Bill Text - HB1576 (2024)

Relative to allowing property owners to opt out of public utilities.

Revision: Dec. 15, 2023, 3:32 p.m.










AN ACT relative to allowing property owners to opt out of public utilities.


SPONSORS: Rep. Layon, Rock. 13; Rep. Cushman, Hills. 28; Rep. D. Kelley, Hills. 32; Rep. Sirois, Hills. 32


COMMITTEE: Science, Technology and Energy






This bill requires public utilities, cooperatives, and municipal corporations providing electric, gas, water, and sewer connection services to allow property owners or existing customers to decline service.


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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Four


AN ACT relative to allowing property owners to opt out of public utilities.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  Intent.  Recognizing that the greatest stewardship of natural resources come through a greater connection to these resources, the general court finds that the right of a property owner to opt out of water, sewer, electric or other connections serves this purpose.

2  New Section; Public Utilities and Exempted Utilities; Ability to Decline Connection.  Amend RSA 362 by inserting after section 2 the following new section:

362:2-a  Ability to Decline Connection.  

I.  Each public utility providing service as described under RSA 362:2 or rural electric cooperative under RSA 301, and any municipal corporation providing electric distribution, or gas, water, or sewer connection, shall adopt procedures to allow residential property owners or existing customers within its utility service area to decline connection or access to the public utility.  Any customer of a public water utility or municipal water corporation may terminate connection in accordance with RSA 362:4, IV or V, or upon filing a waiver of the requirements of RSA 362:4, IV or V to allow innovative approaches.  Alternative approaches approved under a waiver may include a requirement to permit adjacent properties to test for detrimental impact and petition for revocation of the waiver upon clear and convincing evidence that the waived conduct has harmed adjacent property owners.

II.  During new construction of a water or sewer project, the project shall at minimum include an access point at each property to allow connection or capping the access point for each property passed.  If property owners declining connection to the system are charged for their access point, such property owners may either pay for the access point at the time of installation or may delay payment until a later date.

III.  In order to provide transparency and prevent discriminatory practices against property owners exercising their right to choose whether to participate or not participate in connection to services available to their property:

(a)  All new residential electric, gas, water, or sewer projects must detail how the core project cost and individual property connection costs are calculated, and provide for payment in full and delayed payment including the mechanism to determine the cost for property owners to connect in later years.  Projects may allow for structured payments from property owners, and must allow cash payment on par with other methods of payment with the exception of charging standard transaction fees for credit card processing fees.

(b)  Connection fees shall not be structured to coerce property owners to opt in to connect, but shall be structured to cover the partial or full cost to provide service up to the access point on each property.

(c)  Administrative rules, practices, policies or procedures which create a greater burden on property owners who decline connection shall be prohibited.

IV.  Any public utility, rural electric cooperative, or municipal electric, gas, water or sewer corporation which shall violate any provisions of RSA 362:2-a shall be subject to a civil penalty, as determined by the commission, not to exceed $250,000 or 2.5 percent of the annual gross revenue received from sales in the state, whichever is lower.  Such penalties shall first be used to reimburse any property owner harmed by such violation with any remaining unclaimed or excess funds then applied to the benefit of the ratepayers through a credit to bills, or, if the credit is of an amount determined by the commission to be insignificant on a per customer basis, to programs that benefit low income ratepayers.

3  Severability.  If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.









AN ACT relative to allowing property owners to opt out of public utilities.



The Office of Legislative Budget Assistant is awaiting information from the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy was originally contacted on 11/27/23. If information is received, a revised fiscal note will be forward to the House Clerk’s Office.

The Public Utilities Commission indicated this bill would have no fiscal impact on the Commission.



Department of Energy and Public Utilities Commission