SECTION 1. Chapter 25 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 21 the following section:-
Section 21A. The department of public utilities shall establish and administer a program, to be known as the Natural Gas Demand Response Program, to implement a natural gas demand response program in the commonwealth. The department shall promulgate regulations as necessary to implement the program.
SECTION 2. (a) The department of public utilities together with the department of energy resources shall conduct a study assessing the potential for implementing a natural gas demand response program to meet winter peak demand, and shall consider, at a minimum: (i) the impact that such program might have on reducing stress on the distribution system, (ii) the value of the environmental impacts of such program; and (iii) the ratepayer impact, which the departments shall consider in conjunction with the office of the attorney general in its role as the commonwealth’s ratepayer advocate.
(b) In conducting the study, the departments shall ensure the method is consistent with published academic and industry guidance, and shall consult stakeholders with experience and expertise in power systems, natural gas pipelines, and electric and natural gas utility ratemaking regarding the proposed method, underlying assumptions and preliminary data.
(c) The departments shall submit to the clerks for the house of representatives and the senate, and to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy a report on the determination of the feasibility and value of natural gas demand response to the commonwealth not later than 180 days after the effective date of this act.
SECTION 3. The department of public utilities shall, within 30 days of the report submitted pursuant to section 2 and in consideration of the findings of the study required pursuant to said section 2, establish and implement the Natural Gas Demand Response Program pursuant to section 21A of chapter 25 of the General Laws.
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