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House | May 1, 2013 | Chamber | Utilites

Full MP3 Audio File

Seats. Audience will quiet down. Apologize for being five minutes late, you know I don't like to do that but we had a little, few things to take care of. Thank you. Today we have two pages. Let me find out where they are over here. To our right MK Sap, appreciate you coming, Representative Blust's sponsor. And Alan Whittifield, is that right Alan? Appreciate you being here. Representative Tillis, Speaker Tillis should say. We have a pretty full agenda let me introduce our Sergeant at Arms today, Reggie Lightnin Sios. Larry Boom Boom Elliot, where's Larry at. And then I've got certainly last bit not least, Fred The Hitman Hynes. Thank you Fred, thank you guys for being here. Got a pretty full agenda today guys so we're going to get started pretty quick. Going to keep everything tight. We're going to try to get the whole agenda if possible. First up, actually I have Senator Newton, I apologize, Senator Newton is up first. In a simple transmission line ownership bill. Senator Newton do you have a PCS on that or is that just? Good. Senator Newton, the floor is yours. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let's see if we can get this on, everybody can hear me ok, thank you Mr. Chairman. Members of the committee I appreciate being here today. This is tongue in cheek a simple bill. as the chairman indicated it's not really simple at all. But the idea is simple. What this bill does is designed to keep things the way it is in North Carolina right now about transmission line ownership and building. The federal energy regulatory commission had a ruling for 1000 a couple of years back or a little while back that essentially is changed the way the dynamic works here and how it would affect North Carolina. It would allow third parties to come in and build transmission and other transmission lines. When I first looked at this I thought well this is a great idea…this will inject some new competition, all that. Why would we want to change anything? But when I examined it even further I could find no advantage whatsoever to North Carolina or North Carolina rate payers. And so I ended up doing a 180 and coming down in the direction of this bill which is designed to keep things exactly the way it is which is to say that our utilities, our utility commission controls and oversees and regulates are the ones that would build an iron transmission line. I think that's as simply as I can explain this bill, I'm happy to answer questions, I understand that there is an amendment and not being a member of the Committee I can't offer it. I understood that there was a Representative who had agreed to run it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'll recognize Representative Dockhand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman I do have an amendment but I'm sorry the staff…I think they are going to give it out right now. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK, let us go ahead and go to a question or two until they can get it out. Any questions from the committee? Any debate? Representative Catlin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Give me an example of when someone that wasn't a public utility authority would run a transmission line. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Under the firk ruling, they're looking at regional transmission. And the third party, somebody other than Duke, or Dominion or currently progress, or one of our electrical coops or others who are not utilities in North Carolina under federal regulations could be deemed the appropriate party to build and own the transmission line. It may not even directly serve the customers in North Carolina. It may be going through North Carolina say from Virginia across North Carolina or Tennessee for example. Depending on what the need was, and the sense with that would be your example. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Millis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, thank you Senator for bringing this bill before us today. Just a real short quick question here. In regards to the in the short title where it says that only incumbent providers may construct a new electricity transmission line, are there any aspects of this bill that will prevent a new public utility being applied for and then to be able to construct a transmission line or is this language basically that anybody who currently is a public utility could only do that and does it reserve any for those in the future? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you.

