HB 346: "An Act relating to regulation of telecommunications utilities."
00HOUSE BILL NO. 346 01 "An Act relating to regulation of telecommunications utilities." 02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 * Section 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be known as the "Telecommunications 04 Regulatory Reform Act of 1995." 05 * Sec. 2. FINDINGS. The legislature finds that 06 (1) modern, affordable, efficient, and universally available telecommunications 07 service is essential to the people of the state; 08 (2) more efficient delivery of educational, health care, public safety, and other 09 public services will be enhanced by allowing telecommunications utilities regulatory flexibility 10 in service offerings; 11 (3) technological innovation, new services, reduced costs, and increased 12 consumer choice for telecommunications service, resulting from the lifting of outdated 13 regulations to allow telecommunications utilities to engage in fair competition, will enhance 14 the state's economic growth, create jobs, and increase productivity;
01 (4) the Alaska Public Utilities Commission should oversee competition to 02 ensure that the competition is fair and that the benefits of competition are realized. 03 * Sec. 3. AS 42.05.123(c) is amended to read: 04 (c) It is the responsibility of the communications carrier section in its 05 participation in rate or tariff adjudication proceedings to advocate and provide support 06 for just and reasonable rates [THE LOWEST PRACTICABLE RATE] under the 07 circumstances. 08 * Sec. 4. AS 42.05.191 is amended to read: 09 Sec. 42.05.191. FORMAT OF ORDERS. Every formal order of the 10 commission shall be based upon the facts of record. Every order entered pursuant to 11 a hearing must state the commission's findings, the basis of its findings and 12 conclusions, and [TOGETHER WITH] its decision. In the case of a formal order 13 concerning a telecommunications utility, the commission's order must also include 14 conclusions of law. These orders shall be entered of record and a copy of them shall 15 be served on all parties of record in the proceeding. 16 * Sec. 5. AS 42.05.201 is amended to read: 17 Sec. 42.05.201. PUBLICATION OF REPORTS, ORDERS, DECISIONS, AND 18 REGULATIONS. All reports, orders, decisions, and regulations of the commission 19 shall be in writing. The commission shall apprise all affected utilities and interested 20 parties of these reports, orders, decisions, and regulations as they are issued and 21 adopted, and, when appropriate to do so, shall publish them in a manner that will 22 reasonably inform the public or the affected consumers of any public utility service. 23 In publishing orders concerning telecommunications utility cost and marketing 24 information, the commission shall comply with AS 42.05.671(c). The commission 25 may set charges for costs of printing or reproducing and furnishing copies of its 26 reports, orders, decisions, and regulations. The publication requirement, as it pertains 27 to regulations, does not supersede the requirements of AS 44.62 ( [THE] 28 Administrative Procedure Act [(AS 44.62]). 29 * Sec. 6. AS 42.05.301 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 30 (b) It is not an unreasonable preference under this section for a 31 telecommunications utility to offer a new service on a trial basis to selected customers.
01 * Sec. 7. AS 42.05.306 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 02 (b) A telecommunications utility may offer a discounted service or reduced 03 rate for telecommunications services provided to schools, universities, libraries, health 04 care facilities, museums, public broadcast stations, public safety facilities, and other 05 public institutional communications users. The commission may not require a 06 telecommunications utility to offer a discounted service or reduced rate or to incur 07 uncompensated costs or administrative burdens for services provided under this section. 08 * Sec. 8. AS 42.05.311(a) is amended to read: 09 (a) A public utility having sewers, conduits, utilidors, poles, pole lines, pipes, 10 pipelines, mains, or other distribution or transmission facilities shall, for a reasonable 11 compensation, permit another public utility to use them when the public convenience 12 and necessity require this use and the use will not result in substantial injury to the 13 owner, or in substantial detriment to the service to the customers of the owners. 14 However, a telecommunications utility is not required to permit another utility to 15 use its facilities under this subsection if the use will result in injury to the owner 16 or detriment to the service to the customers of the owners. The cost of 17 modifications or additions necessary to a joint use shall be at the expense of the public 18 utility requesting the use of the facilities. 19 * Sec. 9. AS 42.05.311(b) is amended to read: 20 (b) A telecommunications utility shall permit connection to be made and 21 service to be furnished between a system operated by it and the system or toll facilities 22 operated by another public utility or with the communications facility or system of a 23 nonutility, or between its toll facilities and the toll facilities of another public utility, 24 when public convenience and necessity require the connection and the connection will 25 not result in substantial injury to the owner or other users of the facilities of either 26 public utility or in substantial detriment to the service of either public utility. 27 However, a telecommunications utility is not required to permit another utility to 28 make a connection or furnish service under this subsection if the connection or 29 provision of services will result in injury to the owner or other users of the 30 facilities or in detriment to the service provided. For telecommunications utilities, 31 the modifications or additions necessary to joint use shall be made at the expense
