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(a) Unless an alternative means of compensation is provided as described in (g) of this section, an electric consumer who participates in a commission proceeding either as an intervenor or as a public witness, and who substantially contributes to the acceptance, in whole or in part, of a position related to any of the standards contained in Title I, Subtitle B of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (P.L. 95 - 617), as applied to the consumer's utility, will, in the commission's discretion, be compensated for reasonable costs of preparing and advocating that position.
(b) At least 10 days before the beginning of a hearing in which the commission considers any of the standards contained in Title I, Subtitle B, an electric consumer who desires compensation shall file a written statement which includes
(1) notice of intent to request compensation for participation;
(2) the name of the electric utility which serves the consumer; and
(3) a description of the consumer's interest and expected participation in the proceeding.
(c) If any of these electric consumers share the same or similar interests, the commission may appoint a common representative as a condition to the consumers receiving compensation.
(d) (1) The commission will name in its final order in the proceeding any electric consumer who substantially contributed to the approval by the commission, in whole or in part, of the consumer's position.
(2) Within 15 days after this order is issued, an electric consumer whom the commission qualifies for compensation shall file with the commission and serve on the affected utility a memorandum of costs. If participation in the proceeding has caused the consumer significant financial hardship, the consumer may describe the circumstances of hardship in the memorandum.
(3) Within 15 days after filing the memorandum of costs, the affected utility may file with the commission and serve on the consumer a response.
(4) Based on the results of the consumer's participation, the utility's response, and, where relevant, the consumer's financial circumstances, the commission will award by written order, the fees and costs it finds reasonable.
(5) If an electric consumer whom the commission qualifies for compensation participates in an appeal of this order, that consumer may file with the commission and serve on the affected utility a memorandum of appeal costs within 15 days of the issuance of the court order which finally adjudicates the appeal. The procedures established in paragraphs (3) and (4) of this subsection and (f) of this section apply for compensation for appeal costs.
(e) The commission will, in its discretion, compensate an electric consumer for the following fees and costs:
(1) reasonable attorney fees;
(2) reasonable expert witness fees; and
(3) reasonable costs incurred in the preparation and advocacy of the consumer's position, including costs of obtaining judicial review.
(f) The affected electric utility shall pay the consumer the amount awarded within 45 days after the issuance of the commission's order awarding costs.
(g) Subsections (a) - (f) of this section do not apply if the state or the commission has provided an alternative means of compensating persons who cannot afford to pay reasonable costs of preparing and advocating a position and who have, or represent, an interest
(1) not otherwise adequately represented in the proceeding; and
(2) necessary for a fair determination in the proceeding.
(h) This section applies to an electric consumer of a regulated electric utility subject to Title I of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (a public utility whose sales of electric energy, for purposes other than resale, during any calendar year after 1975 and before the immediately preceding calendar year, exceeded 500 million kilowatt-hours).
(i) In this section
(1) "electric consumer" means any person to whom electric energy is sold, other than for purposes of resale, by a public utility;
(2) "memorandum of costs" or "memorandum of appeal costs" means an itemized list of work and services performed with associated costs, expenses, and fees, documented by invoices and by time sheets marked in no less detail than 15-minute intervals;
(3) "public witness" means a person who presents an oral or written statement, comment, argument, or draft revision to a proposed regulation, in a proceeding conducted by the commission;
(4) "reasonable fee or cost" means a range, the upper end of which is the fee or cost based on the prevailing market rates in Alaska for the kind and quality of service provided, and the lower end of which is the fee or cost based on the prevailing market rates in the contiguous United States for the kind and quality of service provided; and
(5) "same or similar interests" means identical or like concerns, circumstances, or legal rights, similarly affected by the commission's consideration of a specific regulation or standard.
History: Eff. 8/10/80, Register 75
Authority: 16 U.S.C. 2632
AS 42.05.151 (a)
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Last modified 7/05/2006