SB 0447 Regulates certain activities of electric and gas companies
LR Number:S1943.01I Fiscal Note:1943-01
Committee:Commerce and Environment
Last Action:05/14/99 - 012 S Calendar S Bills for Perfection Journal page:
Effective Date:August 28, 1999
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Current Bill Summary

SB 447 - This act requires all electric and gas companies to file an annual preventive maintenance plan for approval by the Public Service Commission (PSC). The plan shall provide certain maintenance and inspection schedules, include appropriate training for employees, require sufficient properly trained permanent personnel, provide a minimum maintenance standard rating with a method for corrective action, and specify the location of certain records.

The act requires the PSC to establish minimal performance standards for all electric and gas companies. The companies shall implement procedures to ensure that employees and contractors adhere to all federal and state safety rules and regulations. Employees of contractors or vendors shall be bonded when working on or around customers or public property.

Each gas and electric company is responsible for all damage to customer property primarily caused by failure to deliver service in compliance with PSC rules. Gas and electric companies shall file a written report to the PSC within 30 days regarding any related incident involving a fatality or personal injury requiring inpatient hospitalization and any related property damage estimated at $20,000 or more.

The act requires the PSC to establish minimum reliability and maintenance service standards pertaining to employee skills, complaint and resolution procedures with penalties, and minimum staffing levels.

The PSC shall prohibit employers from allowing employees to perform critical functions without first demonstrating certification of the necessary skills and knowledge.

If a gas or electric company that is party to a recognized collective bargaining agreement undertakes organizational change, the entity must continue to recognize and bargain with the union representing the employees at the time of the change for 3 years or until contract expiration, whichever is later. Any successor is bound to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement unless the parties agree to different terms within the 3-year period.

The company shall inform its employees and certified representatives of the proposed plan, confer with the employees to minimize resulting hardship, and file with the PSC a worker transition plan at least 180 days prior to finalization of the transaction.

While the worker transition plan is in effect, the company shall file with the PSC notice of any closure or relocation of facilities and any action that will result in layoffs. The worker transition plan shall provide such services and benefits as severance pay, retraining, and outplacement services.

The act requires the PSC to adopt minimum customer service standards, such as a customer service center within its service territory with sufficient personnel, resolution of trouble reports by customers within 2 hours of initiation, and a toll-free customer complaint hotline with sufficient personnel to answer calls in a timely manner.

The act contains penalty provisions.