[Rev. 11/21/2013 1:22:13 PM--2013]

CHAPTER 702 - ENERGY ASSISTANCE

GENERAL PROVISIONS

NRS 702.010           Definitions.

NRS 702.020           “Calendar quarter” defined.

NRS 702.030           “Commission” defined.

NRS 702.035           “Division of Welfare and Supportive Services” defined.

NRS 702.040           “Fund” defined.

NRS 702.050           “Housing Division” defined.

NRS 702.060           “Municipal utility” defined.

NRS 702.070           “Person” defined.

NRS 702.080           “Public utility” defined.

NRS 702.090           “Retail customer” defined.

NRS 702.100           “Universal energy charge” defined.

UNIVERSAL ENERGY CHARGE

NRS 702.150           Applicability; exemptions for certain retail customers; limitations on receipt of assistance by certain retail customers.

NRS 702.160           Amount of charge; duty to pay; exemptions for certain activities; collection; duties of public utilities and municipal utilities; duties of certain retail customers; cap; refunds.

NRS 702.170           Powers and duties of Commission; regulations and enforcement; reports; audits and investigations; administrative charge; deposit of money; civil action for recovery of money.

PROGRAMS OF ENERGY ASSISTANCE

NRS 702.250           Fund for Energy Assistance and Conservation: Creation; administration of Fund by Division of Welfare and Supportive Services; distribution of money in Fund.

NRS 702.260           Programs to assist eligible households in paying for natural gas and electricity; powers and duties of Division of Welfare and Supportive Services; administrative expenses; criteria for eligibility; emergency assistance; regulations.

NRS 702.270           Programs of energy conservation, weatherization and energy efficiency for eligible households; powers and duties of Housing Division; administrative expenses; criteria for eligibility; emergency assistance; regulations.

NRS 702.275           Reports on unspent and unencumbered money in Fund; distribution of portion of such money for programs of energy conservation, weatherization and energy efficiency for eligible households; administrative expenses.

NRS 702.280           Coordination and evaluation of programs; duties of Division of Welfare and Supportive Services and Housing Division; submission of report to Governor, Legislative Commission and Interim Finance Committee.

_________

GENERAL PROVISIONS

      NRS 702.010  Definitions.  As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the words and terms defined in NRS 702.020 to 702.100, inclusive, have the meanings ascribed to them in those sections.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.020  “Calendar quarter” defined.  “Calendar quarter” means each period of 3 consecutive calendar months ending on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 in each calendar year.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.030  “Commission” defined.  “Commission” means the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.035  “Division of Welfare and Supportive Services” defined.  “Division of Welfare and Supportive Services” means the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services of the Department of Health and Human Services.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3232)—(Substituted in revision for NRS 702.110)

      NRS 702.040  “Fund” defined.  “Fund” means the Fund for Energy Assistance and Conservation created by NRS 702.250.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.050  “Housing Division” defined.  “Housing Division” means the Housing Division of the Department of Business and Industry.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.060  “Municipal utility” defined.  “Municipal utility” includes, without limitation:

      1.  A utility established pursuant to chapter 709 or 710 of NRS.

      2.  Any other utility that is owned, operated or controlled by a county, city or other local governmental entity.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.070  “Person” defined.  “Person” means:

      1.  A natural person;

      2.  Any form of business or social organization and any other nongovernmental legal entity, including, without limitation, a corporation, partnership, association, trust or unincorporated organization;

      3.  A government or an agency or instrumentality of a government, including, without limitation, this state or an agency or instrumentality of this state; and

      4.  A political subdivision of this state or of any other government or an agency or instrumentality of a political subdivision of this state or of any other government.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.080  “Public utility” defined.  “Public utility” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 704.020 and 704.021.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.090  “Retail customer” defined.

      1.  “Retail customer” means an end-use customer that purchases natural gas or electricity for consumption in this state.

