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2019 Consumer, Energy, and Utility Bill Watch List

 

HB1027: Wind farm conflicts of interest

Authors: Rep. Thomas Saunders (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description: Amends the statute that establishes the criminal offense of conflict of interest by a public servant to provide that a public servant who serves a unit in which a proposed wind farm development is being considered commits an offense under the statute if either of the following apply: (1) The public servant knowingly: (A) has or will have a pecuniary interest in; or (B) derives or will derive a profit from; a contract or purchase related to the proposed wind farm development. (2) The wind farm developer does, or offers to do, certain specified acts related to the proposed wind farm development and involving the public servant's role as a public official. Provides that a public servant does not commit an offense under the statute if the public servant makes a written disclosure that describes the nature of the conflict the public servant has with respect to the proposed wind farm development. Requires a wind farm developer that seeks to install or locate one or more wind power devices in a unit to make certain disclosures regarding conflicts of interest involving elected or unelected officials with respect to the proposed project. Provides that a wind farm developer shall make the required disclosures as necessary throughout all phases of the proposed project and continuing for one year after the date on which all wind power devices included in the project are fully operational. Prescribes the form and manner in which the disclosures must be made. Confers authority upon the attorney general to investigate and adjudicate complaints alleging violations of the disclosure requirements. Provides that upon determining that a wind farm developer has violated the requirements, the attorney general may impose a civil penalty of not more than: (1) $50,000 for the first violation; and (2) $100,000 for any subsequent violation.

 

HB1103: Plan commission executive director

Authors: Rep. Robert Cherry (R), Rep. Jeffrey Thompson (R)

Status: Referred to House Local Government

Description: Provides that: (1) the county executive may appoint the executive director of an area plan commission; and (2) if the county executive does not appoint the executive director within 45 days of a vacancy in the position, the area plan commission may appoint the executive director. (Under current law, the area plan commission appoints the executive director.)

 

HB1106: Fuel taxes on compressed natural gas 

Authors: Rep. Randall Frye (R)

Status: Referred to House Ways and Means

Description: Provides a quarterly refund of the special fuel tax paid on the difference between the amount of special fuel purchased by a compressed natural gas product fuel station and the amount of compressed natural gas product produced and sold by the compressed natural gas product fuel station. Permits a retroactive refund claim to be made for special fuel taxes paid from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. Makes corresponding changes to other refund provisions and the special fuel tax collection allowance.

 

HB1123: Telephone solicitation

Authors: Rep. Jeff Ellington (R)Rep. Edmond Soliday (R), Rep. Dale DeVon (R), Rep. Ryan Lauer (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description:  Defines "executive officer" for purposes of the telephone solicitation law. Provides that an executive officer of a person that violates the telephone solicitation law commits a separate deceptive act actionable by the consumer protection division. Requires the consumer protection division of the office of the attorney general (division) to amend its rules to allow businesses to be included in the quarterly listing of telephone numbers of persons that request not to be solicited by telephone. Allows the division to use the consumer protection division telephone solicitation fund (fund) to: (1) administer the statutes concerning: (A) the registration of telephone solicitors; and (B) the regulation of automatic dialing machines; and (2) reimburse county prosecutors for expenses incurred in extraditing violators of these and other state and federal statutes concerning telephone solicitations. (Current law provides that the fund may only be used to administer: (1) the state's "do not call" statute; (2) the federal statute concerning restrictions on the use of telephone equipment; and (3) the state statute concerning misleading or inaccurate caller identification.) Increases the penalty for: (1) failure to register with the division by a seller that makes certain solicitations from a Level 6 felony to a Level 5 felony; (2) violating regulations regarding use of automatic dialing machines from a Class C misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony; and (3) violation of regulations regarding use of false or misleading caller identification information from a Class B misdemeanor (or Class A misdemeanor for repeat offenses) to a Level 6 felony. Provides that all sellers that make certain solicitations must register with the division. (Under current law, registration is required only if the solicitation involves consideration of more than $100 and less than $50,000.) 

