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Session Law

2005

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Chapter 140 AN ACT RELATIVE TO HEATING ENERGY ASSISTANCE AND TAX RELIEF.

Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to establish forthwith a heating energy assistance and tax relief program, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. To provide for supplementing a certain item in the general appropriation act for fiscal year 2006, the sum set forth in section 2 is hereby appropriated from the General Fund unless specifically designated otherwise in this act or in said appropriation act, for the several purposes and subject to the conditions specified in this act or in said appropriation act and subject to laws regulating the disbursement of public funds for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. The sum in said section 2 shall be in addition to any amounts previously appropriated and made available for the purposes of that item. The sum appropriated in section 2 shall not revert and shall be available for expenditure until June 30, 2006.

SECTION 2.

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.

Department of Housing and Community Development.

7004-1000
For a one-time state supplement to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program 42 U.S.C. Section 8621 et seq., for the purpose of assisting low-income elders, working families and other households with the purchase of heating oil, propane and natural gas and electricity and other primary or secondary heating sources; provided, that expenditure of these supplemental funds shall be made in accordance with the state plan submitted by the department of housing and community development in accordance with the federal program; provided further, that the department shall establish the maximum assistance for which a household is eligible commensurate with the increased funding provided in this item; provided further, that $5,000,000 shall be immediately available for the program and shall be available for all eligible households; provided further, that $15,000,000 shall be available for expenditure for the program after all federal funds that have been appropriated for the purpose have been committed to energy suppliers, provided, however, that for the purposes of this section a supplemental federal appropriation shall not be considered in determining the release of the funds herein, provided, further that the secretary of administration and finance shall submit to the senate and house committees on ways and means and the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy a spending plan for the funds to be expended hereunder no later than February 1, 2006 and provided, further that the plan shall include a detailed analysis of the impact of the proposed expenditure on the availability of any federal funds for this purpose; and provided further, that the department may increase maximum assistance for which a household is eligible to reflect the needs of such households. In increasing benefit levels as required herein, the department shall establish benefit levels reasonably designed to expend all available state and federal funds and, in the event that federal funds to the state program are not allocated by October 1, 2005, shall establish a baseline assumption that the state will receive no less federal funding than it received in fiscal year 2005 ..................................................... $20,000,000.

Section 19 of chapter 25 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 1, the figure "10" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 15.

SECTION 4. Said section 19 of said chapter 25, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 11, the figure "2007" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 2012.

SECTION 5. Said section 19 of said chapter 25, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 29, the figure:- "2006" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 2011.

NO SECTION 6.

Governor returned with recommendation of amendment - see House, No. 4930
SECTION 7.
Section 11C of chapter 25A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following 12 subsections:-

(a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

"Eligible", able to meet all requirements for offerors or bidders set forth in this section including, without limitation, being certified by the division of capital asset management and maintenance as eligible to provide energy management systems services and not debarred from bidding under section 44C of chapter 149 or any other applicable law.

"Energy conservation measures", measures involving modifications or maintenance and operating procedures of a building or facility and installations therein, which are designed to reduce energy consumption in such building or facility, or the installation, modification of an installation in a building or facility which is primarily intended to reduce energy consumption.

"Energy conservation projects", projects to promote energy conservation, including but not limited to, energy conserving modification to windows and doors; caulking and weather-stripping; insulation, automatic energy control systems; hot water systems; equipment required to operate variable steam, hydraulic, and ventilating systems; plant and distribution system modifications including replacement of burners, furnaces or boilers; devices for modifying fuel openings; electrical or mechanical furnace ignition systems; utility plant system conversions; replacement or modification of lighting fixtures; energy recovery systems; and, cogeneration systems.

"Energy management services", a program of services, including energy audits, energy conservation measures, energy conservation projects, or a combination thereof, and building maintenance and financing services, primarily intended to reduce the cost of energy and water in operating 1 or more buildings, which may be paid for in whole or in part, by cost savings attributable to a reduction in energy and water consumption which result from the services.