      2.  The term includes, without limitation:

      (a) A residential, commercial or industrial end-use customer that purchases natural gas or electricity for consumption in this state, including, without limitation, an eligible customer that purchases electricity for consumption in this state from a provider of new electric resources pursuant to the provisions of chapter 704B of NRS.

      (b) A landlord of a mobile home park or owner of a company town who is subject to any of the provisions of NRS 704.905 to 704.960, inclusive.

      (c) A landlord who pays for natural gas or electricity that is delivered through a master meter and who distributes or resells the natural gas or electricity to one or more tenants for consumption in this state.

      3.  The term does not include this state, a political subdivision of this state or an agency or instrumentality of this state or political subdivision of this state when it is an end-use customer that purchases natural gas or electricity for consumption in this state, including, without limitation, when it is an eligible customer that purchases electricity for consumption in this state from a provider of new electric resources pursuant to the provisions of chapter 704B of NRS.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3231)

      NRS 702.100  “Universal energy charge” defined.  “Universal energy charge” means the charge imposed pursuant to NRS 702.160.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3232)

UNIVERSAL ENERGY CHARGE

      NRS 702.150  Applicability; exemptions for certain retail customers; limitations on receipt of assistance by certain retail customers.

      1.  The provisions of NRS 702.160 do not apply to any therm of natural gas or any kilowatt-hour of electricity that a retail customer purchases from:

      (a) A rural electric cooperative established pursuant to chapter 81 of NRS.

      (b) A general improvement district established pursuant to chapter 318 of NRS.

      (c) A cooperative association, nonprofit corporation, nonprofit association or provider of service which is declared to be a public utility pursuant to NRS 704.673 and which provides service only to its members.

      2.  If a retail customer is exempted from paying the universal energy charge pursuant to subsection 1, the retail customer may not receive money or other assistance from:

      (a) The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services pursuant to NRS 702.260 for any utility service for which the retail customer is exempted from paying the universal energy charge; or

      (b) The Housing Division pursuant to NRS 702.270.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3232)

      NRS 702.160  Amount of charge; duty to pay; exemptions for certain activities; collection; duties of public utilities and municipal utilities; duties of certain retail customers; cap; refunds.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 702.150, each retail customer shall pay:

      (a) A universal energy charge of 3.30 mills on each therm of natural gas that the retail customer purchases from another person for consumption in this State; and

      (b) A universal energy charge of 0.39 mills on each kilowatt-hour of electricity that the retail customer purchases from another person for consumption in this State.

      2.  The provisions of subsection 1 do not apply to:

      (a) Any therm of natural gas used as a source of energy to generate electricity.

      (b) Any kilowatt-hour of electricity used in industries utilizing electrolytic-manufacturing processes.

      3.  If a retail customer uses the distribution services of a public utility or municipal utility to acquire natural gas or electricity that is subject to the universal energy charge, the public utility or municipal utility providing the distribution services shall:

      (a) Collect the universal energy charge from each such retail customer;

      (b) Ensure that the universal energy charge is set forth as a separate item or entry on the bill of each such retail customer; and

      (c) Not later than 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter, remit to the Commission the total amount of money collected by the public utility or municipal utility for the universal energy charge for the immediately preceding calendar quarter.

      4.  If a retail customer does not use the distribution services of a public utility or municipal utility to acquire natural gas or electricity that is subject to the universal energy charge, not later than 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter, the retail customer shall remit to the Commission the total amount of money owed by the retail customer for the universal energy charge for the immediately preceding calendar quarter.

      5.  If, during a calendar quarter, a single retail customer or multiple retail customers under common ownership and control pay, in the aggregate, a universal energy charge of more than $25,000 for all consumption of natural gas and electricity during the calendar quarter, such retail customers are entitled to a refund, for that calendar quarter, of the amount of the universal energy charge that exceeds $25,000. To receive a refund pursuant to this section, not later than 90 days after the end of the calendar quarter for which the refund is requested, such retail customers must file with the Commission a request for a refund. If a request for a refund is filed with the Commission:

      (a) The Commission shall determine and certify the amount of the refund; and

      (b) The refund must be paid as other claims against the State are paid from money in the Fund.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3232)

      NRS 702.170  Powers and duties of Commission; regulations and enforcement; reports; audits and investigations; administrative charge; deposit of money; civil action for recovery of money.

