Senate Bill #637 (2017)

AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS

Amends electric distribution companies authority to charge interconnecting renewable energy customers for certain modifications and places timetables on interconnection work.

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  • 2017 – S 0637
  • 2017 – S 0637 SUBSTITUTE A
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  • LC001675
  • LC001675/SUB A/2
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  • S TATE OF RHODE IS L AND
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2017
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS
  • Introduced By: Senators DiPalma, Seveney, Miller, Satchell, and Kettle
  • Date Introduced: March 29, 2017
  • Referred To: Senate Environment & Agriculture
  • It is enacted by the GeneralAssembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Section 39-26.3-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 39-26.3 entitled "Distributed Generation Interconnection" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 39-26.3-2. Definitions.
  • The following terms shall have the meanings given below for purposes of this chapter:
  • (1) "Applicant" means an electric distribution customer or distributed generation developer who submits an application to the electric distribution company for the installation of a renewable distributed generation interconnection to the distribution system for a renewable distributed generation project that, as contemplated, meets the eligibility requirements for net metering contained within title 39 or the eligibility requirements for a standard contract contained within title 39.
  • (2) "Impact study" means an engineering study that includes an estimate of the cost of interconnecting to the distribution system that would be assessed on the applicant for an interconnection that is based on an engineering study of the details of the proposed generation project. Such estimate generally will have a probability of accuracy of plus or minus twenty five percent (25%). Such an estimate may be relied upon by the applicant for purposes of determining the expected cost of interconnection, but the distribution company may not be held liable or responsible if the actual costs exceed the estimate as long as the estimate was provided in good faith and the interconnection was implemented prudently by the electric distribution company.
  • (3) "Impact study fee" means a fee that shall be charged to the applicant to obtain an impact study as specified in § 39-26.2-4 of this chapter.
  • (4) "Feasibility study" means a high-level project assessment that includes an estimate of the cost of interconnecting to the distribution system that would be assessed on the applicant for an interconnection. Such estimate is not based on any engineering study, but is based on past experience and judgment of the electric distribution company, taking into account the information in the application, the location of the interconnection, and general knowledge of the distribution and transmission system. Such estimate cannot be relied upon by the applicant for purposes of holding the electric distribution company liable or responsible for its accuracy as long as the electric distribution company has provided the estimate in good faith. The feasibility study estimate shall be a range within which the electric distribution company believes the interconnection costs are likely to be and shall include a disclaimer that explains the nature of the estimate.
  • (5) "Feasibility study fee" means a fee that shall be charged to the applicant to obtain a feasibility study as specified in § 39-26.2-4 of this chapter.
  • (6) "Renewable energy resource"shallhave the same meaning as defined in §39-26-5.
  • (6) "Renewable energy resource"means those resources set forth in §39-26-5.
  • SECTION 2. Chapter 39-26.3 of the General Laws entitled "Distributed Generation Interconnection" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
  • 39-26.3-7. Interconnection standards.
  • (a) The electric distribution company may only charge an interconnecting renewable energy customer for any system modifications to its electric power system specifically necessary for and directly related to its interconnection. Any system modifications benefiting other customers shall be included in rates as determined by the public utilities commission.
  • (b) If the public utilities commission determines that a specific system modification benefiting other customers has been accelerated due to an interconnection request, it may order the interconnecting customer to fund the modification subject to repayment of the depreciated value of the modification as of the time the modification would have been necessary as determined by the public utilities commission.
  • 39-26.3-4.1. Interconnection standards.
  • (a) The electric distribution company may only charge an interconnecting renewable energy customer for any system modifications to its electric power system specifically necessary for and directly related to the interconnection.
  • (b) If the public utilities commission determines that a specific system modification benefiting other customers has been accelerated due to an interconnection request, it may order the interconnecting customer to fund the modification subject to repayment of the depreciated value of the modification as of the time the modification would have been necessary as determined by the public utilities commission. Any system modifications benefiting other customers shall be included in rates as determined by the public utilities commission.
  • (c) If an interconnecting renewable energy customer is required to pay for system modifications and a subsequent renewable energy or commercial customer relies on those modifications to connect to the distribution system within ten (10) years of the earlier interconnecting renewable energy customer's payment, the subsequent customer will make a prorated contribution toward the cost of the system modifications which will be credited to the earlier interconnecting renewable energy customer as determined by the public utilities commission.
  • LC001675 - Page 2of 5
