476.1C  Applicability of authority--certain gas utilities.

1.  Gas public utilities having fewer than two thousand customers are not subject to the regulation authority of the utilities board under this chapter unless otherwise specifically provided. Sections 476.10, 476.20, 476.21, and 476.51 apply to such gas utilities.

Gas public utilities having fewer than two thousand customers shall be subject to the assessment of fees for the support of the Iowa energy center created in section 266.39C and the center for global and regional environmental research created by the state board of regents and shall file energy efficiency plans and energy efficiency results with the board. The energy efficiency plans as a whole shall be cost-effective. The board may waive all or part of the energy efficiency filing requirements if the gas utility demonstrates superior results with existing energy efficiency efforts.

Gas public utilities having fewer than two thousand customers shall keep books, accounts, papers and records accurately and faithfully in the manner and form prescribed by the board. The board may inspect the accounts of the utility at any time.

A gas public utility having fewer than two thousand customers may make effective a new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation after giving written notice of the proposed new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation to all affected customers served by the public utility. The notice shall inform the customers of their right to petition for a review of the proposal to the utilities board within sixty days after notice is served if the petition contains the signatures of at least one hundred of the gas utility's customers. The notice shall state the address of the utilities board. The new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation takes effect sixty days after such valid notice is served unless a petition for review of the new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation signed by at least one hundred of the gas utility's customers is filed with the board prior to the expiration of the sixty-day period.

If such a valid petition is filed with the board within the sixty-day period, any new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation shall take effect, under bond or corporate undertaking, subject to refund of all amounts collected in excess of those amounts which would have been collected under the rates or charges finally approved by the board. The board shall within five months of the date of filing make a determination of just and reasonable rates based on a review of the proposal, applying established regulatory principles. The board may call upon the gas public utility and its customers to furnish factual evidence in support of or opposition to the new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation. If the gas public utility disputes the finding, the utility may within twenty days file for further review, and the board shall docket the case as a formal proceeding under section 476.6, subsection 7, and set the case for hearing. The gas public utility shall submit factual evidence and written argument in support of the filing.

A gas public utility having fewer than two thousand customers shall not make effective a new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation which relates to services for which a rate change is pending within twelve months following the date the petition to review the prior proposed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation was filed with the board or until the board has made its determination of just and reasonable rates, whichever date is earlier, unless the utility applies to the board for authority and receives authority to make a subsequent rate change at an earlier date.

Gas public utilities having fewer than two thousand customers shall not make or grant any unreasonable preferences or advantages as to rates or services to any person or subject any person to any unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage. Rates charged by a gas public utility having less than two thousand customers for transportation of customer-owned gas shall not exceed the actual cost of such transportation services including a fair rate of return.

2.  If, as a result of a review of a proposed new or changed rate, charge, schedule, or regulation of a gas public utility having fewer than two thousand customers, the consumer advocate alleges in a filing with the board that the utility rates are excessive, the disputed amounts shall be specified by the consumer advocate in the filing. The gas public utility shall, within the time prescribed by the board, file a bond or undertaking approved by the board conditioned upon the refund in a manner prescribed by the board of amounts collected after the date of the filing which are in excess of rates or charges finally determined by the board to be lawful. If after formal proceeding and hearing pursuant to section 476.6 the board finds that the utility rates are unlawful, the board shall order a refund, with interest, of amounts collected after the date of filing of the petition that are determined to be in excess of the amounts which would have been collected under the rates finally approved. However, the board shall not order a refund that is greater than the amount specified in the petition, plus interest. If the board fails to render a decision within ten months following the date of filing of the petition, the board shall not order a refund of any excess amounts that are collected after the expiration of that ten-month period and prior to the date the decision is rendered.

Section History: Recent form

  87 Acts, ch 21, § 1; 90 Acts, ch 1252, §21; 96 Acts, ch 1196, § 6

Internal References

  Referred to in § 476.6


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