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Subject 515-7-7 SERVICE QUALITY STANDARDS FOR THE ELECTING DISTRIBUTION COMPANY

Rule 515-7-7-.01 Commission Authority and Scope

The Georgia Legislature has directed the Georgia Public Service Commission to promulgate rules and regulations to establish service quality standards for each electing distribution company including, but not limited to, minimum performance standards for posting data on the electronic bulletin board; meter reading; meter turn-ons and turnoffs; forcasting; call center response times; lost and unaccounted for natural gas; acquiring and managing interstate capacity assets, including retained storage; and any other service quality standards deemed necesssary by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Rule 515-7-7-.02 Definitions

Terms used in these rules have the following meaning:

(a) "Accurate Meter Read Ratio" means the total of all firm cycle meter readings issued during the cycle month minus the cancelled cycle readings divided by the total active meters.
(b) "Act" means the Natural Gas Competition and Deregulation Act, as amended, as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 46-4-150et seq.
(c) "Acquiring and Managing Interstate Capacity Assets" means the Commission-approved process of planning and contracting for interstate capacity assets to serve the projected firm demand on Atlanta Gas Light Company's (AGLC) system.
(d) "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.
(e) "Benchmarks" means the range, including the allowed tolerance band, of performance that may trigger required remedial action or the imposition of fines.
(f) "Call Center Response Time to Customers" means the percent of calls responded to within a designated time frame.
(g) "Call Center Response Time to Marketers" means the percent of calls to marketers responded to within a designated time frame.
(h) "Commission" means the Georgia Public Service Commission.
(i) "Consumer" or "Customer" or "End-Use Customer" 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.
(j) "Customer Service" means a function related to serving a retail customer including without limitation billing, meter reading, turnon 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 state and federal laws pertaining to the safety of natural gas pipelines and distribution systems and any other applicable safety standards.
(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 O.C.G.A. § 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) "Electronic Bulletin Board" means an interactive electronic communication system that allows parties to view gas-related information, make nominations, offer bids, and receive confirmations.
(n) "Estimated Meter Read" means an EDC was unable to get an actual meter read from a customer's premise due to various circumstances.
(o) "Firm" means a type of distribution service that ordinarily is not subject to interruption or curtailment.
(p) "Forecasting" means the process by which the EDC estimates the firm system demand on any given day.
(q) "Gas" means natural gas.
(r) "GOS" means the EDC's gas operating system.
(s) "Lost and Unaccounted-for Natural Gas" means the difference between the city gate volumes and the measured volumes.
(t) "Lost and Unaccounted-for Natural Gas Percentage" means the percentage of lost and unaccounted-for natural gas as compared to the total system throughput, as reported to the Georgia Department of Transportation on July of each year.
(u) "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.
(v) "Meter Disconnection/Turn-off Ratio" means the ratio of the number of timely meter disconnections compared to the total number of requested meter disconnections.
(w) ''Meter Disconnection/Turn-on Ratio'' means the ratio of the number of timely meter reconnections compared to the total number of requested meter reconnections.
(x) "Penalty" means a monetary amount paid to the State in the event that the EDC fails to meet the established service quality measures and benchmarks.
(y) "Pipeline" means all parts of those physical facilities through which gas moves in transportation, including pipe, valves, and other accessories attached to pipe, compressor units, metering stations, regulator stations, delivery stations, holders, and fabricated assemblies.
(z) "Respond" means a follow-up on the part of the EDC in response to a customer, marketer, or Commission request for said action.
(aa) "Service Quality Measure" means what services are measured and how said services are measured.
(bb) "Service Quality Standards" means the service quality measure, benchmark, and penalty.
(cc) "Timely Meter Read Ratio" means the number of timely meter reads as compared to the total number of reads by the EDC.

Rule 515-7-7-.03 Service Quality Standards: Pipeline Safety

Every EDC shall be required to meet service quality standards to ensure the safe and reliable provision of natural gas to end use customers. Specifically:

a. The time to provide an appropriate response to a natural gas leak call shall not fall below the established benchmark.

Rule 515-7-7-.04 Service Quality Standards: Customer Service, Billing, and Metering

Every EDC shall be required to meet service quality standards to ensure high quality service to natural gas customers, including marketers, in Georgia in regards to customer service, billing, and metering. Specifically, every EDC shall assure that:

a. The accurate meter read ratio shall not fall below the established benchmark;
b. The timely meter read ratio shall not fall below the established benchmark;
c. The meter reconnection/turn-on ratio or meter disconnection/ turn-off ratio shall not fall below the established benchmarks; and
d. The call center response times shall not fall below the established benchmarks.