Thank you Representative Mills (sic). That's an excellent question and I appreciate that. That issue has been discussed quite a lot on the Senate side of this. And it is not my intent in this bill and it's not my understanding from all of the work that we've done with staff that this bill would prevent any new company from becoming a public utility in North Carolina and then being eligible to do that. But they would have to go through the steps of becoming a public utility here and of course subject themselves to the regulation of our utilities commission in order to do that. [Speaker change] I'm going to Representative Dockham real quick. I think that everyone has the amendment in front of them. Representative Dockham please present the amendment and tell us a little bit about it. [Speaker change] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Actually Mr. Chairman's staff asked me to do this. It just moves to amend the bill on page 1, line 27 by deleting the word cooperative and substituting the word corporation. And on page 2, line 7 deleting the word capability and substituting the compatibility. So it's just purely technical in nature. I move for the adoption of the amendment. [Speaker change] Thank you Representative Dockham. Senator Newton would you like to comment on it? [Speaker change] I just concur with Representative Dockham. It is purely technical and correcting some typos. And I hope the committee will adopt it. [Speaker change] Any questions on this purely technical amendment? ?? All in favor. All opposed? Amendment is adopted. Representative Warren [Speaker change] Just a question for the bill sponsor. Right here sir, to your left. [Speaker change] To my left? [Speaker change] Right here. Further left [Speaker change] Right beside Representative Samuelson [Speaker change] You're like most of us here ?? [Speaker change] I knew the voice but I just couldn't find you [Speaker change] I did(??) really have a question to you to give your example of a utility maybe coming through the state to go to the other side. Would that mean, under this bill that they would have to contract with a state-based utility to run that line through? [Speaker change] They would not, if I understand it correctly, and I think that is a good question. If staff, Heather, if I say something wrong, I don't know where she went but I hope someone will correct me. I think that they would, the building of the transmission lines in North Carolina would have to be done by a North Carolina utility. [Speaker change] So if I were a utility in Tennessee and wanted to come through the northwestern part of North Carolina to construct a line going up to Virginia, I would have to, once I get to North Carolina state line, have to contract with a North Carolina based utility? [Speaker change] Ms ?? [Speaker change] I believe what the question may be, is why is the Tennessee Utility trying to build a line in our state? But I do think you're correct. I think that they couldn't build a line in the state. If they were going to build a line in the state they would have to use a North Carolina utility. However, they could transmit over lines in North Carolina now. So the question would be, why would this out of state utility be constructing and not using the current lines? [Speaker change] I really couldn't tell you. I was just building on his example [Speaker change] Thank you. Representative Samuelson [Speaker change] Thank you Mr. Chair. A couple questions, and then I guess a comment. It goes back to the comment about the utility, and you may be able to answer this: when you say that there is nothing that would stop anyone from becoming a new utility, I thought that the rules were that you could become a new utility, but because of the territorial piece (I'm using the word 'territorial' but there may be some legal term for it) but the territorial piece, or of the service area may be a better way to say it, the service area piece of the utilities that even if you could go through the all the process to become licensed, if you were going to be in the service area of an existing utility you couldn't operate as a, you couldn't become a utility? [Speaker change] Staff? [Speaker change] You're correct. I think that the way the utilities commission, they refer to as a franchise area, and so the idea would be: you don't apply to be a public utility, you are within the definition of public utility or not. And it is true that the incumbent providers and their franchise area would basically make it impossible for there to be a new public utility. And so... But, however, I think what a lot of the confusion about this bill is, is what is the definition of 'public utility?' And what definition applies to which statute? And so I think that there is a way to allow non-incumbent providers and to find them as a utility for a very limited way. And that is not what this bill does. But there is a way to draft in a way that would that, that doesn't affect the franchise areas or the overall definition of public utility. [Speaker change] And part of my follow-up will be a procedural question for the Chair. Because my understanding is House Bill 8-18, that originally was a study of regulation of ?? has now been changed.

...this gets into a more comprehensive energy policy study; is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES-MALE] There hasn't been a change in anything yet, Representative Samuelson. Representative Samuelson: I'll make my comment. It seems to me that while I agree with sort of what you're trying to do, there are a lot of unanswered questions that go to the fact that we need to study our whole energy policy in North Carolina. A lot has come up on some of the bills, you know, picking winners and losers, is it free market or is it regulated?; in this case, is it a utility, or is it not a utility? I guess part of me, I guess I would like to ask if you would consider rolling something like this either into that study that I think is coming up, or another study, and allow us to look at it and really come up with an idea that addresses, clearly addresses, the concerns that you have, rather than taking a shot at it and not really being sure. Even the bullet points on the summary about the risks that came from the change in the FERC order are things that we can look at and bring it back for the short session. I don't think it would be long between now and then, particularly if they knew the study was under way. We could include that as part of the study. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you, Representative Samuelson, I appreciate that, and I really appreciate that this is a very complex area. It took me quite a bit of study to feel like I got my mind wrapped around it, mostly, [chuckles], and tried to look at it from every angle of the positives and the negatives, and what concerns me is that right now, with the FERC ruling, North Carolina, in my view, has no control over this process going forward, unlike what we have had to this point, and so I don't want to be in a position that I don't know what's out there is a potential where the FERC approves building the transmission lines, site selection, and so forth, that North Carolina then is stuck with it and has no benefit from it. There are certainly arguments to be made all the way around. I would feel more comfortable going ahead and if I filed a bill now and felt like we knew that we needed to do something. I'd rather pass the bill now and continue to study it and change this law, if this is not serving out needs. What most concerns me is that we are looking out for the North Carolina rate payer. And I think that while there's arguments that could be made on both sides, we don't have a free-market energy market anyway. We all, everybody on this committee, understands that very well, and so really the best question is, how are we going to best manage that? And I guess the simplest way I can put it is that know that what we had working up to this point seemed to be working well, I thought there was much greater risk to changing it and doing something else, until we had a better handle on it. And so that's why I put this bill forward. The Chairman: Thanks, and it is the Chair's intention to take a vote on this today. Representative Dollar. Representative Dollar: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think this will be a quick question, but Senator, is it fair or accurate to say that the base power generating companies, along with the co-ops, the electric cities, as well as the major power groups, everybody, in other words, is on board with this bill; is that correct? [BILL SPONSOR] Yes, certainly the first groups that you said. The only folks that I know are having problems with the bill are what we would term as third-party companies who have expressed the potential of wanting to come back and, I don't know when, possibly coming in here for work, and they're not enthusiastic about the bill. I'm trying to be as fair about it as I can [chuckles]. The Chairman: Representative West. Representative West: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Following up on that question, there's a lot of TVA generation out in the west. Would that mean that the TVA could not construct their own lines out there anymore? [BILL SPONSOR] Representative, I can't answer that specifically. I'm hoping staff could. I would answer it in the simplest way of saying that whatever they have been able to do, at this point, I believe that will still be able to do under this bill. And if I'm wrong about that, I'm hoping Loretta [??] will help me out. Representative Samuelson: I do think you're correct. I would like to follow up with Commission staff -- I know they're here -- to confirm the answer, because I'd have to have a specific answer to that question. [BILL SPONSOR] What staff did you say?

Essence of this as a mailing list of its a question please a person microphone details the RT would a day, and instead of turning the touchdown utilities commission was the act and specific question, but it was during the recession? The question is would be a better as long as the waves are respected by the live from their lack of office mail that's what we have to go back and let the language and then make a determination, (SPEAKER CHANGES) grab a share this point with that the content is the question senators bill was passed the bill to find out before it moves and exploits posted to which a motion with referral is on the fears of war, and none are sure they were full year and in the house would absolutely the wrong when the workers are some western beyond the scope of the studio to lose commission staff to make sure that bodies say units 9102 to prevent the eighth from doing what they have already been able to call the routing simplest form, tried it the things away again as opposed to allowing you to change under the Federal ruling on the air and the source of profits and from a job as chairman of legality of this spill of Indian and there may yet be of further minute whenever makes way to the house for a long and certainly if we'd all have a mission that we can, have your review of the things such as the central conference committee and an size 1990 to create a problem there are 70 acting as chairman of this question for no sponsor which is the bills summary on indicates that the utilities commission's colonels, discretion will get this law firm to return commission ordered and is in read cottages would happen if it is concerned about the implications for more due to consolidate its mission before quitting the senate cemetery historic sites holy land follows ended up, the public staff VR them to searches solicitors say that both of those sensations transmission of staff support the bill I'm not sure that they can stay clearly yesterday about certainly do not see if the opposition to the bill are not at war with the expense of Lyon is a non in the all-state and so my sister was made a very promising all's well funded by the columns from the so-just beyond the converts tour of the inability of the transformation has worsened west's question as to whether to the letterhead , constructing anything in this state, but someone has an answer that, much of that Robinson go from four until we can answer the questions as a radical memo from the western addition of TV or support for the last known any suggestion that anybody can answer that question, (SPEAKER CHANGES) CEO Stephen at a different this and get back into line with your question of healthy one person with the idea of fun center Nicholson to disallow for all. The questions answered part of the key in the coming of the so-called was that sure that the 4411 to get the ball out of a large measure the size and for jail for Jim Thome should have been committing the future as an outsider Eleanor Roosevelt enters the lemon area of California is wonderful that used to have happen, and we have to go along record of the file and wondering how all this might affect the rooftop solar array is that my lawyers say look into the upgrade women's of where the implications of the bill would come back and generating capacity of advice and made sure their own ID nine Tuesday evening concerts well because the all of the volume of all the energy that would require on??.....

