ASSEMBLY, No. 4552

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 16, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  UPENDRA J. CHIVUKULA

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Assemblyman  TIMOTHY J. EUSTACE

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Enhances retail competition in electric power and gas supply industries.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning retail competition in the electric power and gas supply industries and amending P.L.1999, c.23.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 3 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-51) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    As used in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.):

     "Assignee" means a person to which an electric public utility or another assignee assigns, sells or transfers, other than as security, all or a portion of its right to or interest in bondable transition property.  Except as specifically provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), an assignee shall not be subject to the public utility requirements of Title 48 or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto [;].

     "Base load electric power generation facility" means an electric power generation facility intended to be operated at a greater than 50 percent capacity factor including, but not limited to, a combined cycle power facility and a combined heat and power facility [;].

     "Base residual auction" means the auction conducted by PJM, as part of PJM's reliability pricing model, three years prior to the start of the delivery year to secure electrical capacity as necessary to satisfy the capacity requirements for that delivery year [;].

     "Basic gas supply service" or “BGSS” means gas supply service that is provided to any customer that has not chosen an alternative gas supplier, whether or not the customer has received offers as to competitive supply options, including, but not limited to, any customer that cannot obtain such service for any reason, including non-payment for services.  Basic gas supply service is not a competitive service and shall be fully regulated by the board [;].

     "Basic generation service" or "BGS" means electric generation service that is provided, to any customer that has not chosen an alternative electric power supplier, whether or not the customer has received offers for competitive supply options, including, but not limited to, any customer that cannot obtain such service from an electric power supplier for any reason, including non-payment for services.  Basic generation service is not a competitive service and shall be fully regulated by the board [;].

     “Basic generation service auction” or “BGS auction” means the auction during which the State’s electric load requirements for BGS are procured.

     "Basic generation service provider" or "provider" means a provider of basic generation service [;].

     "Basic generation service transition costs" means the amount by which the payments by an electric public utility for the procurement of power for basic generation service and related ancillary and administrative costs exceeds the net revenues from the basic generation service charge established by the board pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-57) during the transition period, together with interest on the balance at the board-approved rate, that is reflected in a deferred balance account approved by the board in an order addressing the electric public utility's unbundled rates, stranded costs, and restructuring filings pursuant to P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).  Basic generation service transition costs shall include, but are not limited to, costs of purchases from the spot market, bilateral contracts, contracts with non-utility generators, parting contracts with the purchaser of the electric public utility's divested generation assets, short-term advance purchases, and financial instruments such as hedging, forward contracts, and options.  Basic generation service transition costs shall also include the payments by an electric public utility pursuant to a competitive procurement process for basic generation service supply during the transition period, and costs of any such process used to procure the basic generation service supply [;].

     "Board" means the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities or any successor agency [;].

     "Bondable stranded costs" means any stranded costs or basic generation service transition costs of an electric public utility approved by the board for recovery pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), together with, as approved by the board: (1) the cost of retiring existing debt or equity capital of the electric public utility, including accrued interest, premium and other fees, costs and charges relating thereto, with the proceeds of the financing of bondable transition property; (2) if requested by an electric public utility in its application for a bondable stranded costs rate order, federal, State and local tax liabilities associated with stranded costs recovery or basic generation service transition cost recovery or the transfer or financing of such property or both, including taxes, whose recovery period is modified by the effect of a stranded costs recovery order, a bondable stranded costs rate order or both; and (3) the costs incurred to issue, service or refinance transition bonds, including interest, acquisition or redemption premium, and other financing costs, whether paid upon issuance or over the life of the transition bonds, including, but not limited to, credit enhancements, service charges, overcollateralization, interest rate cap, swap or collar, yield maintenance, maturity guarantee or other hedging agreements, equity investments, operating costs and other related fees, costs and charges, or to assign, sell or otherwise transfer bondable transition property [;].

     "Bondable stranded costs rate order" means one or more irrevocable written orders issued by the board pursuant to P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) which determines the amount of bondable stranded costs and the initial amount of transition bond charges authorized to be imposed to recover such bondable stranded costs, including the costs to be financed from the proceeds of the transition bonds, as well as on-going costs associated with servicing and credit enhancing the transition bonds, and provides the electric public utility specific authority to issue or cause to be issued, directly or indirectly, transition bonds through a financing entity and related matters as provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), which order shall become effective immediately upon the written consent of the related electric public utility to such order as provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Bondable transition property" means the property consisting of the irrevocable right to charge, collect and receive, and be paid from collections of, transition bond charges in the amount necessary to provide for the full recovery of bondable stranded costs which are determined to be recoverable in a bondable stranded costs rate order, all rights of the related electric public utility under such bondable stranded costs rate order including, without limitation, all rights to obtain periodic adjustments of the related transition bond charges pursuant to subsection b. of section 15 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-64), and all revenues, collections, payments, money and proceeds arising under, or with respect to, all of the foregoing [;].

     "British thermal unit" or "Btu" means the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit [;].

     "Broker" means a duly licensed electric power supplier that assumes the contractual and legal responsibility for the sale of electric generation service, transmission or other services to end-use retail customers, but does not take title to any of the power sold, or a duly licensed gas supplier that assumes the contractual and legal obligation to provide gas supply service to end-use retail customers, but does not take title to the gas [;].

     "Brownfield" means any former or current commercial or industrial site that is currently vacant or underutilized and on which there has been, or there is suspected to have been, a discharge of a contaminant [;].

     “Budget billing” means an equal payment arrangement between a customer and an electric public utility or gas public utility, whereby the customer makes equal monthly payments for the provision of electric generation or gas supply service over an annual period.

     "Buydown" means an arrangement or arrangements involving the buyer and seller in a given power purchase contract and, in some cases third parties, for consideration to be given by the buyer in order to effectuate a reduction in the pricing, or the restructuring of other terms to reduce the overall cost of the power contract, for the remaining succeeding period of the purchased power arrangement or arrangements [;].

