FIRST REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 946
94TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES WALSH (Sponsor), WILDBERGER, ROORDA, MEINERS, ZWEIFEL, LIESE, DONNELLY, MEADOWS, WALLACE, KRATKY, PAGE, SPRENG, VOGT, HARRIS (110), FRAME, CHAPPELLE-NADAL, LOWE (44), NORR, GEORGE, BOWMAN, DAUS, VILLA AND SCHOEMEHL (Co-sponsors).
Read 1st time February 22, 2007 and copies ordered printed.
D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk
To repeal sections 386.266 and 393.140, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof four new sections relating to electrical corporations, with penalty provisions.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Sections 386.266 and 393.140, RSMo, are repealed and four new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 386.266, 393.140, 393.141, and 393.144, to read as follows:
386.266. 1. Subject to the requirements of this section, any electrical corporation may make an application to the commission to approve rate schedules authorizing an interim energy charge, or periodic rate adjustments outside of general rate proceedings to reflect increases and decreases in its prudently incurred fuel and purchased-power costs, including transportation. The commission may, in accordance with existing law, include in such rate schedules features designed to provide the electrical corporation with incentives to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its fuel and purchased-power procurement activities.
2. Subject to the requirements of this section, any electrical, gas, or water corporation may make an application to the commission to approve rate schedules authorizing periodic rate adjustments outside of general rate proceedings to reflect increases and decreases in its prudently incurred costs, whether capital or expense, to comply with any federal, state, or local environmental law, regulation, or rule. Any rate adjustment made under such rate schedules shall not exceed an annual amount equal to two and one-half percent of the electrical, gas, or water corporation's Missouri gross jurisdictional revenues, excluding gross receipts tax, sales tax and other similar pass-through taxes not included in tariffed rates, for regulated services as established in the utility's most recent general rate case or complaint proceeding. In addition to the rate adjustment, the electrical, gas, or water corporation shall be permitted to collect any applicable gross receipts tax, sales tax, or other similar pass-through taxes, and such taxes shall not be counted against the two and one-half percent rate adjustment cap. Any costs not recovered as a result of the annual two and one-half percent limitation on rate adjustments may be deferred, at a carrying cost each month equal to the utilities net of tax cost of capital, for recovery in a subsequent year or in the corporation's next general rate case or complaint proceeding.
3. Subject to the requirements of this section, any gas corporation may make an application to the commission to approve rate schedules authorizing periodic rate adjustments outside of general rate proceedings to reflect the nongas revenue effects of increases or decreases in residential and commercial customer usage due to variations in either weather, conservation, or both.
4. The commission shall have the power to approve, modify, or reject adjustment mechanisms submitted under subsections 1 to 3 of this section only after providing the opportunity for a full hearing in a general rate proceeding, including a general rate proceeding initiated by complaint. The commission may approve such rate schedules after considering all relevant factors which may affect the costs or overall rates and charges of the corporation, provided that it finds that the adjustment mechanism set forth in the schedules:
(1) Is reasonably designed to provide the utility with a sufficient opportunity to earn a fair return on equity;
(2) Includes provisions for an annual true-up which shall accurately and appropriately remedy any over- or under-collections, including interest at the utility's short-term borrowing rate, through subsequent rate adjustments or refunds;
(3) In the case of an adjustment mechanism submitted under subsections 1 and 2 of this section, includes provisions requiring that the utility file a general rate case with the effective date of new rates to be no later than four years after the effective date of the commission order implementing the adjustment mechanism. However, with respect to each mechanism, the four-year period shall not include any periods in which the utility is prohibited from collecting any charges under the adjustment mechanism, or any period for which charges collected under the adjustment mechanism must be fully refunded. In the event a court determines that the adjustment mechanism is unlawful and all moneys collected thereunder are fully refunded, the utility shall be relieved of any obligation under that adjustment mechanism to file a rate case;
(4) In the case of an adjustment mechanism submitted under subsection 1 or 2 of this section, includes provisions for prudence reviews of the costs subject to the adjustment mechanism no less frequently than at eighteen-month intervals, and shall require refund of any imprudently incurred costs plus interest at the utility's short-term borrowing rate.
5. Once such an adjustment mechanism is approved by the commission under this section, it shall remain in effect until such time as the commission authorizes the modification, extension, or discontinuance of the mechanism in a general rate case or complaint proceeding. 6. Any amounts charged under any adjustment mechanism approved by the commission under this section shall be separately disclosed on each customer bill.
