The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 2. Department powers
(a) The Department of Public Service shall supervise and direct the execution of all laws relating to public service corporations and firms and individuals engaged in such business, including the:
(1) formation, organization, ownership, and acquisition of facilities of public service corporations under chapter 3 of this title;
(2) participation in planning for proper utility service as provided in section 202 of this title through the Director for Regulated Utility Planning;
(3) supervision and evaluation under chapters 5 and 77 of this title of the quality of service of public utility companies;
(4) interconnection and interchange of facilities of electric companies under sections 210, 213, and 214 of this title;
(5) representation of the State in the negotiations and proceedings for the procurement of electric energy from any source outside this State and from any generation facility inside the State under sections 211 and 212 of this title;
(6) review of proposed changes in rate schedules and petition to the Public Utility Commission, and representation of the interests of the consuming public in proceedings to change rate schedules of public service companies under chapter 5 of this title;
(7) siting of electric generation and transmission facilities under section 248 of this title;
(8) consolidations and mergers of public service corporations under chapter 7 of this title;
(9) supervision and regulation of cable television systems under chapter 13 of this title;
(10) supervision and regulation of telegraph and telephone companies under chapters 71, 73, and 75 of this title;
(11) supervision and regulation of the organization and operation of municipal plants under chapter 79 of this title; and
(12) supervision and regulation of the organization and operation of electric cooperatives under chapter 81 of this title.
(b) In cases requiring hearings by the Commission, the Department, through the Director for Public Advocacy, shall represent the interests of the people of the State, unless otherwise specified by law. In any hearing, the Commission may, if it determines that the public interest would be served, request the Attorney General or a member of the Vermont bar to represent the public or the State. In addition, the Department may intervene, appear, and participate in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceedings, Federal Communications Commission proceedings, or other federal administrative proceedings on behalf of the Vermont public.
(c) The Department may bring proceedings on its own motion before the Public Utility Commission, with respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the Public Utility Commission, and may initiate rulemaking proceedings before that Commission. The Public Utility Commission, with respect to any matter within its jurisdiction, may issue orders on its own motion and may initiate rulemaking proceedings.
(d) In any proceeding where the decommissioning fund for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Facility is involved, the Department shall represent the consuming public in a manner that acknowledges that the general public interest requires that the consuming public, rather than either the State's future consumers who never obtain benefits from the facility or the State's taxpayers, ought to provide for all costs of decommissioning. The Department shall seek to have the decommissioning fund be based on all reasonably expected costs.
(e) The Commissioner of Public Service (the Commissioner) will work with the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (the Director), the Commissioner of Housing and Community Development, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), the Vermont Community Action Partnership, and the efficiency entity or entities appointed under subdivision 209(d)(2) of this title and such other affected persons or entities as the Commissioner considers relevant to improve the energy efficiency of both single- and multi-family affordable housing units, including multi-family housing units previously funded by VHCB and VHFA and subject to the Multifamily Energy Design Standards adopted by the VHCB and VHFA. In consultation with the other entities identified in this subsection, the Commissioner and the Director together shall report twice to the House Committee on Energy and Technology and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, on or before January 31, 2015 and 2017, respectively, on their joint efforts to improve energy savings of affordable housing units and increase the number of units assisted, including their efforts to:
(1) simplify access to funding and other resources for energy efficiency and renewable energy available for single- and multi-family affordable housing. For the purpose of this subsection, "renewable energy" shall have the same meaning as under section 8002 of this title;
(2) ensure the delivery of energy services in a manner that is timely, comprehensive, and cost-effective;
(3) implement the energy efficiency standards applicable to single- and multi-family affordable housing;
(4) measure the results and performance of energy improvements;
(5) develop guidance for the owners and residents of affordable housing to maximize energy savings from improvements; and
(6) determine how to enhance energy efficiency resources for the affordable housing sector in a manner that avoids or reduces the need for assistance under 33 V.S.A. chapter 26 (home heating fuel assistance).
(f) In performing its duties under this section, the Department shall give heightened consideration to the interests of ratepayer classes who are not independently represented parties in proceedings before the Commission, including residential, low-income, and small business consumers, as well as other consumers whose interests might otherwise not be adequately represented but for the Department's advocacy.
(g) In all forums affecting policy and decision making for the New England region's electric system, including matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Independent System Operator of New England, the Department of Public Service shall advance positions that are consistent with the statutory policies and goals set forth in 10 V.S.A. §§ 578, 580, and 581 and sections 202a, 8001, 8004, and 8005 of this title. In those forums, the Department also shall advance positions that avoid or minimize adverse consequences to Vermont and its ratepayers from regional and inter-regional cost allocation for transmission projects. This subsection shall not compel the Department to initiate or participate in litigation and shall not preclude the Department from entering into agreements that represent a reasonable advance to these statutory policies and goals.
(h) The Department shall investigate when it receives a complaint that there has been noncompliance with section 246, 248, 248a, or 8010 of this title, any rule adopted pursuant to those sections, or any certificate of public good issued pursuant to those sections, including a complaint of such noncompliance received pursuant to section 208 of this title or the complaint protocol established under 2016 Acts and Resolves No. 130, Sec. 5c. (Amended 1979, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Feb. 1, 1981; 1989, No. 296 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. June 29, 1990; 2013, No. 89, § 12a; 2013, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 5, eff. Feb. 4, 2014; 2013, No. 99 (Adj. Sess.), § 9a, eff. April 1, 2014; 2015, No. 11, § 31; 2015, No. 56, § 22; 2017, No. 53, § 7; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 173.)