Legislature(2017 - 2018)

2017-02-13 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2017-02-13                     House Journal                      Page 0245
HB 120                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 120 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to the Department of Law public advocacy                                                                  
     function to participate in matters that come before the Federal                                                            
     Energy Regulatory Commission."                                                                                             
was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary and Finance                                                               
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Zero, Dept. of Law                                                                                                          
The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 10 follows:                                                                    

2017-02-13                     House Journal                      Page 0246
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to the function of public                                                       
advocacy for regulatory affairs established in the Department of Law                                                            
and the Attorney General's authority to participate as a party in                                                               
proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission                                                                     
Alaska Statute 44.23.020(e) requires the Attorney General to                                                                    
"participate as a party in matters that come before the Regulatory                                                              
Commission of Alaska when the Attorney General determines that                                                                  
participation is in the public interest." All costs associated with the                                                         
Attorney General's participation in these matters are paid by a                                                                 
regulatory cost charge (RCC). The RCC is a charge collected by utility                                                          
companies and pipeline carriers from customers and is used to pay for                                                           
the administrative costs associated with regulating all utilities and                                                           
pipeline carriers in Alaska. The RCC is authorized by AS 42.05.254                                                              
(utility RCC) and AS 42.06.286 (pipeline RCC). Both of these statutes                                                           
allow the collection of a RCC to "fund operations of the public                                                                 
advocacy function under . . . . AS 44.23.020(e) within the Department                                                           
of Law." See AS 42.05.254(a) and AS 42.06.286(a).                                                                               
The Attorney General also has responsibilities for FERC pipeline                                                                
matters, most of which are joint matters before the Regulatory                                                                  
Commission of Alaska (RCA) and the FERC. For example, tariff                                                                    
issues for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) are mostly                                                                   
litigated at the FERC administrative level. Decisions issued by FERC                                                            
are reviewed and generally adopted by the RCA to the extent intrastate                                                          
tariffs are affected. Because most of this work is done at the FERC,                                                            
and is not a matter "before the RCA," the RCC funding mechanism is                                                              
not available to pay the Attorney General's costs for these matters.                                                            
By amending AS 44.23.020(e) to expand the Attorney General's public                                                             
advocacy function to include FERC matters, the Attorney General will                                                            
be allowed to include this work in the request for RCC funds. These                                                             
costs, like all other utility and pipeline regulatory costs that come                                                           
before the RCA, will then be passed on to the regulated entities.                                                               

2017-02-13                     House Journal                      Page 0247
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this bill.                                                                           
Bill Walker