7. The commission may take into account any change in business risk to the corporation resulting from implementation of the adjustment mechanism in setting the corporation's allowed return in any rate proceeding, in addition to any other changes in business risk experienced by the corporation.
8. In the event the commission lawfully approves an incentive- or performance-based plan, such plan shall be binding on the commission for the entire term of the plan. This subsection shall not be construed to authorize or prohibit any incentive- or performance-based plan.
9. Prior to August 28, 2005, the commission shall have the authority to promulgate rules under the provisions of chapter 536, RSMo, as it deems necessary, to govern the structure, content and operation of such rate adjustments, and the procedure for the submission, frequency, examination, hearing and approval of such rate adjustments. Such rules shall be promulgated no later than one hundred fifty days after the initiation of such rulemaking proceeding. Any electrical, gas, or water corporation may apply for any adjustment mechanism under this section whether or not the commission has promulgated any such rules.
10. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as affecting any existing adjustment mechanism, rate schedule, tariff, incentive plan, or other ratemaking mechanism currently approved and in effect.
11. Each of the provisions of this section is severable. In the event any provision or subsection of this section is deemed unlawful, all remaining provisions shall remain in effect.
12. The provisions of this section shall take effect on January 1, 2006, and the commission shall have previously promulgated rules to implement the application process for any rate adjustment mechanism under this section prior to the commission issuing an order for any rate adjustment.
13. The public service commission shall appoint a task force, consisting of all interested parties, to study and make recommendations on the cost recovery and implementation of conservation and weatherization programs for electrical and gas corporations.
14. The commission shall not accept an application submitted to the commission under this section by any electrical corporation in violation of any regulation promulgated under subdivision (4) of section 393.140, RSMo, until such corporation is in compliance with all such regulations.
393.140. The commission shall:
(1) Have general supervision of all gas corporations, electrical corporations, water corporations and sewer corporations having authority under any special or general law or under any charter or franchise to lay down, erect or maintain wires, pipes, conduits, ducts or other fixtures in, over or under the streets, highways and public places of any municipality, for the purpose of furnishing or distributing water or gas or of furnishing or transmitting electricity for light, heat or power, or maintaining underground conduits or ducts for electrical conductors, or for the purpose of collecting, carrying, treating, or disposing of sewage, and all gas plants, electric plants, water systems and sewer systems owned, leased or operated by any gas corporation, electrical corporation, water corporation, or sewer corporation.
(2) Investigate and ascertain, from time to time, the quality of gas or water supplied and sewer service furnished by persons and corporations, examine or investigate the methods employed by such persons and corporations in manufacturing, distributing and supplying gas or electricity for light, heat or power and in transmitting the same, and in supplying and distributing water for any purpose whatsoever, and in furnishing a sewer system, and have power to order such reasonable improvements as will best promote the public interest, preserve the public health and protect those using such gas, electricity, water, or sewer system, and those employed in the manufacture and distribution thereof, and have power to order reasonable improvements and extensions of the works, wires, poles, pipes, lines, conduits, ducts and other reasonable devices, apparatus and property of gas corporations, electrical corporations, water corporations, and sewer corporations.