     "Buyout" means an arrangement or arrangements involving the buyer and seller in a given power purchase contract and, in some cases third parties, for consideration to be given by the buyer in order to effectuate a termination of such power purchase contract [;].

     "Class I renewable energy" means electric energy produced from solar technologies, photovoltaic technologies, wind energy, fuel cells, geothermal technologies, wave or tidal action, small scale hydropower facilities with a capacity of three megawatts or less and put into service after the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24, and methane gas from landfills or a biomass facility, provided that the biomass is cultivated and harvested in a sustainable manner [;].

     "Class II renewable energy" means electric energy produced at a hydropower facility with a capacity of greater than three megawatts or a resource recovery facility, provided that such facility is located where retail competition is permitted and provided further that the Commissioner of Environmental Protection has determined that such facility meets the highest environmental standards and minimizes any impacts to the environment and local communities [;].

     "Co-generation" means the sequential production of electricity and steam or other forms of useful energy used for industrial or commercial heating and cooling purposes [;].

     "Combined cycle power facility" means a generation facility that combines two or more thermodynamic cycles, by producing electric power via the combustion of fuel and then routing the resulting waste heat by-product to a conventional boiler or to a heat recovery steam generator for use by a steam turbine to produce electric power, thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the generating facility [;].

     "Combined heat and power facility" or "co-generation facility" means a generation facility which produces electric energy and steam or other forms of useful energy such as heat, which are used for industrial or commercial heating or cooling purposes.  A combined heat and power facility or co-generation facility shall not be considered a public utility [;].

     "Competitive service" means any service offered by an electric public utility or a gas public utility that the board determines to be competitive pursuant to section 8 or section 10 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-56 or C.48:3-58) or that is not regulated by the board [;].

     "Commercial and industrial energy pricing class customer" or "CIEP class customer" means that group of non-residential customers with [high] peak demand at or above the CIEP threshold, as determined by periodic board order, which either is eligible or which would be eligible, as determined by periodic board order, to receive funds from the Retail Margin Fund established pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-57) and for which basic generation service is hourly-priced [;].

     “Commercial and industrial energy pricing threshold” or “CIEP threshold” means the peak demand kilowatt hour point as determined by periodic board order at which a customer shall procure electric power utilizing hourly pricing.

     "Comprehensive resource analysis" means an analysis including, but not limited to, an assessment of existing market barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable technologies that are not or cannot be delivered to customers through a competitive marketplace [;].

     "Connected to the distribution system" means, for a solar electric power generation facility, that the facility is: (1) connected to a net metering customer's side of a meter, regardless of the voltage at which that customer connects to the electric grid [,]; (2) an on-site generation facility [,]; (3) qualified for net metering aggregation as provided pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection e. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [,]; (4) owned or operated by an electric public utility and approved by the board pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1) [,]; (5) directly connected to the electric grid at [69kilovolts] 69 kilovolts or less, regardless of how an electric public utility classifies that portion of its electric grid, and is designated as "connected to the distribution system" by the board pursuant to subsections q. through s. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [,]; or (6) is certified by the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, as being located on a brownfield, on an area of historic fill, or on a properly closed sanitary landfill facility.  Any solar electric power generation facility, other than that of a net metering customer on the customer's side of the meter, connected above 69 kilovolts shall not be considered connected to the distribution system [;].

     "Customer" means any person that is an end user and is connected to any part of the transmission and distribution system within an electric public utility's service territory or a gas public utility's service territory within this State [;].

     "Customer account service" means metering, billing, or such other administrative activity associated with maintaining a customer account [;].

     “Customer class” means: (1) one of the following customer classes receiving electric generation service: residential FP customer class, non-residential FP customer class, or BGS-CIEP customer class; or (2) one of the following customer classes receiving gas supply service: residential customers, commercial customers, or industrial customers.

     "Delivery year" or "DY" means the 12-month period from June 1st through May 31st, numbered according to the calendar year in which it ends [;].

     "Demand side management" means the management of customer demand for energy service through the implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency technologies, including, but not limited to, installed conservation, load management and energy efficiency measures on and in the residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and governmental premises and facilities in this State [;].

     “Discount rate” means the customer-class specific amount deducted from the payments to an electric power supplier or gas supplier provided by an electric public utility or gas public utility for purchase of a supplier’s accounts receivable through a POR program.

     "Electric generation service" means the provision of retail electric energy and capacity which is generated off-site from the location at which the consumption of such electric energy and capacity is metered for retail billing purposes, including agreements and arrangements related thereto [;].

     "Electric power generator" means an entity that proposes to construct, own, lease or operate, or currently owns, leases or operates, an electric power production facility that will sell or does sell at least 90 percent of its output, either directly or through a marketer, to a customer or customers located at sites that are not on or contiguous to the site on which the facility will be located or is located.  The designation of an entity as an electric power generator for the purposes of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) shall not, in and of itself, affect the entity's status as an exempt wholesale generator under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, 15 U.S.C. s.79 et seq., or its successor [;].

     "Electric power supplier" means a person or entity that is duly licensed pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) to offer and to assume the contractual and legal responsibility to provide electric generation service to retail customers, and includes load serving entities, marketers and brokers that offer or provide electric generation service to retail customers. The term excludes an electric public utility that provides electric generation service only as a basic generation service pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-57) [;].

     "Electric public utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that transmits and distributes electricity to end users within this State [;].

     "Electric related service" means a service that is directly related to the consumption of electricity by an end user, including, but not limited to, the installation of demand side management measures at the end user's premises, the maintenance, repair or replacement of appliances, lighting, motors or other energy-consuming devices at the end user's premises, and the provision of energy consumption measurement and billing services [;].

     “Electronic database interchange” or “EDI” means the structured electronic transmission of data between an electric public utility and an electric power supplier or a gas public utility and a gas supplier.

