New Hampshire Opt-Out Municipal Aggregation Bill Becomes Law
August 5, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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New Hampshire SB 286 has made it through the legislative process, has been signed by the governor, and has become a chaptered law (Chapter 316 of 2019)
The new law amends current statute governing municipal aggregations (which previously did not authorize opt-out enrollment) to provide that any municipality or county may, "[a]ggregate the retail electric customers within its boundaries who do not opt out of or who consent to being included in an aggregation program."
The law is effective October 01, 2019
Customers who are on default service provided by an electric distribution utility shall be automatically enrolled in an aggregation-provided alternative default service if they do not elect to opt out. Customers opting out will instead remain on default service. Customers taking energy service from a competitive electricity supplier shall not be automatically enrolled in any aggregation program, but may voluntarily opt in. New customers to the electric distribution utility after the required opt-out mailing shall be given a choice of enrolling in utility-provided default service or aggregation-provided default service, where such exists. New customers shall be informed of pricing for each when they apply for service. Such new customers may also enroll with a competitive electricity supplier. New customers who do not make such a choice shall be enrolled in the default service of any geographically appropriate approved aggregation, or, if none exists, the utility-provided default service.
No retail electric customer shall be included in a program in which the customer does not know all of the rates or charges the customer may be subject to at least 30 days in advance of the customer's application and has the option, for a period of not less than 30 days from the date of the mailing, to opt out of being enrolled in such program, unless the customer affirmatively responds to the notification or requests in writing to be included in the program, the law provides
The law further limits the use of the term "Community Power"
"The use of the term 'Community Power' following the name of a municipality or county shall be reserved for the exclusive use by such entity as a name for proposed or approved municipal or county aggregations. Aggregations operated jointly by a group of such entities pursuant to RSA 53-A may adopt an appropriate identifying name in conjunction with the term 'Community Power' as a name," the law provides
Municipal or county aggregations that supply power shall be treated as competitive electricity suppliers for the purpose of access to the electric distribution utility’s electronic data interface and for ceasing operations
Municipal or county aggregations shall be subject to RSA 363:38 as service providers and individual customer data shall be treated as confidential private information and shall not be subject to public disclosure under RSA 91-A. An approved aggregation may use individual customer data to comply with the provisions of RSA 53-E:7, II and for research and development of potential new energy services to offer to customer participants.
The law further provides that municipalities may operate approved aggregation programs as self-supporting enterprise funds including the use of revenue bonds pursuant to RSA 33-B and RSA 374-D and loans from other municipal enterprise funds as may be approved by the governing body and the legislative body of the municipality. Any such loans from other municipal enterprise funds shall be used for purposes that have a clear nexus to the primary purposes of such other funds, such as generation, storage, or sale of power generated from sites, facilities, or resources that might otherwise be operated or produced by the other enterprise fund
Retail electric customers who choose not to participate in an aggregation program adopted under RSA 53-E:7 shall not be responsible for, and no entity shall require them to pay, any costs associated with such program, through taxes or otherwise except for electric power supply or energy services consumed directly by the municipality or county, or incidental costs, which may include costs necessary to comply with the provisions of this chapter up to the time that the aggregation starts to produce revenue from participating customers.