      1.  The Commission shall adopt regulations to carry out and enforce the provisions of NRS 702.160. Such regulations may require public utilities, municipal utilities and retail customers that are required to collect or remit money for the universal energy charge to file reports and to provide the Commission with information relating to compliance with the requirements of the universal energy charge.

      2.  In carrying out the provisions of NRS 702.160, the Commission shall solicit advice from the Consumer’s Advocate of the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Office of the Attorney General, public utilities and municipal utilities and other knowledgeable persons.

      3.  The Commission may conduct audits and investigations of public utilities, municipal utilities and retail customers that are required to collect or remit money for the universal energy charge, if the Commission determines that such audits and investigations are necessary to verify compliance with the requirements of the universal energy charge. In conducting such audits and investigations, the Commission may exercise any of the investigative powers granted to the Commission pursuant to chapter 703 of NRS, including, without limitation, the power to issue orders to compel the appearance of witnesses and the production of books, accounts, papers and records.

      4.  To carry out its powers and duties pursuant to this chapter, the Commission is entitled to an administrative charge of not more than 3 percent of the money collected for the universal energy charge. After deduction of its administrative charge, the Commission shall deposit the remaining money collected for the universal energy charge in the State Treasury for credit to the Fund.

      5.  The Commission may bring an appropriate action in its own name for recovery of any money that a person fails to pay, collect or remit in violation of the requirements of the universal energy charge.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3233)

PROGRAMS OF ENERGY ASSISTANCE

      NRS 702.250  Fund for Energy Assistance and Conservation: Creation; administration of Fund by Division of Welfare and Supportive Services; distribution of money in Fund.

      1.  There is hereby created as a special revenue fund in the State Treasury the Fund for Energy Assistance and Conservation. The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services shall administer the Fund.

      2.  In addition to the money that must be credited to the Fund from the universal energy charge, all money received from private or public sources to carry out the purposes of this chapter must be deposited in the State Treasury for credit to the Fund.

      3.  The Division shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that the money in the Fund is administered in a manner which is coordinated with all other sources of money that are available for energy assistance and conservation, including, without limitation, money contributed from private sources, money obtained from the Federal Government and money obtained from any agency or instrumentality of this State or political subdivision of this State.

      4.  The interest and income earned on the money in the Fund, after deducting any applicable charges, must be credited to the Fund. All claims against the Fund must be paid as other claims against the State are paid.

      5.  After deduction of any refunds paid from the Fund pursuant to NRS 702.160, the money in the Fund must be distributed pursuant to NRS 702.260, 702.270 and 702.275.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3233; A 2007, 2975)

      NRS 702.260  Programs to assist eligible households in paying for natural gas and electricity; powers and duties of Division of Welfare and Supportive Services; administrative expenses; criteria for eligibility; emergency assistance; regulations.

      1.  Seventy-five percent of the money in the Fund must be distributed to the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services for programs to assist eligible households in paying for natural gas and electricity. The Division may use not more than 5 percent of the money distributed to it pursuant to this section for its administrative expenses.

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 702.150, after deduction for its administrative expenses, the Division may use the money distributed to it pursuant to this section only to:

      (a) Assist eligible households in paying for natural gas and electricity.

      (b) Carry out activities related to consumer outreach.

      (c) Pay for program design.

      (d) Pay for the annual evaluations conducted pursuant to NRS 702.280.

      3.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, to be eligible to receive assistance from the Division pursuant to this section, a household must have a household income that is not more than 150 percent of the federally designated level signifying poverty, as determined by the Division.

