Public Utilities and Carriers

Public Utilities Commission

SECTION 39-1-27.12

§ 39-1-27.12. Low-Income Home-Energy Assistance Program Enhancement Plan.

(a) The Low-Income Home-Energy Assistance Program Enhancement Plan (hereinafter "LIHEAP Enhancement Plan") is hereby created to supplement the federal Low-Income Home-Energy Assistance Program ("LIHEAP") funding being received by customers of Rhode Island electric- and gas-distribution companies.

(b) Within a period of time sufficient to accomplish the purposes of this section, but not longer than ninety (90) days after the effective date of this chapter, the department of human services shall develop a recommended monthly "LIHEAP enhancement charge" rate for the following year and make a filing with the commission pursuant to this chapter recommending rates. Thereafter annually, but no later than October 15 of each year, the department shall make filings with the commission to recommend the LIHEAP enhancement charge rates for each class of electric- and natural-gas distribution company customer for the following year.

(c) A LIHEAP enhancement charge approved by the commission shall have the following limitations:

(1) For electric-distribution company customers, the charge shall not be more than ten dollars ($10.00) per year.

(2) For natural-gas-distribution company customers, the charge shall not be more than ten dollars ($10.00) per year.

(3) The total projected annual revenue for the LIHEAP enhancement plan through charges to all electric- and natural-gas-distribution company customers shall not exceed seven million five hundred thousand dollars ($7,500,000) and shall not be below six million five hundred thousand dollars ($6,500,000).

A minimum of five percent (5%) shall be allocated to provide assistance to customers who are seeking LIHEAP certification for the sole purpose of entering into an arrearage plan as defined in § 39-2-1(d)(2) between April 15 and September 30 of each year. Such customers must be a homeless family or individual transitioning from a shelter into housing and who have provided documentation acceptable to the department of human services. Any funds remaining at the end of the fiscal year shall be available for the upcoming winter season.

(d) The commission shall open a docket, to consider for approval, LIHEAP enhancement charge rates proposed by the department. In reviewing the recommended rates, the commission shall give due consideration to the recommendations of the department and the standards set forth in subsection (c). The commission shall issue a decision within sixty (60) days after said recommendations and report are filed with the commission establishing the enhancement plan charge rates.

(e) The electric- or gas-distribution company shall use the funds collected through this enhancement plan charge to provide a credit to customers' accounts that are receiving federal LIHEAP assistance payments in a manner determined by the department of human services. The department of human services shall designate to the gas- or electric-distribution company the qualifying customer accounts and the amounts to be credited to those customer accounts, provided that the total amount to be credited to those accounts shall be fully funded by, and not exceed, the total amount collected through the enhancement plan charge. The electric- or gas-distribution company's added administrative expenses to process the credit assignments provided to it by the department of human services will be recoverable either from the LIHEAP enhancement charge or through a separate charge approved by the public utilities commission.

(f) As used in this section, "electric- and natural-gas-distribution company" means a company as defined in subsection 39-1-2(12), but not including the Block Island Power Company or the Pascoag Utility District.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2011, ch. 382, § 2; P.L. 2011, ch. 404, § 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 145, art. 14, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 125, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 137, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 451, § 15.)