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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2020 09:29 AM
From: Representative John A. Lawrence
To: All House members
Subject: COSPONSOR MEMO - Ratepayer Referendum Prior to Sale of a Public Utility (Former HB2597)
Colleagues –

In the near future, I will reintroduce legislation to require ratepayer approval prior to the sale a publicly managed utility in the Commonwealth.

Under my proposal, a publicly managed utility contemplating selling itself would be required to mail a ballot to each ratepayer of the utility asking “Do you approve the sale of (selling utility name) to (acquiring entity) for the sum of (the proposed sale price)?” Ratepayers would have a minimum of 30 days to vote via US mail or through a secure internet website. In addition to mailing a ballot to each ratepayer, a selling utility would be required to publish notification of the referendum in a newspaper of major circulation in any affected municipality. 

If a majority of ratepayers vote against the proposed sale via referendum, then the Public Utility Commission would be required to disapprove the sale. 

Other states, including neighboring New Jersey, require voter input prior to the sale of a publicly managed utility. 

I welcome your support and cosponsorship of this proposal. 

Introduced as HB97