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Introduced Version House Bill 2869 History

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H. B. 2869

 

         (By Delegates Morgan, Sumner, Brown, Poore,

           Frazier, Nelson, Snuffer, O’Neal and Skaff)

         [Introduced January 26, 2011; referred to the

         Committee on Government Organization then Finance.]

 

 

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §11-13-3f of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §11-13F-1 of said code; to amend and reenact §11-24-11 of said code; to amend said code by adding thereto a new section designated §24-2a-5; and to amend and reenact §24-3-2 of said code; all relating to reduced rates for low-income residential customers of privately owned water utilities.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §11-13-3f of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; that §11-13F-1 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §11-24-11 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §24-2A-5 of said code as amended, be amended; and that §24-3-2 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 11. TAXATION.

ARTICLE 13. BUSINESS AND OCCUPATION TAX.

§11-13-3f. Tax credit for reducing electric and natural gas utility rates for low-income residential customers; regulations.

    (a) There shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this article, the cost of providing electric, or natural gas or water utility service, or both any combination of electric, natural gas or water utility services, at reduced rates to qualified low-income residential customers which has not been reimbursed by any other means.

    (b) The Tax Commissioner may prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section, of article thirteen-f of this chapter and of section eleven, article twenty-four of this chapter.

ARTICLE 13F. BUSINESS AND OCCUPATION TAX CREDIT FOR REDUCING                  ELECTRIC AND NATURAL GAS UTILITY RATES FOR LOW-                 INCOME RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS.

§11-13F-1. Legislative purpose.

    In order to reimburse public utilities for the revenue deficiencies which they incur in providing special reduced electric, and natural gas and water utility rates to low-income residential customers in accordance with the provisions of article two-a of chapter twenty-four, there is hereby provided a business and occupation tax credit for reducing electric, and natural gas, and water utility rates for low-income residential customers.

ARTICLE 24. CORPORATION NET INCOME TAX.

§11-24-11. Credit for reducing electric and natural gas utility rates for low-income residential customers.

     (a) General. -- A credit shall be allowed against the primary tax liability of an eligible taxpayer under this article for the cost of providing electric, or natural gas or water utility service, or both any combination of electric, natural gas or water utility services, at special reduced rates to qualified low-income residential customers which has not been reimbursed by any other means.

     (b) Definitions. -- For purposes of this section, the term:

    (1) "Eligible taxpayer" means a utility which has provided electric, or natural or water utility gas service, or both any combination of electric, natural gas or water utility services, to qualified low-income residential customers at special reduced rates.

    (2) "Cost of providing electric, or natural gas or water utility service, or both any combination of electric, natural gas or water utility services, at special reduced rates" means the amount certified by the Public Service Commission under the provisions of section three, article two-a, chapter twenty-four of this code, as the revenue deficiency incurred by a public utility in providing special reduced rates for electric, or natural gas or water utility service, or both any combination of electric, natural gas or water utility services, as required by section one, article two-a, chapter twenty-four of this code.

    (3) "Special reduced rates" means the rates ordered by the Public Service Commission under the authority of section one and five, article two-a, chapter twenty-four of this code.

    (4) "Qualified low-income residential customers" means those utility customers eligible to receive electric, or natural gas or water utility service, or both any combination of electric, natural gas or water utility services, under special reduced rates.

     (c) Amount of credit. -- The amount of the credit available to any eligible taxpayer shall be equal to its cost of providing electric, or natural gas or water utility service, or both any combination of electric, natural gas or water utility services, at special reduced rates to qualified residential customers, less any reimbursement of said cost which the taxpayer has received through any other means.

     (d) When credit may be taken. -- An eligible taxpayer may claim a credit allowed under this section on its annual return for the taxable year in which it receives certification of the amount of its revenue deficiency from the Public Service Commission.

    Notwithstanding the provisions of section sixteen of this article to the contrary, no credit may be claimed on any declaration of estimated tax filed for such taxable year prior to July 1, of such taxable year. Such credit may be claimed on a declaration or amended declaration filed on or after that date but only if the amount certified will not be recovered by application of the business and occupation tax credit allowed by section three-f, article thirteen of this chapter. In such event, only that amount not recovered by that credit may be considered or taken as a credit when estimating the tax due under this article. In no event may the eligible taxpayer recover more than one hundred percent of its revenue deficiency as certified by the Public Service Commission.

