SECTION 1. Chapter 154 of the Acts of 2018 is hereby amended by inserting the following item:-
2100-0018 For the hiring of additional gas line and pipeline inspectors within the department of public utilities………………………………………………………………………….$1,500,000.
SECTION 2. Chapter 25 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 2A the following section:-
Section 2B. There is hereby established within the department of public utilities an energy infrastructure oversight board, to be appointed by the governor, consisting of 9 members: the 3 commissioners of public utilities; 1 representative of an investor-owned gas utility; 1 representative of the environmental community; 1 representative of the business community; 1 consumer representative; 1 professional engineer; and 1 representative of organized labor. Said oversight board shall make recommendations to the governor respecting gas safety, oversight and inspection of gas facilities, employment of inspectors and engineers to oversee pipeline construction and maintenance, and emergency response protocols for gas-related incidents. Said advisory board shall report to the governor annually, which report shall also be submitted to the house and senate committees on ways and means no later than December 31 of each year. Members shall serve for terms of 3 years and may be reappointed. The members of the advisory board shall serve without compensation.
SECTION 3. Section 185 of chapter 149 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting the following definition:-
“Public utility employer,” a gas and electricity public utility provider.
and hereby further amended by inserting in lines 4, 20, 24, 29, 32, 33, 42, 43, 57, 61, 79, 84, 88, 89, 97, 99, and 103 after the word “employer” in each instance thereof the following:- or public utility employer
and hereby further amended by inserting in lines 34 and 44 after the word “relationship” in each instance thereof the following:- including private contractors hired to perform work customarily performed by employees of public utility employers.
SECTION 4. Section 1E of chapter 164 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended in line 12 by inserting after the word “levels” the following:- , public safety measures,.
SECTION 5. Section 1F of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following:-
(h) The department shall ensure that all written complaints under this section received from customers and the public regarding gas or electricity providers are investigated and a response to the complainant provided in a timely manner. The department shall establish a publicly accessible database of all complaints received, noting the category of complaint, the date it was received, the steps taken to address the complaint and that date it was resolved.
SECTION 6. Section 1J of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended in line 5 by striking out the figures “$250,000” and inserting in place thereof “275,000” and in line 8 by striking out the figures “$20,000,000” and inserting in place thereof the figures “$35,0000,000”.
SECTION 7. Said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 1L. There shall be a special commission to undertake a review of gas infrastructure in the Commonwealth, referred to in this section as the commission. The commission shall consist of the commissioner of the department of public utilities or a designee, who shall serve as chair; the attorney general or a designee; the commissioner of the department of environmental protection or designee; and 5 additional members to be appointed by the Governor: 1 shall be a representative of residential consumers; 1 shall be a representative of the environmental community; 1 shall be a representative of the clean energy technology industry; 1 shall be a representative of businesses, including large end users; and 1 shall be a representative of labor.
The commission shall report its findings to the General Court by January 1, 2020.
SECTION 8. Said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 1M. (a) The department shall establish a notification system in order to provide to and receive information regarding incidence of gas-related emergencies from neighboring states, including Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
(b) When a gas-related emergency occurs in a city or town within 10 miles of a neighboring state’s border, including loss of life or property damage in excess of $50,000, the Department shall provide notice to the neighboring state including the emergency contact number for both the gas company whose lines are affected and the emergency response personnel covering the cities and towns affected.
(c) The department shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement this section.
SECTION 9. Said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 147. (a) The department shall review and approve, deny, or otherwise recommend action on all proposals for substantial construction, renovation, repair, or expansion for facilities that store, vaporize, or produce liquefied natural gas as defined in section 69G of chapter 164. Any proposal submitted to the department must include an analysis of the proposal’s impact on the safety of the facility and the distribution system during and after construction.
(b) The department may request an additional review by the Energy Facilities Siting Board or the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office. If the department determines that the proposal will substantially alter the functional operation of the facility, the department may request updated safety or emergency response policies from the owner of the facility. Proposals must be submitted in writing and the department shall issue a decision within 120 days of submission unless the department requests an additional review.
(c) The facility owner shall notify the department of any changes to the facility security protocols prior to implementation, including, but not limited to, changes in agreements between the facility owner and outside security companies and substantial changes to the number or class of security personnel employed or contracted at the facility. The department may request additional information or make recommendations to the facility owner.
(d) The department shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement the requirements of this section.
SECTION 10. Said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 148. (a) The following words, as used in this section, shall have the following meanings:
“Pipeline engineer,” a person employed by the department of public utilities for the purpose of pipeline inspection who meets the qualifications of a professional engineer as defined in section 81D of chapter 112.
(b) The department shall employ pipeline engineers to oversee construction on or adjacent to distribution company pipelines, ensure compliance with all relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, and investigate complaints. All pipeline engineers shall receive the necessary training and qualification to perform field duties, as determined by the department, within 6 months of employment. The department shall employ no less than one pipeline engineer for every 100 miles of pipeline owned by a distribution or one pipeline engineer for every 2000 customers, provided that the department employs the number of pipeline engineers needed to meet the higher requirement.
SECTION 11. The department of public utilities shall promulgate regulations establishing requirements for the maintenance and security of gas regulators, including, but not limited to, service quality metrics. The department shall implement these regulations no later than January 1, 2021.
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