Senate Bill #781 (2021)

AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - DUTIES OF UTILITIES AND CARRIERS

Requires electric and gas distribution companies, with exceptions, to remit fifteen percent (15%) of the amount of demand-side charge collections to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank for any energy-related financing programs.

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  • 2021 – S 0781
  • 2021 – S 0781 SUBSTITUTE A
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  • LC002588
  • LC002588/SUB A
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  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2021
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - DUTIES OF UTILITIES AND
  • CARRIERS
  • Introduced By: Senators Pearson, Murray, Seveney, Cano, and DiPalma
  • Date Introduced: April 01, 2021
  • Referred To: Senate Finance
  • (General Treasurer)
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Section 39-2-1.2 of the General Laws in Chapter 39-2 entitled "Duties of Utilities and Carriers" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 39-2-1.2. Utility base rate – Advertising, demand-side management, and renewables.
  • (a) In addition to costs prohibited in § 39-1-27.4(b), no public utility distributing or providing heat, electricity, or water to or for the public shall include as part of its base rate any expenses for advertising, either direct or indirect, that promotes the use of its product or service, or is designed to promote the public image of the industry. No public utility may furnish support of any kind, direct or indirect, to any subsidiary, group, association, or individual for advertising and include the expense as part of its base rate. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed as prohibiting the inclusion in the base rate of expenses incurred for advertising, informational or educational in nature, that is designed to promote public safety conservation of the public utility's product or service. The public utilities commission shall promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to require public disclosure of all advertising expenses of any kind, direct or indirect, and to otherwise effectuate the provisions of this section.
  • (b) Effective as of January 1, 2008, and for a period of fifteen (15) years thereafter, each electric distribution company shall include a charge per kilowatt-hour delivered to fund demand- side management programs. The 0.3 mills per kilowatt-hour delivered to fund renewable energy programs shall remain in effect until December 31, 2022. The electric distribution company shall establish and, after July 1, 2007, maintain, two (2) separate accounts, one for demand-side management programs (the"demand-side account"), which shall befunded bytheelectric demand- side charge and administered and implemented by the distribution company, subject to the regulatory reviewing authority of the commission, and one for renewable energy programs, which shall beadministeredbytheRhodeIslandcommercecorporationpursuantto§42-64-13.2andshall be held and disbursed by the distribution company as directed by the Rhode Island commerce corporationforthepurposesofdeveloping,promoting,andsupportingrenewableenergyprograms.
  • During the time periods established in this subsection, the commission may, in its discretion, after notice and public hearing, increase the sums for demand-side management and renewable resources. In addition, the commission shall, after notice and public hearing, determine the appropriate charge for these programs. The office of energy resources, and/or the administrator of the renewable energy programs, may seek to secure for the state an equitable and reasonable portion of renewable energy credits or certificates created by private projects funded through those programs. As used in this section, "renewable energy resources" shall mean: (1) Power generation technologies, as definedin§ 39-26-5, "eligiblerenewableenergyresources," includingoff-grid and on-grid generating technologies located in Rhode Island, as a priority; (2) Research and development activities in Rhode Island pertaining to eligible renewable energy resources and to other renewable energy technologies for electrical generation; or (3) Projects and activities directly related to implementing eligible renewable energy resources projects in Rhode Island. Technologies for converting solar energy for space heating or generating domestic hot water may also be funded through the renewable energy programs. Fuel cells may be considered an energy efficiency technology to be included in demand-side management programs. Special rates for low- income customers in effect as of August 7, 1996, shall be continued, and the costs of all of these discounts shall be included in the distribution rates charged to all other customers. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting an electric distribution company from offering any special rates or programs for low-income customers which are not in effect as of August 7, 1996, subject to the approval by the commission.
  • During the time periods established in this subsection, the commission may, in its discretion, after notice and public hearing, increase the sums for demand-side management and renewable resources. In addition, the commission shall, after notice and public hearing, determine the appropriate charge for these programs. The office of energy resources, and/or the administrator of the renewable energy programs, may seek to secure for the state an equitable and reasonable portion of renewable energy credits or certificates created by private projects funded through those programs. As used in this section, "renewable energy resources" shall mean: (1) Power generation technologies, as definedin§ 39-26-5, "eligiblerenewableenergy resources," includingoff-grid and on-grid generating technologies located in Rhode Island, as a priority; (2) Research and development activities in Rhode Island pertaining to eligible renewable energy resources and to other renewable energy technologies for electrical generation; or (3) Projects and activities directly related to implementing eligible renewable energy resources projects in Rhode Island. Technologies for converting solar energy for space heating or generating domestic hot water may also be funded through the renewable energy programs. Fuel cells may be considered an energy efficiency technology to be included in demand-side management programs. Special rates for low- income customers in effect as of August 7, 1996, shall be continued, and the costs of all of these discounts shall be included in the distribution rates charged to all other customers. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting an electric distribution company from offering any special rates or programs for low-income customers which are not in effect as of August 7, 1996, subject to the approval by the commission.
