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Subject 515-7-3 MARKETERS' CERTIFICATES OF AUTHORITY

Rule 515-7-3-.01 Definitions

As used in this Utility Rule 515-7-3, the following terms shall have the following definitions:

(a) "Act" means the Natural Gas Competition and Deregulation Act as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 46-4-150 et seq.
(b) "Affiliate" means another person which controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with such person.
(c) "Ancillary service" means a service that is ancillary to the receipt or delivery of natural gas, including without limitation storage, balancing, peaking, and customer services.
(d) "Applicant" means any person who has filed an application for a certificate of authority with the Georgia Public Service Commission to sell or offer to sell any commodity sales service or distribution service in intrastate commerce to retail customers who primarily receive firm service within the State of Georgia.
(e) "Commission" means the Georgia Public Service Commission.
(f) "Commodity sales service" means the sale of natural gas exclusive of any distribution or ancillary service.
(g) "Consumer" means a retail customer of commodity sales service or of firm distribution service who uses such service or services primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
(h) "Consumer preferred method of communication" shall mean the method of written communication agreed upon by the marketer and the consumer regarding the method of notification the consumer shall receive in compliance with Commission rules. Such preferred method of communication may include but need not be limited to: first class mail, bill message, email, text or other electronic means supported by the marketer.
(i) "Customer service" means a function related to serving a retail customer including without limitation billing, meter reading, turn-on service, and turn-off service. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any person may perform one or more customer services without first becoming certificated in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153; provided however, that such service may only be performed in compliance with all stated and federal laws pertaining to the safety of natural gas pipelines and distribution systems and any other applicable safety standards.
(j) "Delivery Group" means a set of individual delivery points on one or more interstate pipeline suppliers to a gas company that may be aggregated and utilized for the distribution of gas to a particular set of retail customers.
(k) "Distribution service" means the delivery of natural gas by and through the intrastate instrumentalities and facilities of a gas company or of a marketer certificated pursuant to Code Section 46-4-153, regardless of the party having title to the natural gas.
(l) "Electing Distribution Company" or "EDC" means a gas company that elects to become subject to the provisions of the Act and satisfies the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 46-4-154.
(m) "Electric activities" means all activities associated with the generation, transportation, marketing, and distribution of electricity.
(n) "Electric Membership Corporation" or "EMC" means any person defined in paragraphs (3) or (5) of O.C.G.A § 46-3-171 or any joint venture of EMCs, their affiliates or subsidiaries.
(o) "EMC gas affiliate" means a separately organized person, the majority interest of which is owned or held by or, with respect to a cooperative, managed by one or more cooperatives or electric membership corporations and which applies to the Commission for a certificate of authority pursuant to O.C.G.A § 46-4-153.
(p) "Firm" means a type of distribution service that ordinarily is not subject to interruption or curtailment.
(q) "Gas" means natural gas.
(r) "Gas activities" means all activities associated with the transportation, marketing, and distribution of natural gas conducted by a person certificated pursuant to O.C.G.A § 46-3-153. Such terms shall not mean the production, transportation, marketing or distribution of liquefied petroleum gas.
(s) "Gas company" means any person to whom a certificate of public convenience and necessity has been issued by the Commission to own, operate, acquire, or construct any intrastate pipeline or distribution system, or any extension thereof, for the sale of natural gas.
(t) "Interruptible" means a type of distribution service that is subject to interruption or curtailment.
(u) "Low-income residential consumer" means any person who meets the definition of a person who is qualified for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, as promulgated by the Department of Human Resources, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-1-5.
(v) "Majority interest" means the ownership of greater than 50 percent of the partnership interests in a general or limited partnership; the membership interests of a limited liability company; or the stock in a for-profit corporation that entitles the shareholder to vote and share in common or preferred dividends.
(w) "Marketer" means any person certificated by the Commission to provide commodity sales service or distribution service pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153 or ancillary services incident thereto.
(x) "Person" means any corporation, whether public or private; company; individual; firm; partnership; or association, including a cooperative or an electric membership corporation.
(y) "Regulated gas service" means gas service provided by a regulated provider of natural gas.
(z) "Regulated provider of natural gas" means the entity selected by the Commission to provide to consumers natural gas commodity service and ancillary services incident thereto in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 46-4-166.
(aa) "Retail customer" or "retail purchaser" means a person who purchases commodity sales service or distribution service and such purchase is not for the purpose of resale.