 

HB1260: Local referenda for wind power devices

Authors: Rep. Thomas Saunders (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description: Provides that after June 30, 2019, a unit may not authorize, or establish requirements for, the installation or siting of wind power devices in the unit unless the voters of the unit have approved the installation or siting of wind power devices in the unit through a local public question. Provides that a regulation that: (1) is adopted or amended by a unit after June 30, 2019; and (2) authorizes, or establishes requirements for, the installation or siting of wind power devices in the unit; does not take effect unless this condition is met. Sets forth procedures for conducting a local public question concerning the installation or siting of wind power devices in a unit.

 

HB1305: Gas and oil well assessment

Authors: Rep. Shane Lindauer (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description:  Provides for the imposition of a monetary penalty against owners of oil or gas interests who fail to timely file a property schedule for gas and oil well assessments.

 


HB1331: Homeowners associations and solar power

Authors: Rep. Mike Speedy (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Descriptions: Provides that, subject to certain specified exceptions, a homeowners association may not: (1) prohibit the owner of a dwelling unit from installing a solar energy system; (2) impose unreasonable limitations on the owner's ability to install or use a solar energy system; or (3) require the removal of a solar energy system that has been installed. Provides, however, that a homeowners association may require preapproval of the location of a solar energy system and of the manner in which the solar energy system is installed. Applies only to rules, covenants, declarations of restrictions, and other governing documents adopted or amended by a homeowners association after June 30, 2019.

 

HB1347: Municipally owned utilities

Authors: Rep. Woody Burton (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description:  Provides that all rates, charges, and other fees for services rendered by a municipally owned utility to property occupied by someone other than the owner are payable by the person occupying the property if the account or other customer or billing records maintained by the utility for the property indicate that: (1) the property is occupied by someone other than the owner; and (2) the person occupying the property is responsible for paying the rates, charges, and fees. Provides that rates, charges, and fees assessed by a municipally owned utility with respect to property occupied by someone other than the owner do not constitute a lien against the property. Specifies that these provisions do not: (1) prohibit a municipal legislative body from imposing any requirement to: (A) ensure payment by; or (B) the creditworthiness of; the person occupying the property; or (2) abrogate or limit the authority of the owner of a multi-unit building to engage in electrical submetering. Establishes a process for establishing a policy review committee (committee) for a municipally owned utility that has properly withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the utility regulatory commission. Provides that a committee may be established if a specified number of the registered voters of the municipality file a petition with the utility's board. Provides that the petition must set forth procedures by which the committee is authorized to do the following: (1) Receive complaints from customers concerning the utility's rules and policies, rates and charges, and service quality. (2) Attempt to negotiate a resolution with the utility's board with respect to complaints received. (3) Seek mediation to be overseen by the office of the attorney general with respect to complaints that are not resolved through negotiations. Authorizes the attorney general to adopt rules to implement these provisions.

 

HB1395: Broadband development

Authors: Rep. Sharon Negele (R), Rep. Dave Heine (R), Rep. Terry Goodin (D)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description:  Provides that the Indiana utility regulatory commission (IURC) may adopt rules necessary to administer the Indiana universal service fund (IUSF), including rules to: (1) adjust the amount of the surcharge percentage required to be collected by communications service providers and remitted to the IUSF; and (2) establish the types of communications service providers that are required to assess a surcharge for remittance to the IUSF. Provides that the IURC may, to the extent not prohibited by federal law, require a provider of interconnected VoIP service to collect and remit to the IUSF a surcharge on the provider's revenue from intrastate use of the provider's interconnected VoIP service. Provides that a communications service provider, including a provider of broadband service through fiber optic cable, has access to public rights-of-way as a public utility for purposes of federal law exempting public utilities from payment of fair market value for use of public rights-of-way acquired with federal mass transportation funds. Allows use of the I-Light network for provision of communications service to unserved areas, subject to rules adopted by the office of community and rural affairs to: (1) define unserved areas for purposes of the rules; and (2) establish an application process to receive and evaluate proposals by communications service providers for use of I-Light to provide communications service to unserved areas. Provides that a fee owner of a right-of-way or a possessor of an easement: (1) is not entitled to compensation; (2) may not charge a fee of any kind; and (3) may not unreasonably deny authorization; for construction, operation, or maintenance of infrastructure by public and municipally owned utilities, including communications service providers, to the extent that the construction, operation, or maintenance does not interfere with the ordinary and normal use of the right-of-way or easement. Provides that the department of transportation, when issuing a permit for excavation or obstruction of a street, highway, or right-of-way: (1) may not require provision of a bond or cash deposit in an amount greater than $10,000 for each area designated in the permit; and (2) must accept a blanket bond in satisfaction of the bond requirement. Makes a technical correction.