     (e) Application of credit. -- The credit allowable by this section for a taxable year is not subject to the fifty percent limitation specified in section nine of this article. Notwithstanding the provisions of section four, article thirteen-f of this chapter, any unused credit may be carried over and applied against business and occupation taxes in the manner specified in section five, article thirteen-f of this chapter.

     (f) Copy of certification order. -- A copy of a certification order from the Public Service Commission shall be attached to any annual return under this article on which a credit allowed by this section is taken.

CHAPTER 24. PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION.

ARTICLE 2A. REDUCED RATES FOR LOW-INCOME RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS OF ELECTRICITY AND GAS.

§24-2A-5. Special rates for water utility customers receiving               Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI),               Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),               Temporary Assistance for Needy Families–Unemployed               Parent Program (TANF-UP) or food stamps.

    The commission may authorize a privately owned water utility to voluntarily implement a rate design featuring reduced rates and charges for service for residential utility customers receiving: (a) Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI); (b) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); (c) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families–Unemployed Parent Program (TANF-UP) or; (d) food stamps, if such food stamp recipients are sixty years of age or older. The special reduced rate offered by each water utility to its eligible customers shall be a percentage less, which shall be approved by the commission, than the rate which would be applicable to such customers if they were not receiving any of the four forms of assistance which confer eligibility for the special reduced rates approved by the commission. Before any individual may qualify to receive the special reduced rates, the following requirements must be met:

    (a) The special reduced rates may apply only to current customers or to those persons who subsequently become customers in their own right. If an SSI, TANF, TANF-UP or food stamp recipient is living in a household which is served under the name of a person who is not an SSI, TANF, TANF-UP or food stamp recipient, that service may not be changed or have been changed subsequent to July 1, 2011, to the name of the SSI, TANF, TANF-UP or food stamp recipient in order to qualify for service under the special reduced rates.
    (b) The burden of proving eligibility for the special reduced rates shall be on the customer requesting such rates. The Department of Health and Human Resources shall establish by rules procedures: (1) To inform persons receiving any of the four forms of assistance which confer eligibility for the special reduced rates about the availability of the special reduced rates; (2) to assist applicants for the special reduced rates in proving their eligibility therefore; and (3) to assist water utilities offering the special reduced rates in determining on a continuing basis the eligibility therefore of persons receiving or applying for such rates. The commission shall establish by rules procedures for the application for and provision of service under the special reduced rates and for the determination and certification of revenue deficiencies resulting from the special reduced rates.

    (c) In order to provide each eligible residential utility customer the special reduced rates, each utility providing the special reduced rates shall credit against the amount otherwise owed by each customer an amount equal to the difference between the total amount that each such customer was actually billed during the previous month and the total amount that each customer would have been entitled to be billed under the special reduced rates. Each such credit shall be fully reflected on the first bill issued to each such customer after approval of each such customer's application for the special reduced rates, except in cases where the interval between the approval and the issuance of the next bill is so short that it is administratively impracticable to do so, in which cases such credits shall be fully reflected on the second bill issued to each such customer after approval of that customer's application. If the interval between the approval and the issuance of the next bill is fifteen days or more, it shall not be deemed administratively impracticable to reflect such credit on the customer's first such bill.

ARTICLE 3. DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF PUBLIC UTILITIES SUBJECT TO REGULATIONS OF COMMISSION.

§24-3-2. Discrimination prohibited.

    No public utility subject to the provisions of this chapter shall, directly or indirectly, by any special rate, rebate, drawback or other device or method, charge, demand, collect or receive from any person, firm or corporation, a greater or less compensation, for any service rendered or to be rendered, than it charges, demands, collects, or receives from any other person, firm or corporation for doing a like and contemporaneous service under the same or substantially similar circumstances and conditions.

    It shall be unlawful for any public utility subject to the provisions of this chapter to make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, company, firm, corporation or locality, or any particular character of traffic or service, in any respect whatsoever, or to subject any particular person, firm, corporation, company or locality, or any particular character of traffic or service, to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever.

    Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the commission from: (1) Authorizing or requiring any rate design consistent with the purposes and policies set forth in article two-a of this chapter, or (2) authorizing a private water utility to voluntarily implement a rate design featuring reduced rates and charges for service to qualifying low-income residential customers.




    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide reduced rates for low-income residential customers of privately owned water utilities.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.



    §24-2A-5 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.

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