NCAT Description of Public Purpose Programs
STATE-BY-STATE OVERVIEW OF LOW-INCOME RESTRUCTURING
LEGISLATION AND IMPLEMENTATION
Compiled by the LIHEAP Clearinghouse
Restructuring activity at the state level has been limited in 2000 and 2001. Michigan is the latest state to pass comprehensive utility restructuring legislation, and it was the only state to pass such legislation in 2000.
During 2001, no state passed restructuring legislation; however a number of them, such as Arkansas, Nevada and West Virginia passed legislation to substantially curtail restructuring's implementation or to put it on hold.
As of October 2001, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), 23 states and the District of Columbia have enacted comprehensive restructuring legislation. One state, New York, has allowed restructuring to proceed through regulatory commission order. Georgia has natural gas restructuring, but has had little activity on the electric side.
The states with comprehensive electric (and in some cases gas) restructuring legislation are now: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Three states, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, opted not to pass restructuring legislation, but did establish mechanisms for funding of low-income energy programs in the event that restructuring eventually could occur.
Among the remaining states, most have active legislative and/or regulatory processes underway to study restructuring and propose implementing legislation. According to the EIA, Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Tennessee have undertaken little electric restructuring activity to date.
The LIHEAP Clearinghouse continues to focus on how programs that help low-income customers afford their electric bills will fare as a result of the restructuring process. The trend is toward funding them through universal systems benefits charges, also known as public benefits charges, to be assessed by local power distribution entities, which will remain regulated.
Some states that approved restructuring legislation have called for the continuation and expansion of existing low-income rate assistance and conservation programs, e.g., California, Massachusetts, Ohio and Montana. Others, such as Illinois, New Hampshire and Texas, funded low-income energy programs for the first time as part of the restructuring process.
How the low-income programs will be administered has been decided in some states, and remains to be seen in others, as discussed below. The National Center for Appropriate Technology's LIHEAP Clearinghouse makes available a state-by-state narrative of low-income system benefits charge programs. The information presented in this summary is compiled from previous issues of the LIHEAP Networker and additional research by the Clearinghouse. The NCAT summary also provides state-specific World Wide Web links to each state program funded through a system benefits charge. State-specific information about each low-income program can be obtained through these links.
|The LIHEAP Clearinghouse summary of state system benefits charge programs, along with state Web links for each state having implemented such a program, can be accessed at: www.ncat.org/liheap/dereg.htm|
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