...a utility to do it is 161 megawatts, it should be in your summary. It’s a pretty high amount of energy. A pretty large volume. Much larger, I think, than anything that can possibly be done by a rooftop. There was some initial concern raised by some of the wind farm type folks that they might not be able to build their lines to where they need a substation. Since that first came up, I’ve not heard from them again of any issues. I can only, and I’m not speaking for them, but I surmise from that that they determined the level was high enough it wasn't’ going to affect any of their projects. If I’m wrong about that, I really would have thought I would have heard from them again. It’s not our intent to prevent a solar or wind renewable energy type generation from being able to build the line to hookup to the substation to put it on the grid. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Catlin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A question for the sponsor. What are the benefits in this bill, or concerns, to the North Carolina citizens versus open market construction? That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. Thank you, Representative Catlin...is it Catlin or Katlin, I apologize. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Catlin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] He’ll answer to about anything. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, I’m trying to get it right. Thank you, Representative. Your question goes to the heart of where I was on this first, when I first became aware of this situation and started looking into it. Being that we’re not in a free market, we’re in a controlled, regulated...the utilities are in essences monopolies, regulated monopolies. My concern was the ratepayer. The benefits of the current scenario of where we’re currently regulated, which is what this bill would continue, is that the Utilities Commission has control over the site selection and the manner. It can also do things such as if the transmission lines are not being maintained for reliability, for safety. They can enforce that and they can force these companies to spend money to upgrade the these systems as needed. Under the other scenario, if we don’t have it, they don’t have that ability. We even potentially have the risk that lines can be built and after a period of time, perhaps when investments have recouped, they can been abandoned because they don’t want to pay the money to upgrade it. That’s what I was getting at about I just couldn’t find any advantages to the North Carolina ratepayer to allow the federal scheme to go forward without North Carolina regulation. Everywhere, because I started out where I think you are which is, why wouldn’t we want more people? I just couldn’t...when I really, objectively analyzed it, I couldn’t find that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further questions, comments? Anybody with a motion? Representative Martin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] This is not a PCS, right? Just as amended? Is there a referral? I move for a favorable report on Senate Bill 635 as amended. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Martin. You’ve heard the motion, all in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. Thank you, Senator Newton. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Thank you, committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Next we’re going to hear Senate Bill 430, I think. Let me make sure I get this right, Representative McElraft. Mac and cheese, I think, what’d you say? Representative, you have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Reluctant to say this is a simple bill before this committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Those darn engineers. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Those darn engineers. Senate Bill 430 is Senator Brown’s bill. He asked me to carry this today. It just puts clarifying language in the statutes that says no permits are needed to continue the electric load control process. It’s been going on for forty years with our public utilities, electric coops and electric cities. They’ve been doing this process for putting in these electric load control devices for over forty years now and this clarifies in the statutes that no permits are needed. I’ll be happy to answer...

questions comments from the community, representative ?? [speaker change] a motion at the appropriate time [speaker change] hold that from a moment representative ?? [speaker change] i am trying to find the copy of the which was ?? we couldn't find it [speaker change] ?? 430 [speaker change] representative is ?? which i think is over?? [speaker change] i am ?? the local chamber today [speaker change] thank you for that comment [speaker change] any questions or comments from the community, representative ?? you are recognized for your motion [speaker change] i make a motion for the favor of vote over bill 430 [speaker change] community heard the motion, in favor say aye, all ?? thank you for coming [speaker change] thank you mister ?? community [speaker change] next on the agenda i am gonna jump around a little bit and try to ?? representative ?? ?? [speaker change] thank you mister chair thank you ?? members, ?? is a bill to ?? to today's technology and behalf ?? what it does requires ?? the telecommunications ?? [speaker change] ?? okay thank you very much ?? all in favor, opposed, representative brown you now have the full [speaker change] sorry about that, ?? about the bill, what it does again is require the server id's to remember telecommunication ?? surcharge and ?? to the treasure's office, fee is set by the north Carolina utility commission and is currently at 14 cents ?? 25 cents, it allows all providers the option to include the ?? on the bill or not essentially it is important to the ?? IP providers who have many right, like to advertise their fees's one price so it allows them to do that and it also allows providers ?? the revenue to the treasure's office the ?? does not require any prepaid wireless providers to collect and ?? the fee and also to allow the providers to ?? one percent of administrative fee, from the total amount of the surcharge under the current law only one wireless provider currently aren't able to do this, with that i will ?? [speaker change] thank you representative brown ?? questions and comment from the community ?? okay thank you representative ?? representative ?? [speaker change] my question is for the bill sponsor, one percent administration fee ?? came to my office that to me is totally unjustified ?? stoke on the computer ?? do you know why the bill ?? one percent fee in their [speaker change] representative ?? administrative fee is actually very important aspect of this bill ?? you are talking about really unofficial ?? in the cost of customers, to the customers bill, with the other