Rule 515-7-3-.02 Commission Authority and Scope of Provisions

(1) Consistent with the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) §§ 46-4-153 and 46-4-153.1, a person shall be required to obtain a certificate of authority from the Georgia Public Service Commission to sell or offer to sell natural gas in intrastate commerce to retail customers in a particular delivery group(s) who primarily receive firm service within the State of Georgia, as described by the regulations in this Rule. The Commission shall have the authority to:
(a) Adopt reasonable rules governing the certification of a marketer;
(b) Grant, modify, impose conditions upon, or revoke a certificate;
(c) Adopt reasonable rules governing quality of service;
(d) Resolve complaints against a marketer regarding that marketer's service;
(e) Adopt reasonable rules and regulations relating to billing practices of marketers and information required on customers' bills; and
(f) Adopt reasonable rules and regulations relating to minimum resources which marketers are required to have in this state for customer service purposes.

The rules set forth herein specify the manner in which such certificates shall be issued, identify the criteria that applicants must meet to obtain certification, set forth service standards, state prerequisites to an application being filed, establish hearing procedures, and specify the manner in which customer complaints shall be addressed. These rules also provide for the grounds upon which the Commission may deny, revoke, suspend, or modify a certificate of authority.

(2) The requirements of these rules shall apply to any person who sells or offers to sell any commodity sales service or distribution service in intrastate commerce to retail customers in a particular delivery group(s) who primarily receive firm service within the State of Georgia.
(3) Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, any person selected by an EDC, a certificated marketer, or a regulated provider may perform billing and meter reading services on behalf of such entity without first becoming certificated in accordance with the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153, provided that a certificated marketer or a regulated provider also submits meter reading data so obtained to the EDC in a timely manner.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in Article 5 of Chapter 4 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, as amended, the issuance of a certificate of authority to a person by the Commission does not subject that person to the jurisdiction of the Commission under Title 46, including, without limitation, the provisions of Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, as amended.
(5) In the event of any conflict between the provisions of this Rule and applicable provisions of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, including O.C.G.A. §§ 46-4-153 and 46-4-153.1 as they may be amended from time to time, the applicable provisions of the O.C.G.A. shall take precedence. Any such conflict as to one or more provisions of these rules shall not, however, void or nullify any remaining provisions thereof.