     "Electronic signature" means an electronic sound, symbol or process, attached to, or logically associated with, a contract or other record, and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record [;].

     "Eligible generator" means a developer of a base load or mid-merit electric power generation facility including, but not limited to, an on-site generation facility that qualifies as a capacity resource under PJM criteria and that commences construction after the effective date of P.L.2011, c.9 (C.48:3-98.2 et al.) [;].

     "Energy agent" means a person that is duly registered pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), that arranges the sale of retail electricity or electric related services or retail gas supply or gas related services between government aggregators or private aggregators and electric power suppliers or gas suppliers, but does not take title to the electric or gas sold [;].

     "Energy consumer" means a business or residential consumer of electric generation service or gas supply service located within the territorial jurisdiction of a government aggregator [;].

     "Energy efficiency portfolio standard" means a requirement to procure a specified amount of energy efficiency or demand side management resources as a means of managing and reducing energy usage and demand by customers [;].

     "Energy year" or "EY" means the 12-month period from June 1st through May 31st, numbered according to the calendar year in which it ends [;].

     "Farmland" means land actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use that is valued, assessed, and taxed pursuant to the "Farmland Assessment Act of 1964," P.L.1964, c.48 (C.54:4-23.1 et seq.) [;].

     "Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" or "FERC" means the federal agency established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. s.7171 et seq. to regulate the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil [;].

     "Final remediation document" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11b) [;].

     "Financing entity" means an electric public utility, a special purpose entity, or any other assignee of bondable transition property, which issues transition bonds.  Except as specifically provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), a financing entity which is not itself an electric public utility shall not be subject to the public utility requirements of Title 48 or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto [;].

     “Fixed price customer class” or “FP customer class” means the group of residential and non-residential customers with a peak demand lower than the CIEP threshold determined by board order, and for which basic generation service is not hourly priced.

     "Gas public utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that distributes gas to end users within this State [;].

     "Gas related service" means a service that is directly related to the consumption of gas by an end user, including, but not limited to, the installation of demand side management measures at the end user's premises, the maintenance, repair or replacement of appliances or other energy-consuming devices at the end user's premises, and the provision of energy consumption measurement and billing services [;].

     "Gas supplier" means a person that is duly licensed pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) to offer and assume the contractual and legal obligation to provide gas supply service to retail customers, and includes, but is not limited to, marketers and brokers.  A non-public utility affiliate of a public utility holding company may be a gas supplier, but a gas public utility or any subsidiary of a gas utility is not a gas supplier.  In the event that a gas public utility is not part of a holding company legal structure, a related competitive business segment of that gas public utility may be a gas supplier, provided that related competitive business segment is structurally separated from the gas public utility, and provided that the interactions between the gas public utility and the related competitive business segment are subject to the affiliate relations standards adopted by the board pursuant to subsection k. of section 10 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-58) [;].

     "Gas supply service" means the provision to customers of the retail commodity of gas, but does not include any regulated distribution service [;].

     "Government aggregator" means any government entity subject to the requirements of the "Local Public Contracts Law," P.L.1971, c.198 (C.40A:11-1 et seq.), the "Public School Contracts Law," N.J.S.18A:18A-1 et seq., or the "County College Contracts Law," P.L.1982, c.189 (C.18A:64A-25.1 et seq.), that enters into a written contract with a licensed electric power supplier or a licensed gas supplier for: (1) the provision of electric generation service, electric related service, gas supply service, or gas related service for its own use or the use of other government aggregators; or (2) if a municipal or county government, the provision of electric generation service or gas supply service on behalf of business or residential customers within its territorial jurisdiction [;].

     "Government energy aggregation program" means a program and procedure pursuant to which a government aggregator enters into a written contract for the provision of electric generation service or gas supply service on behalf of business or residential customers within its territorial jurisdiction [;].

     "Governmental entity" means any federal, state, municipal, local or other governmental department, commission, board, agency, court, authority or instrumentality having competent jurisdiction [;].

     "Greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard" means a requirement that addresses or limits the amount of carbon dioxide emissions indirectly resulting from the use of electricity as applied to any electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers of electricity [;].

     "Historic fill" means generally large volumes of non-indigenous material, no matter what date they were emplaced on the site, used to raise the topographic elevation of a site, which were contaminated prior to emplacement and are in no way connected with the operations at the location of emplacement and which include, but are not limited to, construction debris, dredge spoils, incinerator residue, demolition debris, fly ash, and non-hazardous solid waste.  "Historic fill" shall not include any material which is substantially chromate chemical production waste or any other chemical production waste or waste from processing of metal or mineral ores, residues, slags, or tailings [;].

     “Historic uncollectible accounts cost level” means the actual amount of money owed by a retail electric supply customer or retail gas customer to an electric public utility or gas public utility for the supply portion of customer’s electric or gas bill, but not received by an electric public utility or gas public utility for the preceding 24 months, expressed as separate values for each applicable customer class.

     “Implementation cost” means the one-time initial administrative cost to an electric public utility or gas public utility of implementing a POR program, including, but not limited to, information technology upgrades and billing system modifications.

     "Incremental auction" means an auction conducted by PJM, as part of PJM's reliability pricing model, prior to the start of the delivery year to secure electric capacity as necessary to satisfy the capacity requirements for that delivery year, that is not otherwise provided for in the base residual auction [;].

     "Leakage" means an increase in greenhouse gas emissions related to generation sources located outside of the State that are not subject to a state, interstate or regional greenhouse gas emissions cap or standard that applies to generation sources located within the State [;].

     "Locational deliverability area" or "LDA" means one or more of the zones within the PJM region which are used to evaluate area transmission constraints and reliability issues including electric public utility company zones, sub-zones, and combinations of zones [;].