"Energy management systems", the design and installation of systems or maintenance programs to conserve energy use within a building, including, without limitation, performance-contracting energy saving projects; the installation or modification of new and existing equipment which will reduce energy and water consumption associated with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, lighting system, building envelope, domestic hot water system, and other energy and water using devices; and the work associated with monitoring and verifying project savings and the study or design of the subject work, whether performed directly or managed through subcontractors.

"Energy savings", a measured reduction in fuel, energy, operating or maintenance costs resulting from the implementation of 1 or more energy management services when compared with an established baseline of previous fuel, energy, operating or maintenance costs, including, but not limited to, future capital replacement expenditures avoided as a result of equipment installed or services performed pursuant to the guaranteed energy savings contract.

"Guaranteed energy savings contract", a contract for the evaluation, recommendation or implementation of 1 or more energy management services in which payments are based, in whole or in part, on any energy savings attributable to the contract.

"Person", any natural person, business, partnership, corporation, union, committee, club, or other organization, entity or group of individuals.

"Public agency", a department, agency, board, commission, authority, or other instrumentality of the commonwealth or political subdivision of the commonwealth or 2 or more subdivisions thereof.

"Qualified provider", responsible and eligible person able to meet all requirements set forth in this section, and not debarred from bidding under section 44C of chapter 149 or any other applicable law and experienced in the design, implementation, and installation of energy savings measures.

"Request for qualifications", a solicitation directed to qualified providers issued by a public agency to obtain energy management services pursuant to a guaranteed energy savings contract subject to the provisions of this section. The request for qualifications shall include the following:

(1) The name and address of the public agency.

(2) The name, address, title, and phone number of a contact person.

(3) The date, time, and place where qualifications must be received.

(4) A description of the services to be procured, including a facility profile with a detailed description of each building involved and accurate energy consumption data for the most recent 2 year period, stated objectives for the program, a list of building improvements to be considered or required and a statement as to whether the proposed improvements will generate sufficient energy savings to fund the full cost of the program.

(5) The evaluation criteria for assessing the qualifications.

(6) A statement that the public agency may cancel the request for qualifications, or may reject in whole or in part any and all energy savings measures, when the public agency determines that cancellation or rejection serves the best interests of the public.

(7) Any other stipulations and clarifications the public agency may require, which shall be clearly identified in the request for qualifications.

"Responsible", demonstrably possessing the skill, ability and integrity necessary to faithfully perform the work called for by a particular contract, based upon a determination of competent workmanship and financial soundness in accordance with the provisions of section 44D of chapter 149.

(b) A public agency may enter into a guaranteed energy savings contract in order to achieve energy savings at facilities in accordance with this section.

(c) All energy savings measures shall comply with current local, state, and federal construction and environmental codes and regulations.

(d) Before entering into a guaranteed energy savings contract, a public agency shall issue a request for qualifications. Public notice of the request for qualifications shall conform to the procedures set forth in subsection (1) of section 44J of chapter 149. At least 1 week before soliciting a request for qualifications for a guaranteed energy savings contract, a public agency shall notify the commissioner of energy resources in writing, in a form and including information as the commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance shall prescribe by regulation, of the agency's intent to solicit qualifications. The notification, at a minimum, shall include a copy of the agency's request for qualifications. An acknowledgment of receipt, in a form and including information as the commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance shall prescribe by regulation, shall be issued by the commissioner of energy resources to the public agency upon successful compliance with the requirements of this subsection. Qualifications shall be opened publicly, in the presence of 2 or more witnesses, at the time specified in the request for qualifications, and shall be available for public inspection. The provisions of sections 44A, 44B and 44E to 44H, inclusive, of chapter 149 shall not apply to contracts procured pursuant to this section. Section 44D of said chapter 149 shall apply as appropriate to qualifications submitted for contracts under this section, and every such qualification shall be accompanied by (1) a copy of a certificate of eligibility issued by the commissioner of the division of capital asset management, and (2) by an update statement.