Rule 515-7-3-.03 Application for a Certificate of Authority

(1) Any person seeking to sell or offer to sell natural gas on a firm basis pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153 is required to file an application with the Commission on a form approved for a certificate of authority. No person other than a gas company or a regulated provider shall sell or offer to sell natural gas to any person who primarily receives firm service in any delivery group(s) in Georgia unless and until such time as a certificate of authority has been issued by the Commission.
(2) Applications shall contain the following:
(a) the legal name of the applicant and the name under which it proposes to do business in Georgia, as well as its mailing and business address(es), telephone number(s), facsimile number(s), and Internet e-mail address, if any;
(b) the name(s) and current business address(es) of the applicant's principal corporate officers;
(c) the name(s) and current business address(es) of the applicant's principal and corporate officer(s) in Georgia, if different from those identified in subparagraph (b) above;
(d) the name, title, address, and telephone number(s), facsimile number(s), and Internet e-mail address of employee designated to receive and respond to Commission requests and who will notify the Commission of any changes to the information provided in this application while pending;
(e) If applicant is a non-resident of Georgia, give name, address, and telephone number(s), facsimile number(s), and internet e-mail address of an agent or attorney in fact in this state upon whom process may be served in any suit against applicant;
(f) a description of the applicant's business, ownership structure, affiliates, date of formation, tax identification number, Georgia Secretary of State's charter or identification number and Georgia revenue sales tax number;
(g) Attach a list of principle officers, whether the applicant is a corporation or other legal entity. principal stockholders with the number of shares held by each, marked as Exhibit B, and give name and addresses of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary;
(h) State and date of incorporation for corporate entities and formation for non-corporate entities;
(i) If applicable, provide the name(s) and business address(es) of the applicant's principle and corporate officers in Georgia, if different from those above;
(j) If applicant is a partnership or cooperative, give names and addresses of partners, officers and/or members;
(k) the financial information shall include, but is not limited to:
1. a demonstration that the applicant's capital base or other financial resources are sufficient to withstand the business risk, financial risk and absorb losses that might be incurred in providing primarily firm gas service to retail customers. Such demonstration should include lines of credit, letters of credit, or other financial instruments, as well as loans from financial institutions, a parent corporation or affiliate, a subsidiary, or other entity. In the event that start-up costs and expected losses projected during the initial period of operations may require working capital, detailed and comprehensive documentation of the sources of such anticipated working capital shall be provided in hard copy and electronic format (Excel format with all formulas unlocked). Any and all documentation required by an applicant's lender, line of credit or surety provider shall be included as part of the application;
2. an explanation of how the applicant's financial backing, plans and resources provide the requisite support for the implementation of the business/marketing plans for providing primarily firm gas service to retail customers, including a breakeven analysis in electronic format (Excel format with all formulas unlocked) demonstrating projected customer growth, revenues, costs, expenses, and net income;
3. applicant's credit rating and/or bond rating made by a national rating agency. If such rating is not available, or is not equivalent to or greater than a rating of BBB- (Standard and Poor's scale) or a rating of Baa3 (Moody's scale), the applicant shall submit any financial support agreements between the applicant and its parent or other affiliate, documentation of the applicant's access to lines of credit, or agreements between the applicant and other parties to provide financial support;
4. the audited financial statements (balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements) of the applicant for the last three (3) years; if audited financial statements are unavailable, then unaudited financial statements supported by the sworn certification of an officer, general partner, or managing agent will be accepted. If a parent corporation, applicant affiliate or other entity will support the applicant, the parent corporation, affiliate or other entity's audited financial statements for the last three (3) years should be provided.
5. the most recent annual reports filed with the stockholders and the Securities and Exchange commission (Form 10K/Form 10Q) if applicant and/or parent corporation is a publicly held company.
6. detailed pro forma balance sheets, income statements and statements of cash flow for the next three (3) years for the applicant as well as the applicant's business and marketing plans for the certificated area of service in Georgia.
7. the details of any unconditional purchase obligations that require payments by the applicant in future periods;
8. a schedule of the applicant's non-cancelable operating lease commitments;
9. the schedules detailing the applicant's long-term debt and available credit facilities, including installments due on long-term debt; for five (5) years following the date of this application;
10. the details of any joint ventures or general partnership agreements between the applicant and other parties;
11. the information as to whether an estimated claim from a loss contingency has been accrued by a charge to income as it relates to any pending or known litigation or actual claims;
12. the management's plan for dealing with matters relating to an applicant's ability to continue as a going concern;
13. the applicant's plan to provide for funds to be held in escrow by an independent third party in the event that prepaid services are to be offered or deposits are required; and
14. any other information that the applicant believe is relevant to the evaluation of its financial capability.
(l) the technical information shall include, but is not limited to:
1. the names, current business address(es), and principal place(s) of business of employees that will direct the Georgia operations, including an employee of the applicant that will serve as a contact person for the Commission;
2. the information as to whether certificates of authority for the sale of natural gas have ever been issued by any other state(s) and whether such certificates are current. An applicant shall also disclose to the Commission whether any application for certification has ever been denied and whether any certificate of authority issued to it or an affiliate has ever been suspended, revoked, modified, or sanctioned;
3. a list of the applicant's comparable gas marketing activities by jurisdiction with quantification of annual sales, volumes or other measures of activity;
4. the delivery group(s) that the applicant seeks to serve;
5. the applicant's forecast of estimated or anticipated gas supply and capacity needed to serve the Georgia market based upon the applicant's marketing strategy to acquire customers, as well as limitations, on gas supply. This may include providing Staff access to applicable supply and capacity contracts. If applicable, these items may be filed pursuant to Commission Rule 515-3-1-.11 as trade secret material;
6. a list of all current contracts with interstate pipelines that the applicant may use in conjunction with or in lieu of those provided by the EDC upon acquisition of market share in the respective delivery groups. If applicable, these items may be filed pursuant to Commission Rule 515-3-1-.11 as trade secret material;
7. a detailed description of the tools, strategy, and/or other information that the applicant will utilize to mitigate natural gas price volatility.
8. a detailed description of the applicant's natural gas purchasing strategy for the various customer classes (fixed, variable, commercial, etc).
9. a projection of the percentage of base load, seasonal, and spot gas supply contract the applicant plans to utilize in its operations. Please provide an explanation for the projected amounts.
10. a detailed description of the applicant's contingency plan to provide gas to firm customers in the event that a supply disruption occurs;
11. the detailed procedures that will be employed by the applicant in a gas-related emergency (i.e., force majeure, interstate capacity limitation);
12. sworn documentation that the applicant has met or has the ability to meet the creditworthiness standards of the interstate pipelines serving the State of Georgia and the Commission-approved creditworthiness standards of the applicable EDC. This documentation may include evidence that the applicant has been or is in discussions with the EDC and/or interstate pipeline regarding the applicant's creditworthiness;
13. a statement disclosing any existing, pending or past adverse rulings, judgments, litigation, contingent liabilities, revocations of authority, administrative regulatory investigations (i.e., FERC, SEC), and any other matters relating to the financial or operational status for the past three (3) years that materially affect current financial or operational status;
