Chapter 312

2011 -- H 5423 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 07/12/11





     Introduced By: Representatives Keable, Gallison, Blazejewski, and Marcello

     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 this 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 Rhode Island general laws chapter 6-

27, entitledTruth 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

of business;

     (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.



LC01106/SUB A