The public agency shall evaluate the qualified providers to determine which best meets the needs of the public agency by reviewing the following:-

(1) references of other energy savings contracts performed by the qualified providers;

(2) the certificate of eligibility and update statement provided by the qualified providers;

(3) quality of the products proposed;

(4) methodology of determining energy savings;

(5) general reputation and performance capabilities of the qualified providers;

(6) substantial conformity with the specifications and other conditions set forth in the request for qualifications;

(7) time specified in the qualifications for the performance of the contract; and

(8) any other factors the public agency considers reasonable and appropriate, which factors shall be made a matter of record.

Respondents shall be evaluated only on the criteria set forth in the request for qualifications.

The public agency shall conduct discussions with, and may require public presentations by, each person who submitted qualifications in response to the request for qualifications regarding their qualifications, approach to the project, and ability to furnish the required services. The public agency shall select in order of preference 3 such persons, unless fewer persons respond, they consider to be the most highly qualified to perform the required services. The agency may request, accept, and consider proposals for the compensation to be paid under the contract only during competitive negotiations conducted pursuant to subsection (f).

(e) The public agency may cancel a request for qualifications, or may reject in whole or in part any and all proposals when the public agency determines that cancellation or rejection serves the best interests of the public agency. The public agency shall state in writing the reason for a cancellation or rejection.

(f) The public agency shall negotiate a contract with the most qualified person at compensation which the public agency determines is fair, competitive, and reasonable. Should the public agency be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with the person considered to be the most qualified at a price the public agency determines to be fair, competitive, and reasonable, negotiations with that person shall be formally terminated. The public agency shall then undertake negotiations with the second most qualified person. Failing accord with the second most qualified person, the public agency shall terminate those negotiations and then undertake negotiations with the third most qualified person. Should the public agency be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with any of the selected persons, the public agency may select additional qualified providers who responded to the request for qualifications, in the order of their competence and qualification, and continue negotiations in accordance with this subsection until either an agreement is reached or the public agency cancels the request for qualifications.

(g) The decision of a public agency as defined by section 1, regarding the selection of a qualified provider shall be final and not subject to appeal except on the grounds of fraud or collusion.

(h) The public agency shall provide public notice of the meeting at which it proposes to award the guaranteed energy savings contract, of the name of the parties to the proposed contract, and of the purpose of the contract. The public notice shall be made at least 10 days before the meeting. The public agency shall promptly publish in the central register notice of the award. The public agency shall promptly publish in the central register notice of the award and those public agencies other than state agencies and building authorities shall notify the commissioner of energy resources of such award and provide a copy of the guaranteed energy savings contract.

(i) The guaranteed energy savings contract shall include a written guarantee of the qualified provider that either the amount of energy savings guaranteed will be achieved or the qualified provider shall reimburse the public agency for the shortfall amount. Methods for measurement and verification of guaranteed savings shall conform to the most recent standards established by the Federal Energy Management Program of the United States Department of Energy. The commissioner of energy resources shall enforce the requirements of this section and regulations promulgated hereunder as they relate to public agencies except for state agencies and building authorities and shall have all the necessary powers to require compliance therewith. The commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance shall enforce the regulations as they relate to state agencies and building authorities. Any order of the commissioner of energy resources under this subsection shall be effective and may be enforced according to its terms, and enforcement thereof shall not be suspended or stayed by the entry of an appeal therefrom. The superior court for Suffolk county shall have jurisdiction over appeals of orders of the commissioner of energy resources under this subsection, and shall also have jurisdiction upon application of the commissioner to enforce all orders of the commissioner under this subsection. The burden of proof shall be upon the appealing party to show that the order of the commissioner is invalid. An aggrieved person shall not be required to seek and order from the commission as a condition precedent to seeking any other remedy. The value of guaranteed savings may represent either all, or part of annual payments at the discretion of the agency. The guaranteed energy savings contract term for providing a guarantee, measurement and verification, maintenance, service and installment or lease payments shall not exceed 20 years. The division of capital asset management and maintenance, in concurrence with the state inspector general, shall promulgate regulations for the procurement of energy management services, including establishing safeguards to be included in guarantee energy savings contracts. The regulations shall require the submission, at least annually, of information as the commission of the division of capital asset management and maintenance and the state inspector general consider necessary in order to monitor the costs and benefits of contracts for energy management services.

