Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 23

    February Session, 2012

 

*_____SB00023ET____032812____*

AN ACT ENHANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 28-5 of the 2012 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(b) The commissioner shall direct the preparation of a comprehensive plan and program for the civil preparedness of the state and integrate and coordinate that plan and program to the fullest extent possible with the civil preparedness plans of the federal government and of other states. When the plan and program has been prepared, the commissioner shall present it to the Governor for his or her approval. When the Governor approves the plan, all government agencies, state or local, [and] all civil preparedness forces in the state and all public service companies, as defined in section 16-1, shall carry out the duties and functions assigned by the plan and program as approved. The plan and program may, from time to time, be amended or modified in like manner. The commissioner shall coordinate the civil preparedness activities of the towns and cities of the state to the end that they shall be fully integrated with the state civil preparedness plan and program.

Sec. 2. Subsection (e) of section 28-5 of the 2012 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2012):

(e) The commissioner shall utilize the personnel, services, equipment, supplies and facilities of existing departments, offices and agencies of the state to the maximum extent possible. The head of each such department, office or agency, in cooperation with and under the direction of the commissioner, shall be responsible for the planning and programming of such activities in the civil preparedness programs as will involve the utilization of the facilities of his or her department, office, institution or agency and shall implement and carry out such activities whenever necessary for the welfare and safety of the state, including participation in planning, training and exercises, as directed by the commissioner.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall initiate a docket to establish standards for acceptable performance by each electric company, electric distribution company, gas company and telephone company, as those terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, to ensure the reliability of such company's services, in any emergency, as defined in section 16-32e of the general statutes, to prevent and minimize any service outages or disruptions lasting more than twenty-four consecutive hours, to facilitate restoration of such services after such outages or disruptions, and to identify the optimum level of tree trimming and system hardening, including undergrounding, necessary to achieve the maximum reliability of the system and to minimize service outages. On or before November 1, 2012, the authority shall submit a report identifying the standards established by the authority pursuant to such docket and any recommendations concerning legislative changes necessary to implement such standards to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy and technology, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes.

(b) The authority shall, in the docket initiated pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, review:

(1) Each electric company's, electric distribution company's, gas company's and telephone company's current practices concerning service restoration after an emergency. Such review shall include, but not be limited to, an analysis of each such company's (A) estimates concerning potential damage and service outages prior to any emergency, (B) damage and service outage assessments after any emergency, (C) restoration management after any emergency, including access to alternate restoration resources via regional and reciprocal aid contracts, (D) planning for at-risk and vulnerable customers, (E) communication policies with state and local officials and customers, including individual customer restoration estimates and the accuracy of such estimates, and (F) need for mutual assistance during any emergency;

(2) The adequacy of each such company's infrastructure, facilities and equipment, which shall include, but not be limited to, an analysis of (A) whether such infrastructure, facilities and equipment are in good repair and capable of meeting operational standards, (B) whether such company is following standard industry practice concerning operation and maintenance of such infrastructure, facilities and equipment, and (C) whether such company had access to adequate replacement equipment for such infrastructure, facilities and equipment during the course of such emergency;

(3) Coordination efforts between each electric company and electric distribution company and any telecommunications company, community antenna television company or certified competitive video service provider, as those terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, including coordinated planning before any emergency, coordinated restoration efforts after any emergency and plans for emergency generators or back-up battery power where necessary to restore service and maintain communication;

(4) Tree trimming policies of each electric company and electric distribution company and shall determine (A) the amount spent by each electric company and electric distribution company for tree trimming in the most recent rate case, (B) each such company's system average interruption duration index, as described in section 16-245y of the general statutes, caused by falling trees and limbs, (C) the impact of expanding the area adjacent to distribution lines for tree trimming, including the cost of such expansion to ratepayers and the likelihood that such expansion would decrease damage to infrastructure, facilities and equipment used to distribute electricity and decrease service outage frequency or duration, and (D) the percentage of service outages during Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 storm caused by trees and limbs outside the current trim area based on an analysis of the quantity of prior tree trimming; and

(5) Any other policy, practice or information that the authority determines is relevant to a review of each electric company's, electric distribution company's, gas company's and telephone company's ability to ensure the reliability of such company's services in an emergency and to prevent, minimize and restore any long-term service outages or disruptions caused by such emergency.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) As used in this section, "utility" means any electric company, electric distribution company, gas company or telephone company, as those terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes.