14. a detailed description of the applicant's operating experience and qualifications of principal management employees involved in the day-to-day activities of the entity's operation in Georgia;
15. the proposed terms of service as required by Chapter 515-7-9 of the Commission Utility Rules;
16. the rules for contracting with firm customers as referenced in O.C.G.A. §§ 46-4-153(a)(2)(C), 46-4-158.2, 46-4-158.3, 46-4-160(a), 46-4-160(h), 46-4-160(i), 46-4-160(j), and 46-4-160(k), and Commission Utility Rules Chapter 515-7-6;
(i) the rules for contracting with firm customers shall include, but are not limited to:
(I) the bills and contracts must be written in clear and plain language.
(II) the bills must contain sufficient information to allow customers to verify the accuracy of their bills.
(III) the pricing structure must be clearly explained, including any late fees or interest charges.
(IV) the contract term must be specified along with any termination rights.
I. the firm customers must be allowed to cancel their contract without penalty within 72 hours of signing it.
II. the firm customer must be given the right to cancel their fixed rate contract with their current marketer without an exit fee only if they relocate to a different delivery group and a fixed rate is not offered by their current marketer in the new delivery group. However, if the customer refuses to continue the term of their current fixed rate contract with their current marketer, an exit fee may be charged.
(V) the bill must include the EDC's 24-hour emergency telephone number.
(VI) the EDC's active customer account number must be placed on each bill.
(VII) the bill must comply with all requirements of Commission Rules that specifically address marketer billing practices and marketer bills.
(ii) the applicant acknowledges that it must comply with federal telemarketing rules and Georgia consumer protection laws.
17. the applicant's plan to provide for funds to be held in escrow by an independent third party in the event that prepaid services are to be offered or deposits are required;
18. a statement as to whether day-to-day operations such as gas procurement, nominations and planning will be provided by in house personnel or will be contracted for by a third party
19. any other information that the applicant believes is relevant to the evaluation of its technical capability.
(3) In addition to providing the information set forth in its Utility Rule 515-7-3-.03(2), an applicant that is an EMC gas affiliate shall include with its application for a certificate of authority proposed terms and conditions to govern the relationship between the electric membership corporation and its EMC gas affiliate as contemplated in O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153.1. As proposed, these terms and conditions shall be designed to prevent cross-subsidization between the provision of electricity and the provision of natural gas services, to encourage and promote fair competition in the overall retail natural gas market, and to protect the privacy of both electric and natural gas consumers.
(a) The order subsequently issued by the Commission in response to the EMC gas affiliate's application shall meet the objectives set forth in O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153.1, as well as such other requirements the Commission shall determine are necessary to protect electric and natural gas consumers and promote competition.
(b) To ensure that cross-subsidizations do not occur between the electricity services of an electric membership corporation and the gas activities of its gas affiliate, the terms and conditions ordered by the Commission shall provide that each electric membership corporation having a gas affiliate shall:
1. Fully allocate all electricity activities costs and gas activities costs, including costs for any shared services, between the electric membership corporation's electricity activities and the gas activities of its gas affiliate, in accordance with the applicable uniform system of accounts and generally accepted accounting principles, as applicable;
2. Develop and maintain a cost allocation manual, approved by the Commission, describing the electric membership corporation's methods of cost allocation and such other information and policies reasonably required by the Commission to ensure compliance with Article 5 of Chapter 4 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated and the terms and conditions ordered by the Commission. Such manual shall:
(i) Establish rules for the pricing of transactions between an electric membership corporation and its gas affiliate, including the transfer of assets between the two, which rules shall provide that any transfer of assets shall be the greater between market rates or book value;
(ii) Provide that any loans from the electric membership corporation to its gas affiliate shall be at market rates, shall not reflect rates which are generally available through the use of any tax exempt financing, and may not be tied to any loans from the federal or state government;
(iii) Require the electric membership corporation and its gas affiliate to maintain separate books of accounts and records which shall, subject to the Commission's rules for treatment of trade secrets, be subject to production and inspection by the Commission for the sole purpose of confirming compliance with this article, the cost allocation manual, and the terms and conditions of the gas affiliate's certificate; and
(iv) Require the annual filing of a statement with the Commission certifying the compliance by the electric membership corporation and its gas affiliate with the approved cost allocation manual, which annual filing shall itemize financial summary information in the form of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) account codes as requested by the Commission Staff.
3. Not charge any costs of the gas affiliate to the electricity customers of the electric membership corporation.
(c) To protect customer privacy and prevent the misuse of customer information, the terms and conditions ordered by the Commission shall provide that no electric membership corporation shall release any proprietary customer information to its gas affiliate without obtaining prior verifiable authorization from the customer, as determined in accordance with rules established by the Commission.
(d) The Commission may require that any customer service that an electric membership corporation provides to its gas affiliate be offered to all marketers at the same rate and on the same terms and conditions as provided to the gas affiliate. Any such services provided to the gas affiliate or marketers must be on a strictly confidential basis, such that the electric membership corporation does not share information regarding one marketer with any other marketer, including an EMC gas affiliate.
(e) The terms and conditions shall accommodate the organizational structures of electric membership corporations.
(f) To assure separate but coordinating governance of an electric membership corporation and its gas affiliate, the terms and conditions shall prohibit more than one half of the persons serving as members of the board of directors of a gas affiliate from at the same time serving on the board of directors of an electric membership corporation.
(g) The Commission shall make accommodation for the specific legal requirements imposed by state or federal laws applicable to electric membership corporations and other cooperatives.
(4) Any information that the applicant deems to be proprietary or confidential may be filed pursuant to Commission Rule Chapter 515-3-1-.11, Trade Secrets.
(5) An applicant shall submit to the Executive Secretary of the Commission the number of copies indicated on the application form. The original, signed by the applicant, must accompany the copies. Failure to provide the appropriate number of copies or the signed original will result in the rejection and return of the application.
(6) Any application that is deemed to be incomplete after it is filed with the Commission shall not be considered until such time as all of the information requested therein has been furnished. The sixty (60) day time frame during which the Commission is charged with conducting a public hearing or hearings on an application shall not commence unless and until a completed application has been submitted by the applicant. The Commission shall provide the applicant with a notification within fifteen (15) days after filing whether said application is deemed to be complete, or, if incomplete, what information is lacking. The Commission shall notify the applicant no later than fifteen (15) days following its receipt of any additional information whether such information is sufficient to regard the application as complete. If the additional information is not sufficient, the notification sent to the applicant by the Commission shall include a specific statement detailing the information that must be clarified or which otherwise does not adequately respond to the original request.
(7) The Commission shall deem an application to be withdrawn if the applicant fails to furnish any information requested in a notice of incompleteness within fifteen (15) business days after the date on which the request for additional information was issued.
(8) A certificate of authority may not be transferred, assigned, or leased except upon application to and approval by the Commission.