(j) Payments under a contract for energy management services may be based in whole or in part on any cost savings attributable to a reduction in energy and water consumption due to the contractor's performance or revenues gained due to the contractor's services which are aimed at energy and water cost savings.

(k) Unless no other manner of description suffices, and the public agency so determines in writing, setting forth the basis for the determination, all requirements shall be written in a manner which describes the requirements to be met without having the effect of exclusively requiring a proprietary supply or service, or a procurement from a sole source.

(l) Before entering into a guaranteed energy savings contract, the public agency shall require the qualified provider to file with the public agency a payment or a performance bond relating to the installation of energy savings measures, in an amount equal to 100 per cent of the estimated contract value from a surety company licensed to do business in the commonwealth and whose name appears on United States Treasury Department Circular 570.

(m) Guaranteed energy savings contracts may extend beyond the fiscal year in which they become effective.

Governor returned with recommendation of amendment - see House, No. 4931
SECTION 8.
Section 1 of Chapter 30B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "thirty", in line 6, the following words:- , section 11C of chapter 25A.

SECTION 9. Chapter 63 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 38S following section:- >

Section 38T. (a) A credit of up to $300 or 15 per cent, whichever is less, of the aggregate cost of the purchase and installation of a solar water heating system shall be allowed per return against the taxes imposed by this chapter for the cost of the retail purchase and installation of a solar water heating system in a commercial building.

(b) The commissioner of revenue shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this section. The rules and regulations shall include provisions to prevent the generation of multiple credits with respect to the same property.SECTION 10. Section 38T of said chapter 63, inserted by 9 this act, is hereby repealed.

SECTION 11. Section 1F of chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 83, the figure "175" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 200.

SECTION 12. Subparagraph (i) of clause (4) said section 1F chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following 2 paragraphs:-

In a program year in which maximum eligibility for the low-income home energy assistance program, or its successor program, exceeds 200 per cent of the federal poverty level, a household that is income eligible for the low-income home energy assistance program shall be eligible for the low-income discount rates required by this subparagraph.

The department is hereby directed to increase the low-income discount eligibility rate from 175 per cent of the federal poverty level to 200 per cent of the federal poverty level, as found in regulation 220 CMR 14.03(2A).

SECTION 13. Subparagraph (iii) of said clause (4) section 1F chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

The department shall promulgate rules and regulations requiring utility companies organized pursuant to this chapter to produce information, in the form of a mailing, or other approved method of distribution, to their consumers, to inform them of available rebates, discounts, credits, and other cost-saving mechanisms that can help them lower their monthly utility bills, and send out such information semi-annually, unless otherwise provided by this chapter.

SECTION 14. Notwithstanding any general or special law, rule regulation to the contrary, for taxable years 2005 and 2006, there shall be deducted from adjusted gross income in determining income: up $800 cost of home heating oil, natural gas, propane. deduction available single persons if taxpayer's is equal less than $50,000, joint filers who qualify as a head household $75,000.

(a) The deductions may be used only for the cost of home heating oil, natural gas and propane purchased between November 1, 2005 and March 31, 2006.

(b) Any taxpayer entitled to a deduction under this section may apply the deduction in taxable year 2005 for purchases made in 2005. If the taxpayer does not take the full $800 deduction in taxable year 2005, the taxpayer may take the remainder in taxable year 2006 for purchases made in 2006 through March 31, 2006.

(c) The commissioner of revenue shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement this section. The commissioner shall also include in such rules and regulations eligibility provisions for a taxpayer who owns a condominium or a cooperative dwelling and for whom such purchases are accounted for in a common area fee or special assessment against such costs as may be reasonably attributed to the percentage ownership share of the condominium or cooperative dwelling costs; and provided further, that the commissioner shall also include in such rules and regulations eligibility provisions for a taxpayer who rents a residential dwelling and for whom such purchases are accounted for in the rent and provisions that account for multiple renters in a residential dwelling. The department shall file a copy of any rules and regulations with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives and with the joint committee on revenue.

