HB 532 – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 532
This bill makes changes in the laws governing energy efficiency and clean energy districts.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen
AN ACT relative to energy efficiency and clean energy districts.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Definitions. Amend RSA 53-F:1 to read as follows:
53-F:1 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. “Clean energy improvement” means the installation of any system on the property for producing electricity for, or meeting heating, cooling, or water heating needs of the property, using either renewable energy sources, combined heat and power systems, or district energy systems using wood biomass (but not construction and demolition waste), waste heat, or natural gas. Such improvements include but are not limited to solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wood biomass, wind, and geothermal systems, provided that, to be covered by an agreement with a property owner and financed under this chapter, such improvements shall be qualifying improvements under RSA 53-F:6.
II. “District” means an energy efficiency and clean energy district established under this chapter.
III. “Energy conservation and efficiency improvements” means measures to reduce consumption, through conservation or more efficient use, of electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, propane, or other forms of energy on or off the property, including but not limited to air sealing, installation of insulation, installation of heating, cooling, or ventilation systems meeting or exceeding ENERGY STAR standards, building modifications to increase the use of daylighting, replacement of windows with units meeting or exceeding ENERGY STAR standards, installation of energy controls or energy recovery systems, and installation of efficient lighting equipment, provided that, to be covered by an agreement with a property owner and financed under this chapter, all such improvements must be permanently affixed to a building or facility that is part of the property and shall be qualifying improvements under RSA 53-F:6.
IV. “Municipality” means any city, town, or village district, or the designated representative of the city, town, or village district.
V. “Property owner” means the owner of record of real property within the boundaries of the district, whether zoned or used for residential, commercial, industrial, or other uses.
2 Authority. Amend RSA 53-F:3, I to read as follows:
I. Incur debt for the purpose of providing financing to property owners within the district, including [
through] but not limited to the issuance of municipal revenue bonds, Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds or Clean Renewable Energy Bonds. Any such debt may be secured by a pledge of revenues, moneys, rights, and proceeds under this chapter, and except as may be otherwise provided in this chapter, shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 33 and RSA 33-B.
3 Agreements With Property Owners. Amend RSA 53-F:4, V to read as follows:
V. Any personal or corporate financial information provided to a municipality or an entity administering a program under this chapter on behalf of a municipality by a participating property owner or potential participating property owner shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person except as required to administer the program and only on a need-to-know basis.
4 Eligibility of Property Owners. Amend RSA 53-F:5, II to read as follows:
II. Prior to entering into an agreement with a property owner, the municipality shall determine that all property taxes and any other assessments levied with property taxes are current and have been current for 3 years or the property owner’s period of ownership, whichever is less; that there are no involuntary liens such as mechanic’s liens on the property; and that no notices of default or other evidence of property-based debt delinquency have been recorded during the past 3 years or the property owner’s period of ownership, whichever is less; and that the property owner is current on all mortgage debt on the property. The municipality [
shall] may adopt additional criteria, appropriate to property-assessed clean energy finance programs, for determining the creditworthiness of property owners.
5 Financing Terms. Amend RSA 53-F:7 to read as follows:
53-F:7 Financing Terms.
I. For residential properties, improvements shall be financed pursuant to an agreement under this chapter only on terms such that the property owner experiences a positive or neutral cash flow impact during the first year [
and]. This provision shall not apply to commercial properties. The total energy cost savings realized by the property owner and the property owner’s successors during the useful lives of the improvements are expected to exceed the total cost to the property owner and the property owner’s successors of the improvements. [ In determining the amount that may be financed pursuant to an agreement under this chapter, the total amount of all rebates, tax credits, grants, and other financial assistance received by the owner on account of the improvements shall be deducted from the cost of the improvements.]
II. A municipality that provides financing to participating property owners shall establish a loss reserve account and maintain funds in such account at a level that meets generally accepted standards for property-assessed clean energy finance programs. Funds in a loss reserve account shall not be provided from general municipal revenues.
III. The total amount of assessments for a property under this chapter shall not be less than $5,000 and shall not exceed $35,000 in the case of a single-family residential property [
or $60,000] in the case of a commercial, industrial, or multifamily residential property there shall be no limit on cost-effective financing, [ or 15 percent of the assessed value of the property multiplied by the municipality’s current equalization ratio, whichever is less]. The combined amount of assessments under this chapter, any outstanding mortgage obligations for [ the] residential property, and any other outstanding debt attached to [ the] such property shall not exceed 85 percent of the assessed value of the property multiplied by the municipality’s current equalization ratio. This provision shall not apply to commercial properties. A property owner who escrows property taxes with the holder of a mortgage on a property subject to an agreement under this chapter may be required by the holder to escrow amounts due on the assessment under this chapter and the mortgage holder shall remit such amounts to the municipality in the manner that property taxes are escrowed and remitted.
IV. The maximum term of finance provided pursuant to an agreement under this chapter shall be [
20] 30 years. The term shall in no case exceed 85 percent of the average expected useful life of all improvements, weighted by cost. [ Expected useful lives used for all calculations under this chapter shall be consistent with the expected useful lives of energy conservation and efficiency and clean energy measures approved by the public utilities commission for utility or other programs.]
6 Priority; Collection and Enforcement. Amend RSA 53-F:8 to read as follows:
53-F:8 Priority; Collection and Enforcement. Collection of assessments under this chapter shall be made by the tax collector or other official responsible for property tax or municipal service charge collection. A municipality shall commit bills for amounts due on the assessments, including interest and any charges, to the tax collector with a warrant signed by the appropriate municipal officials requiring the tax collector to collect them. Each year bills for amounts due on the assessments shall coincide with bills for property taxes or municipal service charges. Each assessment on the property of a participating property owner shall create a lien on the property pursuant to RSA 80:19, except that the lien shall be junior to existing liens of record at the time the bill for the assessment is mailed to the participating property owner. Enforcement powers for nonpayment shall be those provided under RSA 80 relative to property tax collection, including RSA 80:19; provided, however, a tax sale of the property shall not extinguish prior liens of record. At the time of enforcement, only the past due balances of the assessment under this chapter, including all interest, charges, and penalties, shall be due for payment. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the event of a transfer of property ownership through foreclosure [
or a sheriff’s sale by a senior lienor, the lien of the municipality shall be extinguished], collection by the municipality shall be limited to any past due balances and future payments shall neither be accelerated nor extinguished by foreclosure. Payment of a past due balance from the loss reserve established under this chapter shall not relieve a participating property owner from the obligation to pay that amount.
7 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.