GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2011

H                                                                                                                                                   D

HOUSE DRH11197-LDxf-49E  (03/09)

 

 

 

Short Title:        Independent Energy Efficiency Administrator.

(Public)

Sponsors:

Representatives Luebke, Fisher, Harrison, and Womble (Primary Sponsors).

Referred to:

 

 

 

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT TO CREATE NC SAVE$ ENERGY AS AN INDEPENDENTly administered statewide energy, electricity, and gas efficiency program in order to protect residential customers from rapidly rising energy costs, to create jobs, to improve the older housing stock, and to reduce energy demand through energy efficiency and energy conservation.

Whereas, the best way to ensure the ability to provide an "adequate and  reliable" supply of electricity and natural gas and the "least cost mix" of energy supply consistent with G.S. 62-2, the State's policy statement regarding public utilities, is to reduce current and future energy needs without the need to construct expensive new baseload power plants; and

Whereas, North Carolina needs to create more locally based "green collar" jobs; and

Whereas, North Carolina needs to improve the State's aging housing stock to make it more efficient and affordable for residents and competitive in the national housing market; and

Whereas, North Carolina needs to protect its vulnerable low- and middle-income residents from rapidly rising energy costs; Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  Chapter 62 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 6B.

"Independent Energy Efficiency Administrator.

" 62-126.  Purpose, findings, legislative intent.

(a)        The purpose of this Article is to create an independent energy efficiency administrator for the State, to be known as NC SAVE$ ENERGY, for the administration and use of moneys to support energy efficiency and conservation programs and services in North Carolina.

(b)        The General Assembly finds that there remain in North Carolina significant, cost-effective opportunities to acquire energy efficiency savings that can lower residential customers' energy bills, create and maintain jobs in the residential efficiency sector after the end of funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (Public Law 111-5), and reduce the environmental impact of energy production, delivery, and use. North Carolina has a significant opportunity to create and sustain markets for energy efficiency measures that will help create jobs in North Carolina, improve our national and local security, strengthen the local economy through freeing up funds otherwise spent on utility bills, improve energy reliability, reduce home energy bills, and protect North Carolinians from the damaging effects of recurrent energy price spikes.

(c)        It is the intent of the General Assembly that moneys from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund be allocated as follows:

(1)        A minimum percentage of moneys from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund created under this Article shall be used to contract with programs that address the unmet needs for cost-effective improvements to homes constructed prior to 1990 when building energy efficiency codes were first implemented, to reduce energy costs for low- and fixed-income families; to provide a public education and outreach program, including incentives and home energy audits; and to provide loans through a revolving loan fund that offers submarket interest rates to homeowners and to those owners of rental property and multifamily housing that do not increase rental rates for five years or more for the costs of improvements that are designed to increase energy efficiency by at least twenty percent (20%).

(2)        A maximum percentage of moneys from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund shall be used for energy efficiency projects for buildings owned or operated by local governments, nonprofit hospitals, schools, or other public services.

(3)        A maximum percentage of moneys from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund shall be used to train the State's workforce, local chambers of commerce, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations to optimize inclusion of households that would benefit from home weatherization projects; to provide continuing education regarding the benefits of energy efficiency and improving compliance with energy standards under building codes to builders, general contractors, mechanical contractors, and other building industry professionals required to receive continuing education.

(4)        A maximum percentage of moneys from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund shall be used to create "green jobs" in our communities and to train the State's workforce in the skills needed to become employed in new "green jobs" created by the energy efficiency markets, including home energy auditors and conservation consultants, efficiency services loan specialists, installers, and materials manufacturing as well as technical support in increasing in-State production of efficiency-related materials, equipment, and supplies.

" 62-126.1.  Definitions.

The definitions in G.S. 62-133.8 shall apply to this Article. The following definitions also shall apply to this Article:

(1)        Contract Administrator. - A person or entity contracted by the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board to be assigned the duties and functions of the independent third-party administrator of NC SAVE$ ENERGY.

(2)        Economically distressed local government unit. - An economically distressed county, as defined in G.S. 143B-437.01, or a local government unit located in that county.

