WSR 98-22-110

PROPOSED RULES

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[Commission Docket No. UR-980080--Filed November 4, 1998, 11:42 a.m.]



Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 98-06-050.

Title of Rule: Low-level radioactive waste disposal site rule revision.

Purpose: To implement the requirements of Executive Order 97-02, requiring agencies to review significant rules for need; effectiveness and efficiency; clarity; intent and statutory authority; cost and fairness. This review also includes reviewing the rules to determine whether or not the current rules are providing the results that they were originally intended to achieve and whether the rules are consistent with the appropriate policies and laws.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 80.01.040, 80.04.160.

Summary: See Explanation of Rule below.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Sondra Walsh, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 664-1286; Implementation and Enforcement: Carole J. Washburn, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 664-1174.

Name of Proponent: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: These rules address how the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission regulates the rates of low-level radioactive waste site operators. This review is undertaken to comply with Executive Order 97-02. The order requires agencies to review their rules for clarity, intent and statutory authority, need, effectiveness and efficiency, coordination, cost and fairness. This proposal would redraft the rules to promote clarity and reader understanding, eliminate rules that are no longer needed, add rules that were policies and rewrites the rules in a clear and concise manner. Minor substantive changes are proposed to simplify rules.

Proposal does not change existing rules. These proposed substantive changes to the text include the following:

(1) Deleting the definition of "initial rate proceeding" as it is unneeded, (2) adding to the definition of low-level radioactive waste "naturally occurring or accelerator produced radioactive material (Norm)", (3) expanding consumer elements to require customer notice, (4) changing the time for annual reporting to be consistent with the payment of regulatory fees for increased efficiencies, and (5) change semiannual reporting to implement amendment to RCW 81.108.050(3).

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rules will have no fiscal impact on the regulated company or the industry.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. The commission is not an agency to which RCW 34.05.328 applies, and this rule change is not a significant legislative rule as defined therein.

Hearing Location: Commission Hearing Room, Second Floor, Chandler Plaza Building, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98504, on December 9, 1998, at 9:30 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Pat Valentine by December 7, 1998, TDD (360) 586-8203, or (360) 664-1133.

Submit Written Comments to: Carole J. Washburn, Secretary, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504 or e-mail to <records@wutc.wa.gov>, fax (360) 586-1150, by November 24, 1998. Please include Docket No. UR-980080 in your communication.

Date of Intended Adoption: December 9, 1998.

November 4, 1998

Gloria Papiez

for Carole J. Washburn

Secretary

OTS-2592.1

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-011  Application of this chapter. (((1))) The rules in this chapter ((shall)) apply to any ((company operating as a)) low-level radioactive waste site operating company, as defined ((as such by the laws of)) in RCW 81.04.010, operating within the state of Washington, ((and which)) that is ((subject to the jurisdiction of the commission)) not exempt from commission regulation under RCW 81.108.100 and 81.108.110.

(((2) Upon proper showing of any site operator, the commission may waive or modify the provisions of any section herein except when such provisions are fixed by statute. Application for the waiver or modification of any of the rules and regulations of the commission shall be made in accordance with the following instructions.

(a) Application should be directed to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, 1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive SW, PO Box 47250, Olympia WA 98504-7250, and should be typewritten on paper 8 1/2 by 11 inches in size.

(b) Reference must be made in a separate paragraph to each section for which modification or waiver is requested, and a full explanation given as to the reasons why such waiver or modification is desired.))



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-011, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



NEW SECTION



WAC 480-92-016  Waiver. (1) The commission may grant a waiver of any rule in this chapter when doing so is consistent with the public interest, the purposes underlying regulation, and sound public policy, and is not inconsistent with applicable statutes.

(2) To request a rule waiver, a site operator must file a written request with the commission identifying the rule for which a waiver is sought, and giving a full explanation of the reason for requesting the waiver.



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AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-021  Definitions. The definitions contained in chapter 81.108 RCW and RCW 81.04.010 are incorporated ((herein)) by ((this)) reference in this section. To the extent that any of the definitions in this chapter differ from statutory definitions, the statutory definitions shall control.

"Commission" means the Washington utilities and transportation commission.

"Effective rate" means the highest permissible rate, for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, calculated as the lowest contract rate plus an administrative fee, if applicable, determined pursuant to RCW 81.108.040.

"Extraordinary volume" means volumes of low-level radioactive waste delivered to a site caused by nonrecurring events, outside normal operations of a generator, that are in excess of twenty thousand cubic feet or twenty percent of the preceding year's total volume at such site, whichever is less.

