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State of Arkansas As Engrossed: H3/14/07

86th General Assembly A Bill

Regular Session, 2007 HOUSE BILL 2543
By: Representative Wood

For An Act To Be Entitled

AN ACT TO ENHANCE THE ABILITY OF THE ARKANSAS PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION TO PROTECT RATEPAYERS IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES, AND FEDERAL COURTS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.


Subtitle

TO ENHANCE THE ABILITY OF THE ARKANSAS

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION TO PROTECT

RATEPAYERS IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION,

OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES, AND FEDERAL

COURTS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS:


SECTION 1. Arkansas Code § 23-4-102 is amended to read as follows:

23-4-102. Commission's authority over interstate rates, charges, and classifications, and other actions.

(a) The commission Arkansas Public Service Commission shall have the power to investigate all existing or proposed interstate rates, charges, and classifications, and all rules and practices in relation thereto promulgated and prescribed by or for any public utility as defined in § 23-1-101, when the matters so investigated shall affect the public of this state.

(b) When the existing or proposed interstate rates, charges, and classifications are in the opinion of the commission Arkansas Public Service Commission excessive or discriminatory, or in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act and acts amendatory thereof and supplementary thereto, or in violation of any other act of Congress, or in conflict with the rules, orders, or regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission [abolished] or any other a commission created by Congress, the commission Arkansas Public Service Commission may apply by petition or otherwise to the Interstate Commerce Commission [abolished], or other commission having jurisdiction, for relief seek relief in the appropriate commission or in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) For the purpose of this section, the Arkansas Public Service Commission:

(1) Is exempt from the provisions of § 25-16-702 whenever the commission is a party to a proceeding under subsection (b) of this section;

(2) May retain contract attorneys or contract consultants; and

(3)(A) May adopt rules for direct recovery of the fees and expenses of contract attorneys and consultants from the affected utility under this section provided that such utility is an electric public utility which is owned by a public utility holding company as defined by section 1261 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-58. The maximum amount that may be directly recovered from an affected utility shall be three million dollars ($3,000,000) annually.



(B) In the event the Commission directly recovers the fees and expenses of its attorneys and consultants from an affected utility under this section, that utility shall be allowed to implement a surcharge mechanism to recover only the expenses directly recovered from that utility.

(i) The surcharge shall be established annually to recover only the amounts directly recovered from that utility during the preceding calendar year.

(ii) The surcharge mechanism shall include provisions to address any excessive or deficient recoveries during the preceding calendar year. The surcharge shall not include any interest or carrying charges.

(iii) Any surcharge must be approved by the Commission before it can be implemented.
SECTION 2. EMERGENCY CLAUSE. It is found and determined by the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas that . Therefore, an emergency is declared to exist and this act being immediately necessary for the public peace, health, and safety shall become effective on:

(1) The date of its approval by the Governor;

(2) If the bill is neither approved nor vetoed by the Governor, the expiration of the period of time during which the Governor may veto the bill; or

(3) If the bill is vetoed by the Governor and the veto is overridden, the date the last house overrides the veto.


/s/ Wood
APPROVED: 3/28/2007




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