Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:
Section 144. (a) The following words, as used in this section, inclusive, shall have the following meanings:
“Consumer” means any person who purchases propane for personal consumption.
“Seller” means any person who is in the business of selling or offering to sell propane to consumers.
(b) The attorney general shall investigate irregularities, complaints, and unfair or deceptive acts in commerce by sellers.
(c) The attorney general shall promulgate necessary rules and regulations for the purpose of advancing business practices which are fair to sellers and which protect consumers.
(d) A violation of this section, or any rule or regulation consistent with this section, shall constitute an unfair and deceptive act in commerce under Section 2 of Chapter 93A. No contract for propane services shall contain any provision which conflicts with this this section, and any conflicting provision shall be unenforceable and void.
(e) A seller shall not: (1) Charge a minimum usage fee; (2) Charge a fee for propane that has not actually been delivered to a consumer; or (3) Compel a consumer to purchase a minimum number of gallons of propane per year.
(f) When terminating service to a consumer, a seller shall comply with the following requirements:
(i) if the propane storage tank has been located on a consumer’s premises in excess of 12 months, the seller may not charge a fee to:
1. Terminate propane services,
2. Remove the seller’s storage tank from the premises, or
3. Pump out or restock propane.
(ii) if the consumer has received propane services for less than 12 months, any fee related to the termination of service may not exceed the disclosed price of labor and materials.
(f) Seller shall not refuse to deliver propane to a storage tank owned by a consumer if the consumer provides proof of ownership of the tank and the seller has conducted a safety check of the tank in accordance with NFPA 54 (National Fuel Gas Code) and NFPA 58 (Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code) of the National Fire Protection Association and complies with rules adopted by the attorney general governing propane.
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