SECTION 1. Chapter 30A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 10A the following section:-
Section 10B. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10, in any adjudicatory proceeding conducted by the department of public utilities regarding any petition, request for approval of a rate case or design or investigation of a gas company or an electric company, as defined in section 1 of chapter 164, the following shall be allowed by the department to participate fully as a party in such proceeding: (i) any municipality that is within the service area of such company; (ii) any member of the general court whose district includes ratepayers within the service area of such company; (iii) any group of not fewer than 10 persons who are ratepayers within the service area of such company and are substantially and directly affected by the proceeding; and (iv) a non-profit organization with expertise in the law of utilities. Such intervenors may appear pro se without counsel so long as they comply with the procedural rules of the department for an adjudicatory proceeding.
SECTION 2. Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking section 70 and inserting in place thereof the following:-
Section 70. (a) A gas company may, with the written consent of the city council of a city or the select board of a town, dig up and open the ground in any of the streets, lanes and highways of a city or town, so far as necessary to accomplish the objects of said corporation; but such consent shall not affect the right or remedy to recover damages for an injury caused to persons or property by the acts of such corporation. It shall put all such streets, lanes and highways in as good repair as they were when opened; and upon failure so to do within a reasonable time, shall be guilty of a nuisance.
(b) For the purposes of this section, damage to property shall include (i) any tree on public property damaged or killed by gas migrating into the critical root zone of such tree, defined as the area measured from the trunk of a tree at a radius of 1 foot per inch of the diameter of the tree at 4.5 feet above grade; or (ii) damage by construction during the course of repairing or replacing gas infrastructure.
(c) As a condition of granting consent as provided in subsection (a) or consenting to a grant of location, a city council or select board may require a gas company to provide the following information within 30 days of request: (i) a map of the gas infrastructure in the city or town; (ii) the age and condition of gas pipelines; (iii) the type and size of pipeline material; (iv) the pipeline pressure; (v) the repair history of gas infrastructure in each street segment; (vi) the number of leaks within the city or town having a significant environmental impact and the status and timeframe of their expected repair; (vii) probable cause of the leak, including defect, deterioration, or damage in pipe material or joint; (viii) estimated annual cost of gas lost from leaks in the municipality; (ix) estimated cost and timeframe for making any repairs to, or replacement of, existing pipelines, including estimated commencement date and completion date of such construction; (x) whether a gas main is being extended, repaired, or replaced; (xi) where and how many leaks are in the sections where work will be performed; (xii) the purpose of work to be performed, such as upcoming municipal roadwork, extension of service to new development, or repair or replacement of leak-prone pipeline; (xiii) whether any replacement will increase pipeline capacity; (xiv) any anticipated risks or hazards from such repair or replacement; and (xv) such other information as the city council or select board may reasonably require in order to make an informed consent.
(d) On written petition of a city council of a city or of a select board of a town aggrieved by the failure or refusal of a gas company to comply with a request made by said city council or select board pursuant to subsection (c), the department shall, after notice to such gas company to appear at a time and place therein named to show cause why the prayer of such petition should not be granted and after determining that the gas company has failed to comply with the requirements of subsection (c), issue an order directing such gas company to provide the petitioner with the information requested, upon such terms as are reasonable.
(e) Nothing in this section shall prevent a municipality from further regulating the opening of streets or the use of public ways by a gas company in a manner that is otherwise consistent with the laws and regulations of the commonwealth, or from conditioning the consent of such municipality to dig up and open the ground in a manner that is otherwise consistent with the laws and regulations of the commonwealth.
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