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R.I. Legislates Restructuring

Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1996

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond has signed the state's new legislation on electric restructuring, known as "The Utility Restructuring Act of 1996" (Public Law Chapter 316), which mandates customer choice by July 1, 1998, or sooner if neighboring states offer retail access before that time.

The law authorizes a 2.8-cent-per-kilowatt-hour stranded-cost surcharge, but allows compensation only for those assets that the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) deems eligible for recovery in prior rate cases or settlements. No provisions address recovery for revenues lost in a deregulated market. Utilities would be guaranteed annual rate hikes based on the consumer price index. All utilities must file proposals with the PUC by January 1, 1997, detailing how they will separate their generation, distribution, and transmission businesses. Utilities are also required to divest 15 percent of their generation assets.


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