Introduced Version






HOUSE BILL No. 1983

_____


DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL



Citations Affected: IC 8-1-6.5.

Synopsis: Public utility service quality. Requires the Indiana utility regulatory commission to adopt service quality rules for public utilities. Requires a public utility to report annually to the commission regarding the public utility's compliance with the service quality rules. Requires a public utility to immediately report any significant interruption of service. Authorizes the commission to impose civil penalties if a public utility fails to comply with the service quality rules.

Effective: July 1, 2001.





Stilwell, Liggett, Fry




    January 17, 2001, read first time and referred to Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Technology.







Introduced

First Regular Session 112th General Assembly (2001)


PRINTING CODE. Amendments: Whenever an existing statute (or a section of the Indiana Constitution) is being amended, the text of the existing provision will appear in this style type, additions will appear in this style type, and deletions will appear in this style type.
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HOUSE BILL No. 1983



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning utilities.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 8-1-6.5; (01)IN1983.1.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 8-1-6.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001]:
     Chapter 6.5. Public Utility Performance Standards
    Sec. 1. The definitions in IC 8-1-2-1 apply throughout this chapter.
    Sec. 2. The commission shall adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 to establish service quality rules for public utilities.
    Sec. 3. The rules required by section 2 of this chapter must do the following:
        (1) Require a public utility to meet performance levels established in the rules.
        (2) Require a public utility to inspect and conduct periodic maintenance of equipment and facilities on schedules stated in the rules. The maintenance schedules must provide for scheduled trimming of trees.
        (3) Require a public utility to immediately report any

significant interruptions of service as defined in the rules.
        (4) Establish response times for responding to customer calls and interruptions of service.
        (5) Require a public utility to maintain sufficient personnel in strategic locations as defined in the rules.

        (6) Require a public utility to file a report with the commission not later than a date set by the commission in the rules covering the most recent calendar year. A report filed under this subdivision must provide the following information:
            (A) Whether the public utility met the performance levels set by the rules.
            (B) A description of those areas, if any, in which the public utility failed to meet the performance levels.
            (C) A description of each interruption of service, both system wide and for each operational component of the system. The information reported under this clause must identify the worst performing operational component of the public utility's system.
            (D) State the plans the public utility has developed to improve:
                (i) performance in areas described in clause (B); and
                (ii) the performance of system components described in clause (C).
        (7) Provide for the imposition of civil penalties on a public utility that provides poor quality service as defined in the rules.
        (8) Require the imposition of civil penalties if a public utility fails to improve the worst performing operational component of the public utility's system.
    Sec. 4. If, after notice and hearing, the commission finds that a public utility has failed to comply with the service quality rules adopted by the commission, the commission may issue an order that does one (1) or more of the following:
        (1) Imposes a civil penalty of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each noncompliance with the rules. For purposes of this subdivision, the commission may consider each day a noncompliance occurs to be a separate noncompliance.
        (2) Imposes a civil penalty of not more than fifteen percent (15%) of the annual gross intrastate operating revenue of the public utility. A public utility's gross intrastate operating

revenue shall be determined from the most recent public utility annual report filed under IC 8-1-6-5.
        (3) Requires the public utility cease and desist from the noncompliance.
        (4) Mandates corrective action to alleviate the noncompliance.
        (5) Revokes or modifies the terms of the public utility's certificate of territorial authority, certificate of public convenience and necessity, or other permit issued by the commission.
    Sec. 5. The commission shall consider the following when determining the appropriateness of the amount of a civil penalty or compromise amount under section 4 of this chapter:
        (1) The size of the public utility.
        (2) The gravity of the noncompliance.
        (3) The good faith of the utility in attempting to remedy the noncompliance after receiving notification of the noncompliance.
    Sec. 6. (a) The attorney general may bring an action in the name of the state of Indiana to enforce an order of the commission under section 4 of this chapter, including the collection of an unpaid civil penalty imposed by the commission under section 4(1) or 4(2) of this chapter.
    (b) The attorney general may bring the action in a court that has jurisdiction.
    Sec. 7. All civil penalties accruing under this chapter are cumulative. A suit for recovery of one (1) civil penalty does not bar or affect:
        (1) the recovery of any other civil penalty or forfeiture; or
        (2) a criminal prosecution against:
            (A) a public utility;
            (B) an officer, a director, an agent, or an employee of a public utility; or
            (C) any other person.
    Sec. 8. The secretary of the commission shall deposit any civil penalties collected under this chapter in the commission public utility fund account established under IC 8-1-6.
    Sec. 9. The authority granted under this chapter is in addition to, and may be exercised independently of, any other authority granted under this article.