Bill Summary for H 808 (2015-2016)

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Summary date: 

Apr 17 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 808 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Intro. by Avila, Saine, Hager.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 62-3(23)d, the definition for public utility, deleting language that provided that an electric membership corporation (corporation) was not considered a public utility under that definition. 

Enacts new GS Chapter 62, Article 7A, Electric Membership Corporations (corporation), providing that such a corporation means a nonprofit electric corporation organized under GS Chapter 117. Provides that corporations are exempt from the provisions of GS 62-130, 62-131, 62-132, and 62-133, concerning rate making, if members and consumers have voted to exempt themselves. Sets out procedures for conducting such a membership vote on exemption, providing that the board of directors can submit the question of exemption from rate regulation to its members and consumers, with approval by a majority of those voting to be required for such exemption. 

Provides that corporations will be issued certificates of public convenience and necessity by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (Commission), in accordance with GS 62-110.2. Provides procedures for hearings concerning complaints in regards to a rate, charge, rule, or regulation being contrary to GS Chapter 117, or GS Chapter 62, Article 7A. Adds provisions concerning procedures after the Commission finds that a corporation is unwilling or unable to serve an existing or developing load within its certificated territory, allowing the Commission to delete from the certificate of the corporation that portion of the territory they are unwilling or unable to serve. 

Sets out acts prohibited by corporations, including not changing a rate charged for electric service or changing any rule pertaining to rates unless public notice is issued at least 30 days prior to the day the proposed change is to take effect.  

Provides seven duties of a corporation, including providing reasonably continuous and adequate electric utility service within their certificated service area and constructing and maintaining facilities in a careful and safe fashion.

Provides process for voting on whether to place the rates of the corporation under the regulation of the Commission, including requiring a signed petition by at least 5% of member-consumers before the question can be submitted for a vote. Includes requirements for the petition and for the vote if appropriate. 

Amends GS 117-10.1, changing a statutory reference, providing that a corporation is eligible to receive a franchise from any municipality pursuant to GS 160A-319 (was, GS 160-2(6)). 

Adds new sections to GS Chapter 117, Article 2, Electric Membership Corporations, providing that all meetings of a corporation are public meetings, open to members, consumers, and media at all times, with a provision allowing for a closed executive session, upon a two-thirds vote of board members present, only for reasons specified. The reason for the executive session must be announced beforehand. 

Requires corporations to adopt regulations and procedures for members and consumers to register complaints about rates charged, as well as an opportunity to be heard by the board. Requires the corporation to adopt written policies to govern the election of directors. Policies must include procedures for becoming a candidate, qualification requirements, and the date and notice of the election. Provides that an individual must be nominated by way of a signed petition containing the signature of at least 15 members of the corporation in order to appear as a candidate on the election ballot. Sets out rights and privileges for candidates. Also sets out election requirements, establishing that each member is entitled to vote in the election at an election meeting or by mail, but not both. Requires the names to appear in random order on the ballot. Prohibits the corporation and the board from endorsing or opposing any candidate.

Requires the posting of the time and place of board of directors meetings, as well as the agenda, in the service offices of the corporation at least 10 days before meeting. Also requires the same information to be posted to the corporation's website at least 10 days in advance. 

Effective August 1, 2015.