(3) Have power, by order, to fix from time to time standards for the measurement of the purity or illuminating power of gas to be manufactured, distributed or sold by persons or corporations for lighting, heating or power purposes, to prescribe from time to time the efficiency of the electric supply system, of the current supplied and of the lamps furnished by the persons or corporations generating and selling electric current, and to fix from time to time standards for the measurement of the purity or pressure of water to be distributed or sold by persons or corporations for any purpose whatsoever, and to fix from time to time the standards for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining sewer systems of sewer corporations, including sewers, sewage pumping stations, sewage treatment works, primary treatment facilities, sludge digestion and disposal facilities, secondary treatment facilities, disinfection facilities, and any and all facilities related thereto; provided, however, that such standards shall be supplemental to and in no way set standards lesser than the minimum standards adopted by the state water pollution board, and by order to require gas so manufactured, distributed or sold to equal the standards so fixed by it, and to prescribe from time to time the reasonable minimum and maximum pressure at which gas shall be delivered by said persons or corporations. For the purpose of determining whether the gas manufactured, distributed or sold by such persons or corporations for lighting, heating or power purposes conforms to the standards of illuminating power, purity and pressure, and for the purpose of determining whether the efficiency of the electric supply system, of the current supplied and of the lamps furnished, and for the purpose of determining whether the water furnished or sold conforms to the standard of purity and pressure, and for the purpose of determining whether the sewer system conforms to the standards for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining sewer systems, and conforms to the orders issued by the commission, the commission shall have power, of its own motion, to examine and investigate the plants and methods employed in manufacturing, delivering and supplying gas, electricity or water, and the collecting, carrying, treating and disposing of sewage, and shall have access, through its members or persons employed and authorized by it, to make such examinations and investigations to all parts of the manufacturing plants owned, used or operated for the manufacture, transmission or distribution of gas or electricity by any such person or corporation, and to all parts of the systems owned, used or operated for the supplying and distribution of water and the collecting, carrying, treating and disposing of sewage by any such person or corporation. Any employee or agent of the commission who divulges any fact or information which may come to his knowledge during the course of any such inspection or examination, except insofar as he may be directed by the commission, or by a court or judge thereof, or authorized by law, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(4) Promulgate rules by January 1, 2008, under the authority of section 386.125, RSMo, that establish:
(a) Minimum standards for the management of vegetation in, and adjacent to, the utility system easement or right-of-way of electrical corporations. Such standards may be prescriptive standards, performance standards, or both;
(b) Minimum standards for the inspection, maintenance, repair, and replacement of utility infrastructure used by electrical corporations for the provision of electrical service. Such standards may be prescriptive standards, performance standards, or both;
(c) Minimum reliability standards for the provision of utility service by electrical corporations. Such standards shall include conditions under which electrical corporations shall reimburse any customer who sustains economic loss or damage valued over two hundred dollars that results from electric service outages in violation of the standards developed under this paragraph;
(d) Reporting requirements for electrical corporations under the requirements of paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this subdivision. Any reports issued by an electrical corporation under this subdivision shall be made available to the public; and
(e) A schedule of penalties to be assessed against any electrical corporation in violation of any provision of this subdivision, with no single penalty to exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars per day per violation.
(5) Conduct inspection and monitoring activities as necessary to ensure and enforce compliance by electrical corporations with the standards developed under subdivision 4 of this section.
(6) Have power, in its discretion, to prescribe uniform methods of keeping accounts, records and books, to be observed by gas corporations, electrical corporations, water corporations and sewer corporations engaged in the manufacture, sale or distribution of gas and electricity for light, heat or power, or in the distribution and sale of water for any purpose whatsoever, or in the collection, carriage, treatment and disposal of sewage for municipal, domestic or other necessary beneficial purpose. It may also, in its discretion, prescribe, by order, forms of accounts, records and memoranda to be kept by such persons and corporations. Notice of alterations by the commission in the required method or form of keeping a system of accounts shall be given to such persons or corporations by the commission at least six months before the same shall take effect. Any other and additional forms of accounts, records and memoranda kept by such corporation shall be subject to examination by the commission.
[(5)] (7) Examine all persons and corporations under its supervision and keep informed as to the methods, practices, regulations and property employed by them in the transaction of their business. Whenever the commission shall be of the opinion, after a hearing had upon its own motion or upon complaint, that the rates or charges or the acts or regulations of any such persons or corporations are unjust, unreasonable, unjustly discriminatory or unduly preferential or in any wise in violation of any provision of law, the commission shall determine and prescribe the just and reasonable rates and charges thereafter to be in force for the service to be furnished, notwithstanding that a higher rate or charge has heretofore been authorized by statute, and the just and reasonable acts and regulations to be done and observed; and whenever the commission shall be of the opinion, after a hearing had upon its own motion or upon complaints, that the property, equipment or appliances of any such person or corporation are unsafe, insufficient or inadequate, the commission shall determine and prescribe the safe, efficient and adequate property, equipment and appliances thereafter to be used, maintained and operated for the security and accommodation of the public and in compliance with the provisions of law and of their franchises and charters.