SECTION 15. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law rule regulation to the contrary, an owner of residential property located in commonwealth shall be allowed a one-time credit against tax imposed by Chapter 62 of the General Laws for all energy efficient items purchased on or after November 1, 2005, but not later than March 31, 2006, for installation in said property. The credit allowed for such purchases for installation in any 1 residential building shall equal 30 per cent of the cost; provided further, that said credit shall not exceed $600 for residential dwelling or $1,000 for a multi-unit dwelling. Joint owners of a residential property shall share any credit available to the property under this section in the same proportion as their ownership interest.

(b) The credit allowed under this section may be taken in taxable year 2005 or 2006, regardless of the exact date on which any qualifying purchases were made. The amount of credit that exceeds the total tax due for the taxable year in which the credit is taken may be carried over, as reduced, and applied against the tax liability for the next taxable year; in no taxable year shall the amount of the credit allowed exceed the total tax due of the taxpayer for the relevant taxable year.

(c) The commissioner of revenue shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the implementation of this section. The commissioner shall also include in such rules and regulations eligibility provisions for a taxpayer who owns a condominium or a cooperative dwelling and for whom such purchases are accounted for in a common area fee or special assessment against such costs as may be reasonably attributed to the proportionate ownership share of the condominium or cooperative dwelling costs. The department shall file a copy of any rules and regulations with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives and with the joint committee on revenue.

(d) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

"Energy efficient heating items", shall include, but not be limited to, home insulation, new window installation, advanced programmable thermostats, fuel efficient furnaces, boilers, oil, gas, propane or electric heating systems, solar domestic hot water systems, materials for insulation or sealing of a duct, attic, basement, rim joint or wall and pipe insulation for heating systems.

"Net expenditure", the total of the purchase price for all energy efficient items, plus installation cost, less any credits received pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code, any grants or rebates received from the United States department of housing and urban development, and any rebates or discounts received from an electric utility or gas utility.

SECTION 16. Notwithstanding any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, an owner of residential property located in the commonwealth shall be allowed a one-time credit against the tax imposed by Chapter 63 of the General Laws for all energy efficient items purchased on or after November 1, 2005, but not later than March 31, 2006, for installation in that property. The credit allowed for such purchases for installation in any 1 residential building shall equal 30 per cent of the cost; provided further, that said credit shall not exceed $600 for residential dwelling or $1,000 for a multi-unit dwelling. Joint owners of a residential property shall share any credit available to the property under this subsection in the same proportion as their ownership interest.

The credit allowed under this section may be taken in the taxable year 2005 or 2006 in which any qualifying purchase was made. The amount of credit that exceeds the total tax due for the fiscal year in which the credit is taken may be carried over, as reduced, and applied against the tax liability for the next taxable year; provided, however, that in no fiscal year may the amount of the credit allowed exceed the total tax due of the taxpayer for the relevant taxable year.

The commissioner of revenue shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the implementation of this section; provided, however, that the commissioner shall also include in such rules and regulations eligibility provisions for a taxpayer who owns a condominium or a cooperative dwelling and for whom such purchases are accounted for in a common area fee or special assessment against such costs as may be reasonably attributed to the proportionate ownership share of the condominium or cooperative dwelling costs. The department shall file a copy of any rules and regulations with the clerk of the senate and of the house of representatives and with the joint committee on revenue.

As used in this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Energy efficient heating items", shall include, but not be limited to, home insulation, new window installation, advanced programmable thermostats, fuel efficient furnaces, boilers, oil, gas, propane, or electric heating systems, solar domestic hot water systems, materials for insulation or sealing of a duct, attic, basement, rim joint or wall and pipe insulation for heating systems.

"Net expenditure", the total of the purchase price for all energy efficient items, plus installation cost less any credits received pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code, any grants or rebates received from the United States department of housing and urban development, and any rebates or discounts received from an electric utility or gas utility.

