SCS/SB 5 - This act pertains to electric service to annexed areas. The act provides a mechanism for these companies to petition the Public Service Commission (PSC) for an exclusive service area; allowing the rural cooperatives to service annexed areas.
Currently, the law allows the PSC to decide on territorial agreements, voluntary agreements reached by all parties; agreements related to electrical service and the areas to which such service may be provided. This act keeps that option in place but provides the opportunity for rural cooperatives to, if such an agreement cannot be resolved, petition the PSC and request an exclusive service area. This option would prohibit other utilities from serving new structures accounted for in the exclusive service area, and allow the rural cooperatives to serve annexed areas regardless of the population of such area. The procedural mechanism by which utilities can do this is detailed in the act, as well as laying out the critical dates which are to be followed. These dates provide a phase in for the exclusive service areas to be brought before the PSC and the counties are given dates based on need. The act grandfathers any area which has been decided upon via a territorial agreement.
The act adds rural cooperatives to the range of levyable items available to city councils. The act also streamlines the process of PSC approval for customer exchanges for electrical providers in territorial agreements or exclusive service areas - the act makes these changes for both investor owned utilities and rural cooperatives.
Currently, the law provides that the PSC shall hold evidentiary hearings to determine whether territorial agreements should be approved. This act would allow such hearings to be waived if the matter is resolved by stipulation and agreement by all the parties. Also, the law currently provides that the PSC shall hold hearings regarding complaints about the territorial agreements. This act would also allow these hearings to be waived in the same manner.