Chapter 019

2011 -- H 5281

Enacted 05/27/11

 

A N A C T

RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITY - RATES

          

     Introduced By: Representatives Ruggiero, Ehrhardt, Handy, Kennedy, and Naughton

     Date Introduced: February 08, 2011

 

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Section 39-2-1.2 of the General Laws in Chapter 39-2 entitled "Duties of

Utilities and Carriers" is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     39-2-1.2. Utility base rate Advertising, demand side management and renewables.

-- (a) In addition to costs prohibited in 39-1-27.4(b), no public utility distributing or providing

heat, electricity, or water to or for the public shall include as part of its base rate any expenses for

advertising, either direct or indirect, which promotes the use of its product or service, or is

designed to promote the public image of the industry. No public utility may furnish support of

any kind, direct, or indirect, to any subsidiary, group, association, or individual for advertising

and include the expense as part of its base rate. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed

as prohibiting the inclusion in the base rate of expenses incurred for advertising, informational or

educational in nature, which is designed to promote public safety conservation of the public

utility's product or service. The public utilities commission shall promulgate such rules and

regulations as are necessary to require public disclosure of all advertising expenses of any kind,

direct or indirect, and to otherwise effectuate the provisions of this section.

        (b) Effective as of January 1, 2003 2008, and for a period of ten (10) years thereafter,

each electric distribution company shall include charges of 2.0 mills per kilowatt-hour delivered

to fund demand side management programs and 0.3 mills per kilowatt-hour delivered to fund

renewable energy programs. Existing charges for these purposes and their method of

administration shall continue through December 31, 2002. Thereafter, the The electric

distribution company shall establish and after July 1, 2007, maintain two (2) separate accounts,

one for demand side management programs, which shall be administered and implemented by the

distribution company, subject to the regulatory reviewing authority of the commission, and one

for renewable energy programs, which shall be administered by the economic development

corporation pursuant to 42-64-13.2 and, shall be held and disbursed by the distribution company

as directed by the economic development corporation for the purposes of developing, promoting

and supporting renewable energy programs.

        During the ten (10) year period the commission may, in its discretion, after notice and

public hearing, increase the sums for demand side management and renewable resources;

thereafter, the commission shall, after notice and public hearing, determine the appropriate charge

for these programs. The office of energy resources and/or the administrator of the renewable

energy programs may seek to secure for the state an equitable and reasonable portion of

renewable energy credits or certificates created by private projects funded through those

programs. As used in this section, "renewable energy resources" shall mean: (1) power generation

technologies as defined in 39-26-5, "eligible renewable energy resources", including off-grid

and on-grid generating technologies located in Rhode Island as a priority; (2) research and

development activities in Rhode Island pertaining to eligible renewable energy resources and to

other renewable energy technologies for electrical generation; or (3) projects and activities

directly related to implementing eligible renewable energy resources projects in Rhode Island.

Technologies for converting solar energy for space heating or generating domestic hot water may

also be funded through the renewable energy programs, so long as these technologies are installed

on housing projects that have been certified by the executive director of the Rhode Island housing

and mortgage finance corporation as serving low-income Rhode Island residents. Fuel cells may

be considered an energy efficiency technology to be included in demand sided management

programs. Special rates for low-income customers in effect as of August 7, 1996 shall be

continued, and the costs of all of these discounts shall be included in the distribution rates

charged to all other customers. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting an electric

distribution company from offering any special rates or programs for low-income customers

which are not in effect as of August 7, 1996, subject to the approval by the commission.

        (c) On or before November 15, 2008, the economic development corporation shall

create the municipal renewable energy investment program utilizing the lesser of fifty percent

(50%) or one million dollars ($1,000,000) collected annually from the .3 mils per kilo-watt hour

charge for renewable energy programs, to fund qualified municipal renewable energy projects in

accordance with this chapter and the following provisions:

        (1) The municipal renewable energy investment programs shall be administered

pursuant to rules established by the economic development corporation. Said rules shall provide

transparent criteria to rank qualified municipal renewable energy projects, giving consideration

to:

        (i) the feasibility of project completion;

        (ii) the anticipated amount of renewable energy the project will produce;

        (iii) the potential of the project to mitigate energy costs over the life of the project; and

        (iv) the estimated cost per kilo-watt hour (kwh) of the energy produced from the

project. Municipalities that have not previously received financing from this program shall be

given priority over those municipalities that have received funding under this program.

        (2) Beginning on January 1, 2009, the economic development corporation shall solicit

proposals from municipalities for eligible projects and shall award grants, in accordance with the

rules and ranking criteria, of no more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) to each

eligible project.