  • (1) The renewable energy investment programs shall be administered pursuant to rules established by the Rhode Island commerce corporation. Said rules shall provide transparent criteria to rank qualified renewable energy projects, giving consideration to:
  • (i) The feasibility of project completion;
  • (ii) The anticipated amount of renewable energy the project will produce;
  • (iii) The potential of the project to mitigate energy costs over the life of the project; and
  • (iv) The estimated cost per kilowatt-hour (KWh) of the energy produced from the project.
  • (c) [Deleted by P.L. 2012, ch. 241, art. 4, § 14.]
  • (d) The chief executive officer of the commerce corporation is authorized and may enter into a contract with a contractor for the cost-effective administration of the renewable energy programs funded by this section. A competitive bid and contract award for administration of the renewable energy programs may occur every three (3) years and shall include, as a condition, that after July 1, 2008, the account for the renewable energy programs shall be maintained and administered by the commerce corporation as provided for in subsection (b) of this section.
  • (e) Effective January 1, 2007, and for a period of sixteen (16) years thereafter, each gas distribution company shall include, with the approval of the commission, a charge per deca therm delivered to fund demand-side management programs (the "gas demand-side charge"), including, but not limited to, programs for cost-effective energy efficiency, energy conservation, combined heat and power systems, and weatherization services for low-income households.
  • (f) Each gas company shall establish a separate account for demand-side management programs (the "gas demand-side account") that shall be funded by the gas demand-side charge and administered and implemented by the distribution company, subject to the regulatory reviewing authority of the commission. The commission may establish administrative mechanisms and procedures that are similar to those for electric demand-side management programs administered under the jurisdiction of the commission and that are designed to achieve cost-effectiveness and high, life-time savings of efficiency measures supported by the program.
  • (g) The commission may, if reasonable and feasible, except from this demand-side management charge:
  • (1) Gas used for distribution generation; and
  • (2) Gas used for the manufacturing processes, where the customer has established a self- directed programto invest in andachieve best-effective energyefficiencyinaccordance withaplan approvedbythecommissionandsubjecttoperiodicreviewandapprovalbythecommission,which plan shall require annual reporting of the amount invested and the return on investments in terms of gas savings.
  • (2) Gas used for the manufacturing processes, where the customer has established a self- directed programtoinvest in andachieve best-effective energyefficiencyinaccordance withaplan approvedbythecommissionandsubjecttoperiodicreviewandapprovalbythecommission,which plan shall require annual reporting of the amount invested and the return on investments in terms of gas savings.
  • (h) The commission may provide for the coordinated and/or integrated administration of electric and gas demand-side management programs in order to enhance the effectiveness of the programs. Such coordinated and/or integrated administration may after March 1, 2009, upon the recommendation of the office of energy resources, be through one or more third-party entities designated by the commission pursuant to a competitive selection process.
  • (i)EffectiveJanuary1,2007,thecommissionshallallocatefromdemand-sidemanagement gas and electric funds authorized pursuant to this section, an amount not to exceed two percent (2%) of such funds on an annual basis for the retention of expert consultants, and reasonable administration costs of the energy efficiency and resources management council associated with planning,management,andevaluationofenergy-efficiencyprograms,renewableenergyprograms, system reliability least-cost procurement, and with regulatory proceedings, contested cases, and other actions pertaining to the purposes, powers, and duties of the council, which allocation may by mutual agreement, be used in coordination with the office of energy resources to support such activities.
  • (j) Effective January 1, 2016, the commission shall annually allocate from the administrative funding amount allocated in subsection (i) from the demand-side management program as described in subsection (i) as follows: fifty percent (50%) for the purposes identified in subsection (i) and fifty percent (50%) annually to the office of energy resources for activities associated with planning, management, and evaluation of energy-efficiency programs, renewable energy programs, system reliability, least-cost procurement, and with regulatory proceedings, contested cases, and other actions pertaining to the purposes, powers, and duties of the office of energy resources.
  • (k) On April 15, of each year, the office and the council shall submit to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives, separate financial and performance reports regardingthe demand-side management programs, includingthe specificlevel of funds that were contributed by the residential, municipal, and commercial and industrial sectors to the overall programs; the businesses, vendors, and institutions that received funding from demand-side management gas and electric funds used for the purposes in this section; and the businesses, vendors, and institutions that received the administrative funds for the purposes in subsections (i) and (j). These reports shall be posted electronically on the websites of the office of energy resources and the energy efficiency and resources management council.