(3)        Energy efficiency. - Conservation, equipment, physical, or program changes that result in less energy consumption. Energy efficiency does not include demand-side management programs that have as their primary purpose the reduction of peak demand through load shifting or curtailment programs.

(4)        Fund. - The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund created under G.S. 62-126.5.

(5)        Institutional buildings. - Buildings owned or operated by local government units, nonprofit hospitals, schools, and other public service entities.

(6)        Local government unit. - A city as defined in G.S. 160A-1, a county, or a consolidated city-county as defined in G.S. 160B-2.

" 62-126.2.  NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board established; membership qualifications; vacancies; meetings and meeting facilities.

(a)        Oversight Board Established. - The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board is created to oversee energy efficiency and conservation program planning, implementation, and monitoring and to establish and revise the scope of activities of NC SAVE$ ENERGY and its budget performance targets.

(b)        Membership. - The Oversight Board shall be composed of 11 members as follows:

(1)        A person with experience and expertise in energy efficiency technologies and methods, to be appointed by the Chairman of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

(2)        A person with experience and expertise in providing financial services to low-income families and persons with fixed incomes, to be appointed by the Chairman of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

(3)        A person with experience and expertise in identifying, developing, administering, and implementing energy efficiency programs, to be appointed by the Chairman of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

(4)        A person with experience and expertise in providing social services to low-income families and persons with fixed incomes, to be appointed by the Governor.

(5)        A person with experience and expertise in providing housing services to low-income families and persons with fixed incomes, to be appointed by the Governor.

(6)        A person with experience and expertise in community development corporations, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(7)        A person with experience and expertise in home construction or renovation, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(8)        A person with experience and expertise in nonprofit corporations that provide services to communities across North Carolina, to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

(9)        A person with experience and expertise in local government units, to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

(10)      A person with experience and expertise in community colleges or vocational training and certification programs, to be appointed by the Governor.

(11)      A person with experience and expertise in establishing or managing small businesses, to be appointed by the Governor.

(c)        Additional Criteria for Membership. - At least three of the members of the Oversight Board shall be women or members of a minority population. All appointees shall maximize geographic, gender, and racial diversity to the extent possible.

(d)        Nominations. - Any interested person may nominate himself or herself or another person for appointment to the Oversight Board. Initial nominations shall be made to the appointing entities. Following its establishment, the Oversight Board shall provide notice of the opportunity for nomination to the Oversight Board through notice in the North Carolina Register and its Internet Web site. The Oversight Board shall keep a list of interested persons and notify them of the opportunity for nominations.

(e)        Concurrent Office. - Any member of the Oversight Board may serve as a member and concurrently hold any other executive or appointive office, under the authority of Article VI, Section 9 of the North Carolina Constitution.

(f)         Terms. - The initial appointments by the Chairman of the North Carolina Utilities Commission shall be for four-year terms, and the initial appointments by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Governor shall be for two years. As the initial terms expire, the terms for each board member shall be for four years. No member of the Oversight Board may serve more than two terms consecutively, except that initial members who were appointed to two-year terms may serve three terms but no longer than 10 years.

(g)        Restrictions on Members. - An employee, agent, or attorney of a public utility regulated by the Utilities Commission or provider of energy shall not be eligible to serve as a member of the Oversight Board. No member of the Oversight Board shall have been an employee, agent, or attorney of a public utility within two years of being appointed as a member of the Oversight Board. No member of the Oversight Board shall become an employee, agent, or attorney of a regulated gas or electric utility within two years of serving as a member of the Oversight Board.

(h)        Oath of Office. - Each member of the Oversight Board shall take the oath of office in G.S. 62-11, except the phrase "utility commissioner" shall be replaced with "member of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board."

(i)         Financial Disclosures. - The members of the Oversight Board shall comply with the public disclosure of economic and other provisions of the State Government Ethics Act, Chapter 138A of the General Statutes. All members of the Oversight Board shall disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest, including, but not limited to, investments in any energy provider company or public utility.