 

HB1406: Water infrastructure assistance fund and program

Authors: Rep. Edmond Soliday (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description:  Provides that money from certain sources in the water infrastructure assistance fund (fund) is continuously appropriated for the purposes of the law concerning the water infrastructure assistance program. Annually appropriates $20,000,000 from the state general fund to the Indiana finance authority (authority) to create a leveraged loan program and provide other financial assistance that may include grants, loans, and other financial assistance from the fund. Specifies that the annual appropriations begin in the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. Authorizes the authority to establish: (1) the interest rate; or (2) parameters for establishing the interest rate; on each loan made from the fund. Provides that a participant, to receive a loan, grant, or other financial assistance from the fund: (1) must have an asset management program; and (2) must demonstrate to the authority that it has a plan to participate with one or more other participants in cooperative activities. Provides that a participant, after receiving a loan or grant from the fund, must maintain its asset management program: (1) as long as the loan remains unpaid; or (2) during the useful life of the asset financed with the loan or grant. Requires a participant, if appropriate, to conduct or participate in efforts to determine and eliminate the causes of non-revenue water in its water distribution system. Requires the authority to establish a project prioritization system and project priority list for the purposes of awarding loans and grants from the fund. Requires the authority to set aside a certain percentage of the money appropriated to the fund for purposes of providing grants, loans, and other financial assistance to or for the benefit of small utilities. Authorizes the authority to provide advisory services to participants in connection with loans from the fund. Provides that, if appropriate, the authority shall require a participant receiving a loan or other financial assistance from the fund to establish and maintain sufficient user charges, fees, taxes, special assessments, or revenues to: (1) operate and maintain; and (2) pay the obligations of; its water or wastewater collection and treatment system. Authorizes the authority to make loans or provide other financial assistance from the fund to or for the benefit of a participant to establish guaranties, reserves, or sinking funds or for other purposes. Authorizes the authority, as an alternative to making loans or providing other financial assistance to participants, to use the money in the fund to provide a leveraged loan program and other financial assistance programs to or for the benefit of participants.

 

HB1421: Net metering for tax supported power customers

Authors: Rep. Ronald Bacon (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description: Provides that, notwithstanding the law requiring an electricity supplier to include in its net metering tariff a limit on the aggregate amount of net metering facility nameplate capacity of 1.5% of the electricity supplier's most recent summer peak load, an electricity supplier may, at its own discretion, increase the aggregate amount of net metering facility nameplate capacity beyond the limit of 1.5% of the electricity supplier's most recent summer peak load. Defines "tax supported customer" as an electricity customer whose operations are directly funded with revenue from state or local taxes, such as public schools, public libraries, and units of local government. Provides that a tax supported customer that is participating in an electricity supplier's net metering tariff on July 1, 2019, shall continue to be served under the terms and conditions of the net metering tariff despite the provisions of the law under which the participation of other customers in the electricity supplier's net metering tariff may be ended. Provides that a tax supported customer participating in net metering shall be credited for the electricity supplied back to the electricity supplier at the rate that would apply to the tax supported customer's purchase of electricity if the tax supported customer were not participating in net metering.