  • (l) On or after August 1, 2015, at the request of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, each electric distribution company, except for the Pascoag Utility District and Block Island Power Company, shall remit two percent (2%) of the amount of the 2014 electric demand-side charge collections to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank.
  • (m) On or after August 1, 2015, at the request of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, each gas distribution company shall remit two percent (2%) of the amount of the 2014 gas demand-side charge collections to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank.
  • (n) On or after December 31, 2021, and on or after December 31 of each year thereafter, at the request of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, each electric distribution company, except for the Pascoag Utility District and Block Island Power Company, shall remit fifteen percent (15%) of the amount of the annual electric demand-side charge collections approved for the subsequent calendar year by the commission to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank. Electric demand-side collections transferred to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank pursuant to this section shall be eligible to be used in any energy-related financing program administered by the Rhode Island infrastructure bank notwithstanding any other restrictions on the use of such collections set forth in this chapter. The Rhode Island infrastructure bank shall report annually to the commission within ninety (90) days of the end of each calendar year how collections transferred under this section were utilized.
  • (o) On or after December 31, 2021, and on or after December 31 of each year thereafter, at the request of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, each gas distribution company shall remit fifteen percent (15%) of the amount of the annual gas demand-side charge collections approved for the subsequent calendar year by the commission to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank. Gas demand-side collections transferred to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank pursuant to this section shall be eligible to be used in any energy-related financing program administered by the Rhode Island infrastructure bank notwithstanding any other restrictions on the use of such collections set forth in this chapter. The Rhode Island infrastructure bank shall report annually to the commission within ninety (90) days of the end of each calendar year how collections transferred under this section were utilized.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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  • LC002588
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  • (j) Effective January 1, 2016, the commission shall annually allocate from the administrative funding amount allocated in subsection (i) from the demand-side management program as described in subsection (i) as follows: fifty percent (50%) for the purposes identified in subsection (i) and fifty percent (50%) annually to the office of energy resources for activities associated with planning, management, and evaluation of energy-efficiency programs, renewable energy programs, system reliability, least-cost procurement, and with regulatory proceedings, contested cases, and other actions pertaining to the purposes, powers, and duties of the office of energy resources.
  • (k) On April 15, of each year, the office and the council shall submit to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives, separate financial and performance reports regardingthe demand-side management programs, includingthe specificlevel of funds that were contributed by the residential, municipal, and commercial and industrial sectors to the overall programs; the businesses, vendors, and institutions that received funding from demand-side management gas and electric funds used for the purposes in this section; and the businesses, vendors, and institutions that received the administrative funds for the purposes in subsections (i) and (j). These reports shall be posted electronically on the websites of the office of energy resources and the energy efficiency and resources management council.
  • (l) On or after August 1, 2015, at the request of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, each electric distribution company, except for the Pascoag Utility District and Block Island Power Company, shall remit two percent (2%) of the amount of the 2014 electric demand-side charge collections to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank.
  • (m) On or after August 1, 2015, at the request of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, each gas distribution company shall remit two percent (2%) of the amount of the 2014 gas demand-side charge collections to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank.
  • (n) Effective January 1, 2022, the commission shall allocate from demand-side management gas and electric funds authorized pursuant to this section, five million dollars ($5,000,000) of such funds on an annual basis to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank. Gas and electric demand-side funds transferred to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank pursuant to this section shall be eligible to be used in any energy efficiency, renewable energy, or demand-side management project financing program administered by the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, notwithstanding any other restrictions on the use of such collections set forth in this chapter. The infrastructure bank shall report annually to the commission within ninety (90) days of the end of each calendar year how collections transferred under this section were utilized.
  • SECTION 2. Chapter 46-12.2 of the General Laws entitled "Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
  • 46-12.2-4.3. Establishment of the clean energy fund.