(j)         Chair. - The members of the Oversight Board shall select one of its members to serve as Chair of the Oversight Board.

(k)        Treasurer. - The members of the Oversight Board shall select one of its members to serve as Treasurer of the Oversight Board. The Treasurer shall assist the Oversight Board with the financial management of NC SAVE$ ENERGY. The Treasurer may designate NC SAVE$ ENERGY staff members or Contract Administrators as assistant treasurers. The primary responsibilities of the Treasurer are to do the following:

(1)        Receive funds for NC SAVE$ ENERGY activities from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund and other funding sources, disburse these funds under direction of the Oversight Board, and keep accurate records of these transactions.

(2)        Communicate with revenue authorities.

(3)        Pay NC SAVE$ ENERGY invoices.

(l)         Vacancies. - An appointment to fill a vacancy on the Oversight Board created by the resignation, removal, disability, or death of a member shall be for the balance of the unexpired term.

(m)       Frequency of Meetings. - The Oversight Board shall meet at least once every quarter each year and may hold special meetings at the call of the Chair or a majority of the members.

(n)        Quorum. - A majority of the membership of the Oversight Board at a regularly called meeting constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.

(o)        Per Diem and Expenses. - No member of the Oversight Board shall receive financial gain from service on the Oversight Board. Members of the Oversight Board shall serve without compensation, except each member of the Oversight Board may receive per diem up to one hundred dollars ($100.00) per day and necessary travel and subsistence expenses in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 138-5.

" 62-126.3.  NC SAVE$ ENERGY established as independent energy efficiency administrator.

(a)        NC SAVE$ ENERGY shall be established under North Carolina law as an entity that manages the planning, implementation, delivery, and administration of programs to reduce the electricity and natural gas consumed in our State and to promote the sustainable use of energy in North Carolina. NC SAVE$ ENERGY, through its NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board, shall design and deliver comprehensive energy efficiency and conservation programs and services for North Carolina's residential customers and State entities. NC SAVE$ ENERGY shall be unaffiliated with any of the State's electric or gas utilities, public or private.

(b)        The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board may arrange for administration of the Public Benefit Fund and statewide program activities by the State Energy Office, or it may contract for administrative and technical services with a Contract Administrator to be assigned the functions and duties of NC SAVE$ ENERGY under this Article.

(c)        In addition, the Oversight Board may, in accordance with G.S. 62-126.6, contract competitively with other entities to act as administrators to implement, operate, and manage specific programs established under this section, or delegate such contracting as needed.

(d)        The Oversight Board shall have the following additional duties:

(1)        Review and approve Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the contracts for the Contract Administrator. The Oversight Board shall provide notice of the RFPs in the North Carolina Register on its Internet Web site and through other mechanisms chosen by the Oversight Board.

(2)        Review and approve the annual performance targets of NC SAVE$ ENERGY.

(3)        Review and approve any proposed modifications to performance targets or programs.

(4)        Contract with an independent professional agency to monitor and verify results reported by NC SAVE$ ENERGY in annual and contract term reports.

(5)        Review and approve RFPs to solicit bid proposals for energy efficiency and energy conservation programs and programs that promote the sustainable use of energy.

(6)        Ensure that State agencies and contractors handle all contracts and reimbursements in a timely manner.

(7)        Make recommendations to the North Carolina Utilities Commission for changes in size or structure of the benefits charge under this Article and for including any other customer classes.

(e)        The Oversight Board shall develop criteria for awarding contracts under G.S. 62-126.6. The criteria developed shall include consideration of all of the following:

(1)        The reduction of electricity and natural gas usage and demand.

(2)        Economic benefits to low- and moderate-income North Carolina residents, whether directly or indirectly through tax savings.

(3)        Increases in comfort levels and in protecting health against weather extremes for vulnerable populations.

(4)        Cost-effectiveness.

(5)        The reduction of utility bills through stabilizing or reducing demand for new energy generation.

(6)        The training of employees and creation of employment in furtherance with the program's goals.

(7)        Measurement and verification of energy savings and program effectiveness.

(8)        Geographical distribution.