     "Long-term capacity agreement pilot program" or "LCAPP" means a pilot program established by the board that includes participation by eligible generators, to seek offers for financially-settled standard offer capacity agreements with eligible generators pursuant to the provisions of P.L.2011, c.9 (C.48:3-98.2 et al.) [;].

     "Market transition charge" means a charge imposed pursuant to section 13 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-61) by an electric public utility, at a level determined by the board, on the electric public utility customers for a limited duration transition period to recover stranded costs created as a result of the introduction of electric power supply competition pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Marketer" means a duly licensed electric power supplier that takes title to electric energy and capacity, transmission and other services from electric power generators and other wholesale suppliers and then assumes the contractual and legal obligation to provide electric generation service, and may include transmission and other services, to an end-use retail customer or customers, or a duly licensed gas supplier that takes title to gas and then assumes the contractual and legal obligation to provide gas supply service to an end-use customer or customers [;].

     "Mid-merit electric power generation facility" means a generation facility that operates at a capacity factor between baseload generation facilities and peaker generation facilities [;].

     "Net metering aggregation" means a procedure for calculating the combination of the annual energy usage for all facilities owned by a single customer where such customer is a State entity, school district, county, county agency, county authority, municipality, municipal agency, or municipal authority, and which are served by a solar electric power generating facility as provided pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection e. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [;].

     "Net proceeds" means proceeds less transaction and other related costs as determined by the board [;].

     "Net revenues" means revenues less related expenses, including applicable taxes, as determined by the board [;].

     “Non-residential fixed price customer class” or “non-residential FP customer class” means those customers receiving basic generation service under an electric distribution utility tariff designation that is not for residential customers, and who receive a fixed-price product in the BGS auction.

     "Offshore wind energy" means electric energy produced by a qualified offshore wind project [;].

     "Offshore wind renewable energy certificate" or "OREC" means a certificate, issued by the board or its designee, representing the environmental attributes of one megawatt hour of electric generation from a qualified offshore wind project [;].

     "Off-site end use thermal energy services customer" means an end use customer that purchases thermal energy services from an on-site generation facility, combined heat and power facility, or co-generation facility, and that is located on property that is separated from the property on which the on-site generation facility, combined heat and power facility, or co-generation facility is located by more than one easement, public thoroughfare, or transportation or utility-owned right-of-way [;].

     "On-site generation facility" means a generation facility, including, but not limited to, a generation facility that produces Class I or Class II renewable energy, and equipment and services appurtenant to electric sales by such facility to the end use customer located on the property or on property contiguous to the property on which the end user is located.  An on-site generation facility shall not be considered a public utility.  The property of the end use customer and the property on which the on-site generation facility is located shall be considered contiguous if they are geographically located next to each other, but may be otherwise separated by an easement, public thoroughfare, transportation or utility-owned right-of-way, or if the end use customer is purchasing thermal energy services produced by the on-site generation facility, for use for heating or cooling, or both, regardless of whether the customer is located on property that is separated from the property on which the on-site generation facility is located by more than one easement, public thoroughfare, or transportation or utility-owned right-of-way [;].

     "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, trust, limited liability company, governmental entity, or other legal entity [;].

     "PJM Interconnection, L.L.C." or "PJM" means the privately-held, limited liability corporation that is a FERC-approved Regional Transmission Organization, or its successor, that manages the regional, high-voltage electricity grid serving all or parts of 13 states including New Jersey and the District of Columbia, operates the regional competitive wholesale electric market, manages the regional transmission planning process, and establishes systems and rules to ensure that the regional and in-State energy markets operate fairly and efficiently [;].

     "Preliminary assessment" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11b) [;].

     "Private aggregator" means a non-government aggregator that is a duly-organized business or non-profit organization authorized to do business in this State that enters into a contract with a duly licensed electric power supplier for the purchase of electric energy and capacity, or with a duly licensed gas supplier for the purchase of gas supply service, on behalf of multiple end-use customers by combining the loads of those customers [;].

     "Properly closed sanitary landfill facility" means a sanitary landfill facility, or a portion of a sanitary landfill facility, for which performance is complete with respect to all activities associated with the design, installation, purchase, or construction of all measures, structures, or equipment required by the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to law, in order to prevent, minimize, or monitor pollution or health hazards resulting from a sanitary landfill facility subsequent to the termination of operations at any portion thereof, including, but not necessarily limited to, the placement of earthen or vegetative cover, and the installation of methane gas vents or monitors and leachate monitoring wells or collection systems at the site of any sanitary landfill facility [;].

     "Public utility holding company" means: (1) any company that, directly or indirectly, owns, controls, or holds with power to vote, [ten] 10 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of an electric public utility or a gas public utility or of a company which is a public utility holding company by virtue of this definition, unless the Securities and Exchange Commission, or its successor, by order declares such company not to be a public utility holding company under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, 15 U.S.C. s.79 et seq., or its successor; or (2) any person that the Securities and Exchange Commission, or its successor, determines, after notice and opportunity for hearing, directly or indirectly, to exercise, either alone or pursuant to an arrangement or understanding with one or more other persons, such a controlling influence over the management or policies of an electric public utility or a gas public utility or public utility holding company as to make it necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors or consumers that such person be subject to the obligations, duties, and liabilities imposed in the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 or its successor [;].

     “Purchase of receivables program” or “POR program” means a program in which an electric public utility or gas public utility purchases an electric power supplier’s or gas supplier’s accounts receivable, without recourse.

     "Qualified offshore wind project" means a wind turbine electricity generation facility in the Atlantic Ocean and connected to the electric transmission system in this State, and includes the associated transmission-related interconnection facilities and equipment, and approved by the board pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1) [;].

     "Registration program" means an administrative process developed by the board pursuant to subsection u. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) that requires all owners of solar electric power generation facilities connected to the distribution system that intend to generate SRECs, to file with the board documents detailing the size, location, interconnection plan, land use, and other project information as required by the board [;].