[(6)] (8) Require every person and corporation under its supervision and it shall be the duty of every person and corporation to file with the commission an annual report, verified by the oath of the president, treasurer, general manager or receiver, if any, thereof. The verification shall be made by said official holding office at the time of the filing of said report, and if not made upon the knowledge of the person verifying the same, shall set forth the sources of his information and the grounds of his belief as to any matters not stated to be verified upon his knowledge. The report shall show in detail the amount of its authorized capital stock and the amount thereof issued and outstanding; the amount of its authorized bonded indebtedness and the amount of its bonds and other forms of evidence of indebtedness issued and outstanding; its receipts and expenditures during the preceding year; the amount paid as dividends upon its stock and as interest upon its bonds; the names of its officers and the aggregate amount paid as salaries to them and the amount paid as wages to its employees; the location of its plant or plants and system, with a full description of its property and franchises, stating in detail how each franchise stated to be owned was acquired; and such other facts pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the plant and system, and the affairs of such person or corporation as may be required by the commission. Such reports shall be in the form, cover the period and be filed at the time prescribed by the commission. The commission may, from time to time, make changes and additions in such forms. When any such report is defective or believed to be erroneous, the commission shall notify the person or corporation making such report to amend the same within a time prescribed by the commission. Any such person or corporation which shall neglect to make any such report or which shall fail to correct any such report within the time prescribed by the commission shall be liable to a penalty of one hundred dollars and an additional penalty of one hundred dollars for each day after the prescribed time for which it shall neglect to file or correct the same, to be sued for in the name of the state of Missouri. The amount recovered in any such action shall be paid to the public school fund of the state. The commission may extend the time prescribed for cause shown.
[(7)] (9) Have power, either through its members or inspectors or employees duly authorized by it, to enter in or upon and to inspect the property, buildings, plants, factories, powerhouses, ducts, conduits and offices of any such corporations or persons.
[(8)] (10) Have power to examine the accounts, books, contracts, records, documents and papers of any such corporation or person, and have power, after hearing, to prescribe by order the accounts in which particular outlays and receipts shall be entered, charged or credited.
[(9)] (11) Have power to compel, by subpoena duces tecum, the production of any accounts, books, contracts, records, documents, memoranda and papers. In lieu of requiring production of originals by subpoena duces tecum the commission or any commissioner may require sworn copies of any such books, records, contracts, documents and papers, or parts thereof, to be filed with it. The commission may require of all such corporations or persons specific answers to questions upon which the commission may need information, and may also require such corporations or persons to file periodic reports in the form, covering the period and filed at the time prescribed by the commission. If such corporation or person shall fail to make specific answer to any question or shall fail to make a periodic report when required by the commission as herein provided within the time and in the form prescribed by the commission for the making and filing of any such report or answer, such corporation or person shall forfeit to the state the sum of one hundred dollars for each and every day it shall continue to be in default with respect to such report or answer. Such forfeiture shall be recovered in an action brought by the commission in the name of the state of Missouri. The amount recovered in any such action shall be paid to the public school fund of the state.
[(10)] (12) Have power in all parts of the state, either as a commission or through its members, to subpoena witnesses, take testimony and administer oaths to witnesses in any proceeding or examination instituted before it, or conducted by it, in reference to any matter under sections 393.110 to 393.285.
[(11)] (13) Have power to require every gas corporation, electrical corporation, water corporation, and sewer corporation to file with the commission and to print and keep open to public inspection schedules showing all rates and charges made, established or enforced or to be charged or enforced, all forms of contract or agreement and all rules and regulations relating to rates, charges or service used or to be used, and all general privileges and facilities granted or allowed by such gas corporation, electrical corporation, water corporation, or sewer corporation; but this subdivision shall not apply to state, municipal or federal contracts. Unless the commission otherwise orders, no change shall be made in any rate or charge, or in any form of contract or agreement, or any rule or regulation relating to any rate, charge or service, or in any general privilege or facility, which shall have been filed and published by a gas corporation, electrical corporation, water corporation, or sewer corporation in compliance with an order or decision of the commission, except after thirty days' notice to the commission and publication for thirty days as required by order of the commission, which shall plainly state the changes proposed to be made in the schedule then in force and the time when the change will go into effect. The commission for good cause shown may allow changes without requiring the thirty days' notice under such conditions as it may prescribe. No corporation shall charge, demand, collect or receive a greater or less or different compensation for any service rendered or to be rendered than the rates and charges applicable to such services as specified in its schedule filed and in effect at the time; nor shall any corporation refund or remit in any manner or by any device any portion of the rates or charges so specified, nor to extend to any person or corporation any form of contract or agreement, or any rule or regulation, or any privilege or facility, except such as are regularly and uniformly extended to all persons and corporations under like circumstances. The commission shall have power to prescribe the form of every such schedule, and from time to time prescribe by order such changes in the form thereof as may be deemed wise. The commission shall also have power to establish such rules and regulations, to carry into effect the provisions of this subdivision, as it may deem necessary, and to modify and amend such rules or regulations from time to time.