(b) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall establish minimum standards of performance for utilities in emergency preparation and restoration of service to customers in an emergency. In developing such standards, the authority shall seek to minimize the number and duration of service outages in emergencies. The standards established by the authority shall include, but not be limited to, provisions for:

(1) Minimum staffing and equipment levels for each utility based on the number of customers served by such utility;

(2) Targets for recovery and restoration of service in emergencies based upon the classification levels of such emergencies;

(3) A communication plan between each utility and its customers, including, but not limited to, communication during other than normal business hours;

(4) Safety standards for employees of each utility, mutual aid crews and private contractors;

(5) Filing mutual aid agreements by utilities;

(6) Communication and coordination between each utility and the appropriate state, municipal or emergency operations center official concerning emergency preparation, road clearing and the establishment of restoration priorities;

(7) Tree trimming, cutting and removal by each electric company and electric distribution company to reduce service outages caused by trees and limbs;

(8) Communication and coordination, in consultation with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, between each utility and the public including, but not limited to, standards concerning the use of any emergency notification system to notify the public of service restoration estimates and any dangerous conditions;

(9) Timely notification by each utility to any relevant state or municipal agency or official including, but not limited to, any public safety agency or official, of any emergency and standards for coordination and communication between such utility and such agency or official;

(10) Communication and coordination between any appropriate electric, electric distribution, gas or telephone company; and

(11) The operation of the call center of each utility, telecommunications company, holder of a certificate of video franchise authority, holder of a certificate of cable franchise authority or voice over Internet protocol provider during any emergency.

(c) The authority shall establish as it deems fit any other standards for acceptable performance by any utility to ensure the reliability of such utility's services in any emergency, to prevent and minimize any service outages or disruptions lasting more than twenty-four consecutive hours and to facilitate restoration of such services after such outages or disruptions.

(d) Any mutual aid agreement filed with the authority pursuant to this section shall not be considered a public record or file subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200 of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) Not later than August 1, 2012, and April fifteenth annually thereafter, each utility, as defined in section 4 of this act, shall provide an emergency response plan to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Such plan shall include information and analysis concerning such utility's ability during the preceding year to meet the emergency preparedness and response standards established by the authority pursuant to section 4 of this act.

(b) In addition to the annual reporting requirements provided in subsection (a) of this section, the authority may require any utility to submit a supplemental emergency response plan after any storm, emergency or event causing significant service outages.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective from passage) After any emergency, as defined in section 16-32e of the general statutes, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall review the performance of each electric company, electric distribution company, gas company and telephone company, as those terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes. The authority, upon a finding that any such company failed to comply with any standard of acceptable performance in emergency preparation or restoration of service in an emergency, adopted pursuant to section 4 of this act or any order of the authority, shall make orders, after a hearing that is conducted as a contested case in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, to enforce such standards and may levy civil penalties against such company, pursuant to section 16-41 of the general statutes, not to exceed two and one-half per cent of such electric, electric distribution or gas company's annual distribution revenue for any related series of noncompliance by any electric company, electric distribution company or gas company and not to exceed twenty-million dollars for any related series of noncompliance by any telephone company. Any such penalty shall be assessed in the form of a credit to ratepayers of such electric, electric distribution or gas company or customers of such telephone company. Any such penalty shall not be included as an operating expense of such company for purposes of ratemaking.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Municipality" has the same meaning as provided in section 7-233b of the general statutes;

(2) "Critical facility" means any hospital, police station, fire station, water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant or correctional facility, any commercial area of a municipality or any other facility or area identified by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as critical;

(3) "Renewable distributed energy generation" means energy produced from a Class I renewable energy source, as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes; and

(4) "Electric distribution company" and "participating municipal electric utility" have the same meanings as provided in section 16-1 of the general statutes.

(b) The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shall establish a micro-grid grant and loan pilot program to support local renewable distributed energy generation for critical facilities. The department shall develop and issue a request for proposals from municipalities, electric distribution companies, participating municipal electric utilities, energy improvement districts and private entities seeking to develop micro-grid renewable distributed energy generation, or to repurpose existing renewable distributed energy generation for use with micro-grids, to support critical facilities. Any entity eligible to submit a proposal pursuant to this section may collaborate with any other such entity in submitting such proposal.

(c) The department shall award grants or loans under the micro-grid grant and loan pilot program to any number of recipients, provided the total amount of grants and loans awarded under the program shall not exceed five million dollars. In awarding such grants and loans, the department shall give preference to any project with an anticipated completion date on or before October 1, 2012. The department may establish any financing mechanism to leverage additional funding for the program.