Rule 515-7-3-.04 Certification Standards

(1) The Commission shall issue a certificate of authority for a delivery group upon a showing by the applicant:
(a) that it possesses satisfactory financial and technical capability to render the certificated service;
(b) that it has the ability to obtain sufficient gas supply to meet the requirements of such service;
(c) that it will offer such service pursuant to rules and contract terms which the Commission finds economically viable for the delivery group(s) which the applicant proposes to serve; and
(d) that if it is an EMC gas affiliate, there shall be in place satisfactory terms and conditions to govern the relationship between it and its electric membership corporation as well as a Commission approved cost allocation manual describing the electric membership corporation's methods of cost allocation and related information and policies to ensure compliance with O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153.1.
(2) Until such time as a determination is made by the Commission that adequate market conditions exist within a delivery group as contemplated by O.C.G.A. § 46-4-156, a marketer must separately list on its bills to retail customers within the delivery group the charges for firm distribution service and for commodity sales.
(3) The price at which a marketer sells gas shall not be regulated by the Commission.
(4) A certificate of authority shall not be issued to an applicant who is unable to document that it has the ability to meet the creditworthiness standards of the interstate pipelines serving the State of Georgia and the Commission-approved creditworthiness standards of the applicable EDC.
(5) The Commission may deny an application for a certificate of authority upon a showing that a marketer or anyone acting in concert with a marketer has a history of violating laws, rules, or regulations designed to protect the public.
(6) Upon being issued a certificate of authority, a marketer shall abide by applicable laws under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, all applicable rules and regulations of the Commission and findings, conclusions, terms, and conditions set forth in pertinent Commission Orders.
(7) Each marketer must keep on file with the Commission's Natural Gas Staff and Consumer Affairs Staff, updated information on its regulatory contact person. The information shall contain the person's name, phone number, email address, mailing address and fax number.
(8) Each marketer shall make available contemporaneously to randomly assigned customers the same options for rates, terms and conditions of service that the marketer makes available to its other similarly situated customers.
(9) Each marketer shall pass through senior citizen discounts to eligible customers to the extent provided by the electing distribution company.
(10) Marketers must apply to the Commission to receive authorization prior to any change in ownership, name change (including doing-business-as (d/b/a) name change), adding or dropping a delivery pool group from service, owning meters, or any other substantial change that would affect their certification.
(11) A marketer may require a deposit, not to exceed $150.00, from a consumer prior to providing natural gas distribution service to such consumer. A marketer is not authorized to require an increase in the deposit of a consumer if such consumer has paid all bills from the marketer in a timely manner for a period of three months. A marketer shall establish an escrow account at a financial institution for the purpose of holding consumers' deposits. Consumers' deposits shall be held in trust in the escrow account established and shall not become the property of the marketer or be commingled with the funds of the marketer. Marketers shall pay interest on applicants' or consumers' deposits for gas service held six (6) months or longer at least equal to the interest rate paid by the financial institution where the escrow account is located. Upon receipt of a consumer or applicant deposit, the marketer shall furnish the gas consumer/applicant a receipt showing the following information:
(a) Name of customer/applicant;
(b) Amount of deposit;
(c) Date of receipt;
(d) Name of marketer;
(e) Interest rate;
(f) Address where service is to be rendered;
(g) Statement of the terms under which the deposit may be refunded.