(f)         The Oversight Board may develop guidelines in addition to the contract criteria under subsection (e) of this section consistent with and as necessary to implement this Article.

" 62-126.4.  Staff of NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board.

(a)        Staff. - The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board, as soon as practicable after its establishment, shall select and hire an Executive Director and up to two additional staff as may be deemed necessary by the Oversight Board to provide operational liaison between the Board and either the State agency administering NC SAVE$ ENERGY or the Contract Administrator.

(b)        Duties of the Executive Director. - The Executive Director shall manage the day-to-day functions and duties of NC SAVE$ ENERGY, including overseeing any contract with any Contract Administrator. The Executive Director's primary duties shall be to conduct program research and design, administer the contracts entered into under G.S. 62-126.6, and oversee the programs funded by the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund to ensure that the programs meet appropriate performance and budgetary targets. The duties of the Executive Director, other NC SAVE$ ENERGY staff, and any Contract Administrator shall be established by the Oversight Board and shall include the following:

(1)        Identifying, developing, administering, promoting, implementing, and evaluating programs, methods, and technologies that support energy efficiency and energy conservation programs and programs to promote conservation and the sustainable use of energy for residential and public service institutional consumers.

(2)        Researching, promoting, and assisting in the continuance or improvement of the production, delivery, and use of energy efficiency programs and energy conservation programs and programs to promote the sustainable use of energy for residential and institutional consumers.

(3)        Using the energy efficiency expertise and capabilities that exist or may develop in the State or in other similar statewide programs, and consulting with State agency experts.

(4)        Promoting program initiatives, incentives, and market strategies that address the needs of persons and demographic groups facing the most significant barriers to participation in energy efficiency programs and services.

(5)        Promoting coordinated program and service delivery, including coordination with low-income weatherization programs such as the Weatherization Assistance Program, and with electric and gas public utilities regarding the delivery of low-income home energy assistance, other energy efficiency programs, or utility programs.

(6)        Promoting training programs for potential employees and certification programs for employers and contractors.

(7)        Coordinating loan programs with financial institutions to provide low-interest loans to homeowners and owners of rental properties for energy efficiency measures, appliances, and heating and air conditioning systems.

(8)        Submitting to the Oversight Board for review and approval a multiyear proposed plan for the budget and future programs that promotes program improvement, program stability, and the maturation of existing programs.

" 62-126.5.  NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund; public benefits fee.

(a)        The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund is established as a special revenue fund. The State Treasurer shall hold the Fund separate and apart from all other moneys, funds, and accounts. Investment earnings shall be credited to the Fund. Disbursements from the Fund shall be administered by the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board. Any balance remaining in the Fund at the end of the fiscal year shall be carried forward in the Fund. The Fund shall consist of moneys from the following sources:

(1)        The public benefits fee consisting of a surcharge imposed on electric and gas utility ratepayers under subsection (b) of this section.

(2)        Appropriations and other State grants, including bond receipts.

(3)        Any other grants, including federal grants or block grants.

(4)        Any contributions or donations.

(b)        The Utilities Commission shall collect as a public benefits fee a surcharge for electric and gas utilities that is imposed on their respective ratepayers and transferred and credited to the Fund. The surcharge shall be equal to eight hundredths of one cent ($.0008) per kilowatt hour on residential electric customers and one cent (1) per therm for residential natural gas customers.

(c)        The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund shall be used to enter into contracts to support energy efficiency and conservation programs, including services provided under such programs, subject to the review and approval of the Oversight Board and in accordance with G.S. 62-126(c) and the provisions of this Article. The Oversight Board shall give priority to contracts for energy efficiency programs that reduce residential electric and natural gas usage and that have as a purpose one or more of the following:

(1)        To target existing housing, including rental buildings, owned or occupied by low- and moderate-income residents.

(2)        To target reducing energy consumption of appliances, heating and cooling systems, and hot water heaters.

(3)        Subject to subsection (d) of this section, to target institutional buildings in order to maximize energy efficiency.

(4)        To create new jobs to carry out program activities.