01 of the entity requesting the use of the facilities. 02 * Sec. 10. AS 42.05.321(a) is amended to read: 03 (a) In case of failure to agree upon the joint use or interconnection of facilities 04 or the conditions or compensation for joint use or interconnections, the public utility, 05 including any municipality, or an interested person may apply to the commission for 06 an order requiring the interconnection. Except as provided in (c) of this section, if 07 [IF] after investigation and opportunity for hearing, the commission finds that public 08 convenience and necessity require the joint use or connection, and that the use or 09 connection will not result in substantial injury to the owner utility or its customers, or 10 in substantial detriment to the services furnished by the owner utility, or in the creation 11 of safety hazards, it shall 12 (1) order that the use be permitted; 13 (2) prescribe reasonable conditions and compensation for the joint use; 14 (3) order the interconnection to be made; 15 (4) determine the time and manner of the interconnection; 16 (5) determine the apportionment of costs and responsibility for 17 operation and maintenance of the interconnection. 18 * Sec. 11. AS 42.05.321 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 19 (c) In the case of a telecommunications utility, the commission may require 20 the utility to permit the joint use or connection that is in the public interest under (a) 21 of this section only if the commission finds that the use or connection will not result 22 in injury to the owner utility or its customers, or in detriment to the services furnished 23 by the owner utility, or in the creation of safety hazards. 24 * Sec. 12. AS 42.05.361(a) is amended to read: 25 (a) Under regulations the commission shall adopt, every public utility shall file 26 with the commission, within the time and in the form the commission designates, its 27 complete tariff showing all rates, including joint rates, tolls, rentals, and charges 28 collected and all classifications, rules, regulations, and terms and conditions under 29 which it furnishes its services and facilities to the general public, or to a regulated or 30 municipally owned utility for resale to the public, together with a copy of every special 31 contract with customers that [WHICH] in any way affects or relates to the serving
01 utility's rates, tolls, charges, rentals, classifications, services, or facilities. However, 02 a telecommunications utility is not required to file a copy of a special contract 03 concerning a telecommunications service subject to competition unless specifically 04 requested to do so by the commission. The public utility shall clearly print, or type, 05 its complete tariff and keep an up-to-date copy of it on file at its principal business 06 office and at a designated place in each community served. The tariffs shall be made 07 available to, and subject to inspection by, the general public on demand. 08 * Sec. 13. AS 42.05.391 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 09 (e) It is not an unreasonable preference or advantage for a telecommunications 10 utility to 11 (1) offer a service subject to competition at or above the incremental 12 cost of providing the service; 13 (2) offer a new service at or above the incremental cost of providing 14 the service; 15 (3) waive the nonrecurring charges for a nonessential or competitive 16 service as part of a promotional offering; 17 (4) offer a new service on a trial basis to selected customers. 18 * Sec. 14. AS 42.05.411(a) is amended to read: 19 (a) Except as provided in AS 42.05.416, a [A] public utility may not establish 20 or place in effect any new or revised rates, charges, rules, regulations, conditions of 21 service, or practices except after 45 days' notice to the commission and 30 days' notice 22 to the public. Notice shall be given to the commission by filing with the commission 23 and keeping open for public inspection the revised tariff provisions that [WHICH] 24 shall plainly indicate the changes to be made in the schedules then in force and the 25 time when the changes will go into effect. The commission shall prescribe means by 26 regulation whereby notice is given to the public before or no later than 15 days after 27 the filing that is reasonably adequate to notify customers affected by the filing. The 28 commission, for good cause shown, may allow changes to take effect on less than 45 29 days' notice to the commission or 30 days' notice to the public under conditions the 30 commission prescribes. 31 * Sec. 15. AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to read:
01 Sec. 42.05.416. TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES SUBJECT TO 02 COMPETITION. (a) A telecommunications utility whose services are subject to 03 competition may not establish or put into effect an initial rate, charge, rule, regulation, 04 condition of service, or practice until the utility has given 30 days' notice to the 05 commission and 15 days' notice to the public. The commission may, for good cause 06 shown, allow charges to take effect after fewer than 30 days' notice to the commission 07 or 15 days' notice to the public. 08 (b) The rates charged for a tariffed telecommunications service that is subject 09 to competition may be changed if the utility gives at least 10 days' notice to the 10 commission. 11 (c) A telecommunications utility shall, within 10 days after the effective date 12 of a special contract concerning telecommunications services subject to competition, 13 file a notice with the commission describing the special contract. 14 (d) A new special contract concerning telecommunications services subject to 15 competition may not take effect until after the commission determines that the 16 telecommunications services that are the subject of the contract are subject to 17 competition. 