HCS/SB 780 - The act creates an assessment-based funding mechanism for the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) similar to that currently utilized by the Public Service Commission (PSC). Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, the OPC shall present to the PSC their estimated expenses attributable to the regulation of public utilities. The act provides for a three year phase-in that allows the OPC to utilize allocations from the PSC for their assessments; after that time, those allocations shall be based upon information maintained by the OPC. The act does not authorize the public service commission to determine how the office of public counsel makes their assessments or how the public counsel spends that assessment The calculation for the assessments is detailed in the act and is similar to the assessment currently utilized by the PSC. The total amount of assessments from both the OPC and the PSC shall not exceed one-fourth of one percent of the total gross intrastate operating revenues of all regulated utilities.
The assessments rendered by the OPC shall be made available to the utilities on or before July first with the payment due either on or before July fifteenth or in four equal installments throughout the fiscal year. The moneys from the assessments shall be deposited into the newly created Public Counsel Fund.
The act is similar to provisions in SB 1125 (2004).