(5)        To train or certify potential workers and contractors in efficiency measures and meeting or exceeding energy efficiency standards in building codes.

(6)        To implement innovative financial programs, including pilot projects, to provide low-interest or no-interest loans and other financing programs.

(7)        To match federal grants or block grants, other government contributions, contributions from nonprofit corporations, and foundation grants, including in-kind contributions.

(d)        No more than seven percent (7%) of the annual balance of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund on July 1 of each year, or a smaller amount to be determined by the Utilities Commission under subsection (g) of this section, may be used each fiscal year for administrative and operating expenses of the Oversight Board, its staff, and any Contract Administrator. No more than ten percent (10%) of the annual balance of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund on July 1 of each year may be used each fiscal year to fund programs that provide energy efficiency improvements for institutional buildings under subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of this section, except that funds that are raised specifically for that purpose through grants, appropriations, and federal funding are not to be included in this ten-percent (10%) limitation. Higher priority under subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of this section shall be given to programs that benefit buildings owned by State or local government. No more than eight percent (8%) of the annual balance of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund on July 1 of each year may be used each fiscal year to fund programs for public education, workforce training, and job creation. A minimum of seventy-five percent (75%) of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund on July 1 of each year shall be used to fund residential efficiency programs, with a strong emphasis on continuing to fund low-income weatherization at a level as close as practicable to or above that which received funding under ARRA. (e)    Payments from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund shall be made on the approval of the Chair of the Oversight Board.

(f)         Any residential customer shall be exempt from the surcharge under subsection (b) of this section if the customer demonstrates to the relevant utility or the Oversight Board that the customer has a State taxable income of less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) for the preceding tax year. All electric and gas utility providers shall notify ratepayers on monthly statements no less than twice each year of the exemptions that apply under this subsection.

(g)        The Utilities Commission shall review the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund annually and determine whether the surcharge under subsection (b) of this section should be increased for residential customers in order to carry out the purpose of this Article and to meet utility integrated resource planning requirements pursuant to G.S. 62-110.1. As part of its annual review, the Utilities Commission may also determine whether a surcharge should be imposed upon other classes of customers and credited to the Fund for the purposes of providing similar services and, if so, establish such a surcharge for those classes. As part of its annual review, the Utilities Commission may consider the advisability of establishing a tiered rate system for any surcharge imposed under this section so that those who use greater amounts of electricity or natural gas pay a higher rate. As part of its annual review, the Commission may establish a lower surcharge for persons with low incomes and those on fixed incomes who do not otherwise receive an exemption under subsection (f) of this section.

(h)        The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund shall not be available to meet any current or past general obligations of the State, provided that the State may participate in any energy efficiency programs or services on the same basis as any other electric or gas customer.

(i)         Nothing in this Article shall create or be construed to cause the public benefits fee under this section and any other funding source of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund to be considered State or public moneys subject to appropriation by the General Assembly or be required to be deposited into the State treasury.

" 62-126.6.  Implementation of specific energy efficiency or energy conservation programs and programs to promote the sustainable use of energy.

(a)        The NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board may contract with any of the following entities for the purpose of implementing an energy efficiency or energy conservation program or a program that promotes sustainable energy use in North Carolina:

(1)        A State agency.

(2)        A local government unit.

(3)        An owner or operator of an institutional building.

(4)        A commercial business that provides energy efficiency and conservation services.

(5)        A utility regulated by the Utilities Commission.

(6)        A bank, credit union, or other financial institution.

(7)        A nonprofit corporation.

(8)        A combination of two or more of the entities under subdivision (1) through (7) of this subsection under a joint proposal.

(b)        Each entity, except any governmental body, that contracts with the Oversight Board under this section shall be required by the Oversight Board to have an annual audit.

(c)        A contract may be awarded under this section only for a program that satisfies the criteria and furthers the purposes of this Article.

" 62-126.7.  Existing energy efficiency programs operated by the utilities.

