HB 1258 - AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1258
SPONSORS: Rep. Harrington, Straf. 3; Rep. Vose, Rock. 9
COMMITTEE: Science, Technology and Energy
This bill makes various changes to amend the powers and duties of the public utilities commission and the department of energy.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.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 Twenty Two
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Department of Energy; General Provisions. Amend RSA 12-P:3, II to read as follows:
II. The department of energy is authorized to work with the department of business and economic affairs, the public utilities commission, and the department of administrative services to coordinate the implementation of the establishment of the department, and to transfer appropriations and create the proper expenditure lines, if needed, for the establishment of their respective operations, including but not limited to the relocation of personnel, work stations, books, papers, personnel record files, and equipment, with the approval of the governor and council and of the director of personnel.
2 Department of Energy; Division of Enforcement. Amend RSA 12-P:8 to read as follows:
12-P:8 Division of Enforcement. There is established within the department the division of enforcement, under the supervision of an unclassified director of the division of enforcement. The division, through its officials, shall be responsible for all functions, duties, and responsibilities which may be assigned to it by the commissioner or laws enacted by the general court. The division shall conduct an audit related to the operation of public utilities in the state, which, in the opinion of the commission or the department of energy, ought to be audited. The resulting audit report shall be filed with the commission and become part of the record.
3 New Paragraph; Department of Energy; General Provisions. Amend RSA 12-P:3 by inserting after paragraph II the following new paragraph:
III. The department shall automatically be a party to all proceedings before the public utilities commission. Any person or party that initiates a proceeding before the public utilities commission by petition or otherwise shall provide a copy to the department at the time of filing. Any person or party filing confidential information in any proceeding in which the department may appear, or exchanging confidential information in discovery or otherwise, shall provide the department with such confidential information.
4 Regulatory Support; Reference Deleted. Amend RSA 12-P:9 to read as follows:
12-P:9 Division of Regulatory Support. There is established within the department the division of regulatory support, under the supervision of an unclassified director of the division of regulatory support. The division, through its officials, shall be responsible for all functions, duties, and responsibilities which may be assigned to it by the commissioner or laws enacted by the general court. [The division shall automatically be a party to all proceedings before the public utilities commission.]
5 Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Board. RSA 125-O:5-a, II is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:
II. The members of the board shall be as follows:
(a) The commissioner of the department of energy, or designee.
(b) The consumer advocate, or designee.
(c) The commissioner of the department of environmental services, or designee.
(d) The commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs, or designee.
(e) The president of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, or designee.
(f) The executive director of the New Hampshire Municipal Association, or designee.
(g) The executive director of New Hampshire Legal Assistance, or designee.
(h) The president of the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of New Hampshire, or designee.
(i) Two members of the house committee with jurisdiction over energy matters, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
(j) One member of the senate committee with jurisdiction over energy matters, appointed by the president of the senate.
(k) Three representatives from not-for-profit groups representing energy, environmental, consumer, or public health issues and knowledgeable in energy conservation policies and programs, appointed by the commissioner of the department of energy.
(l) The commissioner of the department of administrative services, or designee.
(m) The state fire marshal, or designee.
(n) The executive director of the New Hampshire housing finance authority, or designee.
6 Reference Change. Amend RSA 362-F:4, V to read as follows:
V. For good cause, and after notice and hearing, the [commission] department of energy may accelerate or delay by up to one year, any given year's incremental increase in class I or II renewable portfolio standards requirement under RSA 362-F:3.
7 Final Orders Issued by the Public Utilities Commission. Amend RSA 363:17-b to read as follows:
363:17-b Final Orders. The commission shall issue a final order on all matters presented to it. Matters resolved by final order of the commission shall be exempt from RSA 541-A:29 and RSA 541-A:29-a, but shall be subject to federal and state time limitations applicable to specific matters. The transcript or minutes of oral deliberations shall not constitute a final order. A final order shall include, but not be limited to:
I. The identity of all parties;
II. [The positions of each party on each issue;
III.] A decision on each issue including the reasoning behind the decision; and
[IV.] III. The concurrence or dissent of each commissioner participating in the decision.
8 Procedures for Termination of Certain Utility Services. Amend RSA 363-B:1, II-III to read as follows:
II. For purposes of this section, good cause shall mean violation of any tariff provision then in force as approved by the [public utilities commission] department of energy, or nonpayment of charges that are past due and remain unpaid after proper demand for them.
III. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a gas or electric public utility may terminate service to a residential customer without prior notice to the customer or the [commission] department when:
(a) There exists unauthorized or fraudulent use or procurement of utility service;
(b) A condition dangerous to the health, safety, or utility service of others exists;
(c) There is a clear and present danger to life, health, or physical property; or
(d) The customer has clearly abandoned the premises.
The utility shall notify the [commission] department after it has terminated service for any of these reasons.
9 Conference Provided. Amend RSA 363-B:2 to read as follows:
363-B:2 Conference Provided.
I. Any person who receives a notice of intent to terminate service pursuant to RSA 363-B:1 and believes such proposed termination to be unjustified may request, prior to the date specified in the termination notice, a conference with the utility company involved to review the basis for the proposed termination. The conference with the utility company shall be conducted in person, by writing or by telephone as the customer may elect. If the customer is dissatisfied with the outcome of the conference he may, within 3 days after the conference if the conference is conducted in person, or within 5 days after the conference if the conference is conducted by writing or by telephone, request a conference with a staff member of the [commission] department of energy to review the basis for the proposed termination. The conference with the [commission] department may be conducted by writing or by telephone if the customer so elects.
II. In the event of a request for a conference with the public utility, the public utility shall continue service to the customer for 3 days after the conference if the conference was conducted in person, or for 5 days after the conference if the conference was conducted by writing or by telephone, or to the date specified in the notice of termination, whichever comes later.
III. During the conference with the utility company, the utility company shall inform the customer of his right to request a conference with a staff member of the [commission] department of energy. If the conference with the utility company is conducted in person, the customer shall be furnished a form for requesting a conference with a staff member of the [commission] department during the conference. If the conference with the utility company is conducted by writing or by telephone, the utility company shall mail the form to the customer by regular mail on the same day as the conference. In the event of a request for a conference with a staff member of the [commission] department, the public utility shall continue service to the customer until such time as the staff member or the [commission] department determines that termination is justified.
10 Investigations by the Department of Energy. Amend RSA 365:4 to read as follows:
365:4 Investigation. If the charges are not satisfied as provided in RSA 365:3, and it shall appear to the department of energy that there are reasonable grounds therefor, it shall investigate the same in such manner and by such means as it shall deem proper. After investigation, the department of energy may bring proceedings on its own motion before the public utilities commission, with respect to any complaint or any violation by a public utility of any provision of law, rule, terms and conditions of its franchises or charter, or any order of the commission.
11 Affiliates of Public Utilities; Contracts. Amend RSA 366:3 to read as follows:
366:3 Filing of Contracts. The original or a verified copy of any contract or arrangement and of any modification thereof or a verified summary of any unwritten contract or arrangement, the consideration of which exceeds $500, hereafter entered into between a public utility and an affiliate providing for the furnishing of managerial, supervisory, construction, engineering, accounting, purchasing, financial, or any other services either to or by a public utility or an affiliate shall be filed by the public utility with the department of energy within 10 days after the date on which the contract is executed or the arrangement entered into. The department may also require a public utility to file in such form as the department may require full information with respect to any purchase from or sale to an affiliate, whether or not made in pursuance of a continuing contract or arrangement. Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, any affiliate agreement shall be approved by the public utilities commission.
12 Contracts Between Utilities and Affiliates; Failure to File. Amend RSA 366:4 to read as follows:
366:4 Failure to File. Any contract or arrangement not filed with the department of energy pursuant to RSA 366:3 shall be unenforceable in any court in this state and payments thereunder may be disallowed by the department unless the later filing thereof is approved in writing by the department. The commission shall disallow payment if recommended by the department. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any affiliate agreement shall be approved by the public utilities commission.
13 Investigation of Other Utilities. Amend RSA 374:7 to read as follows:
374:7 Investigation of Other Utilities; Orders. The commission and the department of energy shall have power to investigate and ascertain, from time to time, the quality of gas supplied by public utilities and the methods employed by public utilities in manufacturing, transmitting or supplying gas or electricity for light, heat or power, or in transmitting telephone and telegraph messages, or supplying water, and, after notice and hearing thereon, the commission shall have power to order all reasonable and just improvements and extensions in service or methods.
14 Reference Change; Service Territories Served by Certain Telephone Utilities. Amend RSA 374:22-g, II to read as follows:
II. In determining the public good, the [commission] department of energy shall consider the interests of competition with other factors including, but not limited to, fairness; economic efficiency; universal service; carrier of last resort obligations; the incumbent utility's opportunity to realize a reasonable return on its investment; and the recovery from competitive providers of expenses incurred by the incumbent utility to benefit competitive providers, taking into account the proportionate benefit or savings, if any, derived by the incumbent as a result of incurring such expenses.
