SECTION 1. Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out Section 1D in its entirety and replacing it with the following
Section 1D. Beginning January 1, 1998, all electric and gas bills sent to a retail customer shall be unbundled to separately reflect the rates charged for generation, transmission, and distribution services, as well as any other charges, as added pursuant to any provision of law, contained in the total retail price. Any transition charge, if so allowed to be assessed, shall be reflected separately on bills as of March 1, 1998. Electric and gas bills may reflect the total costs of services, without breakdown for type of service, in addition to, but not instead of, separately itemized rates for generation, transmission, and distribution services and transition charges as of March 1, 1998. Not later than six months after said March 1, in order to promote customer choice and convenience in a restructured electricity and gas market, eligible companies shall create and send bills to retail customers pursuant to the following billing options: (1) single bill from the distribution company that shows such charges; or (2) two bills: one from the non-utility supplier that shows energy-related charges, and one from the distribution company that shows distribution-related charges; or (3) single bill from the non-utility supplier that shows such charges provided, however, that all bills shall contain information concerning the quantity of gas or electricity consumed by said customer during the same billing period for the previous year. Costs for such inserts shall be apportioned accordingly between the parties. The department is hereby authorized and directed to determine whether any additional information shall be required to be disclosed on the bills and to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this subsection. Rules and regulations relative to the appeals process for billing disputes or damage claims made by customers shall be published and distributed to customers as part of an education and outreach program.
Residential or small commercial customers: (a) initiating new utility service; (b) reinstating service following a change of residence or business location; (c) making an inquiry regarding their rates; or (d) seeking information regarding energy efficiency shall be offered the option to learn about their ability to enroll with a participating non-utility competitive supplier of energy. Customers expressing an interest in learning about their electric supply options shall be informed of offers available by participating non-utility competitive suppliers. The electric distribution company shall describe then available offers available through a method approved by the department.
Participating non-utility competitive suppliers of energy may list qualifying electric offers to provide electric generation service to residential and small commercial customers in each customer's utility bill. The department shall determine the manner such information is presented in customers' utility bills.
For electric suppliers who have chosen the single bill from the distribution company billing method, the electric distribution company shall make timely payments to such suppliers in accordance with this paragraph. The distribution company shall: (a) bill all of the electric supplier's customers in a service class according to complete billing; (b) pay such suppliers the full amounts due from customers for generation services in a time period consistent with the average payment period of the participating class of customer, less a percentage of such amounts that reflects the average of the uncollectible bills for the participating customer classes of the electric distribution company and other reasonable development, operating or carrying costs incurred, as approved by the department. For electric suppliers who have chosen the single bill from the non-utility supplier billing method, the non-utility supplier shall make timely payments to such distribution companies in accordance with this paragraph. The non-utility supplier company shall: (a) bill all of the electric distribution company’s customers in a service class according to complete billing; (b) pay such distribution companies the full amounts collected from customers for distribution services as approved by the department.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a non-utility supplier company from including non-commodity products and non-commodity services in a bill issued in accordance with this section. The department shall determine the manner such information is presented in customers' bills.
SECTION 2. Section 1 of Chapter 164 is hereby amended by inserting after the words “as provided by law” the following 2 definitions:
“Non-Commodity Product” Any Energy related product that could reasonably impact a customer’s renewable, energy efficiency needs or a product that meets a customer’s energy-related objective.
“Non-Commodity Service” Any Energy related services that could reasonably impact a customer’s renewable, energy efficiency needs or a service that meets a customer’s energy-related objective.
SECTION 3. Within 180 days of passage of this act, the department of public utilities shall promulgate regulations necessary to allow non-utility competitive suppliers to issue bills in accordance with SECTION 1.
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