      4.  The Division is authorized to render emergency assistance to a household if an emergency related to the cost or availability of natural gas or electricity threatens the health or safety of one or more of the members of the household. Such emergency assistance may be rendered upon the good faith belief that the household is otherwise eligible to receive assistance pursuant to this section.

      5.  Before July 1, 2002, if a household is eligible to receive assistance pursuant to this section, the Division shall determine the amount of assistance that the household will receive by using the existing formulas set forth in the state plan for low-income home energy assistance.

      6.  On or after July 1, 2002, if a household is eligible to receive assistance pursuant to this section, the Division:

      (a) Shall, to the extent practicable, determine the amount of assistance that the household will receive by determining the amount of assistance that is sufficient to reduce the percentage of the household’s income that is spent on natural gas and electricity to the median percentage of household income spent on natural gas and electricity statewide.

      (b) May adjust the amount of assistance that the household will receive based upon such factors as:

             (1) The income of the household;

             (2) The size of the household;

             (3) The type of energy that the household uses; and

             (4) Any other factor which, in the determination of the Division, may make the household particularly vulnerable to increases in the cost of natural gas or electricity.

      7.  The Division shall adopt regulations to carry out and enforce the provisions of this section and NRS 702.250.

      8.  In carrying out the provisions of this section, the Division shall:

      (a) Solicit advice from the Housing Division and from other knowledgeable persons;

      (b) Identify and implement appropriate delivery systems to distribute money from the Fund and to provide other assistance pursuant to this section;

      (c) Coordinate with other federal, state and local agencies that provide energy assistance or conservation services to low-income persons and, to the extent allowed by federal law and to the extent practicable, use the same simplified application forms as those other agencies;

      (d) Establish a process for evaluating the programs conducted pursuant to this section;

      (e) Develop a process for making changes to such programs; and

      (f) Engage in annual planning and evaluation processes with the Housing Division as required by NRS 702.280.

      9.  For the purposes of this section, “eligible household” includes, without limitation:

      (a) A tenant of a mobile home park subject to the provisions of NRS 704.905 to 704.960, inclusive; and

      (b) A tenant who purchases electricity from a landlord as described in paragraph (c) of subsection 2 of NRS 702.090 based on the actual usage of electricity by the tenant.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3234; A 2005, 22nd Special Session, 78; 2011, 1624)

      NRS 702.270  Programs of energy conservation, weatherization and energy efficiency for eligible households; powers and duties of Housing Division; administrative expenses; criteria for eligibility; emergency assistance; regulations.

      1.  Twenty-five percent of the money in the Fund must be distributed to the Housing Division for programs of energy conservation, weatherization and energy efficiency for eligible households. The Housing Division may use not more than 6 percent of the money distributed to it pursuant to this section for its administrative expenses.

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 702.150, after deduction for its administrative expenses, the Housing Division may use the money distributed to it pursuant to this section only to:

      (a) Provide an eligible household with services of basic home energy conservation and home energy efficiency or to assist an eligible household to acquire such services, including, without limitation, services of load management.

      (b) Pay for appropriate improvements associated with energy conservation, weatherization and energy efficiency.

      (c) Carry out activities related to consumer outreach.

      (d) Pay for program design.

      (e) Pay for the annual evaluations conducted pursuant to NRS 702.280.

      3.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, to be eligible to receive assistance from the Housing Division pursuant to this section, a household must have a household income that is not more than 150 percent of the federally designated level signifying poverty, as determined by the Housing Division.

      4.  The Housing Division is authorized to render emergency assistance to a household if the health or safety of one or more of the members of the household is threatened because of the structural, mechanical or other failure of:

      (a) The unit of housing in which the household dwells; or

      (b) A component or system of the unit of housing in which the household dwells.

Ê Such emergency assistance may be rendered upon the good faith belief that the household is otherwise eligible to receive assistance pursuant to this section.