"Extraordinary volume adjustment" means a mechanism that allocates the potential rate reduction benefits of an extraordinary volume ((between)) among all generators and the generator responsible for such extraordinary volume as described in RCW 81.108.070.

"Generator" means a person, partnership, association, corporation, or any other entity ((whatsoever)) that, as a part of its activities, produces low-level radioactive waste.

"Inflation adjustment" means a mechanism that adjusts the maximum disposal rate by a percentage equal to the change in price levels in the preceding period, as measured by a common, verifiable price index as determined in RCW 81.108.040.

(("Initial rate proceeding" means the proceeding described in RCW 81.108.040.))

"Low-level radioactive waste" means waste material ((which)) that contains radioactive nuclides emitting primarily beta or gamma radiation, or both, in concentrations or quantities ((which)) that exceed applicable federal or state standards for unrestricted release. Low-level waste does not include waste containing more than ten nanocuries of transuranic contaminants per gram of material, nor spent reactor fuel, nor material classified as either high-level waste or waste which is unsuited for disposal by near-surface burial under any applicable federal regulations nor naturally occurring or accelerator produced radioactive material.

"Maximum disposal rate" ((means)) the maximum disposal is the rate ((described)) a site operator may charge generators as provided in RCW 81.108.050.

"Site" means a location, structure, or property used or to be used for the storage, treatment, or disposal of low-level radioactive waste for compensation within the state of Washington.

"Site operator" means a low-level radioactive waste site operating company, which includes every corporation, company, association, joint stock association, partnership, and person, their lessees, trustees, or receivers appointed by any court whatsoever, owning, operating, controlling, or managing a low-level radioactive waste disposal site or sites located within the state of Washington.

"Volume adjustment" means a mechanism that adjusts the maximum disposal rate in response to material changes in volumes of waste deposited at the site during the preceding period so as to provide a level of total revenues sufficient to recover the costs to operate and maintain the site.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-021, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-031  ((Accounts--Uniform system adopted--)) Customer records. (((1) Each site operator shall conform its accounting system to the "Uniform System of Accounts for Low Level Disposal Site Operators" dated January 1, 1992. A copy of that document is available at the headquarters office of the commission and shall be available from the commission upon request.

(2) Each site operator shall maintain complete records of the disposal service provided to each customer, showing for each and every customer the amount billed, the type of service provided, the dollar amounts collected and the balance due. Each site operator shall maintain customer records in such a way that the service and the rates and charges are easily identifiable in accordance with rates set for the site operator. Records must be kept on file at the office of the site operator at the disposal site, and in any other place as may be approved by the commission, for a period of at least three years.)) A site operator must maintain, at a minimum, the following records, by generator, at the disposal site for at least three years:

Customer name and address;

Type of service provided;

Current rates;

Billed amount;

Amount collected; and

Balance due.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-031, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



NEW SECTION



WAC 480-92-041  Uniform system of accounts. Pursuant to RCW 81.108.030(4) commission staff may require a site operator to use a uniform system of accounts to ensure that the commission can effectively audit the company's operations.



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AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-050  ((Semiannual)) Annual report((s)). ((Each site operator shall file semiannual reports reporting the results of operations for the site. These reports shall cover the period from January through June and from July through December. Reports shall be filed on forms provided by the commission, and submitted no later than sixty days after the end of the period for which the report is submitted. The first such report shall cover the period from July to December 1992.)) The commission will distribute an annual report form to site operators each year. The site operator must complete the form, file it with the commission, and pay regulatory fees for the preceding calendar year by May 1.

A site operator may request in writing prior to May 1, an extension of time to file its annual report, stating the reasons for the request and the extension date. The commission will not grant extensions for payment of regulatory fees.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-050, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-060  ((Initial rate filing--Form--Notice.)) Minimum filing requirements. (((1) No later than March 1, 1992, site operators shall file a request with the commission to establish an initial maximum disposal rate. The request shall be in the form of a petition. An original and twenty copies shall be filed with the commission.

(2) The petition shall set out the proposed maximum disposal rate; the proposed inflation, volume, and extraordinary volume adjustments; the proposed administrative fee for small volumes pursuant to RCW 81.108.040(5); and a proposed method for determining the cost to receive and handle extraordinary volumes of waste pursuant to RCW 81.108.070(1).

