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Bill Summary Details

Utility Customer Assistance Funds (Watch)

SB 1860 (Jones) and HB 1435 (Smith, C.) direct the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish an application process for electric utilities, natural gas utilities and water/wastewater utilities to complete before it may receive utility customer assistance funds to provide assistance to residential customers for nonpayment of utility bills. The bills provide eligibility criteria for utilities to receive customer assistance funds and specifies criteria for a utility’s COVID-19 relief repayment plan. The bills require participating utilities to provide a report of all related accounting by December 2021. The bills specify that in addition to utility customer assistance funds provided in the bills, utilities must use funds allocated from the federal coronavirus relief funds of Public Law 116-136 to provide direct subsidy payments on behalf of residential customers whose accounts are more than 60 days past due. The bills direct the Legislature to appropriate $100 million to the Office of Energy for customer assistance funds. (O’Hara)