      5.  The Housing Division shall adopt regulations to carry out and enforce the provisions of this section.

      6.  In carrying out the provisions of this section, the Housing Division shall:

      (a) Solicit advice from the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services and from other knowledgeable persons;

      (b) Identify and implement appropriate delivery systems to distribute money from the Fund and to provide other assistance pursuant to this section;

      (c) Coordinate with other federal, state and local agencies that provide energy assistance or conservation services to low-income persons and, to the extent allowed by federal law and to the extent practicable, use the same simplified application forms as those other agencies;

      (d) Encourage other persons to provide resources and services, including, to the extent practicable, schools and programs that provide training in the building trades and apprenticeship programs;

      (e) Establish a process for evaluating the programs conducted pursuant to this section;

      (f) Develop a process for making changes to such programs; and

      (g) Engage in annual planning and evaluation processes with the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services as required by NRS 702.280.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3235)

      NRS 702.275  Reports on unspent and unencumbered money in Fund; distribution of portion of such money for programs of energy conservation, weatherization and energy efficiency for eligible households; administrative expenses.

      1.  Before the end of each fiscal year, the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services shall submit a report to the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau for transmittal to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and the Assembly Standing Committee on Ways and Means during a regular or special session of the Legislature, or the Interim Finance Committee when the Legislature is not in session, which specifies the amount of all money in the Fund which was allocated to the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services during all preceding fiscal years pursuant to NRS 702.260 and which remains unspent and unencumbered.

      2.  Based upon the report submitted pursuant to subsection 1 and any other information available, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance or the Assembly Standing Committee on Ways and Means during a regular or special session of the Legislature, or the Interim Finance Committee when the Legislature is not in session, may require the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services to distribute not more than 30 percent of all the money in the Fund which was allocated to the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services during all preceding fiscal years pursuant to NRS 702.260 and which remains unspent and unencumbered to the Housing Division for the programs authorized by NRS 702.270. The Housing Division may use not more than 6 percent of the money distributed pursuant to this section for its administrative expenses.

      (Added to NRS by 2007, 2974: A 2009, 1389)

      NRS 702.280  Coordination and evaluation of programs; duties of Division of Welfare and Supportive Services and Housing Division; submission of report to Governor, Legislative Commission and Interim Finance Committee.

      1.  The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services and the Housing Division jointly shall establish an annual plan to coordinate their activities and programs pursuant to this chapter. In preparing the annual plan, the Divisions shall solicit advice from knowledgeable persons. The annual plan must include, without limitation, a description of:

      (a) The resources and services being used by each program and the efforts that will be undertaken to increase or improve those resources and services;

      (b) The efforts that will be undertaken to improve administrative efficiency;

      (c) The efforts that will be undertaken to coordinate with other federal, state and local agencies, nonprofit organizations and any private business or trade organizations that provide energy assistance or conservation services to low-income persons;

      (d) The measures concerning program design that will be undertaken to improve program effectiveness; and

      (e) The efforts that will be taken to address issues identified during the most recently completed annual evaluation conducted pursuant to subsection 2.

      2.  The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services and the Housing Division jointly shall:

      (a) Conduct an annual evaluation of the programs that each Division carries out pursuant to NRS 702.260, 702.270 and 702.275;

      (b) Solicit advice from the Commission as part of the annual evaluation; and

      (c) Prepare a report concerning the annual evaluation and submit the report to the Governor, the Legislative Commission and the Interim Finance Committee.

      3.  The report prepared pursuant to subsection 2 must include, without limitation:

      (a) A description of the objectives of each program;

      (b) An analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of each program in meeting the objectives of the program;

      (c) The amount of money distributed from the Fund for each program and a detailed description of the use of that money for each program;

      (d) An analysis of the coordination between the Divisions concerning each program; and

      (e) Any changes planned for each program.

      (Added to NRS by 2001, 3236; A 2007, 2975)