Articles Posted in Utilities Law

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The City of Newport’s Utility Department, Water Division (Newport Water) filed a rate application with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requesting a revenue increase. The PUC issued an order in docket No. 3818 ordering that money Newport Water owed to the City be paid back to the City under certain conditions. Newport Water subsequently filed another application for a rate increase - docket No. 4025. The PUC issued an order concluding that Newport Water had commenced the required repayment of its debt owed to the City. Portsmouth Water and Fire District (Portsmouth) petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court vacated the PUC’s order, concluding that the PUC order failed to enforce the order in docket No. 3818, and remanded to the PUC with directions to make more specific findings of fact to support the PUC’s conclusion that Newport Water complied with the order in docket No. 3818. This appeal concerned the PUC’s order on remand. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the PUC’s order in regard to its definition, identification, and quantification of “efficiencies” as it relates to the order in docket No. 3818; and (2) vacated the PUC’s order to the extent it allowed Newport Water to use $191,997 in excess revenues to pay down its debt to the City. View "Portsmouth Water and Fire District v. Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission" on Justia Law

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Power Survey Company sought a writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court contending that the Public Utilities Commission improperly interpreted and applied the Contact Voltage Statute when it approved the portion of the Narragansett Electric Company’s (NEC) contact voltage program providing for the issuance of a request for proposal for the purpose of choosing a vendor to provide the technology for the NEC’s contact voltage testing. The Supreme Court issued the writ. Respondents, the NEC and the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, moved to quash the writ on the grounds that it was not timely filed. The Supreme Court granted Respondents’ motions, holding that, under the facts of this case, Power Survey’s petition was untimely. View "In re Proceedings to Establish a Contact Voltage Detection & Repair Program" on Justia Law

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National Grid filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in which it sought additional revenues for its electricity distribution operations in Rhode Island, requesting an increase in electric distribution rates sufficient to enable it to collect additional revenues of $75.3 million. The PUC subsequently issued a report and order that (1) reduced National Grid's increase in its revenue requirement to $15.9 million, (2) set the common equity component of National Grid's capital structure at 42.75 percent, and (3) reduced by half the company's request to establish a variable pay scheme for certain of its employees. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the PUC's decision to disallow fifty percent of the incentive compensation proposed by National Grid; and (2) vacated the portion of the order that used the capital structure of National Grid plc, the twice removed parent of National Grid, to determine an appropriate capital structure for National Grid. View "Narragansett Elec. Co. v. Pub. Utils. Comm'n" on Justia Law

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The state public utilities commission approved a power-purchase agreement (PPA) between National Grid and Deepwater Wind, the respondents. Under the PPA, Deepwater Wind agreed to construct an offshore wind farm in state waters and then sell the generated electricity to National Grid, a statewide power distributor. National Grid, in turn, pledged to purchase the generated electricity and apportion the cost of building the wind farm to in-state ratepayers over the course of the twenty-year contract. Dissatisfied with National Grid's cost-distribution plan, petitioners Toray Plastics and Polytop challenged the commission's assessment that the PPA met all statutory preconditions for approval. The Supreme Court affirmed the commission's decision, concluding that the commission accurately interpreted and applied the law by making findings that were lawful and reasonable, fairly and substantially supported by legal evidence, and sufficiently specific for the Court to ascertain that the evidence upon which the commission based its findings reasonably supported the result. View "In re Review of Proposed Town of New Shoreham Project" on Justia Law