In any case where a marketer has required a deposit from a consumer and such consumer has paid all bills from the marketer in a timely manner for a period of six (6) months, the marketer shall be required to refund the deposit to the consumer within sixty (60) days. In any event, a deposit shall be refunded to a consumer within sixty (60) days of the date that such consumer changes marketers or discontinues service, provided that such consumer has satisfied all of his or her outstanding financial obligations to the marketer. At the option of the marketer, a deposit may be refunded in whole or in part, at any time earlier than the times herein prescribed.

(12) It shall be a violation of a marketer's certificate to trade customers' accounts except when the following conditions are met:
(a) Thirty (30) days in advance of trading a customer's account, the marketer must provide via first class mail to each customer whose account is being traded, a Commission approved letter. The marketer must provide a draft copy of this letter to the Commission Staff no later than thirty (30) days prior to the issuance of such letter. The letter must include:
1. a statement that the customer account is being traded to an existing marketer certificated by the Georgia Public Service Commission,
2. the effective date in which the customer account will be traded to a different marketer,
3. the name of the marketer to which the customer account will be traded,
4. that the customer has the right to select the marketer of their choice before or within 30 days after the effective date of the trade without incurring any fees,
5. that the customer's right to a free annual switch will not be affected by the trade,
6. the new marketer current rates and terms and conditions of service.
(b) The customer's right to one free annual switch shall not be affected by the trade.
1 If the customer selects a different marketer before the effective date after the trade, the prior marketer shall pay to the EDC any and all fees that may result from the switch.
2 If the customer selects a different marketer within 30 days after the effective date of the trade, the marketer to whom the account was traded shall pay to the EDC any and all fees that may result from the switch.
(13) It shall be a violation of a marketer's certificate to sell or transfer customers except when the following conditions are met (requirements for new entrants into the market who are purchasing/transferring existing customers from an existing marketer):
(a) Thirty (30) days in advance of selling or transferring a customer account, the marketer must provide to each customer whose account is being sold or transferred, a Commission approved letter via first class mail. The marketer must provide a draft copy of this letter to the Commission Staff no later than thirty (30) days prior to the issuance of such letter. The letter must include:
1. a statement that the marketer to whom the account is being sold or transferred has been certificated by the Georgia Public Service Commission,
2. the effective date that the customer account will be sold or transferred to the new marketer,
3. the name of the marketer to which the customer account will be sold or transferred to,
4. that the customer has the right to select the marketer of their choice before or within 30 days after the effective date of the sale or transfer without incurring any fees,
5. notice that the customer's right to a free annual switch will not be affected by the sale or transfer,
6. the new marketer current rates and terms and conditions of service.
(b) The customer's right to one free annual switch shall not be affected by the sell or transfer.
1 If the customer selects a different marketer before the effective date of the sale or transfer, the prior marketer shall pay to the EDC any and all fees that may result from the switch.
2 If the customer selects a different marketer within 30 days after the effective date of the sale or transfer, the marketer to whom the account was sold or transferred shall pay to the EDC any and all fees that may result from the switch.
(14) Each marketer shall file at the Commission by the 5th of the current month, the marketer's standard fixed offer for residential customers and standard variable offer for residential customers.
a Such offers shall include the cost per therm for the commodity and upstream capacity charges, and shall also include the EDC's base charge, the marketer customer service charge, and any other charges to be included in the offers.
b If the 5th of the current month falls on a non-business day, the marketer shall file its standard fixed offer and standard variable offer rates for residential customers on the previous business day.
(15) No marketer shall be authorized to prevent a consumer from obtaining distribution and commodity sales service from another marketer or provider. A marketer may contract with a landlord for continuous natural gas service to be made available to apartments owned or managed by said landlord and to provide natural gas service to apartments where the tenant has authorized the landlord to select the tenant's marketer; provided, however, that no such continuous service agreement shall require a landlord to prevent a tenant from obtaining distribution and commodity sales service from another marketer or provider. Notwithstanding the existence of a continuous service agreement between a marketer and a landlord, neither the EDC nor the marketer may prevent a tenant from switching marketers or providers.

