are available in digital format and that are not subject to protective


      (3) All orders, rules and regulations of the commission or administrator;

      (4) Announcements of, agendas for, and minutes of open meetings;

      (5) A calendar of all forthcoming public open meetings and hearings;

      (6) Current tariffs of all public utilities who are subject to assessment pursuant to section

39-1-23; provided, however, that the division may require any public utility with extensive tariffs

to maintain a website and provide access to those tariffs via a link from the division's website;

      (7) A listing of all public utilities and nonregulated power producers, together with

consumer contact information for each;

      (8) Consumer information on billing dispute resolution, retail access, conservation, and

consumer assistance programs;

      (9) Demand side management programs available to residential, commercial and

industrial customers;

      (10) Other information as the division deems relevant and useful to the public.

     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.