     "Regulatory asset" means an asset recorded on the books of an electric public utility or gas public utility pursuant to the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, No. 71, entitled "Accounting for the Effects of Certain Types of Regulation," or any successor standard and as deemed recoverable by the board [;].

     "Related competitive business segment of an electric public utility or gas public utility" means any business venture of an electric public utility or gas public utility including, but not limited to, functionally separate business units, joint ventures, and partnerships, that offers to provide or provides competitive services [;].

     "Related competitive business segment of a public utility holding company" means any business venture of a public utility holding company, including, but not limited to, functionally separate business units, joint ventures, and partnerships and subsidiaries, that offers to provide or provides competitive services, but does not include any related competitive business segments of an electric public utility or gas public utility [;].

     "Reliability pricing model" or "RPM" means PJM's capacity-market model, and its successors, that secures capacity on behalf of electric load serving entities to satisfy load obligations not satisfied through the output of electric generation facilities owned by those entities, or otherwise secured by those entities through bilateral contracts [;].

     "Renewable energy certificate" or "REC" means a certificate representing the environmental benefits or attributes of one megawatt-hour of generation from a generating facility that produces Class I or Class II renewable energy, but shall not include a solar renewable energy certificate or an offshore wind renewable energy certificate [;].

     “Residential fixed-price customer class” or “residential FP customer class” means those customers receiving basic generation service under an electric public utility tariff designation for residential customers who receive a fixed-price product in the BGS auction.

     "Resource clearing price" or "RCP" means the clearing price established for the applicable locational deliverability area by the base residual auction or incremental auction, as determined by the optimization algorithm for each auction, conducted by PJM as part of PJM's reliability pricing model [;].

     "Resource recovery facility" means a solid waste facility constructed and operated for the incineration of solid waste for energy production and the recovery of metals and other materials for reuse, which the Department of Environmental Protection has determined to be in compliance with current environmental standards, including, but not limited to, all applicable requirements of the federal "Clean Air Act" (42 U.S.C. s.7401 et seq.) [;].

     "Restructuring related costs" means reasonably incurred costs directly related to the restructuring of the electric power industry, including the closure, sale, functional separation and divestiture of generation and other competitive utility assets by a public utility, or the provision of competitive services as such costs are determined by the board, and which are not stranded costs as defined in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) but may include, but not be limited to, investments in management information systems, and which shall include expenses related to employees affected by restructuring which result in efficiencies and which result in benefits to ratepayers, such as training or retraining at the level equivalent to one year's training at a vocational or technical school or county community college, the provision of severance pay of two weeks of base pay for each year of full-time employment, and a maximum of 24 months' continued health care coverage.  Except as to expenses related to employees affected by restructuring, "restructuring related costs" shall not include going forward costs [;].

     "Retail choice" means the ability of retail customers to shop for electric generation or gas supply service from electric power or gas suppliers, or opt to receive basic generation service or basic gas service, and the ability of an electric power or gas supplier to offer electric generation service or gas supply service to retail customers, consistent with the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Retail margin" means an amount, reflecting differences in prices that electric power suppliers and electric public utilities may charge in providing electric generation service and basic generation service, respectively, to retail customers, excluding residential customers, which the board may authorize to be charged to categories of basic generation service customers of electric public utilities in this State, other than residential customers, under the board's continuing regulation of basic generation service pursuant to sections 3 and 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-51 and 48:3-57), for the purpose of promoting a competitive retail market for the supply of electricity [;].

     "Sanitary landfill facility" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-3) [;].

     "School district" means a local or regional school district established pursuant to chapter 8 or chapter 13 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, a county special services school district established pursuant to article 8 of chapter 46 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, a county vocational school district established pursuant to article 3 of chapter 54 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, and a district under full State intervention pursuant to P.L.1987, c.399 (C.18A:7A-34 et al.) [;].

     "Shopping credit" means an amount deducted from the bill of an electric public utility customer to reflect the fact that such customer has switched to an electric power supplier and no longer takes basic generation service from the electric public utility [;].

     "Site investigation" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11b) [;].

     "Small scale hydropower facility" means a facility located within this State that is connected to the distribution system, and that meets the requirements of, and has been certified by, a nationally recognized low-impact hydropower organization that has established low-impact hydropower certification criteria applicable to: (1) river flows; (2) water quality; (3) fish passage and protection; (4) watershed protection; (5) threatened and endangered species protection; (6) cultural resource protection; (7) recreation; and (8) facilities recommended for removal [;].

     "Social program" means a program implemented with board approval to provide assistance to a group of disadvantaged customers, to provide protection to consumers, or to accomplish a particular societal goal, and includes, but is not limited to, the winter moratorium program, utility practices concerning "bad debt" customers, low income assistance, deferred payment plans, weatherization programs, and late payment and deposit policies, but does not include any demand side management program or any environmental requirements or controls [;].

     "Societal benefits charge" means a charge imposed by an electric public utility, at a level determined by the board, pursuant to, and in accordance with, section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) [;].

     "Solar alternative compliance payment" or "SACP" means a payment of a certain dollar amount per megawatt hour (MWh) which an electric power supplier or provider may submit to the board in order to comply with the solar electric generation requirements under section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [;].

     "Solar renewable energy certificate" or "SREC" means a certificate issued by the board or its designee, representing one megawatt hour (MWh) of solar energy that is generated by a facility connected to the distribution system in this State and has value based upon, and driven by, the energy market [;].

     "Standard offer capacity agreement" or "SOCA" means a financially-settled transaction agreement, approved by board order, that provides for eligible generators to receive payments from the electric public utilities for a defined amount of electric capacity for a term to be determined by the board but not to exceed 15 years, and for such payments to be a fully non-bypassable charge, with such an order, once issued, being irrevocable [;].

     "Standard offer capacity price" or "SOCP" means the capacity price that is fixed for the term of the SOCA and which is the price to be received by eligible generators under a board-approved SOCA [;].

