2011 -- S 0284 SUBSTITUTE A
A N A C T
RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS - PROPANE GAS SALES
Introduced By: Senators P Fogarty, Gallo, Tassoni, Goodwin, and Nesselbush
Date Introduced: February 16, 2011
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 5-83-1 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-83 entitled "Propane Gas
Sales" is hereby amended to read as follows:
5-83-1. Requirements for guaranteed price plans, price protection and prepaid
contracts. -- (a) A contract for the retail sale of propane gas that offers a guaranteed price plan,
including a ceiling price cap plan contract and any other similar plan, must be disclosed in a way
to clearly define the terms and conditions of the price plan. The disclosure of terms and
conditions must be in plain language, must immediately follow the language concerning the price
or service that could be affected and must be, if initiated verbally, confirmed in writing no more
than fourteen (14) days from the initiation date using no less than twelve (12) point boldface type
of uniform font. The disclosure of terms and conditions, must include, but not be limited to, any
additional fees or costs for securing the guaranteed price, as well as, any early termination fees.
(b) A solicitation for the retail sale of propane gas that offers a guaranteed price plan,
including a ceiling price cap plan and any other similar plan, must be confirmed in writing no
more than fourteen (14) days from the solicitation date, and the terms and conditions of that offer
must be disclosed in plain language.
(c) A propane gas dealer that pays for media or print advertising of a price shall offer
said price for a period of no less than twenty-four (24) hours or until the next advertised price is
so publicized, whichever occurs first.
(d) No prepaid propane gas contract shall require any consumer commitment to purchase
propane gas pursuant to the terms of such contract for a period of more than twelve (12) months.
(e) Any violation of
chapter section shall render the terms and conditions of the
aforementioned contract null and void.
SECTION 2. Chapter 5-83 of the General Laws entitled "Propane Gas Sales" is hereby
amended by adding thereto the following sections:
5-83-2. Surcharge disclosure and actual cost estimates. -- (a) As used in this chapter,
“consumer” or “residential consumer” means a direct purchaser of propane for consumption and
not for resale as the primary source of fuel for residential heating and/or domestic hot water to
one or more dwelling units within a structure having not more than four (4) dwelling units.
(b) No propane gas dealer shall charge a residential consumer any fee above the delivered
cost per gallon of propane unless the fee was disclosed prior to delivery in a consumer contract or
dealer notice, and is itemized in an invoice provided to the consumer. Propane gas dealers shall
provide a written explanation of the fee and disclose the actual or best estimate of the amount of
the fee to be charged in connection with the next delivery within five (5) business days of a
consumer’s request for such information at no expense to the consumer.
(c) Upon the request of an individual, a propane gas dealer shall promptly disclose, over
the telephone or in writing, the estimated price per gallon of propane and any charges that are
applicable to the individual based on stated usage, the price and terms of leasing, loaning or
purchasing storage containers through the seller, and other pertinent information, provided that
nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted as creating a business relationship between an
individual and a propane gas dealer.
5-83-3. Propane storage container financing and denial of service. -- (a) If a propane
gas dealer, in its sole discretion, agrees to finance a consumer’s purchase of a propane storage
container, the financing shall be subject to the provisions of
27, entitled “Truth in Lending and Retail Selling.”
(b) Propane storage containers may only be filled by the owner or upon the owner’s
authorization. When the propane storage container is owned by the consumer, a propane gas
dealer shall not refuse to deliver propane to the consumer-owned container if the consumer:
(1) Satisfies the dealer’s credit and payment requirements;
(2) Enters into a written service agreement if required by the dealer in the regular course
(3) Is located within the dealer’s delivery territory;
(4) Provides proof of ownership of the container;
(5) Arranges for a safety check of the propane system and the installation and operation
of the system are determined by the dealer to comply with NFPA 54 (National Fuel Gas Code)
and NFPA 58 (Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code) of the National Fire
Protection Association; and
(6) Complies with appropriate safety requirements as required by the dealer.
5-83-4. Emergency contact information. -- The firm name and emergency telephone
number of a gas dealer that delivers propane to a stationary DOT cylinder and/or an ASME tank
with an aggregate capacity of less than four thousand (4,000) gallons water storage capacity shall
be affixed and legibly maintained in a visible location on or near all such stationary propane
containers in text at least one-half (1/2) inch in height.
5-83-5. Termination of service. -- (a) When a business relationship is terminated
between a residential consumer and a gas dealer that has leased or loaned a propane storage
container to the consumer, the propane gas dealer shall:
(1) At the consumer’s request, remove the propane gas storage container that it owns
from the consumer’s premises by the latest of the following dates:
(i) Twenty (20) days from the termination or thirty (30) days from the termination in the
case of an underground tank;
(ii) In the case of a cash customer, twenty (20) days from receipt of payment of all
amounts due to the gas dealer by the consumer; or
(iii) As soon as weather conditions and access to the propane storage container allow.
(2) Within thirty (30) days after removal of a dealer-supplied propane gas storage
container, reimburse the consumer for any propane gas remaining in the container at the retail
per gallon price that was paid by the consumer, less any amounts due from the consumer to the
(3) Be authorized to charge a consumer commercially reasonable fees, as applicable, for
propane storage container excavation and pump out if an existing contract between the consumer
and gas dealer allows the dealer to charge such fees;
(4) Be authorized to charge a consumer a disconnect or tank removal fee in an amount
that is commercially reasonable based on labor, transportation, restocking and similar costs, if the
fee has been disclosed to the consumer in a written agreement and if:
(i) For storage containers situated above ground, the container has been located on the
consumer’s premises for less than three (3) years; or
(ii) For storage containers situated underground, the container has been located on the
consumer’s premises for less than five (5) years.
(b) A provision of an existing contract that allows a gas dealer to charge a consumer
disconnect or tank removal fee with respect to a container that has been located on the
consumer’s premises for more than three (3) years shall remain valid and enforceable until the
date the contract expires or June 1, 2012, whichever is sooner.
5-83-6. Violations. -- Any person or entity who sells propane gas to be used for
residential use that knowingly violates this chapter may be fined in an amount not more than five
hundred dollars ($500).
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.