§ 39-1-27.3.1 Option to return to standard offer.
(a) The commission may, notwithstanding the provisions of § 39-1-27.3, allow customers no longer eligible for standard offer service to return to standard offer service, subject to the process set forth in this section. The process shall be as follows: the commission shall hold hearings to determine whether there is a sufficient presence of nonregulated power producers offering reasonably priced power supply service to customers in Rhode Island. If the commission determines that these market conditions are not present, the commission shall direct the electric distribution company to prepare and file a plan that creates an option for customers to return to the standard offer including terms and conditions for customers returning and the manner in which the power supply will be procured. This plan may include term commitments or notice provisions before nonresidential customers are permitted to leave standard offer service once they return. The commission shall conduct a hearing to review the electric distribution company's plan and issue an order approving the plan, including any modifications the commission deems appropriate.
(b) Once the plan is approved by the commission, the electric distribution company and the division shall jointly prepare a request for power supply proposals ("RFP") consistent with the commission's order, develop reasonable bidder qualification, issue the RFP, review the bids, and jointly select a winning bidder or bidders to supply power. If the electric distribution company and the division mutually agree that the bids are unreasonably high, they shall have the discretion to reject all bids and re-issue an RFP at a later date that they deem appropriate. If the electric distribution company and the division cannot agree on any matter, the dispute shall be submitted to the commission for resolution. Once the winning bidder or bidders are selected, a supply contract or contracts on terms reasonably acceptable to the distribution company and the division will be executed by the electric distribution company and no further regulatory approval shall be required. However, the results of the bidding process shall be filed with the commission.
(c) All of the costs associated with the new supply contract(s) will be recovered through standard offer rates and the electric distribution company's fully reconciling adjustment provision.
(d) The standard offer rates for the residential customers returning to the standard offer shall be the same as the standard offer rate paid by all other standard offer customers. The standard offer rates for the nonresidential customers returning to the standard offer shall be determined by the commission after the commission reviews the costs of the power supply resulting from the bid process. The rate for nonresidential customers returning to the standard offer may differ from those of other customers, if the commission deems the rate differential to be appropriate.
(e) Any customer returning to the standard offer may not enter into any agreement to use standard offer service to arbitrage the market with any supplier while the customer is on the standard offer and it shall be unlawful for any nonregulated power producer to enter into such an agreement.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a legally enforceable entitlement for any supplier to require the electric distribution company to select any particular bid and/or sign a contract with the supplier.
(g) The requirements set forth in this section shall not apply to Pascoag Fire District or Block Island Power Company.
(P.L. 2002, ch. 144, § 2.)