  • (a)(1) There is hereby authorized and created within the Rhode Island infrastructure bank a clean energy fund for the purpose of providing technical, administrative and financial assistance to a local governmental unit, corporation, or person for energy efficient, renewable energy, and demand-side management projects. The Rhode Island infrastructure bank shall review and approve all applications for projects to be financed through the clean energy fund.
  • (2) The Rhode Island infrastructure bank shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the provisions of this section which may include, without limitation, forms for financial assistance applications, loan agreements, and other instruments and establishing the process through which a local governmental unit, corporation or person may submit an application for financial assistance from the clean energy fund. All rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter shall be promulgated in accordance with the provisions of chapter 35 of title 42.
  • (b) The Rhode Island infrastructure bank shall have all the powers necessary and convenient tocarryout andeffectuatethepurposesandprovisionsofthissectionincluding,without limiting the generality of the preceding statement, the authority:
  • (1) To receive and disburse such funds as may be available for the purpose of the fund subject to the provisions of this section;
  • (2) To make and enter into binding commitments to provide financial assistance to eligible borrowers from amounts on deposit in the fund;
  • (3) To levy administrative fees on eligible borrowers as necessary to effectuate the provisions of this section; provided, the fees have been previously authorized by an agreement between the Rhode Island infrastructure bank and the eligible borrower;
  • (4) To engage the services of third-party vendors to provide professional services;
  • (5) To establish one or more accounts within the fund; and
  • (6) Such other authority as granted to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank under this chapter.
  • (c) Subject to the provisions of this section and to any agreements with the holders of any bonds of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank or any trustee therefor, amounts held by the Rhode Island infrastructure bank for the account of the fund shall be applied by the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, either by direct expenditure, disbursement, or transfer to one or more other funds and accounts held by the Rhode Island infrastructure bank or maintained under any trust agreement pertaining to bonds, either alone or with other funds of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, to the following purposes:
  • (1) To provide financial assistance to local governmental units, corporations or persons to finance costs of approved projects, as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, and to refinance the costs of the projects, subject to such terms and conditions, if any, as are determined by the Rhode Island infrastructure bank;
  • (2) To fund reserves for bonds of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank and to purchase insurance and pay the premiums therefor, and pay fees and expenses of letters or lines of credit and costs of reimbursement to the issuers thereof for any payments made thereon or on any insurance, and to otherwise provide security for, and a source of payment for obligations of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank, by pledge, lien, assignment, or otherwise as provided in this chapter;
  • (3) To pay expenses of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank in administering the clean energy fund;
  • (4)Toprovideareservefor,ortootherwisesecure,amountspayablebyborrowersonloans and obligations outstandingin the event of default thereof; amounts in any account in the fund may be applied to defaults on loans outstanding to the borrower for which the account was established and, on a parity basis with all other accounts, to defaults on any loans or obligations outstanding; and
  • (5) To provide a reserve for, or to otherwise secure, by pledge, lien, assignment, or otherwise as provided in this chapter, any bonds of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank.
  • (d) In addition to other remedies of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank under any loan agreement or otherwise provided by law, the Rhode Island infrastructure bank may also recover from a borrower, in an action in superior court, any amount due the Rhode Island infrastructure bank together with any other actual damages the Rhode Island infrastructure bank shall have sustained from the failure or refusal of the borrower to make the payments or abide by the terms of the loan agreement.
  • (e) The Rhode Island infrastructure bank may create one or more loan loss reserve funds to serve asfurther securityfor anyloans made bythe Rhode Island infrastructure bankor anybonds of the Rhode Island infrastructure bank issued to fund projects in accordance with this section.
  • (f)To the extent possible, and in accordance with law, the Rhode Islandinfrastructure bank shall encourage the use of project labor agreements for projects by local governmental units over ten million dollars ($10,000,000) and local hiring on projects funded under this section.
  • SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage. ======== LC002588/SUB A ========
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - DUTIES OF UTILITIES AND
  • CARRIERS
  • RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - DUTIES OF UTILITIES AND
  • CARRIERS
  • ***
  • This act would require electric and gas distribution companies, with the exception of the Pascoag Utility District and Block Island Power Company, to remit fifteen percent (15%) of the amount of demand-side charge collections to the Rhode Island infrastructure bank for any energy- related financing programs and would require the Rhode Island infrastructure bank to report annually to the commission as to how those funds were utilized.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC002588 ========
  • This act would create and establish the clean energy fund within the Rhode Island infrastructurebankforitsreviewandapprovalofall applicationsforprojectstobefinancedthrough demand-side management gas and electric funds up to five million dollars ($5,000,000) per year to be allocated by the public utilities commission, commencing January 1, 2022.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC002588/SUB A ========

