Amendment ID: S2477-21

Amendment 21

Department of Public Utilities Disaster Mitigation Trust Fund

Ms. DiZoglio, Messrs. Pacheco and O'Connor move that the proposed new draft be amended by inserting the following new sections:-

SECTION XX. Chapter 25 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 12R the following section:-

Section 12S. Whereas, the deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to establish a fund to mitigate the instance of ratepayer increases after emergency events, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Department of Public Utilities Disaster Mitigation Trust Fund. There shall be credited to this fund all amounts collected under the fourth paragraph of section 18 of chapter 25, paragraph (d) of section 18B of chapter 25, paragraph (i) of section 144 of chapter 164, any other assessments determined by the department for this purpose, and any income derived from the investment of amounts credited to the fund. All amounts credited to the fund shall be held in trust and shall be available for expenditure, without further appropriation, by the department of public utilities to mitigate any rate increases following a declared disaster, emergency, accident, insolvency, bankruptcy or other event of a gas company that would otherwise result in rate increases. The intent of the fund is to secure sufficient monies, notwithstanding any insurance policies, to ensure that the enumerated events will not result in rate increases being passed along to ratepayers.  Any unexpended balance in the fund at the close of a fiscal year shall remain in the fund and shall be available for expenditure in the following fiscal year.

SECTION XX. Section 18 of said chapter 25 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after the third paragraph the following paragraph:-

For the purpose of providing the department with additional operating funds for mitigating any increases following emergency events on the rates paid by ratepayers to gas companies doing business in the commonwealth, the commission may make a separate assessment proportionally against each gas company under the jurisdictional control of the department, based upon the intrastate operating revenues subject to the jurisdiction of the department of each of the companies derived from sales within the commonwealth of gas service, as shown in the annual report of each of the companies to the department. The assessment shall be made at a rate that shall be determined and certified annually by the commission as sufficient to protect ratepayers from rate increases following emergency events. The amount of the assessment may be increased by the commission annually by a rate not to exceed the most recent annual consumer price index as calculated for the northeast region for all urban consumers. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, no gas company may seek recovery of any assessments made under this paragraph in any rate proceeding before the department. Each company shall pay the amount assessed against it within 30 days after the date of the notice of assessment from the department. Such assessments shall be collected by the department and credited to the Department of Public Utilities Disaster Mitigation Trust Fund established in section 12S.