HOUSE BILL NO. 343
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 6 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO' RESIDENTIAL HEATING SYSTEMS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Title 6 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Chapter 34 to read:
"Chapter 34. Contracts for Providing Service and Fuel for Residential Heating Systems. § 3401. Definitions.
As used in this Chapter:
(a) 'Residential heating fuel' includes natural gas, propane, fuel oil, wood, and electricity.
(b) 'Residential heating system' means all equipment necessary for the storage and transmission of residential heating fuel and the conversion thereof to energy for the purpose of heating a residence and/or heating hot water to be used in the residence.
(c) 'Energy service company' means any person engaged in the sale of residential heating fuel and/or the service of residential heating systems.
(d) 'Energy service agreement' means a contract between a homeowner and an energy service company by which the energy service company is to provide residential heating fuel to the homeowner's home and/or service the residential heating system.
(e) 'Person' means any individual, partnership, corporation, trustee, or other entity having the capacity to enter into a valid and enforceable contract.
§ 3402. Mandatory Provisions for Energy Service Agreements.
(a) An energy service agreement must contain the following provisions:
(i) all charges associated with the commencement of the services provided by the energy service company, listed with specificity;
() all charges associated with the termination of the services provided by the energy service company, listed with specificity;
(iii) that the energy service company will, after the energy service agreement has been in effect for at least one year and at the written request of the homeowner, sell the residential heating system equipment installed on the premises and owned by the energy service company to another energy service company designated in writing by the homeowner. The purchase price of the residential heating system equipment sold pursuant to the preceding sentence shall be no more than the actual cost of equipment at the time of sale, plus installation costs incurred at the time of installation; and
(iv) notice that sale of the residence, whether voluntary or involuntary, shall be deemed a termination of the energy service agreement by the homeowner, and notice of the homeowner's notice obligations under §3403(a).
(b) An energy service company may not demand from the homeowner payment of any charges not specified in the energy agreement pursuant to the above provisions.
(c) Except as provided in this section, an energy service agreement may contain any provisions mutually agreeable to an energy service company and a homeowner. Nothing in this section shall require an energy service company to enter into an energy service agreement with any homeowner.
§ 3403. Provision of Information to Purchasers of Residences.
(a) When the owner of any residence subject to an energy service agreement enters into a contract for the sale of such residence, the owner must provide the energy service company with notice thereof at least thirty (30) days prior to settlement.
() No later than fifteen (15) days prior to the scheduled settlement, the energy service company shall provide to the prospective purchaser a copy of any agreement the energy service company proposed to have the purchaser sign as a condition to the continuation of the energy service company's services after the sale.
(a) This fifteen (15) day notice period may be waived only by the prospective purchaser, and then only in writing signed by the purchaser acknowledging the purchaser's understanding of entitlement to fifteen (15) days to consider any proposed energy service agreement.
(b) If the energy service company fails to comply with § 3403(b) and the purchaser does not waive in writing such non-compliance, then, unless the purchaser agrees otherwise, the energy service company shall be required to remove the residential heating system equipment owned by the energy service company from the premises. Removal of the residential heating system equipment shall be, except as provided below, at the energy service company's expense and shall be completed within thirty (30) days after the sale; provided, however, that no energy service company shall be permitted to remove any equipment or refuse to supply fuel between the months of October and April unless the owner waives this restriction in writing. If the new owner refuses to enter into a contract with the energy service company and refuses to provide the written waiver to remove the equipment, the use of the equipment and supply of the fuel shall be billed to the new owner, at the energy service company's regular rates, on a monthly basis until such time as the equipment may be removed in compliance with the terms of this subsection.
§ 3404. Limitation of Liability Upon Transfer of Residential Heating System Equipment.
If the owner of a residence requires the settlement of residential heating system equipment pursuant to the provision of § 3402(a)(iii) above, the purchasing energy service company shall perform such inspection of the residential heating system equipment as it deems appropriate. The sale may be completed only if the purchasing energy service company gives the owner of the residence a written certification that the equipment to be purchased has been properly installed and is in good working order. If upon inspection, the condition of the residential heating equipment is not to the satisfaction of the purchasing energy service company, the purchasing energy company shall give the homeowner a list of conditions or repairs needed. The purchasing energy service company may refuse to complete the purchase if such repairs or conditions are not met. At or before the sale of such residential heating system equipment, the purchasing energy service company shall give the selling energy service company a written release of all liability arising out of or relating to the sale of, installation of, service of or provision of fuel for such residential heating system equipment. The selling energy service company may refuse to complete the sale absent such release.
§ 3405. Private Rights of Action.
This chapter does not afford any person or any energy service company a private rights of action for damages or recession of the agreement of sale for the residence, and no such right of action shall be implied from any of its provisions, except that (a) an energy service company may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover removal costs from a homeowner pursuant to § 3403(d) and (b). The Court of Chancery may enforce the provisions of this chapter by appropriate orders."
Approved February 10, 1998