Votes

NOTE: Electronic voting records are unofficial and may not be accurate. For an official vote tally, check the House or Senate Journal from the day of the vote.

Floor vote for Passage

June 06, 2019 at 5:14pm
Yeas: 35 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 3 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Sen. Algiere Y
Sen. Archambault Y
Sen. Bell Y
Sen. Cano Y
Sen. Ciccone NV
Sen. Conley Y
Sen. Coyne Y
Sen. Crowley Y
Sen. Cruz Y
Sen. DiPalma Y
Sen. Euer Y
Sen. Felag Y
Sen. Gallo Y
Sen. Goldin NV
Sen. Goodwin Y
Sen. Lawson Y
Sen. Lombardi Y
Sen. Lombardo Y
Sen. Lynch Prata Y
Sen. McCaffrey Y
Sen. McKenney Y
Sen. Metts Y
Sen. Miller Y
Sen. Morgan Y
Sen. Murray Y
Sen. Nesselbush Y
Sen. Paolino Y
Sen. Pearson Y
Sen. Picard NV
Sen. Quezada Y
Sen. Raptakis Y
Sen. Rogers Y
Sen. Ruggerio Y
Sen. Satchell Y
Sen. Seveney Y
Sen. Sheehan Y
Sen. Sosnowski Y
Sen. Valverde Y

Floor vote for PASSAGE IN CONCURRENCE

June 20, 2019 at 5:24pm
Yeas: 73 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 2 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida Y
Rep. Alzate Y
Rep. Amore Y
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros Y
Rep. Bennett Y
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Caldwell Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson Y
Rep. Casey Y
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Cassar Y
Rep. Chippendale Y
Rep. Cortvriend Y
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Diaz Y
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela Y
Rep. Filippi Y
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hawkins Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jackson Y
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian Y
Rep. Kennedy Y
Rep. Kislak Y
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Lyle Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee Y
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendez Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Millea Y
Rep. Morin Y
Rep. Nardone Y
Rep. Newberry Y
Rep. Noret Y
Rep. O'Brien Y
Rep. Phillips Y
Rep. Place Y
Rep. Price Y
Rep. Quattrocchi Y
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Roberts Y
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serodio Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Speakman Y
Rep. Tanzi NV
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci NV
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh Y
Rep. Williams Y

Floor vote for UTILITIES AND CARRIERS

June 30, 2021 at 5:59pm
Yeas: 37 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 1 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Sen. Acosta Y
Sen. Algiere Y
Sen. Anderson Y
Sen. Archambault NV
Sen. Bell Y
Sen. Burke Y
Sen. Calkin Y
Sen. Cano Y
Sen. Ciccone Y
Sen. Coyne Y
Sen. Cruz Y
Sen. DiMario Y
Sen. DiPalma Y
Sen. Euer Y
Sen. Felag Y
Sen. Gallo Y
Sen. Goldin Y
Sen. Goodwin Y
Sen. Kallman Y
Sen. Lawson Y
Sen. Lombardi Y
Sen. Lombardo Y
Sen. Mack Y
Sen. McCaffrey Y
Sen. Mendes Y
Sen. Miller Y
Sen. Morgan Y
Sen. Murray Y
Sen. Paolino Y
Sen. Pearson Y
Sen. Picard Y
Sen. Quezada Y
Sen. Raptakis Y
Sen. Rogers Y
Sen. Ruggerio Y
Sen. Seveney Y
Sen. Sosnowski Y
Sen. Valverde Y