TITLE 39
Public Utilities and Carriers

CHAPTER 39-26.7
Nonregulated Power Producer Consumer Bill of Rights

SECTION 39-26.7-5


§ 39-26.7-5 Certain customer rights.

(a) An electric-distribution company shall transfer a residential customer to the standard-offer service rate not later than the next billing cycle after receipt of a request from a residential customer eligible for standard-offer service.

(b) The electric-distribution company shall not be liable for any contract termination fees that may be assessed by the nonregulated power producer.

(c) An electric-distribution company shall transfer a residential customer to the electric-generation-service rate of a nonregulated power producer not later than the next billing cycle after the electric-distribution company receives from the nonregulated power producer a successful enrollment of such residential customer, unless the notification is not received by the electric-distribution company in accordance with its commission-approved terms and conditions on file with the division and commission.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of the general laws, nothing shall prohibit a residential customer who moves from one dwelling to another dwelling within the state from immediately receiving electric-generation service from a nonregulated power producer, provided such customer was receiving such service from a nonregulated power producer immediately prior to such move.

(e) The electric-distribution company shall include in its terms and conditions, subject to review and approval by the commission, conditions for release of customer information to a nonregulated power producer.

(f) Customers shall be entitled to any available, individual information about their loads or usage at no cost.

(g) On or before January 1, 2017, the division shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to develop a standard summary form of the material terms and conditions of the contract for electric-generation services signed by a residential customer. Such form shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) A description of the rate the customer will be paying;

(2) Whether such rate is a fixed or variable rate;

(3) The term and expiration date of such rate;

(4) Whether the contract will automatically renew;

(5) A notice describing the customer's right to cancel the service, including the right to schedule the cancellation of service on a date certain at any time during the contract period, as provided in this section;

(6) Information on air emissions and resource mix of generation facilities operated by and under long-term contract to the nonregulated power producer;

(7) The trade name of the nonregulated power producer;

(8) The toll-free telephone number for customer service of the nonregulated power producer;

(9) The internet website of the nonregulated power producer;

(10) The toll-free telephone number for customer complaints of the division; and

(11) Any other information required by the division. Upon the division's filing of regulations pursuant to this section, the commission shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to repeal any rules that overlap with the regulations filed by the division.

(h) On and after January 1, 2017, each nonregulated power producer shall, prior to initiation of electric-generation services, provide the potential residential customer with a completed summary form developed pursuant to this section. Each nonregulated power producer shall, prior to the initiation of electric-generation services, provide the potential commercial or industrial customer with a written notice describing the rates; information that complies with § 39-26-9 and the commission's rules governing energy source disclosure, which may be amended from time to time; terms and conditions of the service; and a notice describing the customer's right to cancel the service; as provided in this section.

(i) No nonregulated power producer shall provide electric-generation services unless the customer has signed a service contract or consents to such services by one of the following:

(1) An independent, third-party telephone verification;

(2) Receipt of a written confirmation, received in the United States mail from the customer, after the customer has received an information package confirming any telephone agreement;

(3) The customer signs a contract that conforms with the provisions of this section; or

(4) The customer's consent is obtained through electronic means, including, but not limited to, a computer transaction.

(j) Each nonregulated power producer shall provide each customer with a written contract, which contract may be provided in an electronic format, that conforms with the provisions of this section and maintain records of such signed service contract or consent to service for a period of not less than two (2) years from the date of expiration of such contract, which records shall be provided to the division or the customer upon request.

(k) Each contract for electric-generation services shall contain:

(1) All material terms of the agreement;

(2) A clear and conspicuous statement explaining the rates that such customer will be paying, including the circumstances under which the rates may change;

(3) A statement that provides specific directions to the customer as to how to compare the price terms in the contract to the customer's existing electric-generation-service charge on the electric bill and how long those rates are guaranteed;

(4) Such contract shall also include a clear and conspicuous statement providing the customer's right to cancel such contract not later than three (3) days after signature or receipt in accordance with the provisions of this subsection, describing under what circumstances, if any, the supplier may terminate the contract and describing any penalty for early termination of such contract;

(5) The method by which a customer may cancel service through the nonregulated power producer, including a method by which a customer without internet access may cancel service; and

(6) Any other information required by the division.

(l) Between thirty (30) and sixty (60) days, inclusive, prior to the expiration of a fixed-price term for a residential customer, a nonregulated power producer shall provide a written notice to such customer of any change to the customer's electric-generation price. Such residential customer shall select the method of written notice at the time the contract is signed or verified through third-party verification, as described in this section, in a manner approved by the division. Such customer shall have the option to change the method of notification at any time during the contract.

(m) No nonregulated power producer shall charge a residential customer month-to-month variable rates for electric-generation services following the expiration of a contract entered into after the effective date of this section [July 12, 2016] without providing written notification to such residential customer forty-five (45) days prior to the commencement of such month-to-month variable rates. Such notice shall conform to any rules that may be promulgated by the division. Such customer shall have the option to change the method of notification at any time during the contract.

(n) No nonregulated power producer shall charge an electric-generation-service rate to a residential customer that is twenty-five percent (25%) more than the original contract price, or the last rate notification provided by the nonregulated power producer, without disclosing the rate change described in this section fifteen (15) days before it takes effect. Such disclosure shall be in writing and shall conform to any rules that may be promulgated by the division.

(o) No third-party agent may sell electric-generation services on behalf of a nonregulated power producer unless the third-party agent is an employee or independent contractor of such nonregulated power producer and the third-party agent has received appropriate training directly from such nonregulated power producer.

(p) All sales and solicitations of electric-generation services by a nonregulated power producer, aggregator, or agent of a nonregulated power producer or aggregator to a customer conducted and consummated entirely by United States mail; door-to-door sale; telephone or other electronic means; during a scheduled appointment at the premises of a customer; or at a fair, trade or business show, convention, or exposition in addition to complying with the provisions of this section, shall comply with all state and local laws and regulations.

(q) Any representative of a nonregulated power producer, aggregator, or agent of a nonregulated power producer or aggregator shall prominently display or wear a photo identification badge stating the name of such person's employer or the nonregulated power producer the person represents and shall not wear apparel, carry equipment, or distribute materials that includes the logo or emblem of an electric-distribution company or contains any language suggesting a relationship that does not exist with an electric-distribution company, government agency, or other supplier.

(r) No nonregulated power producer, aggregator, or agent of a nonregulated power producer or aggregator shall advertise or disclose the price of electricity to mislead a reasonable person into believing that the electric-generation services portion of the bill will be the total bill amount for the delivery of electricity to the customer's location, or make any statement, oral or written, suggesting a prospective customer is required to choose a supplier. When advertising or disclosing the price for electricity, the nonregulated power producer, aggregator, or agent of a nonregulated power producer shall, on and after January 1, 2017, indicate, using at least a ten point (10) font size, in a conspicuous part of any advertisement or disclosure that includes an advertised price, the expiration of such advertised price, and any fixed or recurring charge, including, but not limited to, any minimum monthly charge.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2016, ch. 453, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 454, § 1.)