        (3) Any funds not expended from the municipal renewable energy investment programs

in a given year shall remain in the fund and be added to the balance to be distributed in the next

award cycle. For the purposes of this section, qualified municipal renewable energy projects

means any project that produces renewable energy resources and whose output of power and

other attributes is controlled in its entirety by at least one Rhode Island city or town.

        (d) On or before November 15, 2008, the economic development corporation shall

create the nonprofit affordable housing renewable energy investment program utilizing the lesser

of ten percent (10%) or two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) collected annually from the .3

mils per kilo-watt hour charge for renewable energy programs to fund qualified nonprofit

affordable housing renewable energy projects in accordance with this chapter and the following

provisions:

        (1) The nonprofit affordable housing renewable energy investment programs shall be

administered pursuant to rules established by the economic development corporation in

consultation with the Rhode Island housing mortgage finance corporation. Said rules shall

provide transparent criteria to rank qualified nonprofit affordable housing renewable energy

projects, giving consideration to:

        (i) the feasibility of project completion;

        (ii) the anticipated amount of renewable energy the project will produce;

        (iii) the potential of the project to mitigate energy costs over the life of the project; and

        (iv) the estimated cost per kilo-watt hour (kwh) of the energy produced from the

project. Nonprofit affordable housing agencies that have not previously received financing from

this program shall be given priority over those agencies that have received funding under this

program.

        (2) Beginning on January 1, 2009, the economic development corporation, in

consultation with the Rhode Island housing and mortgage finance corporation, shall solicit

proposals from eligible nonprofit housing agencies for renewable energy projects and shall award

grants, in accordance with the rules and ranking criteria. The economic development corporation

shall consult with the Rhode Island housing and mortgage finance corporation in the grant-

making process and shall notify the corporation of the awardees.

        (3) Any funds not expended from the affordable housing renewable energy investment

program in a given year shall remain in the fund and be added to the balance to be distributed in

the next award cycle. For the purposes of this section, "qualified nonprofit affordable housing

renewable energy projects" means any project that produces renewable energy resources and

whose output of power and other attributes is controlled in its entirety by at least one nonprofit

affordable housing development as defined in 42-55-3 and is restricted to producing energy for

the nonprofit affordable housing development.

        (e) The executive director of the economic development corporation is authorized and

may enter into a contract with a contractor for the cost effective administration of the renewable

energy programs funded by this section. A competitive bid and contract award for administration

of the renewable energy programs may occur every three (3) years and shall include as a

condition that after July 1, 2008 the account for the renewable energy programs shall be

maintained and administered by the economic development corporation as provided for in

subdivision (b) above.

        (f) Effective January 1, 2007, and for a period of seven (7) eleven (11) years thereafter,

each gas distribution company shall include, with the approval of the commission, a charge of up

to fifteen cents ($0.15) per deca therm delivered to demand side management programs,

including, but not limited to, programs for cost-effective energy efficiency, energy conservation,

combined heat and power systems, and weatherization services for low income households.

        (g) The gas company shall establish a separate account for demand side management

programs, which shall be administered and implemented by the distribution company, subject to

the regulatory reviewing authority of the commission. The commission may establish

administrative mechanisms and procedures that are similar to those for electric demand side

management programs administered under the jurisdiction of the commissions and that are

designed to achieve cost-effectiveness and high life-time savings of efficiency measures

supported by the program.

        (h) The commission may, if reasonable and feasible, except from this demand side

management change:

        (i) gas used for distribution generation; and

        (ii) gas used for the manufacturing processes, where the customer has established a

self-directed program to invest in and achieve best effective energy efficiency in accordance with

a plan approved by the commission and subject to periodic review and approval by the

commission, which plan shall require annual reporting of the amount invested and the return on

investments in terms of gas savings.

        (i) The commission may provide for the coordinated and/or integrated administration of

electric and gas demand side management programs in order to enhance the effectiveness of the

programs. Such coordinated and/or integrated administration may after March 1, 2009, upon the

recommendation of the office of energy resources, be through one or more third-party entities

designated by the commission pursuant to a competitive selection process.

        (j) Effective January 1, 2007, the commission shall allocate from demand-side

management gas and electric funds authorized pursuant to this 39-2-1.2, an amount not to

exceed two percent (2%) of such funds on an annual basis for the retention of expert consultants,

and reasonable administrations costs of the energy efficiency and resources management council

associated with planning, management, and evaluation of energy efficiency programs, renewable

energy programs and least-cost procurement, and with regulatory proceedings, contested cases,

and other actions pertaining to the purposes, powers and duties of the council, which allocation

may by mutual agreement, be used in coordination with the office of energy resources to support

such activities.

 

     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

     

=======

LC00658

========