Bill Summary for H 235 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Mar 19 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 235 (Public) Filed Wednesday, February 27, 2019
AN ACT TO MAKE TECHNICAL, CLARIFYING, CONFORMING, AND ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES TO THE LAWS RELATED TO PUBLIC UTILITIES; TO INCREASE THE NONUTILITY FILING FEE FOR A CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY; TO ALLOW THE USE OF MASTER METERS IN MULTI-UNIT APARTMENT BUILDINGS; AND TO AUTHORIZE A STUDY OF GRANTING THE UTILITIES COMMISSION AND PUBLIC STAFF ADMINISTRATIVE FLEXIBILITY REGARDING JOB CLASSIFICATIONS AND SALARIES.
Intro. by Arp, Szoka.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

Changes the act's long and short titles.

Amends GS 62-3 by amending the definition of broadband service so that it means any service that consists of or includes a high-speed access capability to transmit at a rate of not less than the current threshold for broadband service established by the Federal Communications Commission (was, not less than 200 kilobits per second in either the upstream or downstream direction) and that either (1) is used to provide internet access, or (2) provides computer processing, information storage, information content, or protocol conversion.

Makes clarifying changes to the proposed changes to GS 62-15, regarding the duty of the executive director of the Utilities Commission (Commission) to hire public staff, as provided by law.

Further amends GS 62-81, concerning the special procedure in hearing and deciding rate cases. The previous edition proposed requiring that all cases or proceedings that are general rate cases or which will substantially affect any utility's overall level of earnings or rate of return, be set for trial or hearing by the Commission, which must be set to commence within 180 days (was six months) of the institution or filing thereof. Amends the requirement of notice to affected customers of public utilities filing or applying for a rate increase to make a conforming change to include in the notice that the Commission must set and conduct a trial or hearing on the filing or application within 180 days (rather than six months) of the filing date. 

Further amends GS 62-110.1, adding intervenors (previously only added the Commission's Public Staff) to those that may attend any formal conference on developing a plan for the future requirements of electricity in the state or region. Modifies the existing requirement for the Commission to conduct one or more public hearings in the course of making the analysis of and developing a long-range need for facility expansion, to now require the Commission to conduct a public hearing on the plan in the year a biennial integrated resource plan is filed, and permit the Commission to conduct a public hearing on the plan in a year that an annual update of an integrated resource plan is filed.

Authorizes the Revisor of Statutes to substitute "rate-making" for "rate making" wherever the term appears in GS Chapter 62.

Provides that the proposed changes to GS 62-300, which increased from $25 to $250 the application fee for a person (other than Class A, B, C, or D utilities) seeking a certificate of public convenience and necessity, are effective July 1, 2019.

Enacts GS 62-110(j) to authorize the Commission to allow a lessor of a multi-unit apartment building, with approval of the Commission, to use a master meter to charge each tenant for the electricity or natural gas used by a central system on each tenant's metered or measured share. Provides for additional provisions of the statute that apply to electricity used by a central system and natural gas used by a central system. Makes conforming changes to GS 42-42.1, and amends the statute to prohibit a landlord from terminating a lessee's receipt of the benefits of the use of a central system due to the lessee's nonpayment of the amount due for electric service, water or sewer services, or natural gas service. Makes conforming changes to GS 143-151.42 concerning the prohibition of master meters for electric and natural gas service, and amends the statute to exempt from the statute's provisions a multi-unit residential building or building complex where natural gas service is delivered to a master meter for use by the occupants of the units is limited to cooking, ventless fireplaces, or other ancillary purposes. Effective October 1, 2019.

Makes organizational and clarifying changes to the act.

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