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HB 99: "An Act extending the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; and relating to regulatory cost charges."

00 HOUSE BILL NO. 99                                                                                                       
01 "An Act extending the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; and relating to                                               
02 regulatory cost charges."                                                                                               
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1.  AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                   
05  Sec. 42.05.254.  PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATORY COST CHARGE.   (a)                                                         
06 A regulated public utility operating in the state shall pay to the commission an annual                                 
07 regulatory cost charge in an amount not to exceed .8 percent of gross revenue derived                                   
08 from operations in the state, as modified under (c) of this section if appropriate. An                                  
09 exempt utility shall pay the actual cost of services provided to it by the commission.                                  
10     (b)  The commission shall by regulation establish a method to determine                                            
11 annually the amount of the regulatory cost charge for a public utility. If the amount                                   
12 the commission expects to collect under (a) of this section and under AS 42.06.286(a)                                   
13 exceeds the authorized budget of the commission, the commission shall, by order,                                        
14 reduce the percentages set out in (a) of this section so that the total amount of the fees                              
01 collected approximately equals the authorized budget of the commission for the fiscal                                   
02 year.                                                                                                                   
03     (c)  In determining the amount of the regulatory cost charge imposed under (a)                                     
04 of this section,                                                                                                        
05     (1)  a utility selling utility services at wholesale shall modify its gross                                        
06 revenue by deducting payments it receives for wholesale sales;                                                          
07     (2)  a local exchange telephone utility shall modify its gross revenue by                                          
08 deducting payments received from other carriers for settlements or access charges;                                      
09   (3)  an electric utility shall reduce its gross revenue by subtracting the                                           
10 cost of power; in this paragraph, "cost of power" means the costs of generation and                                     
11 purchased power reported to the commission.                                                                             
12     (d)  The commission shall calculate the total regulatory cost charges to be                                        
13 levied against all regulated electric utilities under this section. The commission shall                                
14 allocate the total amount among the regulated electric utilities by using an equal charge                               
15 per kilowatt hour sold at retail.                                                                                       
16     (e)  The commission shall administer the charge imposed under this section.                                        
17 The Department of Revenue shall collect and enforce the charge imposed under this                                       
18 section.  The Department of Administration shall identify the amount of the operating                                   
19 budget of the commission that lapses into the general fund each year.  The legislature                                  
20 may appropriate an amount equal to the lapsed amount to the commission for its                                          
21 operating costs for the next fiscal year.  If the legislature does so, the commission shall                             
22 reduce the total regulatory cost charged collected for that fiscal year by a comparable                                 
23 amount.                                                                                                                 
24     (f)  The commission shall allow a public utility to recover all payments made                                      
25 to the commission under this section. The commission may not require a public utility                                   
26 to file a rate case in order to be eligible to recover the regulatory cost charge.                                      
27     (g)  The commission may adopt regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative                                           
28 Procedure Act) necessary to administer this section, including requirements and                                         
29 procedures for reporting information and making quarterly payments. The Department                                      
30 of Revenue may adopt regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) for                                      
31 investigating the accuracy of filed information, and for collecting required payments.                                  
01     (h)  In this section,                                                                                              
02     (1)  "exempt utility" means a public utility that is certificated by the                                           
03 commission under AS 42.05.221 - 42.05.281 but, in accordance with AS 42.05.711,                                         
04 is exempt from other regulatory requirements of this chapter;                                                           
05     (2)  "gross revenue" means the total operating revenue from intrastate                                             
06 services, as shown in a utility's annual report required by the commission by                                           
07 regulation;                                                                                                             
08     (3)  "regulated utility" means a public utility that is certificated by the                                        
09 commission under AS 42.05.221 - 42.05.281 and that is subject to the other regulatory                                   
10 requirements of this chapter;                                                                                           
11     (4)  "wholesale sales" means sales to another utility for resale under                                             
12 circumstances that make revenue from the resale subject to the regulatory cost charge                                   
13 imposed under this section.                                                                                             
14    * Sec. 2.  AS 42.05.651(a) is amended to read:                                                                       
15     (a)  During [AFTER COMPLETION OF] a hearing or investigation held under                                          
16 this chapter, the commission may  [SHALL] allocate the costs of the hearing or                                        
17 investigation among the parties, including the commission, as is just under the                                         
18 circumstances. In allocating costs, the commission shall consider the regulatory cost                                  
19 charge paid by a utility under AS 42.05.254 and may consider the results, ability                                      
20 to pay, evidence of good faith, other relevant factors, and mitigating circumstances.                                   