 

HB1438: Water and wastewater infrastructure

Authors: Rep. Edmond Soliday (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description: Establishes the water infrastructure task force to examine an inventory and assessment of the water resources of the state and study other subjects related to water and wastewater infrastructure. Requires the water infrastructure task force to issue a report setting forth its findings and recommendations not later than December 1, 2019. Requires a water utility to submit a water loss audit report to the utility regulatory commission (commission) every year, beginning with the water loss audit report due before July 1, 2021. Requires the water loss audit report to be submitted in 2021 and the water loss audit reports to be submitted in each subsequent odd-numbered year to be accompanied by an independent, level one validation of the water loss audit report. Requires the commission to adopt rules concerning water loss audits. Requires the commission, after June 30, 2022, and before July 1, 2023, to consider adopting rules to require water utilities to meet certain performance standards for the volume of their water losses. Requires the department of environmental management to establish and maintain a water data collection hub in which all quantitative information concerning the water resources of the state that is gathered by or reported to state agencies will be stored. Requires the environmental rules board to adopt rules concerning the water data collection hub. Urges the governor to create a position or an office within the administrative branch of government to oversee and coordinate the water related programs and activities of the state.

 

HB1468: Utility consumer counselor

Authors: Rep. Heath VanNatter (R), Rep. Edmond Soliday (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description: Amends the statute concerning the office of utility consumer counselor (OUCC) as follows: (1) Requires the OUCC to exercise its powers and perform its duties consistent with the state's declared policy to promote investment in utility infrastructure while protecting the affordability of utility services. (2) Requires that before employing its own staff, the OUCC shall make use of engineers, experts, and accountants employed by the utility regulatory commission, the department of environmental management, or the Indiana department of transportation. Specifies that this requirement does not apply to, or otherwise affect the employment of, a person employed by the OUCC as regular staff before July 1, 2019. (3) Provides that the OUCC may employ, with the approval of the governor and the budget agency: (A) on a full-time or part-time basis before July 1, 2019; or (B) on a part-time only basis after June 30, 2019; additional staff with the appropriate expertise for a particular case or investigation. (Current law does not specify that such staff must be part-time.) Specifies that this requirement does not apply to, or otherwise affect the employment of, a person employed by the OUCC before July 1, 2019, on a full-time basis for work on a particular case or investigation.

 


HB1470: Utility transmission improvements and costs

Authors: Rep. Edmond Soliday (R)

Status: Referred to House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications

Description:  Amends the statute concerning transmission, distribution, and storage system improvements charges (TDSIC) for electric and gas utilities to provide that for purposes of the statute, "eligible transmission, distribution, and storage system improvements" include: (1) projects that do not include specific locations or exact numbers; and (2) advanced technology investments. Provides that a public utility's required plan under the statute (defined under the new provisions as a "TDSIC plan") must cover a period of: (1) at least five years; and (2) not more than nine years. Requires a utility to update its TDSIC plan at least annually. Provides that an update to a TDSIC plan may include new projects or improvements. Specifies that a targeted economic development project may include a project related to the provision of electric service. Provides that a utility may: (1) terminate a TDSIC plan upon 30 days notice to the utility regulatory commission (IURC); and (2) petition the IURC for approval of a new TDSIC plan. Provides that a utility that terminates a TDSIC plan must petition the IURC for review and approval of the public utility's basic rates and charges with respect to the same type of utility service before the original expiration date of the terminated plan. Sets forth required findings of the IURC in an order concerning new: (1) projects or improvements; or (2) targeted economic development projects; included in a utility's updated TDSIC plan.