15 Pole Attachments. Amend RSA 374:34-a, VIII to read as follows:
VIII. The [department of energy] public utilities commission shall retain its authority to regulate the safety, vegetation management, emergency response, and storm restoration requirements for poles, conduits, ducts, pipes, pole attachments, wires, cables, and related plant and equipment of public utilities and other private entities located within public rights-of-way and on, over, or under state lands and water bodies.
16 Implementation of Retail Choice. Amend RSA 374-F:4, VIII(f) to read as follows:
(f) Beginning in 2000, [the commission and] the department shall submit a report to the legislative oversight committee to monitor the transformation of delivery of electric services by October 1 of each year. The report shall concern the results and effectiveness of the system benefits charge.
17 Electric Utility Restructuring; Participation in Regional Activities. Amend RSA 374-F:8 to read as follows:
374-F:8 Participation in Regional Activities. The department shall advocate for New Hampshire interests before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other regional and federal bodies. The commission shall participate in the activities of the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners, and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners as the New Hampshire member agency, and the department shall participate in the activities of the New England States Committee on Electricity, or other similar organizations as the New Hampshire member agency, and work with the New England Independent System Operator and NEPOOL to advance the interests of New Hampshire with respect to wholesale electric issues, including policy goals relating to fuel diversity, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, and to assure nondiscriminatory open access to a safe, adequate, and reliable transmission system at just and reasonable prices. Employees of the commission and the department are not otherwise prohibited from participating in the activities of the aforementioned organizations in which the other agency has the lead role. The department shall advocate against proposed regional or federal rules or policies that are inconsistent with the policies, rules, or laws of New Hampshire. In its participation in regional activities, the commission and the department shall consider how other states' policies will impact New Hampshire rates and work to prevent or minimize any rate impact the commission or department determines to be unjust or unreasonable.
18 Reference Change; Investigations of Energy Storage. Amend RSA 374-H:3 to read as follows:
374-H:3 [Commission] Department of Energy Investigation of Energy Storage.
I. The [commission] department of energy shall investigate ways to enable energy storage projects to receive compensation for avoided transmission and distribution costs, including avoided regional and local network service charges, while also participating in wholesale energy markets. The [commission] department shall investigate how this might be done for both utility-owned and non-utility-owned energy storage projects, as well as for both behind-the-meter storage and front-of-the-meter storage.
II. The [commission's] department's investigative proceeding shall specifically consider the following:
(a) How public policy can best establish accurate and efficient price signals for energy storage projects that avoid actual transmission and distribution costs or reduce wholesale electricity market prices.
(b) How to compensate energy storage projects that participate in wholesale electricity markets for actual avoided transmission and distribution costs in a manner that provides net savings to consumers.
(c) How best to encourage both utility and non-utility investments in energy storage projects.
(d) The costs and benefits of a potential bring your own device program; how such a program might be implemented; any statutory or regulatory changes that might be needed to create, facilitate, and implement such a program; and whether such a program should include all distributed energy resources or be limited to distributed energy storage projects.
(e) Any statutory changes the general court should implement, including but not limited to changes to or exceptions from RSA 374-F or RSA 374-G, to enable energy storage projects to receive appropriate compensation for actual avoided transmission and distribution costs while also participating in wholesale energy markets.
(f) Any other topic the [commission] department reasonably believes it should consider in order to diligently conduct the proceeding.
III. The [commission] department shall report its findings and recommendations to the standing committees of the house of representatives and senate with jurisdiction over energy and utility matters no later than 2 years after initiating the proceeding. The report shall identify ways any recommended statutory changes can minimize any potential conflict with the restructuring policy principles of RSA 374-F.
19 Reference Change; State Operating Budget. The commissioner of the department of administrative services shall change the title of organization code 1892 from adjudicative commissioners to the public utilities commission.
I. RSA 12-P:12, relative to prohibited service.
II. RSA 374-F:3, IV, relative to open access to the electric system.
III. RSA 374-F:3, V(b), relative to transition service.
|Jan. 25, 2022||House||Hearing|
Jan. 19, 2022: Public Hearing: 01/25/2022 03:30 pm LOB 306-308
Nov. 19, 2021: Introduced 01/05/2022 and referred to Science, Technology and Energy