(3) The filing shall include, at a minimum, testimony, exhibits, work papers, summaries, annual reports, cost studies, proposed tariffs, and any other information necessary to determine a maximum disposal rate and to support the proposed rates, fees, adjustments, and costs.

(4) Within five days after filing the request with the commission, the site operator shall notify all customers who ship or deliver waste to the site that a request has been filed with the commission. Notice shall be mailed to any customer who has paid for disposal of waste at the site within three years prior to the filing of the request. The notice shall include a statement of the site operator's proposed maximum disposal rate and shall include the address of the commission, with a statement that more detailed information may be obtained by writing to the commission.

(5) Hearings before the commission on the rates, charges, and methods contained in the petition shall be conducted in accordance with chapter 480-09 WAC.

(6) Once approved, the maximum disposal fee shall become the highest disposal fee the site operator may charge customers.)) (1) When a site operator files for a general rate increase, it must follow the minimum filing requirements set forth in WAC 480-09-300 through 480-09-330.

(2) A site operator filing a request with the commission for a general rate increase must concurrently notify all generators who have disposed of low-level radioactive waste in the three years prior to the request for the proposed rate increases or service changes. The notice must include at minimum; a clear, brief explanation the generators can easily understand of the proposed rates, conditions and changes; the requested effective date; the commission's address, with a statement that generators may obtain more detailed information by writing to the commission; and a phone number for generators to call a company representative if they have questions.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-060, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-070  ((Semiannual adjustments to maximum disposal fee--Filing--Notice.)) Annual rate adjustment. (1) ((After January 1, 1993,)) A site operator((s)) may file each year for ((adjustments to the maximum disposal fee for reasons set forth in RCW 81.108.050(3). Inflation and volume adjustments must be filed to become effective in January or July and must allow for thirty days from the date of filing to become effective.)) rate adjustments, as set forth in RCW 81.108.050(3), to become effective January 1 of the following year. Rate adjustments will be effective thirty days after filing with the commission, unless suspended. Upon proper request the commission may allow filings to become effective in less than thirty days.

(2) A site operator may also file for rate adjustments ((to the maximum disposal fee)) at any time for reasons set forth in RCW 81.108.050(4).

(((3) In all filings for a change in the maximum disposal fee, the site operator shall provide its customers with notice of the filing as required for the initial rate filing under this chapter.))



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-070, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-080  Contracts. (1) Contract rates - Generally. A site operator may contract with any person to provide a ((contract)) disposal rate lower than the ((maximum disposal)) current tariff rate. ((Each such contract shall be filed with the commission not less than thirty days prior to the proposed effective date of the contract, and shall become effective according to its terms the thirty-first day from the date of its filing unless earlier approved, suspended, or rejected by the commission. Upon application and for good cause shown,)) Once the commission ((may)) approves ((the)) a contract ((as of its effective date prior to the date that the contract would have become effective in accordance with this section)), the site operator may not collect a disposal fee greater than the lowest contract rate plus an administrative fee.

(2) ((Each contract filed for commission approval shall be accompanied by such documentation as may be necessary to show that the contract does not result in discrimination among customers receiving like and contemporaneous service under substantially similar circumstances, and provides for the recovery of all costs associated with the provision of the service; provided, that discrimination between customers is not present to the extent a site operator charges small volume customers an administrative fee determined according to RCW 81.108.040(5). The site operator shall file the following information in conjunction with each contract submitted for commission approval:

(a) A statement summarizing the basis of the rate or charge proposed in the contract and an explanation of the derivation of the proposed rate or charge;

(b) An explanation of all cost computations involved in arriving at the derivation of the level of the rate or charge in the contract; and

(c) A statement indicating the basis for the use of a contract rather than a filed tariff for the specific service involved.

(3) All contracts shall be for a stated time period. The commission may approve terms and conditions which prescribe the rate or rates to be applied during the time period, if such rates are found to be appropriate. Unless otherwise provided by the commission, such approval shall not be determinative with respect to the expenses and revenues of the site operator for subsequent ratemaking considerations.

(4) Every contract filed shall contain the provision that it is made subject to the power and authority of the commission to fix, alter, and amend just, fair, and reasonable classifications, rules and regulations, and rates for low-level radioactive waste disposal site operators.)) Contract requirements. A contract between a site operator and a generator must be limited to a definite time period.

A contract between a site operator and a generator must contain a provision that the contract is entered into subject to the power and authority of the commission to set just, fair, reasonable and sufficient rates for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. The contract must provide for recovery of all costs associated with providing the service.

(3) Approval by the commission.