     "State entity" means a department, agency, or office of State government, a State university or college, or an authority created by the State [;].

     "Stranded cost" means the amount by which the net cost of an electric public utility's electric generating assets or electric power purchase commitments, as determined by the board consistent with the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), exceeds the market value of those assets or contractual commitments in a competitive supply marketplace and the costs of buydowns or buyouts of power purchase contracts [;].

     "Stranded costs recovery order" means each order issued by the board in accordance with subsection c. of section 13 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-61) which sets forth the amount of stranded costs, if any, the board has determined an electric public utility is eligible to recover and collect in accordance with the standards set forth in section 13 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-61) and the recovery mechanisms therefor [;].

     “Supplier accounts receivable” means a charge owed by a customer to an electric power supplier or gas supplier for the provision of electric generation service or gas supply service, and collected by an electric public utility or a gas public utility.

     "Thermal efficiency" means the useful electric energy output of a facility, plus the useful thermal energy output of the facility, expressed as a percentage of the total energy input to the facility [;].

     "Transition bond charge" means a charge, expressed as an amount per kilowatt hour, that is authorized by and imposed on electric public utility ratepayers pursuant to a bondable stranded costs rate order, as modified at any time pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Transition bonds" means bonds, notes, certificates of participation or beneficial interest or other evidences of indebtedness or ownership issued pursuant to an indenture, contract or other agreement of an electric public utility or a financing entity, the proceeds of which are used, directly or indirectly, to recover, finance or refinance bondable stranded costs and which are, directly or indirectly, secured by or payable from bondable transition property.  References in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) to principal, interest, and acquisition or redemption premium with respect to transition bonds which are issued in the form of certificates of participation or beneficial interest or other evidences of ownership shall refer to the comparable payments on such securities [;].

     "Transition period" means the period from August 1, 1999 through July 31, 2003 [;].

     "Transmission and distribution system" means, with respect to an electric public utility, any facility or equipment that is used for the transmission, distribution or delivery of electricity to the customers of the electric public utility including, but not limited to, the land, structures, meters, lines, switches and all other appurtenances thereof and thereto, owned or controlled by the electric public utility within this State [; and].

     “Uncollectible cost component” means the component of the POR program discount rate recovered through any incremental electric generation or gas supply service that are uncollectible costs incurred by an electric public utility or gas public utility as a result of its POR program which is not already collected through the societal benefits charge or otherwise recovered though non-bypassable charges and which is calculated every two years.

     "Universal service" means any service approved by the board with the purpose of assisting low-income residential customers in obtaining or retaining electric generation or delivery service.

     “Utility consolidated billing” means the practice whereby an electric public utility or gas public utility issues a single bill and collects payment from the customer of an electric power supplier or gas supplier for the electric generation or gas supply service charges, or both, as the case may be, of that customer and the electric public utility’s or gas public utility’s delivery charges to that customer.

(cf: P.L.2012, c.24, s.1)

 

     2.    Section 8 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-56) is amended to read as follows:

     8.    a. Except as otherwise provided in [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), and notwithstanding any provisions of R.S.48:2-18, R.S.48:2-21, section 31 of P.L.1962, c.198 (C.48:2-21.2), R.S.48:3-1 or any other law to the contrary, the board shall not regulate, fix or prescribe the rates, tolls, charges, rate structures, rate base, or cost of service of competitive services.

     b.    For the purposes of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), electric generation service is deemed to be a competitive service.

     c.    The board is authorized to determine, after notice and hearing, whether any other service offered by an electric public utility is a competitive service.  In making such a determination, the board shall develop standards of competitive service which, at a minimum, shall include: evidence of ease of market entry; presence of other competitors; and the availability of like or substitute services in the relevant market segment and geographic area.  Notwithstanding the presence of these factors, the board may determine that any service shall remain regulated for purposes of the public safety and welfare.

     d.    The board is authorized to determine, after notice and hearing, and after appropriate review by the Legislature pursuant to subsection k. of this section, whether to reclassify as regulated any electric service or segment thereof that it has previously found to be competitive, including electric generation service, if it determines that sufficient competition is no longer present, upon application of the criteria set forth in subsection c. of this section.  Upon such a reclassification, subsection a. of this section shall no longer apply and the board shall determine such rates for that electric service which it finds to be just and reasonable.  The board, however, shall continue to monitor the electric service or segment thereof and, whenever the board shall find that the electric service has again become sufficiently competitive pursuant to subsection c. of this section, the board shall again apply the provisions of subsection a. of this section.

     e.    Nothing in [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) shall limit the authority of the board, pursuant to Title 48 of the Revised Statutes, to ensure that  electric public utilities do not make or impose unjust preferences, discriminations, or classifications for any services provided to customers.

     f.     (1) The board shall adopt, by rule, regulation or order, such fair competition standards, affiliate relation standards, accounting standards and reports as are necessary to ensure that electric public utilities or their related competitive business segments do not enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over other non-affiliated purveyors of competitive services and in order to monitor the allocation of costs between competitive and non-competitive services offered by an electric public utility, and within 60 days after the starting date for implementation of retail choice pursuant to subsection a. of section 5 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-53), shall commence the process of conducting audits, at the expense of the electric public utilities, to ensure compliance with this section and section 7 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-55) and with the board's rules, regulations and orders adopted pursuant to this section and section 7 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-55).  The board shall hire an independent contractor to perform such audits.

     (2)   Subsequent audits shall take place no less than every two years after the date of the decision rendered pursuant to subsection k. of section 7 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-55).

     (3)   The public utility or an intervenor shall have the right to contest the methodology and rebut the findings of an audit performed pursuant to this subsection, in a filing with the board.  The board shall take no action to functionally separate, structurally separate or require the divestiture of  any portion of a public utility's operations pursuant to this subsection until the public utility, and any intervenors, have been afforded timely opportunity to make such filing and until the board has issued a decision thereon.