Rule 515-7-3-.05 Prerequisites to the Filing of an Application; Scheduling of Hearings

(1) An application for a certificate of authority shall not be filed with the Commission to provide service to a delivery group(s) that is presently being served by a gas company holding a valid certificate of public convenience and necessity until such gas company has filed a notice of election pursuant to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 46-4-154.
(2) Until fifteen (15) days have expired after the effective date of rates approved by the Commission for an EDC pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-4-154, the Commission shall not approve or disapprove any complete application for a certificate of authority covering delivery groups certificated to such EDC which application is filed prior to such expiration date. All complete applications for certificates of authority filed prior to such expiration date shall be considered by the Commission simultaneously.
(3) Within sixty (60) days following such expiration date, the Commission shall conduct a public hearing or hearings on all complete applications filed prior to said expiration date. Thereafter, within ninety (90) days following such expiration date, the Commission shall issue its order approving or disapproving each application for a certificate of authority.
(4) The Commission shall conduct a public hearing on any application for a certificate of authority filed subsequent to the expiration date within sixty (60) days after the filing of such application. Within ninety (90) days after the filing of the application, the Commission shall issue its order approving or disapproving each application.

Rule 515-7-3-.06 Complaints

(1) All marketers holding certificates of authority shall notify their customers by mail or by the preferred method of communication about their respective complaint procedures at least once during each quarter of the calendar year. This description shall include, at a minimum, the names, business addresses, e-mail and website, telephone and facsimile numbers of personnel to contact with customer complaints, as well as the telephone number for the Consumer Affairs Division of the Commission If these individuals are located outside the State of Georgia, a toll-free telephone number must be provided.
(2) The provisions of Commission Rule Chapter 515-2-1-.04(1) and (2) pertaining to complaints shall be applicable to marketers.
(3) Good faith assertions that a marketer certificated under O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153 has violated the laws and rules of the Commission and/or the terms of the certificate of authority that it has been issued may be made by any person. In the event that any such allegations are made against an applicant seeking to be certificated to sell or offer to sell natural gas in a particular delivery group(s) or an allegation is made that a marketer or anyone acting in concert with the marketer has such history of violations of laws, rules, or regulations designed to protect the public; has included in its application for a certificate of authority any information that was falsified or forged; has acted unlawfully to the detriment of the public while certificated; and/or is, has been, or may be about to become involved in activities described in O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153(6), the time constraints placed upon the Commission in granting certification shall be null and void until such time as the assertions made against the applicant can be reasonably addressed.
(4) Prior to a marketer contacting a gas utility for the purpose of disconnecting service for a residential customer, the marketer shall first comply with the procedural rules regarding disconnection as set forth in Chapter 515-3-3 of the Rules of the Georgia Public Service Commission. Failure to comply with the Commission's Rules for the disconnection of service of any residential customer may subject a marketer to sanctions that include, but are not limited to, the revocation of the marketer's certificate of authority.

