Legislature(2017 - 2018)

2017-02-13 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2017-02-13                     Senate Journal                      Page 0240
SB 58                                                                                                                         
SENATE BILL NO. 58 BY THE SENATE 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 Resources, Judiciary and                                                            
Finance Committees.                                                                                                             
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, zero, Department of Law                                                                                     
Governor's transmittal letter dated February 10:                                                                                
Dear President Kelly:                                                                                                           
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                                                                     

2017-02-13                     Senate Journal                      Page 0241
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                                                               
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this bill.                                                                           
Bill Walker