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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 1D: Billing of retail customers; notice of offers available by participating non-utility competitive suppliers; payment to supplier by electric distribution company

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, distribution companies shall create and send bills to retail customers pursuant to either of 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; 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 complete 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.