 

SB4: Water and wastewater utilities and runoff 

Authors: Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R), Sen. Susan Glick (R), Sen. David Niezgodski (D)Sen. James Merritt (R), Sen. Eric Koch (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Description: Requires the Indiana finance authority (IFA) to divide the state of Indiana into study areas and to hold annual meetings with the officers and employees of the water and wastewater utilities located in each study area. Authorizes the utilities within a study area to meet voluntarily to determine area water and wastewater priorities, promote cooperation among the utilities, and consider other matters. Requires biennial reports from the utilities of each study area and from the IFA on the cooperative activities of the utilities. Provides that a utility applying to the IFA for a loan, a grant, or other financial assistance must demonstrate that its officers and employees have participated in study area activities. Requires every water utility, at least once in each calendar year, to perform an audit of its water distribution system to determine the causes of the water utility's "non-revenue water" (the difference between the amount of water entering the utility's distribution system and the amount of water received by the water utility's customers). In even-numbered years, requires the results of the annual audit to be verified by an independent evaluator and reported to the IFA and requires the IFA to issue a report concerning the audit results. Provides that, under certain circumstances, a permit may be issued for the operation of a public water system or for the discharge from a wastewater treatment plant without a certification that a life cycle cost-benefit analysis, a capital asset management plan, and a cybersecurity plan have been prepared. Amends the definition of "customer lead service line improvement". Urges the legislative council to assign to an appropriate interim study committee the task of studying issues related to storm water management systems, including storm water runoff in the agricultural sector.

 

SB193: Sewer and water connections through rights-of-way 

Authors: Sen. Mike Bohacek (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Local Government

Description: Provides that a unit may not prohibit a property owner from installing a sewer line or other sewage works: (1) in or through a public right-of-way owned or controlled by the unit; and (2) for the purpose of connecting the owner's property to a sewer system owned or operated by another unit or entity; if the owner provides to the unit a written determination from a specified authority that the owner's existing sewage disposal system is failing, and if certain other conditions are met. Provides that in the case of a connection to a sewer system made under these provisions, a municipality (or a board of sanitary commissioners for the department of sanitation in certain municipalities) that owns or operates the sewer system to which the connection is made may waive the requirement that the property owner must release the property owner's right to remonstrate against pending or future annexations of the property owner's property by the municipality. Provides that a unit may not prohibit a property owner from installing a water service line or other water utility service infrastructure: (1) in or through a public right-of-way owned or controlled by the unit; and (2) for the purpose of connecting the owner's property to a waterworks owned or operated by a water utility other than a water utility owned or operated by the unit; if the property owner's property is served by a private water well, and if certain other conditions are met.

 

SB205: SPEA study of low-carbon and green industries

Authors: Sen. Timothy Lanane (D)

Status: Referred to Senate Environmental Affairs

Description: Requires the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) to assess the potential for development of low-carbon and green industries in Indiana and the job creation, economic growth, and wealth generation that could result for Indiana communities from the development of these industries. Requires SPEA to report the results of its assessment to the legislative council in an electronic format not later than December 1, 2019.

 

SB407: State agency management 

Authors: Sen. Victoria Spartz (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy

Description: Establishes the economic and regulatory policy task force. Provides for members of the task force and duties of the task force. Requires the task force to prepare a report and recommendations.

 

SB430: Elimination of net metering phase out

Authors: Sen. J.D. Ford (D)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Description: Eliminates provisions under which net metering (an arrangement under which an electric utility's customer who has equipment for the production of electricity and who intermittently supplies electricity from that equipment to the electric utility is credited for the electricity that the customer supplies to the electric utility) would be partially ended by 2032 and completely ended by 2047. Eliminates a limit on the aggregate amount of an electric utility's net metering facility nameplate capacity that can be made available for customers' participation in net metering. Provides instead that the net metering facility nameplate capacity that an electric utility makes available for customers' participation in net metering must be at least 3% of the electric utility's most recent summer peak load. Provides that, of the net metering facility nameplate capacity made available for customers' participation in net metering, 30% must be reserved for participation by residential customers and not more than 5% must be reserved for participation by customers that install net metering facilities that use organic waste biomass.