SECTION 17. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of telecommunications and energy shall initiate a generic proceeding, not later than December 1, 2005 to develop standards that shall apply to each electric and gas company regarding the adoption of an arrearage management program for eligible low-income customers, as defined under chapter 164 of the General Laws. The department shall require each such company to file by December 30, 2005 an arrearage management program that includes all relevant operational details, including a plan to coordinate the arrearage management plan with the low-income weatherization and fuel assistance agencies and services. Upon approval by the department, said company shall implement its program. The department shall review and approve each program with such modifications as the department deems appropriate, no later than February 28, 2006. The department shall conduct an annual review of such programs and may at any time order such revisions or modifications as the department deems appropriate. For purposes of this section, an arrearage management program shall include a plan under which companies work with eligible low-income customers to establish affordable payment plans and provide credits to those customers toward the accumulated arrears where such customers comply with the terms of the program.

(b) The department shall require a company that initially offers a low income customer who has an arrearage, but whose utility service has not yet been terminated, a payment plan of not less than 4 months including the initial down payment of 25 per cent of the balance owed, and the remaining repayment balance amounts shall be divided equally; but, a company that seeks a repayment agreement of less than 4 months shall request approval from the department for good cause shown. A company making such a request shall notify the customer that the request has been made. This paragraph shall not limit the right of a customer to request a payment plan of more than 4 months or limit the authority of the department to order a payment plan of more than 4 months either on an individual basis or through revisions to its billing and termination regulations.

SECTION 18. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation shall, in consultation with the division of energy resources, establish a program to expand the production and use of clean, on-site distributed renewable resources by offering or causing to be offered zero interest loans to residential customers in the commonwealth to promote the purchase and installation of photovoltaic systems that will be connected to the electric distribution grid. The program shall be funded by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund established in section 4E of chapter 40J of the General Laws; provided, however, that the fund shall expend not less than $1,000,000 for the purposes of this program; provided further, that these funds and all other funds expended by the corporation in furtherance of the increased installation and use of distributed renewable generation resources by the corporation shall be deemed to be expended for the primary purpose of protecting or restoring the environment as such terms are defined in Section 126(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and the implementing regulation set forth in Title 7 CFR Part 14. The program shall make such loans available for purchases made on or after March 1, 2006. The corporation may set standards and adopt rules and regulations to carry out the purposes of this section including, but not limited to, establishing applicant eligibility criteria, application forms and procedures, and photovoltaic system requirements. The corporation shall make or cause to be made loans to low, moderate and upper moderate income residential customers before other applicants. The corporation shall submit a report detailing the standards, rules and regulations to the joint committee on telecommunication, utilities and energy not later than February 1, 2006.

SECTION 19. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the division of capital asset management and maintenance shall, in consultation with the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation, develop a plan to sustain and enhance the position of Massachusetts as a national leader in promoting green buildings by integrating renewable energy technologies and sustainable, high performance design concepts into buildings and facilities that are owned, operated, leased or otherwise controlled by the commonwealth or the University of Massachusetts and to develop a standard by which to benchmark the implementation of said plan. The plan shall analyze the feasibility, costs, benefits, and barriers to designing and constructing new buildings, and renovating existing buildings including, but not limited to, developing plans to: (1) increase by at least 50 per cent by 2010, the inclusion of renewable energy technology as a source of energy generation and efficiency; (2) substantially exceed building code energy standards; (3) minimize electricity usage through energy efficiency measures and on-site, renewable energy technologies; (4) provide healthy and productive environments for building occupants; and (5) minimize incremental, additional costs incurred to design and construct a green building. The plan may include recommendations to support increased energy efficiency and integration of renewable technologies into state buildings, including proposed changes or modifications to state or federal laws or regulations. The plan shall include recommended funding levels and funding sources. The corporation shall submit the plan to the executive office for administration and finance, the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies, and the joint committee on telecommunication, utilities and energy not later than May 1, 2006.

SECTION 20. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation shall establish the Massachusetts Fuel Cell Partnership to develop a strategic framework to accelerate the development and deployment of commercially viable fuel cell and related hydrogen production, storage and distribution technologies and to support the growth and development of the fuel cell industry cluster in the commonwealth. The partnership may draw on the participation of companies, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, including the Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition and other parties. The strategic framework developed by the partnership may include, but shall not be limited to the following:

(1) identification of the members of the fuel cell cluster;
(2) identification and analysis of the needs of cluster members;
(3) identification and analysis of technical, scientific, financial, legal, and regulatory obstacles to the development of commercially viable fuel cell and related enabling technologies;
(4) analysis of opportunities to leverage federal research and development funding and improve the competitiveness of Massachusetts entities to attract such federal and other funding sources; and
(5) identification and development of the parameters, mission, and a pro forma budget for establishing and operating a fuel cell research and testing center which may be located at a qualified Massachusetts institution of higher education; and (6) development of an action plan, including funding recommendations, to address the identified needs of the fuel cell cluster and potential means to improve the global competitive position of the fuel cell cluster. The corporation shall submit copies of the strategic framework to the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies and the joint committee on telecommunication, utilities and energy no later than June 15, 2006.

SECTION 21. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, local authorities may amend existing energy service agreements to bring products and services to additional buildings or assets in the community. The amendments may be accomplished through negotiation with the selected energy services provider.

SECTION 22. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, all guaranteed energy savings contracts, as defined in subsection (a) of section 11C of chapter 25 of the General Laws shall be compliant with prevailing wage statutes, sections 26 to 27D, inclusive, of chapter 149 of the General Laws.

SECTION 23. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a person working for a public agency, as defined in subsection (a) of section 11C of chapter 25 of the General Laws, shall abide by all applicable licensing laws of the commonwealth for contracts or work awarded under this act, including electrical, heating, plumbing, air conditioning and other categories subject to licensing.

SECTION 23A. The commissioner of energy resources shall establish a pilot program, hereinafter referred to as the HEAT Loan Program, to assist consumers with the purchase of energy efficient items for residential home modifications. For the purposes of this program, energy efficient items shall include home insulation, new window installation, advanced programmable thermostats, fuel efficient furnaces, boilers, oil, gas, propane, or electric heating systems, solar domestic or fuel efficient hot water systems, materials for insulation or sealing of a duct, attic, basement, rim joint or wall and pipe insulation for heating systems or other retail items for use in a residential dwelling that increase the energy efficiency of said dwelling.

In establishing the program, the commissioner shall develop a list of qualified state or federally chartered banking institutions or credit unions that do business in the commonwealth and that are governed by chapter 167 or 171 of the General Laws as participatory lending institutions. For the purposes of this section, a qualified lending institution shall include a lending institution, as described herein that is certified by the division and which shall offer zero and low interest loans for the purpose of enhancing the energy efficiency of a residential dwelling. The program shall be funded from that portion of the mandatory charge that is authorized by this section and allocated to residential customers consistent with section 11G of chapter 25A of the General Laws, provided, however, that not less than $5,000,000 shall be made available to assist participating financial institutions in offering said loan products by or through interest rate write downs or other credit enhancement features, and provided further, that loans offered pursuant to the program shall be offered to residential homeowners in the commonwealth solely for the purposes stated herein. The division shall make such loans available for purchases made on or after January 1, 2006, but not later than December 31, 2006. The division shall establish the rules and guidelines to carry out the purposes of this section, including, but not limited to, establishing applicant criteria, application forms and procedures, and energy efficiency product requirements and lending institution tracking and reporting requirements. The division shall submit a report detailing the rules and guidelines to the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy no later than January 1, 2006. The division shall submit a report detailing the program results no later than February 1, 2007 to the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy and the house and senate committees on ways and means.

SECTION 23B. A credit allowed under section 38T of chapter 63 of the General Laws for the purchase and installation of a solar water heating system in a commercial building between November 1, 2005 and March 31, 2006 may be applied for the taxable year 2006. The taxpayer may carry over and apply to the tax, in taxable year 2007, the portion of those credits which exceed the tax for taxable year 2006 subject to regulations by the commissioner of revenue.

SECTION 23C. On or before January 1, 2006, each utility company organized under chapter 164 of the General Laws shall file with the department a plan, detailing that information regarding available discounts, credits and other cost-saving mechanisms, that will be dispersed to consumers pursuant to section 1F of said chapter 164. The department shall review each plan and make an express finding whether the plan is consistent with or substantially complies with the provisions of this chapter. The department shall permit the implementation of plans approved during 2005.

SECTION 24. Section 10 shall take effect on January 1, 2008.

Approved November 22, 2005.

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