CHAPTER 254

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 142

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AND

HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 1, SUBCHAPTER III, TITLE 26, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO RATE CHANGES OF PUBLIC UTILITIES.

WHEREAS, public utilities who file for a rate increase are permitted to place fifteen percent (15%) of such rate increase in effect by filing with the Commission a reasonable bond, the amount of which must be approved by the Commission until the Commission finally approves of the request; and

WHEREAS, the public utility is required to refund with interest any rate'placed in effect by a public utility which is not approved by the Commission; and

WHEREAS, it seems most unfair to the customers to have a rate increase arbitrarily imposed upon them prior to the Commission finally approving or denying such rate increase, notwithstanding the fact that such fees are reimbursed with interest; and

WHEREAS, public utilities of this State should be able to project their needs sufficiently in advance so as not to warrant the need for revenue prior to the date which their request is scheduled to go into effect, assuming it is approved by the Commission; and

WHEREAS, it would appear that any rate request placed in effect prior to the Commission's approval warrants additional administrative costs.

NOW, THEREFORE:

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

Section 1. Amend §306 (a)(1) of Chapter I, Subchapter III, Title 26, Delaware Code by striking said subsection 1 in its entirety and inserting a new subsection 1 to read as follows:

"(1) Suspend the operation of such rate change for a period not to exceed 7 months after said filing; provided, however, that if the Commission has not reached its decision within said 7 months after filing, the public utility may place their rate into effect under bond in accordance with subsection (b) of this section."

Section 2. Amend §306 (b) of Chapter I, Subchapter III, Title 26, Delaware Code by striking said subsection (b) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) Upon termination of the 7 months as set forth in subsection (a)(1) of this section the proposed rate change shall automatically become effective if the public utility files with the Commission a bond in a reasonable amount approved by the Commission with sureties approved by the Commission, conditioned upon the refund, in a manner to be prescribed by order of the Commission, to the persons entitled thereto of the amount of the excess, if the rate so put into effect is finally determined to be excessive; or there may be substituted for such bond other arrangements satisfactory to the Commission for the protection of the parties interested. In no event shall a public utility put a rate into effect under bond as authorized in this subsection that would constitute an increase in excess of 15 percent of the public utility's gross intrastate operating revenues."

Section 3. Amend §306, Chapter 1, Subchapter III, Title 26, Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new subsection (c) to read as follows:

"(c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, 60 days after said filing, a public utility may put a rate into effect under bond as authorized in subsection (b) of this section, provided that the increase does not constitute an increase in excess of fifteen percent (15%) of the public utility's annual gross intrastate operating revenues of $1,000,000 annually, whichever is less."

Approved April 28, 1978.