(d) Not later than January first, annually, for a period of five years after receiving a grant or loan under the micro-grid grant and loan pilot program, any recipient of such grant or loan shall submit a report, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the department and the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and energy and technology. Such report shall include information concerning the status of such recipient's micro-grid project.

(e) On or before January 1, 2013, the department shall file a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, with the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy, identifying other funding sources necessary to expand the micro-grid grant and loan pilot program established pursuant to this section and any legislative changes necessary to access such funding.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than October 1, 2012, each electric, electric distribution, gas and telephone company, as those terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, shall submit a plan to implement the standards of acceptable performance for utilities in emergency preparation and restoration of service in an emergency, adopted pursuant to section 4 of this act, to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. The authority shall approve, reject or modify each such plan. The authority may require any such company to submit a supplemental plan after any storm, emergency or event causing significant service outages.

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective from passage) On or before October 1, 2012, and annually thereafter, each telecommunications company, as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, shall submit a report to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection concerning each such company's ability to provide backup power during an electric service outage for any telecommunications tower or antenna owned, leased or operated by such company to provide telecommunications services, as defined in section 16-247a of the general statutes, and each such company's plans concerning such backup power. Any information provided to the department pursuant to this section shall be considered confidential, not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200 of the general statutes, and such information shall not be transmitted to any person except as needed to comply with this section. On or before January 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, the department shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy and technology, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, identifying any information concerning each such company's ability to provide backup power during an electric service outage for any telecommunications tower or antenna owned, leased or operated by such company to provide telecommunications services and each such company's plans concerning such backup power. Such report shall include the department's recommendations for any necessary statutory change.

Sec. 10. Subsection (a) of section 16-2a of the 2012 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There shall be an independent Office of Consumer Counsel, within the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, for administrative purposes only, to act as the advocate for consumer interests in all matters which may affect Connecticut consumers with respect to public service companies, electric suppliers and certified telecommunications providers, including, but not limited to, matters concerning the maintenance and operation of the infrastructure of such companies, suppliers and providers that provide service to consumers. The Office of Consumer Counsel is authorized to appear in and participate in any regulatory or judicial proceedings, federal or state, in which such interests of Connecticut consumers may be involved, or in which matters affecting utility services rendered or to be rendered in this state may be involved. The Office of Consumer Counsel shall be a party to each contested case before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and shall participate in such proceedings to the extent it deems necessary. Said Office of Consumer Counsel may appeal from a decision, order or authorization in any such state regulatory proceeding notwithstanding its failure to appear or participate in said proceeding.

Sec. 11. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Department of Transportation and any municipality shall notify the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority of any pending project involving the construction, alteration, reconstruction, improvement, relocation, widening or changing of the grade of a section of any state highway or any other public highway, that is greater than five miles long or located in a commercial area. The authority, upon determination that such project may provide an opportunity for any public service company, as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, to install, replace, upgrade or bury any water, sewer or gas line, electric wire or cable or fiber optics, shall notify such company of such project.

Sec. 12. (Effective from passage) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall initiate a docket to identify and establish procedures to increase efforts by public service companies, as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, to install, replace, upgrade or bury any water, sewer or gas line, electric wire or cable or fiber optics, including procedures to coordinate with the Department of Transportation, any municipality and any other public service company to encourage such installment, replacement, upgrading or burying during any period in which a project to construct, alter, reconstruct, improve, relocate, widen or change the grade of a section of any state highway or any other public highway is ongoing. On or before February 1, 2013, the authority shall report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, the findings of such docket, including any recommended legislation necessary to implement such findings, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public utilities.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2012

28-5(b)

Sec. 2

July 1, 2012

28-5(e)

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

Sec. 4

from passage

New section

Sec. 5

from passage

New section

Sec. 6

from passage

New section

Sec. 7

from passage

New section

Sec. 8

from passage

New section

Sec. 9

from passage

New section

Sec. 10

from passage

16-2a(a)

Sec. 11

from passage

New section

Sec. 12

from passage

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In section 3(a), "as those terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes" was inserted after "telephone company" for clarity; in section 3(b)(1), "any such company's" was changed to "each such company's" for internal consistency; in section 3(b)(4), "as defined in section 16-245y" was changed to "as described in section 16-245y" for statutory consistency and clarity; in section 3(b)(5), "is" was inserted after "determines" for proper grammar; in sections 4(b)(6), 4(b)(8), 4(b)(9) and 4(b)(11), "any utility" was changed to "each utility" for internal consistency; in section 6, "as those terms are defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes" was inserted after "telephone company" for clarity; and in section 12, "as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes" was inserted after "public service companies" for clarity.

ET

Joint Favorable Subst.