On Friday, the Vermont General Assembly passed a bill that would set new rules for the state’s propane dealers, the Associated Press is reporting this afternoon. The proposed law requires that:
• Retailers cannot charge minimum use fees.
• Retailers must provide a “timely” refund when customers change dealers.
• Retailers are mandated to sell propane to customers who own their own tank, provided the tank meets safety standards.
Lawmakers had previously considered ending termination fees for propane tanks that were installed for more than a year and a requirement that dealers itemize equipment charges on a propane bill. Though it was unclear from the first reports if these measures were included in the final draft.
In February, house members introduced a proposal to establish tighter controls on how propane dealers charge their customers, following a spate of complaints from consumers. At the end of March, several dealers visited the state house to voice their opposition to the bill.
Over the last heating season, several state legislatures have taken up the issue of setting limits on the propane trade. In December, New Mexico lawmakers ended a minimum order requirement of 100 gallons. And in February, a Texas lawmaker introduced a bill that would limit when dealers could disconnect a customer’s service.