  • (d) All interconnection work must be performed no longer than two hundred seventy (270) calendar days from completion of the renewable energy customer's interconnection impact study pursuant to §39-26.3-3, if required, or else no more than three hundred sixty (360) calendar days from the customer's completed application for interconnection. Any disputes regarding whether and when an application is complete shall be resolved expeditiously by the public utilities commission. Deadlines shall not be extended due to customer delays in providing required information, all of which must be requested and obtained before completion of the impact study. Within thirty (30) days after receipt of an initial application for interconnection, the distribution company shall advise the customer, in writing, whether the application is complete, and, if not, shall specify all additional information the customer is required to provide. The customer must then complete the application within thirty (30) working days. The electric distribution company will then have ten (10) working days to determine and inform the applicant whether the application is complete. The deadlines for completion of interconnection will be extended only to the extent of events that are clearly not under the control of the electric distribution company, such as extended prohibitive weather, union work stoppage or force majeure, and cannot be resolved despite commercially reasonable, diligent efforts. The electric distribution company shall clearly notify the customer of the start of any claimed deadline extension at the time it begins, its cause and when it concludes in writing. The electric distribution company will be liable to the interconnecting customer for all actual and consequential damages resulting from the noncompliant interconnection delay including, but not limited to, the full value of any lost energy production, and any reasonable legal fees and costs associated with the recovery of those damages. The public utilities commission shall hold a hearing to determine whether any penalties and damages are due to developer under this section. No later than thirty (30) days from the date of the commission's written decision, the electric distribution company shall remit to the interconnecting renewable energy customer an amount equal to such reasonable compensation as determined by the commission. The compensation shall be paid out of the incentive amount earned by the electric distribution company as provided for in §39-26.6-12(j)(3) and, until January 1, 2022, as provided for in §39-26.1-4.
  • (e) The interconnection of any new renewable energy resource that replaces the same existing renewable energy resource of the same or less nameplate capacity shallnot be considered a material modification requiring interconnection study or approval other than a review to determine consistency with this section and to establish any costs specifically necessary to interconnect the replacement renewable energy resource, which shall not include any system modifications or system improvements. This review shall take no longer than sixty (60) days
  • LC001675 - Page 3of 5 subject to the penalties provided in subsection (d) of this section.
  • SECTION 3. This act shalltake effect upon passage. ======== LC001675 ========
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  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS
  • ***
  • This act would prohibit electrical distribution companiefrom charging an interconnecting renewable energy customer for system modifications that are not directly related to the interconnection, except accelerated modifications for which the developer is repaid when the modification would have otherwise been made. It would require that any interconnection work must be completed no later than two hundred seventy (270) days from the applicant's impact study or three hundred sixty (360) days from its initial applications. The act would enable replacement of a renewable energy resource without study or system improvement.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC001675 ========
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  • (d) An electric distribution company shall acknowledge to the interconnecting renewable energy customer receipt of an application to initiate the interconnection process within three (3) business days of receipt. The electric distribution company shall notify the interconnecting renewable energy customer in writing within ten (10) business days of receipt that the application is or is not complete and, if not, advise what is missing. Any disputes regarding whether and when an application to initiate the interconnection process is complete shall be resolved expeditiously at the public utilities commission. The maximum time allowed between the date of the completed application and delivery of an executable interconnection service agreement shall be one hundred seventy-five (175) calendar days or two hundred (200) calendar days if a detailed study is required. All electric distribution company system modifications must be completed by the date which is the later of: (1) No longer than two hundred seventy (270) calendar days, or three hundred sixty (360) calendar days if substation work is necessary, from the date of the electric distribution company's receipt of the interconnecting renewable energy customer's executed interconnection service agreement; or (2) The interconnecting renewable energy customer's agreed upon extension of the time between the execution of the interconnection services agreement and interconnection as set forth in writing. All deadlines herein are subject to all payments being made in accordance with the distributed generation interconnection tariff on file with the public utilities commission and the interconnection service agreement. These system modification deadlines cannot be extended due to customer delays in providing required information, all of which must be requested and obtained before completion of the impact study. The deadlines for completion of system modifications will be extended only to the extent of events that are clearly not under the controlof the electric distribution company, such as extended prohibitive weather, union work stoppage or force majeure, or third party delays, including, without limitation, delays due to ISO-NE requirements not attributable to electric distribution company actions, and which cannot be resolved despite commercially reasonable efforts. The electric distribution company shall notify the customer of the start of any claimed deadline extension as soon as practicable, its cause and when it concludes, all in writing. Any actual damages that a court of competent jurisdiction orders the electric distribution company to pay to an interconnecting renewable energy customer as a direct result of the electric distribution company's failure to comply with the requirements of this subsection shall be payable by its shareholders and may not be recovered from customers, provided that the total amount of damages awarded for any and all such claims shallnot exceed, in the aggregate, an amount equal to the amount of the incentive the electric distribution company would have earned as provided for in §§39-26.6-12(j)(3) and 39-26.1-4 in the year in which the system modifications were