21 Notwithstanding an intervening party's ability to pay, if the commission determines                                     
22 that an intervening party has conducted its intervention in a frivolous manner, the                                     
23 commission shall allocate all costs associated with the intervention to that party. The                                 
24 costs allocated may include the costs of any time devoted to the investigation or                                       
25 hearing by hired consultants, whether or not the consultants appear as witnesses or                                     
26 participants. The costs allocated may also include any out-of-pocket expenses incurred                                  
27 by the commission in the particular proceeding. The commission shall provide an                                         
28 opportunity for any person objecting to an allocation to be heard before the allocation                                 
29 becomes final.                                                                                                          
30    * Sec. 3.  AS 42.06 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                      
31  Sec. 42.06.286. PIPELINE CARRIER REGULATORY COST CHARGE.      (a)                                                    
01 A pipeline carrier operating in the state shall pay to the commission an annual                                         
02 regulatory cost charge in an amount not to exceed .8 percent of gross revenue derived                                   
03 from operations in the state. A regulatory cost charge may not be assessed on pipeline                                  
04 carrier operations unless the operations are within the jurisdiction of the commission.                                 
05     (b)  The commission shall by regulation establish a method to determine                                            
06 annually the amount of the regulatory cost charge. If the amount the commission                                         
07 expects to collect under (a) of this section and under AS 42.05.254(a) exceeds the                                      
08 authorized budget of the commission, the commission shall, by order, reduce the                                         
09 percentage set out in (a) of this section so that the total amount of the fees collected                                
10 approximately equals the authorized budget of the commission for the fiscal year.                                       
11     (c)  The commission shall administer the charge imposed under this section.                                        
12 The Department of Revenue shall collect and enforce the charge imposed under this                                       
13 section.  The Department of Administration shall identify the amount of the operating                                   
14 budget of the commission that lapses into the general fund each year.  The legislature                                  
15 may appropriate an amount equal to the lapsed amount to the commission for its                                          
16 operating costs for the next fiscal year.  If the legislature does so, the commission shall                             
17 reduce the total regulatory cost charged collected for that fiscal year by a comparable                                 
18 amount.                                                                                                                 
19     (d)  The commission may adopt regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative                                           
20 Procedure Act) necessary to administer this section, including requirements and                                         
21 procedures for reporting information and making quarterly payments. The Department                                      
22 of Revenue may adopt regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) for                                      
23 investigating the accuracy of filed information, and for collecting required payments.                                  
24     (e)  In this section, "gross revenue" means the total intrastate operating revenue                                 
25 as shown in a pipeline carrier's annual report required by the commission by                                            
26 regulation.                                                                                                             
27    * Sec. 4.  AS 42.06.610(a) is amended to read:                                                                       
28     (a)  During a proceeding held under this chapter, the commission may                                             
29 [SHALL] allocate the cost of the proceeding among the parties, including the                                            
30 commission, as is just under the circumstances. In allocating costs, the commission                                    
31 shall consider the regulatory cost charge paid directly or indirectly under                                             
01 AS 42.06.286.  The costs allocated may include the costs of any time devoted to                                        
02 investigations or hearings by hired consultants, whether or not the consultants appear                                  
03 as witnesses or participants. The commission shall provide an opportunity for any                                       
04 person objecting to an allocation to be heard before the allocation becomes final.                                      
05    * Sec. 5.  AS 44.66.010(a)(4) is amended to read:                                                                    
06   (4)  Alaska Public Utilities Commission (AS 42.05.010) -- June 30,                                                  
07 1999 [1994];