Rule 515-7-3-.07 Revocation, Suspension, and Modification of a Certificate of Authority; Sanctions

(1) Any certificate of authority issued by the Commission is subject to revocation, suspension, or modification, where the Commission finds after notice and hearing that:
(a) a marketer has failed repeatedly or has failed willfully to meet the obligations to its retail customers imposed by the Act, the rules of this section, the certificate of authority issued by the Commission, or the Commission-approved tariff of the applicable EDC. For purposes of this rule, the term "repeatedly" means on more than one occasion;
(b) a marketer has been found to have engaged in unfair competition or has abused its market position, or has engaged in conduct prohibited by the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practice Act, O.C.G.A. § 10-1-370, et seq., The Fair Business Practices Act, O.C.G.A. § 10-1-390, et seq., or the provisions against false advertising in Title XI, Chapter 1, Article 15, Part 3 of the Official Code of Georgia, annotated;
(c) a marketer or representative or agent thereof has included in its application for a certificate of authority any information that was falsified or forged;
(d) a marketer has acted unlawfully to the detriment of the public while certificated;
(e) any of the marketer's activities are serving or could serve to mislead, deceive, or work a fraud on the public;
(f) a marketer has charged a customer for products or services, without that customer's authorization;
(g) for a twelve (12) month period, a marketer has failed to provide gas service in one or more delivery groups for which it is certified, provided that if a marketer fails to provide natural gas service in a particular delivery group for which it is certified for a twelve (12) month period, that shall not constitute a basis to revoke the marketer's certificate if the marketer is providing service or has provided service within the last twelve (12) months in other delivery groups for which it is certified;
(h) a marketer of natural gas has not passed through to its retail customers any refunds the Commission ordered to be passed through to retail customers, provided, however, a marketer will not be required to pass through Commission ordered refunds to customers that are in arrears;
(i) an EMC gas affiliate has engaged in cross-subsidization activities with its electric membership corporation; and/or
(j) a marketer is determined by the Commission to possess a substandard level of technical and/or financial capability to retain its certificate of authority.
(2) The Commission, after a hearing is conducted after not less than thirty (30) day notice, shall determine whether a violation has occurred that warrants the revocation, suspension or modification of a certificate of authority. The burden of proof to show that any such action should be taken shall be placed upon the Commission. All orders issued pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153(d) or (e) shall contain the Commission's findings of fact and conclusions of law upon which the Commission's action is based. Any such order shall be deemed a final order subject to judicial review under Chapter 13 of O.C.G.A. Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedures Act."
(3) In addition to having its certificate of authority revoked, suspended, or modified, any marketer that is found after notice and hearing to have willfully violated any law administered by the Commission or any duly promulgated regulation issued there under, or which fails, neglects, or refuses to comply with any such order after notice thereof, shall be liable for a penalty not to exceed $15,000.00 for such violation and an additional penalty not to exceed $10,000.00 for each day during which said violation occurred.
(4) The provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 2 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, as amended, shall apply to an investigation or hearing involving a marketer. The provisions of Article 4 and 5 of Chapter 2 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, as amended, shall also apply to a marketer.
(5) The provisions of Part 2 of Article 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, as amended, shall apply to a marketer.
(6) The Commission, after notice and hearing as contemplated in the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-13-1, et seq., may revoke, suspend or otherwise modify a certificate of authority based upon a finding that the marketer's financial condition or gas supply no longer meets the requirements for certification.
(7) The Commission may issue a certificate of authority to an applicant based upon conditions that include, but are not limited to, an applicant agreeing to provide the Commission annually with updated audited financial data within ninety (90) days of the close of its fiscal year as well as information within ten (10) business days of any event or occurrence that may materially affect its financial or operational status. The Commission shall have access to the books and records of all marketers as may be deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the Act and the Commission's rules and regulations that are issued there under. In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 46-4-153(f)on a quarterly basis, the marketers must file the following: First, a detailed monthly income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement information. Second, each marketer will file with the Commission the number of therms used for each customer class and the number of customers for each customer class based on the EDC's market share timeframe. The filings will be made with the Commission between 45 days and 75 days after the end of each fiscal quarter for their Georgia natural gas market.
(8) All complaints to the Commission and violations relating to a marketer's conduct under its certificate of authority shall be made part of the Commission's records and shall be available for inspection by the public.
(9) The Commission, at its discretion, may reinstate any certificate of authority that it previously revoked.

Rule 515-7-3-.08 Required Disclosures

Whenever any certificated marketer, its agents, employees, or contractors make a retail natural gas offering to an individual customer, whether in response to an inquiry from that customer or as part of a marketer-initiated contact, the marketer shall be responsible for disclosing to the customer all charges that the customer may incur if the customer accepts the marketer's service as defined in Commission Utility Rule 515-7-9-.04. All such disclosures made by marketers shall provide adequate and accurate information to consumers so as to allow them to make informed choices regarding the purchase of natural gas services.

Rule 515-7-3-.09 Repealed

Rule 515-7-3-.10 Repealed

Rule 515-7-3-.11 Repealed

Rule 515-7-3-.12 Repealed

Rule 515-7-3-.13 Repealed