additional taxes and fees that's already on this, these charges, when you look at the one percent administrative fees there are groups looking at particular ?? link, who have estimate the charge is not just a simple electronic transfer of data it will cost them about ten thousand dollars per year to administer this and with one percent fee they would actually ?? equal about 13,000 dollars and that 10,000 dollars cost of actually transferring those ?? to the treasure department, doesn't even cover things like up keep of the equipment's, customer service, issues that arrive from customers calling ?? why is this fee on our bill ?? so it is the very least what we can do talking about the maintaining of an additional fee [speaker change] thank you mister ?? though you have been around for a ?? but this is a very ?? decision ?? to the issue of getting the fees for just for collecting and sending along and you may have seen ?? yesterday i believe ?? that all the different industries ?? is 4% or 1% or 2% and basically to me its a cost doing business to hurt us in terms of the ?? we receive as a general assembly for the

the, the activity, and it just, there's no real rationale. And all the companies that have lost this over the years have survived. I don't see any company that's gone out of business because they did they're, they're rebate was cut or eliminated. I just think it's bad public policy to allow it and I just hope we would think about it, maybe on the floor I'll even offer an amendment to think that through. So, thank you members. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Leubke. Representative Dollar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. For the bill sponsor, just to make sure we're clear on this. The surcharge itself is set by the commission. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So the company doesn't do that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But they would be able to retain 1% of that total, whatever the amount would be for the number of customers, and the like. They would simply be able to retain that as a, basically a processing fee, the hold-back like they used to be able to do for sales tax. And I guess my quest-. You're shaking your head yes. And just one more, sort of, follow one question to that, and that is, you said this is similar to what other providers are currently able to do. Because my only question is, if you're gonna be able to do this it should be equitable across the, you know, maybe a variety or a class of providers that are doing similar. So that no one is particularly advantaged or disadvantaged in one way or the other. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, and, and really what this bill does is make that equitable across the entire plane, for the, for the surcharge fee as well as the 1%. Wireless companies are the only companies that are currently able to retain the 1% administrative fee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Brown. Any further questions, comments from the committee? Representative Geeter you are recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like to make a motion for a favorable report to the PCS for House Bill 598, unfavorable to the original with a serial referral to Finance. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Geeter, you've all heard the motion, those in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Those opposed. Thank you, thank you Representative Brown, you uh. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. Thank you members. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, we will now, we'll let Representative Warren come up and chair and I'm, we're gonna move to House Bill 476. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe we have a PCS on this one, is [inaudible]. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have a motion from Representative West to accept a PCS, all in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed say no. We have the PCS before us. Representative Hager, you have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Let me just give you a brief history of how we got to where we are on this as, as you guys know the current underground utility process, and I call it a process and use that word loosely, has just kind of evolved over time. We've had several issues with the, with folks database hurt and, and we've had several deaths through the years because of a lack of a contained process. And one that can be verified, one that can be approved on. What we did last year is we put together a team of industry folks that came together for about seven or eight months and developed a new process. We had buy in from all the utilities. We had buy in from just about everybody that uses the process that we could think of. And of the two simple requirements out there, that we create a process that was documented and safe. But we didn't create a process that was so huge, that was such a huge beurocracy that it was gonna cost a lot of money and no one could use it. So what you have, what you have before you is that product. Now what I would like to do is recognized staff, Mr. Chairman, to explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff, you're recognized to explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What this bill does is, the first section is to repeal the existing Underground Damage Protection Act, and the second section is to introduce an entirely new act. The act builds on a lot of the work that was done by the prior act, the current act. One of the things that industry had done was to get together and form a notification center. North Carolina 811. So what this does, is it codifies that to put that into statute, to require that the utility owners join the notification center to provide notice to the excavators when, when a project is planned. The utility owners are required to join the notification center. They're staggered based, based on the size of the utilities. They are also required to provide a, uh, temporary markings as well as any other information to the excavator within a set period of time, based on when they received notification from the excavator that he plans to dig. There are various provisions that would exempt some very small storm water facilities, and, from joining the notification center. The notif-, a new process would be that the notification center