Upon motion by any utility currently operating any energy efficiency program, or by any other interested person, or on its own motion, the Utilities Commission may authorize the utility to transfer an energy efficiency program to NC SAVE$ ENERGY if the Commission determines that it is in the public interest to do so. Reasons why a transfer is in the public interest are to eliminate duplication, reduce either rates or customer bills, or to provide for a more effective program. As part of the transfer, the Commission may require the utility to provide the operating funds for the program to NC SAVE$ ENERGY for up to three years.

" 62-126.8.  Affordable energy.

NC SAVE$ ENERGY shall assess strategies and funding mechanisms to weatherize residential units in addition to those households currently served with Weatherization Assistance Program funding. NC SAVE$ ENERGY may target services to households living in single-family owner-occupied units and mobile homes, single-family rental units, rental buildings with five units or fewer, and large multifamily buildings with more than five units. To meet this specific mandate, NC SAVE$ ENERGY shall target homes and rental units within economically distressed local government units.

" 62-126.9.  Reporting requirements.

(a)        No later than October 1 of each year, the Chair of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board shall report to the Joint Legislative Utility Review Commission and the Fiscal Research Division regarding the implementation of this Article. The report shall include a list of the programs awarded contracts from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund for the previous 12-month period. The list shall include for each program a description of the program, the amount of the contract awarded for the program, and the total cost of the program, including the cost of providing any services that are included in such program. The report shall also include findings regarding the impact of the initial surcharge structure on low- and moderate-income electric and natural gas customers and compare this structure to projected impacts of a flat fee structure or tiered fee structure to achieve the same surcharge revenues for the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund.

(b)        In addition to the report under subsection (a) of this section, the Chair of the Oversight Board shall no later than July 1 of each year report to the Utilities Commission the results of the monitoring and verification of energy savings, decreases in demand, and load forecasts to be included by the utilities in their annual integrated resource plan filings pursuant to G.S. 62-110.1. The Utilities Commission may adopt rules to establish a procedure for filing and describe the required contents of the annual report under this subsection.

" 62-126.10.  Advisory Council.

(a)        There is established the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Advisory Council. The Advisory Council shall advise the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board with regard to allocations made from the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Fund on energy efficiency programs, shall serve as a liaison to energy and energy service providers to ensure good information sharing, and shall advise the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board with regard to other issues as requested by the Oversight Board.

(b)        The Oversight Board shall select members of the Advisory Council under subsection (c) of this section and shall establish the terms of service of these members.

(c)        The Council shall consist of six members from the investor-owned public utilities and energy service providers, six members from the nonprofit sector involved in home weatherization, human services, or housing, and up to five additional members with specified expertise the Oversight Board determines would be of benefit to the Advisory Council.

(d)        All appointees to the Advisory Council shall maximize geographic, gender, and racial diversity to the extent possible."

SECTION 2.  The initial report due under G.S. 162-126(a), as enacted by Section 1 of this act, is to be submitted no later than October 1, 2012, and the initial report due under G.S. 162-126(b), as enacted by Section 1 of this act, is to be submitted no later than July 1, 2014.

SECTION 3.  Nominations for initial appointments to the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board, established under G.S. 62-126.2, as enacted by Section 1 of this act, may be made within 90 days of the effective date of this act, and the North Carolina Utilities Commission shall, notwithstanding G.S. 62-126.2(d), as enacted by Section 1 of this act, provide notice of the opportunity for nomination to the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board through notice provided in the North Carolina Register and its Internet Web site and shall oversee the nomination and selection process in compliance with Article 6B of Chapter 62 of the General Statutes, as enacted by Section 1 of this act, notwithstanding G.S. 62-126.2(d). Any interested person may nominate himself, herself, or another person for an initial appointment to the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board. Notwithstanding G.S. 62-126.2(d), the North Carolina Utilities Commission shall keep a list of interested persons and notify them of the opportunity for nominations under this section. Within 120 days of the effective date of this act, the members of the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board shall be appointed, and the NC SAVE$ ENERGY Oversight Board shall hold its first meeting.

SECTION 4.  This act becomes effective October 1, 2011, and collection of the public benefits fee imposed under G.S. 62-126.5, as enacted by Section 1 of this act, shall commence within 180 days of this effective date.