  • LC001675/SUB A/2 - Page 3of 5 required to be completed. In no event shall the electric distribution company be liable to the interconnecting renewable energy customer for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or punitive damages of any kind whatsoever as a result of the electric distribution company's failure to comply with this section.
  • (e) On or before September 1, 2017, the public utilities commission shall initiate a docket to establish metrics for the electric distribution company's performance in meeting the time frames set forth herein and in the distributed generation interconnection standards approved by the public utilities commission. The public utilities commission may include incentives and penalties in the performance metrics.
  • (f) The proposed interconnection of any new renewable energy resource that replaces the same existing renewable energy resource of the same or less nameplate capacity that has been in operation in the twelve (12) months preceding notification of such replacement shallbe subject to a sixty (60) day review. The purpose of such sixty (60) day review is to allow the electric distribution company to determine whether any system modifications are required to support the interconnection of the replacement renewable energy resource. If there is a need for system modifications because of an interconnection policy change implemented by the electric distribution company then the system modification may be included in rates as determined by the public utilities commission. If there is a need for system modifications only because of a change in the rating or utility disturbance response that adversely affects the impact of the facility on the distribution system then the interconnecting renewable energy customer shall be responsible for the cost of the system modifications
  • SECTION 3. This act shalltake effect upon passage.
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  • LC001675/SUB A/2
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  • LC001675/SUB A/2 - Page 4of 5
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS
  • ***
  • This act would prohibit electrical distribution companiefrom charging an interconnecting renewable energy customer for system modifications that are not directly related to the interconnection, except accelerated modifications for which the developer is repaid when the modification would have otherwise been made. It would require that any system modifications be completed no later than fourteen (14) calendar months from the effective date of the interconnecting renewable energy customer's interconnection service agreement subject to all payments being made in accordance with the interconnection service agreement, or the renewable energy customer's agreed upon expected interconnection date as set forth in the executed interconnection service agreement and full payment for allrequired system modifications. The act would enable replacement of a renewable energy resource with limitations on study time and system modification costs.
  • This act would take effect upon passage.
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  • LC001675/SUB A/2
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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 14, 2017 at 4:32pm
Yeas: 36 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 1 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Sen. Algiere Y
Sen. Archambault Y
Sen. Calkin Y
Sen. Ciccone Y
Sen. Conley Y
Sen. Cote Y
Sen. Coyne Y
Sen. Crowley Y
Sen. DaPonte Y
Sen. DiPalma Y
Sen. Doyle NV
Sen. Felag Y
Sen. Fogarty Y
Sen. Gallo Y
Sen. Gee Y
Sen. Goldin Y
Sen. Goodwin Y
Sen. Jabour Y
Sen. Kettle Y
Sen. Lombardi Y
Sen. Lombardo Y
Sen. Lynch Prata Y
Sen. McCaffrey Y
Sen. Metts Y
Sen. Miller Y
Sen. Morgan Y
Sen. Nesselbush Y
Sen. Paolino Y
Sen. Pearson Y
Sen. Picard Y
Sen. Quezada Y
Sen. Raptakis Y
Sen. Ruggerio Y
Sen. Satchell Y
Sen. Seveney Y
Sen. Sheehan Y
Sen. Sosnowski Y

Floor vote for PASSAGE IN CONCURRENCE

June 27, 2017 at 5:40pm
Yeas: 70 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 5 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida Y
Rep. Amore Y
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros Y
Rep. Bennett Y
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson Y
Rep. Casey Y
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Chippendale Y
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino NV
Rep. Coughlin Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Cunha Y
Rep. Diaz NV
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela Y
Rep. Filippi Y
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Giarrusso Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hearn Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian NV
Rep. Keable Y
Rep. Kennedy Y
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lancia Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marshall Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee Y
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendonca Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Morgan Y
Rep. Morin Y
Rep. Nardolillo Y
Rep. Newberry Y
Rep. Nunes Y
Rep. O'Brien NV
Rep. O'Grady Y
Rep. Perez Y
Rep. Phillips NV
Rep. Price Y
Rep. Quattrocchi Y
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Regunberg Y
Rep. Roberts Y
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Tanzi Y
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci Y
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh Y
Rep. Williams Y
Rep. Winfield Y