     (4)   If the board finds, as a result of any such audit, that substantial violations of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) or of the board's rules, regulations, or orders adopted pursuant to this section and section 7 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-55) have occurred which result in unfair competitive advantages for an electric public utility, it shall: order the electric public utility to establish and provide such services through a business unit which is functionally separated from the electric public utility business unit as a related competitive business segment of the utility, such that, other than shared administration and overheads, employees of the competitive services business unit shall not also be involved in the provision of non-competitive utility and safety services, and the competitive services are provided utilizing separate assets than those utilized to provide noncompetitive utility and safety services; order the electric public utility to establish and provide such services through a structurally separate business unit or units including, but not limited to, a related competitive business segment of the public utility holding company; or  order the electric public utility to divest itself of any business units that provide such services.

     (5)   If the board determines, as a result of the audit performed pursuant to this subsection, that an electric public utility has unfairly allocated costs between its competitive and non-competitive services, the board is authorized to require such utility to return to the ratepayers an amount, equivalent to the amount of the costs determined to be unfairly allocated, with interest, during the time that  the unfair allocation of costs occurred.  In addition, the board is authorized to order such utility to pay a fine of up to $10,000 as a result of the violation or violations determined to have occurred pursuant to this subsection.

     (6)   Notwithstanding any requirements of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall initiate a proceeding and shall adopt, after notice, provision of the opportunity for comment, and public hearing, such fair competition and accounting standards as are necessary on an interim basis to implement retail electric choice.  Such standards shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted, or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act."

     g.    The board shall determine, by rule or order, what reports are necessary to monitor the competitiveness of any service offered to a customer of an electric public utility.

     h.    The board shall have the authority to take appropriate increasingly stringent action, including the issuance of an order that an electric public utility or its related competitive business segment cease the offering of a competitive service, functionally separate or structurally separate its competitive service offering from non-competitive business functions, or divest itself of such services, in the event that the board determines, after hearing, that recurring and significant violations of its rules or orders adopted pursuant to subsection f. of this section have occurred.

     i.     Nothing in [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) shall exempt an electric public utility from obtaining all applicable local, State and federal licenses or permits associated with the offering of competitive services and complying with all applicable laws and regulations regarding the provision of such services.

     j.     If the board finds, as a result of any audit conducted pursuant to this section, that violations of the board's rules, regulations, or orders adopted pursuant to this section and section  7 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-55) have occurred, which are not substantial violations, the board is authorized to impose a fine of up to $10,000 against the electric public utility.

     k.    Prior to reclassifying as regulated any service it previously found to be competitive, the board shall make recommendations to the Legislature concerning the proposed reclassification.  The recommendations shall be deemed to be approved unless the Legislature adopts a concurrent resolution stating that the Legislature is not in agreement with all or any part of the recommendations within 90 days following the date of transmittal of the recommendations to the Legislature.  The concurrent resolution shall advise the board of the Legislature's specific objections to the recommendations and shall direct the board to submit revised recommendations which respond to those objections within 45 days of the date of transmittal of the concurrent resolution to the board.

l.    (1) The board shall promulgate regulations to require each electric public utility and each gas public utility to provide the board with adequate and accurate forward-looking price comparison information that will enable the fixed price customer class to make informed decisions regarding the purchase of electricity or gas service offered by that utility to the FP customer class.

     (2)   The board shall allow electric power suppliers, gas suppliers, marketers, government aggregators, and brokers engaged in the provision of electric generation or gas supply service to provide the board with adequate and accurate forward-looking price comparison information that will enable the fixed price customer class to make informed decisions regarding the purchase of electric generation or gas supply service offered by that supplier to the FP customer class.

     (3)   The board shall compile the information provided pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection into a single, understandable database and post that database on the board’s Internet website in a manner that enables the FP customer class to compare electric and gas prices and services on a uniform basis.  The board may contract with a public or private entity for the purpose of developing, administering, and maintaining the database.  The contract shall specify the duties and responsibilities of the entity with respect to the development, administration, and maintenance of the database.  The board shall monitor the work of the entity to ensure that the database is developed, administered, and maintained pursuant to the requirements of this section.

m.  By order, the board shall provide that no later than June 1, 2014, each electric public utility and each gas public utility shall implement a purchase of receivables program available to all customer classes.  This board order shall require the POR program to include the following:

(1) Each electric public utility and gas public utility shall only purchase supplier accounts receivable which utilize utility consolidated billing.  An electric power supplier or gas supplier shall not be required to utilize utility consolidated billing.

(2) Each electric public utility and gas public utility shall purchase supplier accounts receivable making use of utility consolidated billing existing prior to implementation of the POR program.  An electric public utility and gas public utility shall not apply a discount rate to the purchase of existing supplier accounts receivable which is greater than the approved discount rate for new supplier accounts receivable.

(3) An electric public utility and gas public utility may apply a discount rate to their purchase of supplier accounts receivable.  The discount rates established by an electric public utility or gas public utility shall be limited to the recovery of the implementation costs, and the discount rate shall terminate when the utility is made whole for these costs and the uncollectible cost component.  An electric public utility or gas public utility shall not be entitled to recover the uncollectible cost component if the electric public utility or gas public utility recovers its electric generation or gas supply service-related uncollectible accounts expenses through the societal benefits charge or through any other non-bypassable charge.  Discount rates based on implementation costs shall be approved by the board and amortized over a period of not less than three years.

(4) (a) The board may authorize a proceeding to separate an electric public utility’s and a gas public utility’s expenses related to the uncollectable or written off debts of their customers or former customers for the electric public utility’s provision of BGS service and a gas public utility’s supply service from distribution rates, respectively, and implement discount rates based on historic uncollectible accounts cost levels for the POR program.

