When the board deems it necessary in order to carry out the duties imposed upon it by this chapter for the purpose of determining rate matters to investigate the books, accounts, practices, and activities of, or make appraisals of the property of any public utility, or to render any engineering or accounting services to any public utility, or to review the operations or annual reports of the public utility under section 476.31 or 476.32, or to evaluate a proposal for reorganization under section 476.77, the public utility shall pay the expense reasonably attributable to the investigation, appraisal, service, or review. The board shall ascertain the expenses including certified expenses incurred by the consumer advocate division of the department of justice directly chargeable to the public utility under section 475A.6, and shall render a bill to the public utility, either at the conclusion of the investigation, appraisal, services, or review, or from time to time during its progress, which bill is notice of the assessment and shall demand payment. The total amount of such expense in any one calendar year, for which any public utility shall become liable, shall not exceed two-tenths of one percent of its gross operating revenues derived from intrastate public utility operations in the last preceding calendar year.
The board shall ascertain the total of the division's expenditures during each year which are reasonably attributable to the performance of its duties under this chapter. The board shall add to this total the certified expenses of the consumer advocate as provided under section 475A.6 and shall deduct all amounts chargeable directly to any specific utility under any law. The remainder shall be assessed by the board to the public utilities in proportion to their respective gross operating revenues during the last calendar year derived from intrastate public utility operations and may be assessed by the board on a quarterly basis. Assessments may be made quarterly based upon estimates of the utilities division's and the consumer advocate's expenditures for the fiscal year. Beginning with the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1987, the first assessment for any fiscal year may be made by the utilities division by May 15 of the preceding fiscal year and shall be paid by the utility on or before the following July 1. Not more than ninety days following the close of the fiscal year, the utilities division shall conform the amount of the prior fiscal year's assessments to the requirements of this section. Public utilities exempt from rate regulation under this chapter shall not be assessed for remainder expenses incurred during review of rate-regulated public utilities under section 476.31 or 476.32, but such remainder expenses shall be assessed proportionally as provided in this section among only the rate-regulated public utilities. The total amount which may be assessed to the public utilities under authority of this paragraph shall not exceed two-tenths of one percent of the total gross operating revenues of the public utilities during the calendar year derived from intrastate public utility operations. However, the total amount which may be assessed in any one calendar year to a public utility under this section shall not exceed three- tenths of one percent of the utility's total gross operating revenues derived from intrastate public utility operation in the last preceding year. For public utilities exempted from rate regulation under this chapter, the assessments under this paragraph shall be computed at one-half the rate used in computing the assessment for other utilities.
Each utility shall pay the division the amount assessed against it within thirty days from the time the division mails notice to it of the amount due unless it shall file with the board objections in writing setting out the grounds upon which it claims that such assessment is excessive, erroneous, unlawful, or invalid. Upon the filing of such objections the board shall set the matter down for hearing and issue its order in accordance with its findings in such proceeding, which order shall be subject to review in the manner provided in this chapter. All amounts collected by the division pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be deposited with the state treasurer and credited to the general fund of the state. Such amounts shall be spent in accordance with the provisions of chapter 8.
Whenever the board shall deem it necessary in order to carry out the duties imposed upon it in connection with rate regulation under section 476.6, investigations under section 476.3, or review proceedings under section 476.31, the board may employ additional temporary or permanent staff, or may contract with persons who are not state employees for engineering, accounting, or other professional services, or both. The costs of these additional employees and contract services shall be paid by the public utility whose rates are being reviewed in the same manner as other expenses are paid under this section. Beginning on July 1, 1991, there is appropriated out of any funds in the state treasury not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary to enable the board to hire additional staff and contract for services under this section. The board shall increase quarterly assessments specified in unnumbered paragraph 2, by amounts necessary to enable the board to hire additional staff and contract for services under this section. The authority to hire additional temporary or permanent staff that is granted to the board by this section shall not be subject to limitation by any administrative or executive order or decision that restricts the number of state employees or the filling of employee vacancies, and shall not be subject to limitation by any law of this state that restricts the number of state employees or the filling of employee vacancies unless that law is made applicable to this section by express reference to this section. Before the board expends or encumbers an amount in excess of the funds budgeted for rate regulation and before the board increases quarterly assessments pursuant to this paragraph, the director of the department of management shall approve the expenditure or encumbrance. Before approval is given, the director of the department of management shall determine that the expenses exceed the funds budgeted by the general assembly to the board for rate regulation and that the board does not have other funds from which the expenses can be paid. Upon approval of the director of the department of management the board may expend and encumber funds for the excess expenses, and increase quarterly assessments to raise the additional funds. The board and the office of consumer advocate may add additional personnel or contract for additional assistance to review and evaluate energy efficiency plans and the implementation of energy efficiency programs including, but not limited to, professionally trained engineers, accountants, attorneys, skilled examiners and inspectors, and secretaries and clerks. The board and the office of consumer advocate may also contract for additional assistance in the evaluation and implementation of issues relating to telecommunication competition. The board and the office of the consumer advocate may expend additional sums beyond those sums appropriated. However, the authority to add additional personnel or contract for additional assistance must first be approved by the department of management. The additional sums for energy efficiency shall be provided to the board and the office of the consumer advocate by the utilities subject to the energy efficiency requirements in this chapter. Telephone companies shall pay any additional sums needed for assistance with telecommunication competition issues. The assessments shall be in addition to and separate from the quarterly assessment.
Fees paid to the utilities division shall be deposited in the general fund of the state. These funds shall be used for the payment, upon appropriation by the general assembly, of the expenses of the utilities division and the consumer advocate division of the department of justice. Subject to this section, the utilities division or the consumer advocate division may keep on hand with the treasurer of state funds in excess of the current needs of the utilities division or the consumer advocate division.
The administrator and consumer advocate shall account for receipts and disbursements according to the separate duties imposed upon the utilities and consumer advocate divisions by the laws of this state and each separate duty shall be fiscally self-sustaining.
All fees and other moneys collected under this section and sections 478.4, 479.16, and 479A.9 shall be deposited into the general fund of the state and expenses required to be paid under this section shall be paid from funds appropriated for those purposes. Moneys deposited into the general fund of the state pursuant to this section and sections 478.4, 479.16, and 479A.9 shall be subject to the requirements of section 8.60.
[C66, 71, 73, 75, § 490A.10; C77, 79, 81, § 476.10; 81 Acts, ch 156, § 7, ch 158, § 1]
83 Acts, ch 127, § 28; 86 Acts, ch 1246, § 613, 614; 89 Acts, ch 103, § 1; 89 Acts, ch 296, § 72; 89 Acts, ch 321, § 30; 90 Acts, ch 1247, §11; 90 Acts, ch 1252, §29; 91 Acts, ch 260, § 1236, 1237; 93 Acts, ch 131, §20, 21; 94 Acts, ch 1107, §80; 95 Acts, ch 199, § 3
Referred to in § 475A.6, 476.1B, 476.1C, 476.10A, 476.46, 476.87, 476.101, 477C.3, 478.4, 479.16, 479A.9
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