[(12)] (14) In case any electrical corporation, gas corporation, water corporation or sewer corporation engaged in carrying on any other business than owning, operating or managing a gas plant, electric plant, water system or sewer system which other business is not otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the commission, and is so conducted that its operations are to be substantially kept separate and apart from the owning, operating, managing or controlling of such gas plant, electric plant, water system or sewer system, said corporation in respect to such other business shall not be subject to any of the provisions of this chapter and shall not be required to procure the consent or authorization of the commission to any act in such other business or to make any report in respect thereof. But this subdivision shall not restrict or limit the powers of the commission in respect to the owning, operating, managing or controlling by such corporation of such gas plant, electric plant, water system or sewer system, and said powers shall include also the right to inquire as to, and prescribe the apportionment of, capitalization, earnings, debts and expenses fairly and justly to be awarded to or borne by the ownership, operation, management or control of such gas plant, electric plant, water system or sewer system as distinguished from such other business. In any such case if the owning, operating, managing or controlling of such gas plant, electric plant, water system or sewer system by any such corporation is wholly subsidiary and incidental to the other business carried on by it and is inconsiderable in amount and not general in its character, the commission may by general rules exempt such corporation from making full reports and from the keeping of accounts as to such subsidiary and incidental business.
393.141. The costs associated with any penalties paid by an electrical corporation under section 393.144 or with any reimbursements paid to customers under paragraph (c) of subdivision (4) of section 393.140 shall be borne solely by such corporation's shareholders, and shall not be passed on to the corporation's customers in any form.
393.144. 1. In addition to any other remedy provided by law, upon a determination by the commission that any standard, rule, or regulation promulgated pursuant to subdivision 4 of section 393.140 has been violated by any electrical corporation, the commission may issue an order assessing an administrative penalty upon the violator under this section. An administrative penalty shall not be imposed until the commission has sought to resolve the violations through conference, conciliation and persuasion. If the violation is resolved through conference, conciliation and persuasion, no administrative penalty shall be assessed unless the violation was knowingly committed.
2. The maximum amount of administrative penalties assessed pursuant to this section shall be no more than two hundred fifty thousand per day, or part thereof, for each violation. In determining the amount of the administrative penalty, the commission shall take into consideration all relevant circumstances, including, but not limited to, the harm which the violation causes or may cause, the violator's previous compliance record with the standards in subdivision (4) of section 393.140, the nature and persistence of the violation, any corrective actions taken, and any other factors which the commission may reasonably deem relevant.
3. Any order assessing an administrative penalty shall state that an administrative penalty is being assessed under this section and that the corporation subject to the penalty may appeal as provided by this section. Any such order which fails to state the law or regulation under which the penalty is being sought, the manner of collection or rights of appeal shall result in the state's waiving any right to collection of the penalty. An administrative penalty shall be paid within sixty days from the date of issuance of the order assessing the penalty. Any corporation subject to an administrative penalty may appeal to the commission. Any appeal shall stay the due date of such administrative penalty until the appeal is resolved. Any corporation that fails to pay an administrative penalty by the final due date shall be liable to the state for a surcharge of fifteen percent of the penalty plus ten percent per annum on any amounts owed. Any administrative penalty paid pursuant to this section shall be handled in accordance with article IX, section 15 of the Missouri Constitution. An action may be brought in the appropriate circuit court to collect any unpaid administrative penalty, and for attorney's fees and costs incurred directly in the collection thereof.
4. An administrative penalty assessed under this section shall not be increased in those instances where commission action, or failure to act, has caused a continuation of the violation that was a basis for the penalty. Any administrative penalty shall be assessed within two years following the commission's initial discovery of such alleged violation, or from the date the commission in the exercise of ordinary diligence should have discovered such alleged violation.
5. Any final order imposing an administrative penalty under this section is subject to judicial review upon the filing of a petition pursuant to section 536.100, RSMo, by any corporation subject to the administrative penalty. No judicial review shall be available, however, until all administrative remedies are exhausted.
6. The state may elect to assess an administrative penalty under this section, or, in lieu thereof, to request that the attorney general or prosecutor file an appropriate legal action seeking a civil penalty in the appropriate circuit court.