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Senate Passes Lt. Governor's Ratepayer Protection Legislation

PROVIDENCE, RI Last night, the Senate passed two pieces of Lt. Governor Dan McKee's ratepayer protection legislation to expand low cost energy options for Rhode Island families and small businesses and improve the utility company's responsiveness to consumers.

Senate Bill 2330, sponsored by Senator Frank S. Lombardo, III, expands Rhode Island's electric supply market by giving all customers the ability to participate in the process of choosing an electric supplier with the most competitive price. The bill enables the Division of Public Utilities & Carriers to create a program that reduces the barriers competitive electric supply companies face in entering Rhode Island's energy market. Reducing the barriers enhances retail competition and improves access to low cost energy options for Rhode Island electric customers.

Senate Bill 2332, sponsored by Senator Roger A. Picard, requires the utility company to provide higher levels of customer service to consumers including: Timely installation of new and upgraded service; consistent status updates on utility project wait times and itemized bills and estimates. The legislation allows consumers to report customer service complaints to the Division of Public Utilities & Carriers which will promptly investigate and rule on any violations.

"We are one step closer to holding the utility company to a higher standard and expanding consumer choice in the energy market. Our state's families and small businesses have made it clear that more responsiveness from the utility company and lower energy costs are a top priority. It's our job to deliver," said McKee. "I thank the Senate for joining me to protect electric customers and lessen the burden of high energy costs across our state."

Companion bills for S-2230 and S-2332 are pending in the House.

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