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,

1commercial or industrial entities not receiving natural gas
2service within an existing certificated service area.

3"Extension project." New construction of a service line,
4main extension or pipeline to provide natural gas service to one
5or more residential, commercial or industrial entities not
6receiving natural gas service and for which a certificate of
7public convenience is required under 66 Pa.C.S. § 1102 (relating
8to enumeration of acts requiring certificate) which is not
9within the current certificate of public convenience territory
10issued by the commission to the natural gas distribution

12"Natural gas distribution utility." As defined in 66 Pa.C.S.
13§ 1403 (relating to definitions).

14Section 3. Distribution system extension and expansion plan.

15(a) Submission.--<-By January 1, 2014 Within nine months after 
16the effective date of this section, or within two years after a
17franchise territory is awarded, each natural gas distribution
18utility shall submit a plan to the commission. The plan shall be
19updated <-biennially triennially unless sooner requested by the
20commission. The plan shall include the following:

21(1) The number of existing customers by municipality in
22the certificated service area.

23(2) The number of residential, commercial and industrial
24entities in the service area by municipality which do not
25have gas service available, and the anticipated market

27(3) The adjacent municipalities of a distribution system
28that are not serviced by any natural gas distribution

30(4) The plan shall contain the following information:

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

4(ii) A three-year projection for expansion projects, 
<-5along with accompanying data, that is based upon the 
6length and cost of the required extensions and the 
7numbers of customers affected for each potential project 
8demonstrating a reasonable increase in the service area
9of customers per year.

10(iii) Financing that <-will be utilized is available
11to complete the programs, including customer contribution

13(iv) Known rights-of-way, easement or geographic
14issues that present an impediment to expansion or
15extension projects.

16(v) A form <-of any agreement a prospective customer 
17will be required to execute in connection with receiving 
18gas service. <-that will be used to enter into an agreement 
19with a prospective customer in order to obtain access to 
20an expansion and extension project.

21(b) Commission review.--The commission shall review the plan
22submitted under subsection (a) for adequacy and completeness and
23may seek additional information as necessary. If the commission
24believes the plan does not meet the requirements of this act,
25the commission shall reject the plan or order the natural gas
26distribution utility to submit a revised plan. Any changes to
27the plan may require additional commission review.

28(c) Periodic review.--The commission shall promulgate
29regulations for the periodic review of distribution system
30extension and expansion plans submitted under subsection (a),

1including standards to ensure expansion and accessibility to
2residential, commercial and industrial users. The regulations
3may authorize a natural gas distribution utility to revise,
4update or submit a new plan as appropriate.

<-5(d) Confidentiality.--At the request of the natural gas
6distribution utility, the commission shall maintain
7confidentiality of specific information deemed to be

9Section 4. Customer contributions.

10(a) Requirement.--A natural gas distribution utility shall
11provide residential, commercial and industrial customers with
12customer contribution criteria for extension and expansion

14(b) Contents.--The criteria under subsection (a) shall
15contain all of the following:

16(1) The actual cost of the extension or expansion of
17service to the prospective customer and the geographic area
18for that project.

19(2) A cost-benefit test to determine whether a customer
20contribution is required.

21(3) <-The period of time, which shall not be less than ten 
22years <-A reasonable period of time based on the customer 
23contribution, which shall not be less than ten years or a 
24lesser period of time by mutual agreement between the 
25prospective customer and the natural gas distribution 
26utility, in which customers will reimburse the natural gas
27distribution utility for the extension or expansion of
28service to the prospective customer.

29(4) The total cost to a customer, including initial
30deposit and periodic payment or reduction in periodic


2(5) Refund provisions to the original customers as other
3customers receive service from the extension or expansion of
4service to the original customers.

<-5(6) Support for the economic test used to determine the
6customer contribution for line extensions and comparisons
7with other economic tests, such as a net revenue screen or
8net present value method.

9(c) Approval.--Upon commission approval of the criteria the
10natural gas distribution utility shall modify its tariff within
1130 days in a manner consistent with the commission's approval.

12(d) Adjustment.--The natural gas distribution utility shall
13adjust a customer contribution to reflect changes in expansion
14or extension of service to customers.

15(e) Bill.--The charge assessed under this section shall
16appear as a separate, itemized line on the customer's bill.

17Section 5. Notification.

18The natural gas distribution utility shall provide
19notification to all its customers of its distribution system
20extension and expansion plan and customer contribution criteria
21at least once a year. The initial notification shall be included
22in the monthly bill of the customer. After initial notification,
23notice of the distribution system extension and expansion plan
24and customer contribution criteria shall be posted on the
25natural gas distribution utility's Internet website.

26Section 6. Bona fide request program.

27(a) Provision.--A natural gas distribution utility shall
28provide, as part of the plan, a bona fide request program in
29areas where it does not provide service or for expansion of
30service <-and the manner in which a customer will be charged for

1expansion. The plan shall provide for expedited extension or
2expansion projects if there is any of the following:

3(1) A large aggregation of residential, commercial or
4industrial entities who ask to obtain or expand service.
5Expedited consideration shall be based on the number of
6potential customers, the density of the area seeking service,
7the potential usage and the cost of extending or expanding

9(2) An economic development corporation, which as part
10of a development project which will create 30 or more jobs,
11requires expanded or extended service.

12(b) Description.--The natural gas distribution utility shall
13provide the commission with a written description of the
14program, a sample request for expedited extension or expansion
15projects, explanation of <-the outreach program by the utility to 
16expand its customer class <-how the outreach program could expand 
17its customer class, how geographic issues will be evaluated and
18the form of any agreement prospective customers will be required
19to execute in connection with receiving the gas service.

20(c) Enforcement.--The commission shall monitor, certify and
21enforce the compliance of participating natural gas distribution
22utilities with their obligations under this section.

23Section 7. Commission.

24(a) Approval.--The commission by regulation or order shall
25prescribe the specific procedures to be followed to approve a
26distribution system extension and expansion plan and customer
27contribution criteria<-, taking into consideration the saturation 
28and other characteristics of each natural gas distribution 

30(b) Eligible costs.--The commission shall establish

1standards to ensure that work on extension and expansion of
2service is performed by qualified employees of either the
3natural gas distribution utility or an independent contractor in
4a manner that protects system reliability and safety of the

6(c) Order.--If the commission determines that the
7distribution system extension and expansion plan is inadequate
8to provide reasonable access to natural gas services by
9residential, commercial or industrial customers, the commission
10shall revise the natural gas distribution utility's plan and
11customer contribution criteria to ensure reasonable access.

12Section 8. Audit.

13(a) Charges.--A charge by a natural gas distribution utility
14to undertake a distribution system extension and expansion plan
15shall be subject to the following:

16(1) Audit at intervals as determined by the commission.

17(2) Reconciliation at intervals as determined by the

19(b) Interest on excess charges.--If revenue received from
20charges under this act exceeds actual costs, the excess received
21shall be refunded with interest to the customer. Interest on
22excess collections shall be calculated at the residential
23mortgage lending rate specified by the Secretary of Banking
24under the act of January 30, 1974 (P.L.13, No.6), referred to as
25the Loan Interest and Protection Law, and shall be refunded in
26the same manner as an excess collection to the customer.

27Section 20. Effective date.

28This act shall take effect in 30 days.