CHAPTER 667

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 26, CHAPTER 1, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO CHARGES AND FEES OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION AND IMPOSING A REGULATORY ASSESSMENT ON PUBLIC UTILITIES.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Title 26, Section 113, Delaware Code, is amended by striking subsection (a) thereof and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(a) The Commission shall make and impose charges and fees for filing, copying, inspection and other services rendered by it in accordance with such rules and regulations as it may from time to time adopt pursuant to Section 105 of this Title.

Section 2. Title 26, Section 113, Delaware Code, is further amended by striking the fifth full paragraph of subsection (b) thereof beginning with the words "The total aggregate" and substituting in lieu thereof the following paragraph:

The total aggregate amount to be charged by the Commission to any public utility under authority of this section in any calendar year shall not exceed three-fourths of one percent of such public utility's gross operating revenues derived from intrastate utility operations in the last preceding calendar year, but in no event shall the total aggregate amount to be charged by the Commission to any such utility exceed $75,000 for any calendar year.

Section 3. Title 26, Delaware Code, is further amended by adding thereto a new Section to read as follows:

§ 114. Public Policy; regulatory assessment; definition of revenue; collection of assessment

(a) It is declared to be the public policy of this State that in order to maintain and foster the effective regulation of public utilities under this title in the interests of the People of the State of Delaware and the public utilities as well, the public utilities subject to regulation of the Public Services Commission and which enjoy the privilege of operating as public utilities in this State, shall bear the expense of regulation by means of an assessment on such privilege measured by the annual gross revenue of such public utilities in the manner hereafter provided. This assessment shall be in addition to all other fees and charges imposed by the Public Service Commission pursuant to this Title.

(b) As used in subsection (c) of this section, the term "intrastate public utility business" includes all that portion of the business of the public utilities designated in Section 101 of this Title and over which the Commission has jurisdiction under the provisions of this Title.

(c) As used in this section, the term "gross revenue" includes all revenue which (1) is collected by a public utility subject to regulation by the Public Service Commission, and (2) is derived from the intrastate public utility business of such a utility. Such term does not include revenue derived by such a public utility from the sale of public utility services, products or commodities to another public utility or to an electric cooperative for resale by such public utility or electric cooperative.

(d) An assessment is imposed upon each public utility subject to regulation by the Public Service Commission in an amount equal to the product of.001 (one mill) multiplied by its gross revenue for each fiscal year commencing with the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1970.

(e) On or before July 15 of each year each public utility subject to the provisions of this Title shall file with the Commission an annual gross revenue return containing an estimate of the amount of its gross revenue for the fiscal year commencing July 1 of said year and a statement of the amount of assessment due for said fiscal year on the basis of that estimate; in the event that such estimate should later prove erroneous, the public utility shall file an amended return within 45 days after the close of said fiscal year. Forms for such returns and amended returns shall be devised and supplied by the Commission.

() All returns submitted to the Commission by a public utility as provided in this Section shall be sworn to by an appropriate officer of the public utility. The Commission may audit each such return submitted and may take such measures as are necessary to ascertain the correctness of the returns submitted. The Commission has the power to direct the filing of an amended return by any utility which has filed an incorrect return and to direct the filing of a return by any utility which has failed to submit a return.

(g) One quarter of the annual amount of the assessment due under subsection (d) shall be paid to the Commission on or before the fifteenth day of July, October, January, and April of the fiscal year subject to the assessment. In the event that an adjustment in the amount of assessment due should be necessary as a result of the filing of an amended return pursuant to subsection (e) hereof, the amount of any deficiency shall be paid by the public utility together with said amended return and the amount of any excess shall, after the filing of a claim for credit by the public utility, be returned to the public utility in the form of a credit memorandum in the amount of such excess. Said credit may be applied against the payment of any future amount due under the assessment imposed by this Section, or subject to reasonable rule of the Commission, may be assigned to any other public utility subject to regulation under this title.

() Each installment or required payment of the assessment imposed by subsection (d) becomes delinquent at midnight of the date that it is due. In the event that upon filing of an amended return it shall appear that a public utility has failed to pay, or has underpaid, the proper amount of any quarterly installment or payment, it shall pay a penalty to the Commission of 1 % of the amount so due on any quarterly installment or payment for each month or fraction thereof that such amount is unpaid; provided, however, that if such failure to pay or underpayment is caused by an underestimation of gross revenue upon the annual gross revenue return of a public utility, such penalty shall not be imposed if the amount of estimated gross revenue reported in such return is at least equal to its gross revenue for the preceding fiscal year. The Commission may enforce the collection of any delinquent installment or payment, or portion thereof by legal action or in any other manner by which the collection of debts due the State of Delaware may be enforced under the laws of this State.

() All sums collected by the Commission under the provisions of this section shall be paid promptly after the receipt of the same to the State Treasurer to be deposited in the General Fund.

Section 4. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 1970.

Approved July 3, 1970.