 

SB442: Underground storage of carbon dioxide

Authors: Sen. Jon Ford (R), Sen. Mark Messmer (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Environmental Affairs

Description: Provides that if a prospective operator of a facility at which carbon dioxide would be stored underground obtains the express consent of pore space owners of at least 51% of the subsurface geologic strata into which carbon dioxide would be injected, the prospective operator may apply for a "pooling order" authorizing the use of the entire tract of land for the injection and underground storage of carbon dioxide. Establishes conditions that a person applying for a pooling order must meet. Requires an administrative law judge to grant the application if the administrative law judge determines that the benefit to the state and the nation of the geologic storage of carbon dioxide at the facility outweighs the detriment that the granting of the application would impose on the pore space owners who did not consent to the storage of carbon dioxide. Requires the director of the department of natural resources to issue a pooling order if the administrative law judge grants the application. Provides that the compensation paid to pore space owners who did not consent to the use of their pore space for the storage of carbon dioxide must be calculated as 101.25% of the compensation paid per unit of pore space volume to pore space owners who consented use of their pore space. Provides the following concerning the underground storage of carbon dioxide at a storage facility: (1) The state of Indiana owns all carbon dioxide stored underground. (2) The operator of the storage facility bears all emergency and remedial response responsibility until the closure of the storage facility, and all emergency and remedial response responsibility then passes to the state of Indiana. (3) The operator must fulfill all monitoring requirements until the closure of the storage facility, and the duty to fulfill monitoring requirements then passes to the state of Indiana. (4) The operator is required to meet financial responsibility requirements for as long as the maintenance of financial responsibility is required. (5) The ownership of the storage facility transfers to the state of Indiana upon closure of the storage facility.

 

SB460: Broadband development 

Authors: Sen. Mark Messmer (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Description: Amends the definition of "public utility" to include providers of Internet Protocol enabled retail services, and providers of software, hardware, transmission service, or a transmission path for Internet Protocol enabled retail services, for purposes of numerous provisions throughout the Indiana Code, including the following: (1) Provisions regarding transfer of state property for purposes of a right-of-way. (2) The definition of a mortgage lender used in statutes regarding the Indiana housing and community development authority. (3) The assessed value deduction for wind powered devices. (4) The utility services use tax exemption. (5) Tax exemptions for disaster recovery. (6) Certain provisions regarding the Indiana utility regulatory commission. (7) Provisions regarding filing of mortgages by utilities. (8) The exemption of certain utility workers, during a utility service interruption emergency, from federal regulations regarding the maximum number of hours an employee may work. (9) Provisions regarding registration of excavation contractors. (10) Provisions regarding utility rate charges for recovery of infrastructure costs. (11) Provisions regarding utility system integrity adjustments. (12) Provisions regarding joint use of utility infrastructure. (13) Exemption of public utilities from local franchise fees. (14) Provisions regarding access by public utilities to public rights-of-way. (15) Provisions regarding transmission, distribution, and storage system improvement charges and deferrals. (16) Certain provisions regarding municipal utilities. (17) Provisions regarding combined vehicles and towing permits. (18) Certain provisions regarding historic preservation and archeology. (19) Exercise by a public utility of the power of eminent domain. (20) Provisions regarding mechanic's liens on real property. (21) Provisions regarding persons who may act as a private judge.

 

SB461: Broadband development funding

Authors: Sen. Mark Messmer (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Description: Provides that a state agency that awards a grant to a broadband service provider for purposes of extending broadband service to unserved areas must follow procedures established and guidelines adopted by the office of community and rural affairs for the award of such grants. Provides that a state agency may not award a grant of more than $5,000,000 for any one qualified broadband project. Establishes the rural broadband fund (fund) for the purpose of awarding grants for funding of deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved areas. Provides that the office of community and rural affairs may make grants from the fund for the purpose of awarding grants for funding of deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved areas. Makes technical corrections.

