(1) TO REQUIRE THE NORTH CAROLINA UTILITIES COMMISSION TO ESTABLISH TIERED ELECTRICITY RATES FOR RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, PUBLIC, AND INDUSTRIAL CUSTOMERS TO ENCOURAGE ENERGY CONSERVATION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY; (2) TO CREATE THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY PUBLIC BENEFIT LOAN FUND TO BE USED FOR LOANS TO CUSTOMERS FOR THE COSTS OF CERTAIN ENERGY EFFICIENCY OR RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS; AND (3) TO CREATE AN INCENTIVE FOR CONSUMERS TO PURCHASE ENERGY STAR QUALIFIED HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS.
Enacts new GS 62-155.1 requiring the North Carolina Utilities Commission (Commission) to develop a rate structure for all residential, commercial, public, and industrial customers of electric power that includes all of the following: (1) an inverted rate structure under which customers using larger quantities of electricity will pay a higher price per kilowatt hour and customers using lesser quantities will pay a lower price; (2) requires the rate structure to be in tiered blocks; (3) requires development of separate inverted tiered block rate structures (rate structures) for residential, commercial, public, and industrial customers; (4) directs that the inverted tiered blocks are to be developed for the purpose of promoting energy conservation and energy efficiency; (5) provides that the rate structures for residential customers be designed to avoid a negative economic impact on low-income families and rental units; (6) requires that the rate structure for residential customers be scaled to achieve a 40% to 60% statewide reduction in electricity use from 2010 use levels within 10 years; (7) provides that the rate structure for industrial and commercial customers be tailored on a case-by-case basis; and (8) directs that all rate structures be designed to guarantee that electric public utilities regulated under the proposed new additions to GS Chapter 62 receive a reasonable rate of return on their capital expenditures.
Enacts new GS 62-155.2 to create the Energy Efficiency Public Benefit Loan Fund (Loan Fund). Directs the Commission to contract with a third-party administrator or an independent government agency to administer the Loan Fund. Specifies the sources for the Loan Fund. Identifies the purpose of the Loan Fund is to issue loans subject to provisions in subsection (e) of proposed GS 62-155.2, regarding grants to low-income households, to customers for use in investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects designed to promote energy conservation and efficiency and a reduction in electric energy consumption. Additionally provides criteria regarding loan payments and eligible projects. Defines renewable energy as it is defined in GS 62-133.8. Authorizes the Commission to adopt rules to implement this section.
Adds new Article 5H (Avoidable Pollution Tax for Certain Energy Inefficient Products) to GS Chapter 105. Provides that the definitions in GS 105-164.3 apply to proposed Article 5H, except provides that sale does not include lease or rental, and defines energy inefficient product to mean a product that (1) is used for residential purposes, (2) belongs to a product category evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to set energy efficiency guidelines and qualify products for the Energy Star label, and (3) does not qualify for the Energy Star label.
Provides for a 5% privilege tax on energy inefficient product retailers for each such product sold and a 5% excise tax on the storage, use, or consumption of energy inefficient products in the state. Provides details regarding the administration of the privilege and excise taxes, considered additional state sales taxes. Provides that the exemptions and refunds allowed in Article 5 of GS Chapter 105 do not apply to the taxes imposed in new Article 5H except for the exemption for sales that the state is constitutionally prohibited from taxing. Directs the Secretary of Revenue (Secretary) to credit the taxes collected under proposed Article 5H to the Loan Fund created in new GS 62-155.2 minus the amount owed to the Department of Revenue (Department) for administrative expenses. Permits the Secretary to retain no more than $425,000 annually as reimbursement to the Department for its collection costs.
Reserves GS 105-187.75 through 105-187.79 for future codification purposes.
Effective January 1, 2012.
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