(b) The initial discount rate approved by the board shall be based on the actual, verifiable costs of electric public utilities and gas public utilities related to the uncollectable or written off debts of their customers or former customers.

(c)  Following the initial discount rate approved pursuant to subparagraph (b) of this paragraph, discount rates shall be recalculated every two years based on the actual, verifiable uncollectible costs of a suppliers accounts receivable collected by an electric public utility and gas public utility.  An electric public utility or gas public utility may propose an interim adjustment upon a showing that the current effective discount rate is insufficient to recover actual, verifiable costs related to the uncollectable or written off debts of their customers or former customers.

(5) The board shall implement a separate discount rate for each customer class.  An electric public utility and gas public utility shall update the discount rate in a tariff sheet at least 180 days prior to the implementation date of a new discount rate.

(6) An electric public utility and gas public utility shall remit monthly payment, less any applicable discount rates, to each electric power supplier or gas supplier that utilizes utility consolidated billing.  Payment to an electric power supplier and gas supplier shall be remitted in compliance with any board regulations and methods for providing payment in effect on the date of enactment of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(7) If an electric power supplier or gas supplier customer uses budget billing, the electric public utility or gas public utility shall remit payment to the electric power supplier or gas supplier based on the actual cost of electricity or gas supplied to the customer and shall continue to calculate the customer’s budget billing amounts and reconciliation adjustments.

(8) The board shall issue an order providing that an electric public utility or gas public utility may not remove a customer from utility consolidated billing for the customer’s non-payment of any portion of the customer’s electric or gas bill for any period of time, unless both the customer and the electric power or gas supplier consent.

(9) An electric public utility or gas public utility may terminate electric generation or gas supply service to any electric power or gas supplier customer to which the electric public utility or gas public utility provides utility consolidated billing.  Disconnection of electric generation service or gas supply service to the customer of an electric power supplier or gas supplier shall be conducted in compliance with any board rule and regulation related to service termination by an electric public utility or gas public utility in effect on the date of enactment of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

n.   The board shall require that, no later than June 1, 2014, the CIEP threshold shall be set at no more than 400 kilowatts peak load demand.  The board shall lower the CIEP threshold to 250 kilowatts no later than the beginning of EY 2017.  The board may lower the CIEP threshold below 250 kilowatts, but in no event may the board increase the CIEP threshold.

     o.    The board shall require an electric public utility to:

     (1) procure electric load in the BGS auction for its residential FP customer class through 12-month contracts beginning with the BGS auction for EY 2015;

     (2)   procure one-third of its residential FP customer class required electric load for EY 2015 with 12-month contracts, and procure two-thirds of its residential FP customer class required electric load for EY 2016 with 12-month contracts;

     (3)   fully transition to 12-month contracts for its residential FP customer class beginning with the BGS auction for EY 2017;

     (4)   procure electric load in the BGS auction for its non-residential FP customer class through quarterly contracts beginning with the BGS auction for EY 2015;

     (5) procure one-third of its non-residential FP customer class required electric load for EY 2015 with quarterly contracts;

     (6) procure two-thirds of its commercial FP customer class required electric load for EY 2016 with quarterly contracts; and

     (7)   fully transition to quarterly contracts for its commercial FP customer class beginning with the BGS auction for EY 2017.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.23, s.8)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative for 90 days following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill promotes retail competition in the electric and natural gas supply industry in this State by making several changes to the “Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act,” P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).  The bill directs the Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) to promulgate regulations requiring each electric and gas public utility, electric power and gas supplier, marketer, government aggregator, and broker to provide adequate and accurate price information to the BPU.  The BPU is to then compile the information into a single, understandable database and make the database available on its website in a manner that enables fixed price class residential and commercial customers to compare prices and services.  The BPU may contract with a public or private entity for the purpose of developing, administering, and maintaining the database.  The bill allows these customers to obtain comparative information from a single source to make informed choices regarding the prices and services of electricity and gas providers in the State.

     The bill requires each electric public utility and each gas public utility to implement a purchase of receivables (POR) program available to all customer classes, to include the following features: 1) electric and gas public utilities are to purchase supplier accounts receivable which utilize utility consolidated billing and are to make use of utility consolidated billing existing prior to implementation of the POR program; 2) electric and gas public utilities may apply a discount rate to their purchase of supplier accounts receivable; 3) the BPU may authorize a proceeding to separate the expenses related to the uncollectable or written off debts of customers or former customers of an electric public utility’s provision of BGS service and a gas public utility’s supply service from distribution rates and implement discount rates based on historic uncollectible accounts cost levels for the POR program; 4) the BPU is to implement a separate discount rate for each customer class, with the electric and gas public utility updating the discount rate in a tariff sheet at least 180 days prior to the implementation date of the new discount rate; 5) electric and gas public utilities are to remit monthly payment, less any applicable discount rates, to each electric power or gas supplier that utilizes utility consolidated billing; 6) if an electric power or gas supplier customer uses budget billing, the electric or gas public utility is to remit payment to the electric power or gas supplier based on the actual cost of electricity or gas supplied to the customer receiving budget billing and is to continue to calculate the customer’s budget billing amounts and reconciliation adjustments; 7) an electric or gas public utility may not remove a customer from utility consolidated billing for the customer’s non-payment of any portion of the customer’s electric or gas bill for any period of time, unless both the customer and the electric power or gas supplier consent; and 8) an electric or gas public utility may terminate electric generation or gas supply service to any electric power or gas supplier customer to which the electric or gas public utility provides utility consolidated billing.

     The bill requires the adjustment of the peak electric load demand threshold, which determines whether a commercial customer is subject to a fixed or hourly pricing mechanism, by lowering the threshold in stages to 250 kilowatts in Energy Year 2017.  Further, the bill requires electric public utilities to procure electric loads through the basic generation service auction for its residential, non-residential, and commercial fixed price customer classes according to the schedule establishing the amounts and periods of time in the bill.