 


SB472: Utility rates and acquisitions

Authors: Sen. Eric Koch (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Description: Provides that an order affecting rates of service may be entered by the utility regulatory commission (IURC) without a formal public hearing in the case of any public or municipally owned utility that either: (1) serves less than 5,000 customers; or (2) has initiated a rate case on behalf of a single division of the utility and that division: (A) serves less than 5,000 customers; and (B) has an IURC-approved schedule of rates and charges that is separate and independent from that of any other division of the utility. (Current law permits the IURC to enter a service rate order without a public hearing only in the case of a public or municipally owned utility that itself serves less than 5,000 customers.) Changes the term "distressed utility" to "offered utility" for purposes of provisions regarding acquisition of water or wastewater utilities. Makes the following changes for purposes of provisions under which a utility that acquires property from another utility at a cost differential may petition the Indiana utility regulatory commission (commission) to include the cost differential in the acquiring utility's rate base: (1) Provides conditions for applicability of the rebuttable presumption that the cost differential is reasonable. (2) Amends the findings the commission must make in order to approve the petition. (3) Provides that notice of the filing of the petition may be provided to customers of the acquiring utility company in a billing insert. Provides, for purposes of the requirement that a municipal legislative body or municipal executive that plans to sell or dispose of nonsurplus municipally owned utility property must appoint appraisers in a writing that is a public record, that it is sufficient that the municipal legislative body or municipal executive provide for the appointment in written contracts with the appraisers or the firms with whom the appraisers are employed. Provides that the legislative body and the municipal executive must hold a public hearing regarding the appraisal and proposed sale not later than 180 days (rather than 90 days, under current law) after the appraisal is complete. Amends the factors the commission must consider in deciding whether the sale or disposition is in the public interest.

 


SB499: Feed-in tariff for renewable energy facilities

Authors: Sen. Dennis Kruse (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Description: Requires the utility regulatory commission (IURC) to adopt rules to establish an electric utility feed-in tariff (FIT) program. Provides that the rules adopted must do the following: (1) Require all jurisdictional municipally owned electric utilities (utilities) to offer a FIT to eligible customers (including persons that are not existing customers of the electric utility) not later than July 1, 2020. (2) Require utilities, upon the request of an eligible customer, to enter into a contract, for a term of at least 10 years, for the purchase of electricity generated by a renewable energy facility (facility) located in Indiana at a site at which the utility provides, or will provide, retail electric service to the eligible customer. (3) Allow an electric utility to do the following, subject to the approval of the IURC: (A) Require a minimum size or capacity, not to exceed one megawatt, for facilities participating in the program. (B) Establish a cap with respect to the maximum aggregate capacity for all participating facilities under the electric utility's FIT program. (C) Establish a maximum size or capacity limit, which may not be less than 20 megawatts, for a participating facility. (4) Establish appropriate standards for interconnections between facilities and utilities' electric systems. (5) Establish appropriate FITs for participating facilities, with separate rates for electricity generated from each type of qualifying renewable energy resource under the program. (6) Require that any renewable energy credit or clean energy credit earned by a utility under the program be retired. (7) Prohibit an electric utility from requiring that a person that otherwise qualifies to participate in the electric utility's FIT program to be a customer of the electric utility for any period of time before enrolling in the electric utility's FIT program. Requires the IURC to ensure that the program complies with certain federal laws, regulations, and orders. Requires the IURC to develop and make available a standard contract for use by utilities in entering into contracts with eligible customers under the program. Requires the IURC to include certain information concerning the program in its annual report to the interim study committee on energy, utilities, and telecommunications.

 

