§ 39-1-37.1 Ratepayers advisory board. (a) There is hereby established the ratepayers advisory board. The advisory board shall consist of the following public members:
(1) Three (3) members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, one of whom shall represent the interests of residential ratepayers; one of whom shall represent the interests of the elderly and disabled; and one of whom shall represent a community-based consumer organization representing low-income individuals.
(2) Three (3) members appointed by the senate president, one of whom shall represent the interests of residential ratepayers; one of whom shall represent a chamber of commerce; and one of whom shall represent a non-profit energy consortium of businesses.
(3) Three (3) members appointed by the governor, one of whom shall represent the LIHEAP program administration; one of whom shall represent the interests of small business owners; and one of whom shall represent the interests of residents of affordable housing.
(b) The appointments to the advisory board shall be made as follows: each appointing authority shall appoint one member to serve a term of one year, one member to serve a term of two (2) years, and one member to serve a term of three (3) years. Thereafter, each member appointed to the advisory board shall serve a three (3) year term. The board members are eligible to succeed themselves. A vacancy, other than by expiration of a term, shall be filled in the manner of the original appointment, but only for the unexpired portion of the term.
(c) Five (5) members shall constitute a quorum. A majority vote of the board shall be required for all recommendations, advice, and approvals of the board, in accordance with this section.
(d) A board member shall not receive compensation for his or her service on the board but may receive reimbursement for travel and other necessary expenses, while engaged in the performance of official duties of the board.
(e) The board shall elect annually a chairperson and vice chairperson from among its membership.
(f) The board shall receive staff and administrative support from the division, to organize meetings and take and distribute minutes. The division shall also furnish the advisory board a suitable location to hold its meetings.
(g) The board shall meet at least quarterly and at the call of the chairperson or four (4) board members. The administrator shall be present for all board meetings to inform the board of the actions of the division and to respond to the board's inquiries.
(h) The board shall review legislative proposals and comment on existing state laws relating to residential ratepayers.
(i) The board shall advise the administrator on matters concerning residential ratepayers including, but not limited to utility shut-off policies, rate affordability, conservation measures, consumer education, smart meters and/or restricted use meters, customer service charges, legislation pending before the general assembly, and legislative initiatives.
(j) The advisory board shall issue an annual report of findings, including recommendations on current or proposed state programs, policies, regulations and laws, to the governor and the general assembly.
(k) The board shall be subject to the provisions of chapter
38-2, Access to Public Records Act, and chapter 42-46, Open Meetings Act.
(P.L. 2011, ch. 382, § 3; P.L. 2011, ch. 404, § 3.)