18 * Sec. 16. AS 42.05.421(a) is amended to read: 19 (a) Except as provided in AS 42.05.426, when [WHEN] a tariff filing is 20 made containing a new or revised rate, classification, rule, regulation, practice, or 21 condition of service the commission may, either upon written complaint or upon its 22 own motion, after reasonable notice, conduct a hearing to determine the reasonableness 23 and propriety of the filing. Pending the hearing, the commission may, by order stating 24 the reasons for its action, suspend the operation of the tariff filing. For a tariff filing 25 that does not change the utility's revenue requirement or rate design, the suspension 26 may last for a period not longer than six months beyond the effective date established 27 in the tariff filing unless the commission extends the period for good cause. In the 28 case of a tariff filing of a telecommunications utility, whether or not the filing 29 changes the utility's revenue requirement or rate design, the commission may not 30 extend the period of suspension. For a tariff filing that changes the utility's revenue 31 requirement or rate design, the suspension may last, unless the commission extends the
01 period for good cause, for a period not longer than 02 (1) six months before an interim rate equal to the requested rate goes 03 into effect and not longer than 12 months before a permanent rate goes into effect if 04 the annual gross revenues of the utility making the filing are more than $3,000,000; 05 and 06 (2) 150 days before an interim rate equal to the requested new rate goes 07 into effect and not longer than one year before a permanent rate goes into effect if the 08 annual gross revenues of the utility making the filing are $3,000,000 or less. 09 * Sec. 17. AS 42.05 is amended by adding new sections to read: 10 Sec. 42.05.426. NEW OR COMPETITIVE TELECOMMUNICATIONS 11 SERVICES. (a) A telecommunications utility may ask the commission to determine 12 that a telecommunications service is a service subject to competition. The commission 13 shall make a determination and accept or reject a request that a service be treated as 14 subject to competition within 30 days after receipt of a filing making the request. If 15 the commission does not act within the 30 days, the request is considered to be 16 granted. 17 (b) Commission order changes to new telecommunications services or to 18 telecommunications services that are subject to competition may only take effect 19 prospectively. 20 (c) The commission shall make findings concerning whether a new service 21 offering or a service offering subject to competition is just and reasonable within six 22 months after receipt of the request. If the commission does not act within the six 23 months, the terms and conditions are considered to be just and reasonable. 24 (d) A telecommunications utility may file a request to offer a service that is 25 subject to competition as a deregulated service that is no longer subject to the 26 commission's jurisdiction. The commission shall adopt regulations governing the filing 27 requirements for a reclassification of a service from regulated to deregulated to ensure 28 that the costs and revenue are accounted for appropriately. The commission shall 29 review reclassification filings within 60 days after receipt of the filing and issue 30 findings that either accept or reject the filing. If the commission fails to act within the 31 60 days, the filing takes effect. A determination that a utility may offer a deregulated
01 service does not affect the utility's status as a regulated utility or an exempt utility 02 under AS 42.05.254. 03 * Sec. 18. AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to read: 04 Sec. 42.05.436. NEW OR COMPETITION TELECOMMUNICATIONS 05 SERVICES. (a) For a new service or a competitive service subject to competition, 06 a just and reasonable rate is a rate at or above the incremental cost of providing the 07 service. If the commission, after investigation and hearing, finds that a rate is below 08 the incremental cost of providing the service, it shall 09 (1) determine the incremental cost of providing the service and 10 establish it by order; and 11 (2) require the utility to show cause why it should not be subject to 12 AS 42.05.571 and 42.05.581 for each day that a customer received a service at a rate 13 below the incremental cost. 14 (b) If the commission fails to make its rate findings within six months after 15 the filing date, the rate is considered to be just and reasonable. 16 * Sec. 19. AS 42.05.441 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 17 (d) The commission shall presume, subject to rebuttal, that, if property has 18 been included in rates for a telecommunications utility, it continues to be allowable for 19 rate making purposes. 20 * Sec. 20. AS 42.05.471 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 21 (c) The commission shall presume, subject to rebuttal, that the depreciation 22 rates and methodologies accepted by the Federal Communications Commission 23 establish a reasonable range of depreciation rates and methodologies for 24 telecommunications utilities. 25 * Sec. 21. AS 42.05.671 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 26 (e) Cost and marketing information associated with new telecommunications 27 services or telecommunications services subject to competition is confidential and not 28 open to the public for inspection. The commission shall remove confidential 29 information from its publicly issued orders. The commission shall adopt regulations 30 to implement this subsection. 31 * Sec. 22. AS 42.05.990 is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:
01 (9) "service subject to competition" means a service where a customer 02 may purchase a substitute service from another entity.