as introduced - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 02/09/2010 01:37am
|Introduction||Posted on 02/02/2009|
A bill for an act
relating to energy; exempting sales of natural gas for use on farms or ranches
from surcharges for utility low-income affordability programs; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 216B.16, subdivision 15.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 216B.16, subdivision 15, is amended to
(a) The commission must
consider ability to pay as a factor in setting utility rates and may establish affordability
programs for low-income residential ratepayers in order to ensure affordable, reliable, and
continuous service to low-income utility customers. By September 1, 2007, a public
utility serving low-income residential ratepayers who use natural gas for heating must
file an affordability program with the commission. For purposes of this subdivision,
"low-income residential ratepayers" means ratepayers who receive energy assistance from
the low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP).
(b) Any affordability program the commission orders a utility to implement must:
(1) lower the percentage of income that participating low-income households devote
to energy bills;
(2) increase participating customer payments over time by increasing the frequency
(3) decrease or eliminate participating customer arrears;
(4) lower the utility costs associated with customer account collection activities; and
(5) coordinate the program with other available low-income bill payment assistance
and conservation resources.
(c) In ordering affordability programs, the commission may require public utilities to
file program evaluations that measure the effect of the affordability program on:
(1) the percentage of income that participating households devote to energy bills;
(2) service disconnections; and
(3) frequency of customer payments, utility collection costs, arrearages, and bad
(d) The commission must issue orders necessary to implement, administer, and
evaluate affordability programs, and to allow a utility to recover program costs, including
administrative costs, on a timely basis. The commission may not allow a utility to recover
administrative costs, excluding start-up costs, in excess of five percent of total program
costs, or program evaluation costs in excess of two percent of total program costs. The
commission must permit deferred accounting, with carrying costs, for recovery of program
costs incurred during the period between general rate cases.
(e) Public utilities may use information collected or created for the purpose of
administering energy assistance to administer affordability programs.
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