Ratepayers in Rhode Island face some of the highest energy costs in the country. For small businesses, high energy costs can stifle expansion and innovation, and serve as an obstacle to a thriving business climate. For residential ratepayers, high electric bills can stretch hard-earned dollars to the limit. To fulfill my commitment to lowering energy costs in the Ocean State, I've introduced a Ratepayer Protection Legislative Package to the General Assembly:
- H 6171: Lowering energy costs by encouraging competition in the electric market
Encourages competition in the electric market and lowers energy costs by creating a program that requires electric companies to bear the risks related to nonpayment by customers. This reduces the barriers that competitive suppliers face to entering the electric market.
- H 6184: Preventing electric rate increases to fund gas supply expansion
Prevents electric distribution companies from charging electric customers costs related to the construction or expansion of natural gas pipelines or related facilities.
- H 6188: Lowering energy costs by limiting profits through revenue decoupling
In states without revenue decoupling, a utility company’s revenue is tied to its sales. In states with revenue decoupling, like Rhode Island, a utility company’s revenue is tied to a formula and not its sales. This formula is designed to reduce risk to a utility’s shareholders. This bill permits the Public Utilities Commission to take the reduced risk into account when setting a utility company’s approved profit level, which reduces electric rates and saves money for all ratepayers.
<li style="margin: 0in 0in 12pt; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; tab-stops: list .5in;">H 6182: Lowering energy costs by properly accounting for incentive payments
Requires the Public Utilities Commission to account for incentive payments that are paid to utility companies by using those payments to reduce profit levels during rate approval cases, thereby reducing rates. This bill also requires electric companies to submit a detailed summary of all incentive payments received each time the company proposes a rate increase.
- H 6190: Improving utility responsiveness to ratepayers
Requires all public utilities to provide prompt and adequate customer service to their ratepayers including: timely installation of new and upgraded service; status updates regarding installation and upgrade wait times; itemized bills to ratepayers following any installation, construction, site visit or service and itemized written estimates prior to any installation, construction, site visit or other service. Ratepayers may report customer service complaints to the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, which shall promptly investigate and rule on such complaints.
We will keep you updated as these bills are scheduled for hearing and will notify you when we hold a press conference to promote this legislative package. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.