Rule 515-7-7-.05 Service Quality Standards: Marketer Services

Every EDC shall be required to meet service quality standards to improve the efficiency of the marketer services that are offered to all certified marketers. In addition, these same services quality standards shall also apply to services provided by the EDC to the Regulated Provider, unless the Commission specifically provides otherwise. Specifically, every EDC shall assure that:

a. The Daily Supply Requirement forecast shall comply with the established benchmark;
b. The percentage of lost and unaccounted-for natural gas shall not exceed the established benchmark;
c. The EDC's posting of accurate and timely and readily available data on the EBB shall not fall below the established benchmarks. Specifically, the data shall be posted on the EBB and shall meet or exceed the established benchmark;
d. The EDC's ability to acquire and manage interstate capacity assets, as provided for in the Commission Order for the most recent Capacity Supply Plan, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-4-155(e), shall not fall below the established benchmarks;
e. The meter disconnection/turn-off ratio or the meter reconnection/ turn-on ratio shall not fall below the established benchmarks;
f. The call center response time to marketers shall not fall below the established benchmark; and
g. The EDC's accurate and timely electronic transactions of consumer data sent to marketers shall not fall below the established benchmark.

Rule 515-7-7-.06 Service Quality Standards: Responsiveness to the Public Service Commission

Every EDC shall be required to meet service quality standards to ensure compliance with Commission Orders, directives and requests. Specifically, every EDC shall:

a. Respond to Commission data requests within the established benchmark;
b. Respond to complaints referred by the Commission within the established benchmark;
c. Comply with all Commission Orders within the established benchmarks; and
d. Provide complete and accurate reports and filings as required by the Commission within the established benchmarks.

Rule 515-7-7-.07 Additional Service Quality Standards

In addition to the service quality standards set forth in this Rule, the Commission may establish such further service quality standards and benchmarks as the Commission may from time to time deem necessary.

Rule 515-7-7-.08 Methodology for Establishment and Review of Benchmarks and Penalties

a. The Commission shall determine the appropriate benchmarks necessary to measure whether an EDC has complied with the service quality standards established by the Commission pursuant to this Rule, as well as the appropriate penalties that may be assessed against an EDC that fails to comply with such service quality standards.
b. The Commission shall conduct a hearing for the purpose of establishing the appropriate benchmarks to be utilized in determining whether the EDC has complied with the service quality standards established herein, as well as the appropriate penalties to be assessed against an EDC that fails to comply with such service quality standards. Prior to such hearing, the EDC, the Commission Staff and any other interested party shall file any proposed benchmarks and penalties for consideration by the Commission. Following such hearing, the Commission shall issue an Order approving and adopting appropriate benchmarks and associated penalties; and
c. Following the establishment of initial benchmarks and penalties, the Commission may conduct hearings periodically for the purpose of reviewing the service quality standards adopted by the Commission, as well as the benchmarks and penalties established as described in Section (b) above. As part of such hearings, the EDC, the Commission Staff and any other interested party may file proposed revisions to the service quality standards, benchmarks and penalties for consideration by the Commission.

Rule 515-7-7-.09 Reporting and Compliance

a. Each EDC shall file reports with the Commission demonstrating its performance with regard to the service quality standards and benchmarks established by the Commission. Such reports shall be filed in a form approved by the Commission, and shall be filed on a quarterly basis, or on some other periodic basis if ordered by the Commission; and
b. The Commission shall, at least annually, conduct a proceeding to review compliance by the EDC with the service quality standards and benchmarks established by the Commission.

Rule 515-7-7-.10 Penalties

Failure to comply with any service quality standards adopted by the Commission shall subject the EDC to civil penalties as determined by the Commission.

Rule 515-7-7-.11 Force Majeure

The Commission recognizes that the EDC's performance data may be influenced by factors beyond its control. Accordingly, in the event of a force majeure, as defined by Rule 12 of AGLC's Commission-approved Tariff, the EDC may file a petition for an exception with the Commission seeking to have the quarterly service quality standards and/or benchmark results modified. The EDC will also be allowed to file an expedited petition seeking immediate relief from a payment of penalties as set forth in these Rules in the event of a force majeure. In any such petition, the EDC shall have the burden of demonstrating that the benchmark was not met due to causes beyond the EDC's control and which could not have been avoided by exercise of due care. The filing of any such petition shall not stay any payments under these Rules unless otherwise ordered by the Commission.