required to alert the utilities of a request from a design engineer, such as an architect or engineer. They would be required to either provide the same markings as they would for an excavator, or to provide the best available description of the facilities, or to allow the design professional to inspect drawings or other records for the facilities in the area where the design is occurring. There are also responsibilities for the excavators. They're required to give between 3 and 12 working days worth of notice before they dig, depending on the type of work that is planned. There are special procedures for emergency excavation, and there are responsibilities for when damage occurs as an excavator digs. As I mentioned, this allows for design professionals to request information on the location of the facilities. There are also some exemptions that are similar to the ones in the current law. Home owners, who are under certain circumstances are not required to notify. Agricultural uses, such as tilling, is not required to notify, and certain governmental entities operating in areas that don't have any utility right-of-ways would not be required to notify. This also adds an enforcement provision. There are civil penalties, and the Office of the State Fire Marshall is authorized to investigate violations, and that about sums it up. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you staff. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, Mr. Chairman, we'll go straight to question. One thing I did want to say is I received a letter from the federal DOT folks within the last few days, stating that if we didn't clean this process up on their end, that they would do it for us, so this was kind of preemptive, we didn't know the letter was coming, but it was kind of timely, so with that, Mr. Chairman, I'd entertain any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Staff, thank you for presenting the bill. Representative Hager will open up to committee members. Any questions of the bill's sponsor? Representative Catlin. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, yes, a question for the sponsor. Does this provide any higher level of protection for the contractor than before? I'm mean, you'd get the information on where the utilities where, but if it was wrong and you broke a gas line, you know, that was still your fault. [SPEAKER CHANGES]I thing, Representative. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Go right ahead sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Representative Catlin, thank you. I think you'll appreciate this. It does, it standardizes the marking on the ground. Here to for we had different markings according to what utility you were working in, according to which part of the country you were in, so this standardizes all those, so anybody who goes after anybody, whether it's a surveyor, contractor, or just somebody wanting to know what's there as you're digging, can find out exactly what's there by the markings. So it does standardize that. And if something does happen, it includes a root cause analysis process that the fire marshals already been trained to do, so they'll be able to root cause analysis to determine who was at fault, was it the markings, was it the contractor, what exactly was it. But then it assesses penalties, it goes to a utility commission to be able to assess penalties other than that. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Representative Luebke, did you have your hand up? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES]You're recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you. I wonder if staff would talk or meet with us about the notification center. It's not clear to me what role it plays and how powerful it is in the whole process, or is it just a place where one deposits information, but nothing happens to the information? Can you talk about that. please? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Staff? Mr, Lipford? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Certainly. The notification center is a facility that has been in existence for some time now. Sometimes it's call NC-811 under the current system. It is a depository of information, and it also transmits information between the utility and the excavators. What the notification center is required to do is to take calls and notifications from the excavators, it will then determine which utilities need to be notified to go out and to provide the markings or any other information. They're also, under this bill, required to provide a positive response system whereby the excavators can essentially phone in to find out if the utilities have already been marked at the locations. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, staff. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Representative Luebke, Mr. Chairman, they're pretty much the clearing house. They are the central location where everything goes. And that was part of the deal, we wanted, actually everybody, before this bill was adopted, everybody will have to go through 811. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Follow up, Representative Luebke? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Yes, follow up. I'm not understanding why, I appreciate the explanation for what it is, and why is it, and they stated explicitly in here that this is not a government agency. I'm not finding the right place right now, but it seems to be out there, in outer space, or limbo somehow. It doesn't seems to be a state agency. How can it be out there and not? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Staff

[SPEAKER CHANGES] Part of Utilities Commission, state aid, etcetera. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The notification center’s already been established and it’s a standing non-profit that is operated by utility owners. I believe the intent was to continue to allow it to exist in it’s current state but to require it to provide these, required by statute to provide these services. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And a quick follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So who pays for the operation of the notification center? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Currently the notification center is paid for by the utility operators at the end of the year they assess a fee based on how many location requests they got for every utility. Just for example, Duke Energy will have much more requests than a small local water system so they pay a larger share. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chair recognizes there are no other questions. Chair’s open for a motion. From anyone. Representative Millis? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. I make a motion for a favorable report of House Bill 476. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A favorable motion to the PCS on favorable to the original, is that what I heard? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is exactly what you’ve heard. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. Members, you have the motion before you all. In favor please signify by saying “Aye”. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Those opposed say “No”. The ayes have it and that concludes the agenda for today. Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, we don’t have time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you.