SENATE BILL NO. 449
AN ACT MAKING A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION TO THE DELAWARE ENERGY OFFICE FOR THE OPERATION OF THE "DELAWARE ENERGY CRISIS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM" TO ASSIST HOMEOWNERS AND OTHERS IN PURCHASING HEATING FUELS.
WHEREAS, the cost of energy for residential heating has risen dramatically to a point where it imposes a severe financial burden upon Delaware's families; and
WHEREAS, the critical nature of such rapid escalation of energy costs presents a danger to the health of those Delaware families unable to bear such costs; and
WHEREAS, current programs exist whereby federal funds are distributed to provide emergency energy cost assistance to families whose incomes fall below one hundred and twenty-five per centum (125%) of the Community Services Agency poverty line; and
WHEREAS, financial assistance should be provided to other Delaware families in need, especially those whose incomes fall between one hundred and twenty-five per centum (125%) and one hundred and fifty percentum (150%) of the Community Services Agency poverty line.
RE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. The sum of one million, four hundred thousand dollars (1,400,000.00) is hereby appropriated to the Delaware Energy Office to be used in the maintenance of the Delaware Energy Crisis Assistance Program; said program being designed to provide, as a priority energy cost assistance to families whose incomes fall between one hundred and twenty-five per centum (125%) and one hundred and fifty per centum (150%) of the Community Services Agency poverty line, except that funds shall be made available to provide emergency energy loan assistance to families whose income exceeds these levels.
Section 2. Participation in the Delaware Energy Crisis Assistance Program shall be subject to the following limitations and conditions:
(a) No family whose income level otherwise entitles It to receive energy cost financial assistance shall receive more than $200.00 under the Program.
(b) Disbursements under the Program shall be applied only to the purchase of the following fuels: oil kerosene, wood, coal, bottled gas, natural gas, or electric heat.
(c) Disbursements shall be made only for the purchase of heating fuels and no disbursements shall be applied to bills due for prior deliveries.
(d) Disbursements under the Program shall be made directly to heating fuel vendors upon certification by such vendors that new fuel deliveries have been made in anticipation of payment from funds disbursed under the Program.
Section 3. Loans provided under the Delaware Energy Crisis Assistance Program shall be subject to the following conditions.
(a) Loans shall be made available to households for the purchase of residential heating fuels. The proceeds of the loan shall not be made to the household in the form of cash, but shall, instead, be made directly to the fuel vendor following delivery of the home heating fuel to the borrower.
(h) Loans under this program may only be used for purchase of residential fuels. Loan proceeds under the provisions of this subchapter shall not be applied retroactively for the purpose of satisfying past debts owed by households to retail heating fuel outlets; provided, however, the Delaware Energy Office may assist a household in arranging a repayment plan for such past debts acceptable by both the client and vendor.
(e) No household shall be eligible for more than one loan.
(d) No single loan shall be in excess of two hundred dollars per household.
(e) Repayment of loans granted under the provisions of this Subchapter may be made over a period of twelve (12) months in the following manner; however, nothing herein shall prevent an early repayment of the loan:
(I) For the first six (6) months of the loan the percent of interest shall be zero pereentum; or
(2) For a period of six (6) months beyond the first six (6) months the interest rate shall be one percent per month on the unpaid balance.
(f) Loans granted under the provisions of this Subchapter shall be forgiven upon presentation of satisfactory evidence by the borrower of expenditures for energy conservation improvements undertaken after the loan has been granted and completed within the terms of the loan agreement. The rate of loan abatement shall be as follows:
(1) Persons at above 150% of poverty income level, one dollar ($1) for each two dollars ($2) of expenditures for energy conservation improvements on the outstanding loan or loans.
(g) Energy conservation improvements eligible for consideration as stated in (f) above shall be identified in regulations issued by the Delaware Energy Office.
(h) The Director may provide for forgiveness of the loan in the event that exigent circumstances exist which prevent its repayment.
Section 4. The Director shall issue such rules and regulations as necessary or appropriate for carrying out the provisions of this Act.
Section 5. Loans under this Act shall be made only to the extent that the appropriations are available; provided, however, that loan repayments may be used to make such additional loans as shall be necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Act.
Section 6. Whoever knowingly provides false information in any application or report required under this Subchapter or under any rules and regulations promulgated by the Delaware Energy Office under authority of this Act, shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. Jurisdiction for violations of this Subchapter shall be in Superior Court of the State of Delaware.
Section 7. This is a supplemental appropriation and the funds appropriated shall be paid by the State Treasurer out of funds in the General Fund not otherwise appropriated. Any monies appropriated, but not expended or encumbered by June 30, 1980 shall transfer to the Delaware Energy Office for the Weatherization Program. Furthermore, any monies thereafter not expended by June 30, 1981 shall revert to the General Fund.
Approved February 1, 1980.