SB517: Utility relocation for road projects

Authors: Sen. Randall Head (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Description: Provides that if, not later than 90 days after receiving an order from the Indiana department of transportation (department) to relocate utility facilities that will interfere with a planned construction project involving the state highway system, a utility has not: (1) relocated the facilities; (2) made arrangements for the relocation of the facilities to the satisfaction of the department; (3) requested and received a waiver from the department to complete the relocation by a specified later date; or (4) filed an appeal of the department's order; the department may relocate, or cause the relocation of, the utility's facilities, or may file a complaint in the appropriate court for an emergency order to compel the utility to relocate the facilities. Provides that if the department relocates, or causes the relocation of the facilities, the department may recover from the utility the costs of the relocation. Provides that these same procedures apply with respect to the relocation of utility customer service facilities in connection with construction projects involving the state highway system. Provides that if a county executive determines that the location of a utility's facilities will interfere with a planned road, highway, or bridge project under the jurisdiction of the county: (1) the county executive may order the utility to relocate the utility's facilities in accordance with the procedures set forth in the statute concerning projects involving the state highway system; and (2) if the county executive elects to use those procedures: (A) the county executive has all of the authority granted to, and the obligations of, the department under that statute, to the extent applicable; and (B) the utility has all of the obligations and rights of a utility under that statute, to the extent applicable.

 

SB526: Use of state funds for broadband projects

Authors: Sen. Erin Houchin (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Utilities

Definition: Defines a "qualified broadband project" as a project for the deployment of broadband infrastructure to provide broadband service for connections to the Internet at specified speeds, regardless of the delivery technology, in unserved areas in Indiana. Defines an "unserved area" as a geographic area of Indiana in which there is not at least one provider of terrestrial broadband service at the designated speeds. Provides that after June 30, 2019, the following apply with respect to grants made by state agencies (awarding agencies) for broadband infrastructure: (1) An awarding agency may not award a new state broadband grant unless the grant is for a qualified broadband project. (2) An awarding agency may allocate or release state funds for a state broadband grant awarded to a recipient before July 1, 2019, subject to certain conditions. (3) In awarding a new state broadband grant, an awarding agency must either: (A) evaluate all grant applications and determine all grant recipients and award amounts in accordance with the criteria set forth in the statute authorizing the office of community and rural affairs (office) to award broadband grants for qualified broadband service in unserved areas; or (B) submit all grant applications received to the office for: (i) evaluation; and (ii) the determination of grant recipients and award amounts, or the recommendation of grant recipients and award amounts; in accordance with the criteria set forth in the statute. Sets forth requirements for: (1) an awarding agency that elects to perform its own evaluations and determinations with respect to the agency's state broadband grants; and (2) an agency that elects to submit its grant applications to the office for: (A) evaluation; and (B) the determination or recommendation of grant recipients and award amounts. Makes a conforming amendment to the definition of "broadband services" set forth in the statute concerning the broadband ready communities development center.

 

SB535: Extraterrestrial powers of cities and towns

Authors: Sen. Philip Boots (R)

Status: Referred to Senate Local Government

Description: Repeals the general authority of a city or town (municipality) to exercise the following powers outside of its corporate boundaries: (1) Regulating conduct or property use endangering public health, safety, and welfare. (2) Capturing and destroying animals and maintaining and operating animal shelters. (3) Operating recreational parks and exercising eminent domain to acquire property for park purposes. Provides that a municipality may only exercise eminent domain within the municipality unless a statute expressly provides otherwise. Repeals a provision that allows a municipality to exercise powers regarding watercourses within 10 miles outside its corporate boundaries. Eliminates the ability of a municipal advisory plan commission to exercise planning and zoning jurisdiction, including approval or denial of applications for improvement permits and other permits for property located in the unincorporated area on July 1, 2019, except with regard to approving or denying: (1) pending petitions and applications; or (2) appeals of petitions or applications; filed before July 1, 2019. Provides that a pending petition or application that is not approved or denied by the municipality before July 1, 2020, is considered approved. Provides that a petition or application is considered approved if an appeal of the municipality's determination of the petition or application is pending on July 1, 2020. Allows a petitioner to withdraw a petition filed with the municipality before July 1, 2019, and file a new petition with the appropriate county department, if any, if the petition has not been approved or denied by the municipality. Allows a municipality to maintain and operate an animal shelter established outside its boundaries before July 1, 2019. Allows a municipality to continue to exercise eminent domain to acquire property outside its boundaries, if it has reached a specified point in the eminent domain proceedings on January 1, 2019.

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Updated on 1/16/19 

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