1Providing for distribution system extension and expansion plans
2to increase natural gas usage in this Commonwealth.

3The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
4hereby enacts as follows:

5Section 1. Short title.

6This act shall be known and may be cited as the Natural Gas
7Consumer Access Act.

8Section 2. Definitions.

9The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
10have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
11context clearly indicates otherwise:

12"Commission." The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

13"Distribution system." A system owned and operated by a
14natural gas distribution utility.

15"Expansion project." Modification to an existing pipeline,
16main extension or service line to one or more residential,
17commercial or industrial entities not receiving natural gas

1service within an existing certificated service area.

2"Extension project." New construction of a service line,
3main extension or pipeline to provide natural gas service to one
4or more residential, commercial or industrial entities not
5receiving natural gas service and for which a certificate of
6public convenience is required under 66 Pa.C.S. § 1102 (relating
7to enumeration of acts requiring certificate) which is not
8within the current certificate of public convenience territory
9issued by the commission to the natural gas distribution

11"Natural gas distribution utility." As defined in 66 Pa.C.S.
12§ 1403 (relating to definitions).

13Section 3. Distribution system extension and expansion plan.

14(a) Submission.--By January 1, 2014, or within two years
15after a franchise territory is awarded, each natural gas
16distribution utility shall submit a plan to the commission. The
17plan shall be updated biennially unless sooner requested by the
18commission. The plan shall include the following:

19(1) The number of existing customers by municipality in
20the certificated service area.

21(2) The number of residential, commercial and industrial
22entities in the service area by municipality which do not
23have gas service available, and the anticipated market

25(3) The adjacent municipalities of a distribution system
26that are not serviced by any natural gas distribution

28(4) The plan shall contain the following information:

29(i) A three-year projection for extension projects,
30demonstrating a reasonable increase in the service area

1of customers per year.

2(ii) A three-year projection for expansion projects,
3demonstrating a reasonable increase in the service area
4of customers per year.

5(iii) Financing that will be utilized to complete
6the programs, including customer contribution programs.

7(iv) Known rights-of-way, easement or geographic
8issues that present an impediment to expansion or
9extension projects.

10(v) A form of any agreement a prospective customer
11will be required to execute in connection with receiving
12gas service.

13(b) Commission review.--The commission shall review the plan
14submitted under subsection (a) for adequacy and completeness and
15may seek additional information as necessary. If the commission
16believes the plan does not meet the requirements of this act,
17the commission shall reject the plan or order the natural gas
18distribution utility to submit a revised plan. Any changes to
19the plan may require additional commission review.

20(c) Periodic review.--The commission shall promulgate
21regulations for the periodic review of distribution system
22extension and expansion plans submitted under subsection (a),
23including standards to ensure expansion and accessibility to
24residential, commercial and industrial users. The regulations
25may authorize a natural gas distribution utility to revise,
26update or submit a new plan as appropriate.

27Section 4. Customer contributions.

28(a) Requirement.--A natural gas distribution utility shall
29provide residential, commercial and industrial customers with
30customer contribution criteria for extension and expansion


2(b) Contents.--The criteria under subsection (a) shall
3contain all of the following:

4(1) The actual cost of the extension or expansion of
5service to the prospective customer and the geographic area
6for that project.

7(2) A cost-benefit test to determine whether a customer
8contribution is required.

9(3) The period of time, which shall not be less than ten
10years, in which customers will reimburse the natural gas
11distribution utility for the extension or expansion of
12service to the prospective customer.

13(4) The total cost to a customer, including initial
14deposit and periodic payment or reduction in periodic

16(5) Refund provisions to the original customers as other
17customers receive service from the extension or expansion of
18service to the original customers.

19(c) Approval.--Upon commission approval of the criteria the
20natural gas distribution utility shall modify its tariff within
2130 days in a manner consistent with the commission's approval.

22(d) Adjustment.--The natural gas distribution utility shall
23adjust a customer contribution to reflect changes in expansion
24or extension of service to customers.

25(e) Bill.--The charge assessed under this section shall
26appear as a separate, itemized line on the customer's bill.

27Section 5. Notification.

28The natural gas distribution utility shall provide
29notification to all its customers of its distribution system
30extension and expansion plan and customer contribution criteria

1at least once a year. The initial notification shall be included
2in the monthly bill of the customer. After initial notification,
3notice of the distribution system extension and expansion plan
4and customer contribution criteria shall be posted on the
5natural gas distribution utility's Internet website.

6Section 6. Bona fide request program.

7(a) Provision.--A natural gas distribution utility shall
8provide, as part of the plan, a bona fide request program in
9areas where it does not provide service or for expansion of
10service. The plan shall provide for expedited extension or
11expansion projects if there is any of the following:

12(1) A large aggregation of residential, commercial or
13industrial entities who ask to obtain or expand service.
14Expedited consideration shall be based on the number of
15potential customers, the density of the area seeking service,
16the potential usage and the cost of extending or expanding

18(2) An economic development corporation, which as part
19of a development project which will create 30 or more jobs,
20requires expanded or extended service.

21(b) Description.--The natural gas distribution utility shall
22provide the commission with a written description of the
23program, a sample request for expedited extension or expansion
24projects, explanation of the outreach program by the utility to
25expand its customer class and the form of any agreement
26prospective customers will be required to execute in connection
27with receiving the gas service.

28(c) Enforcement.--The commission shall monitor, certify and
29enforce the compliance of participating natural gas distribution
30utilities with their obligations under this section.

1Section 7. Commission.

2(a) Approval.--The commission by regulation or order shall
3prescribe the specific procedures to be followed to approve a
4distribution system extension and expansion plan and customer
5contribution criteria.

6(b) Eligible costs.--The commission shall establish
7standards to ensure that work on extension and expansion of
8service is performed by qualified employees of either the
9natural gas distribution utility or an independent contractor in
10a manner that protects system reliability and safety of the

12(c) Order.--If the commission determines that the
13distribution system extension and expansion plan is inadequate
14to provide reasonable access to natural gas services by
15residential, commercial or industrial customers, the commission
16shall revise the natural gas distribution utility's plan and
17customer contribution criteria to ensure reasonable access.

18Section 8. Audit.

19(a) Charges.--A charge by a natural gas distribution utility
20to undertake a distribution system extension and expansion plan
21shall be subject to the following:

22(1) Audit at intervals as determined by the commission.

23(2) Reconciliation at intervals as determined by the

25(b) Interest on excess charges.--If revenue received from
26charges under this act exceeds actual costs, the excess received
27shall be refunded with interest to the customer. Interest on
28excess collections shall be calculated at the residential
29mortgage lending rate specified by the Secretary of Banking
30under the act of January 30, 1974 (P.L.13, No.6), referred to as

1the Loan Interest and Protection Law, and shall be refunded in
2the same manner as an excess collection to the customer.

3Section 20. Effective date.

4This act shall take effect in 30 days.