(a) The commission may approve the terms and conditions of a contract, and the rate or rates to be applied during the time period, if it finds the rates to be fair, just, reasonable and sufficient. The commission may not include revenues and expenses generated and incurred under contract for subsequent ratemaking purposes.

(b) Each contract must be filed with the commission at least thirty days before the proposed effective date of the contract. Contracts will become effective on the thirty-first day after filing with the commission unless:

(i) The site operator request, and the commission allows, for the contract to become effective in less than thirty days;

(ii) The commission rejects the contract; or

(iii) The commission suspends the contract and sets the matter for hearing.

(4) Information to support approval of a contract. A site operator must submit the following information with each contract filed for commission approval:

(a) A statement explaining the use of a contract rather than a filed tariff for the specific service involved;

(b) All documents and calculations showing how the site operator derived the proposed rate;

(c) All documents showing that the contract does not discriminate, or result in discrimination, among customers receiving like and contemporaneous service under substantially similar circumstances; and

(d) Any other information requested by the commission.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-080, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-090  ((Complaint procedures.)) Site operator responsibility for complaints and disputes. (((1) Complaints against a site operator shall be made by letter to the commission. The complainant shall send a copy of the complaint to the site operator by registered mail.

(2) A complaint shall include the dates of acts or omissions complained against, the relevant statutes or rules, and other information essential to disposition of the complaint.

(3) The commission encourages alternate forms of dispute resolution to resolve disputes between the site operator and any other person. In order to resolve disputes informally, the voluntary settlement procedures of WAC 480-09-465 may be used to resolve complaints brought before the commission.)) (1) If a site operator receives complaints or disputes regarding its operations, it must:

(a) Acknowledge the complaint;

(b) Investigate promptly;

(c) Report the results of the investigation to the complainant;

(d) Take corrective action, if warranted, as soon as appropriate under the circumstances;

(e) Tell the complainant the decision may be appealed to a higher level representative of the company, if any;

(f) Tell the complainant, if still dissatisfied after speaking with the higher level representative, of the commission's availability to review the complaint; and

(g) Provide the complainant with the commission's address and toll-free telephone number.

(2) Complainants may file with the commission:

(a) An informal complaint against a site operator as set forth in WAC 480-09-150; and/or

(b) A formal complaint against a site operator as set forth in RCW 81.108.080 and chapter 480-09 WAC.

(3) When commission staff refers an informal complaint to a site operator, the operator must:

(a) Investigate and respond to commission staff within two working days. Commission staff may grant an extension of time for responding to the complaint, if requested, and warranted; and

(b) Report regularly to commission staff about progress toward the solution and the final result.

(4) A site operator must keep a record of all complaints concerning service or rates for at least one year and, on request, make them readily available for commission review. The record must contain:

(a) The complainant's name and address;

(b) The date and nature of the complaint;

(c) The action taken; and

(d) The final result.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-090, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-100  Tariffs. (1) ((Every)) A site operator ((shall)) must file with the commission((, and post at the company's main office at the disposal site, its)) a tariff showing all rates ((and charges, including all accessorial charges,)) for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. The site operator must post the tariff at their office at the disposal site.

(2) ((Two copies of all such tariffs shall be transmitted to the commission with a letter of transmittal in duplicate.

(3) Tariffs shall be typed or printed on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper and shall be paginated. A margin of not less than five-eighths of an inch must be left on all four sides for binding.

(4) Tariffs shall consist of at least)) The tariff must include the following:

(a) A title page ((which identifies)) with the ((name of the)) company ((issuing the tariff)) name, date of issue ((and date)), effective date, and name((,)) and title ((and street address)) of ((tariff publishing)) the officer ((by whom the tariff or supplement is issued)).

(b) ((A general rules section that contains all rules and regulations governing how and in what manner rates and charges shall be assessed by the company.

(c) A section that names all rates and charges that shall be assessed by the company.

(d) A page listing all abbreviations and symbols used in the tariff, and containing an explanation of said abbreviations and symbols.)) Pages containing all rates and the rules for assessing rates.

(c) A page listing the abbreviations and symbols used in the tariff, and an explanation of each abbreviation and symbol.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-100, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92)



WAC 480-92-110  Penalty assessments. ((In addition to all other penalties provided by law, every site operator and every officer, agent, or employee of every such company who violates or procures, aids, or abets in the violation of any law, rule, regulation, or commission decision applicable to such company shall incur a penalty of up to one thousand dollars for every such violation. Each and every such violation shall be a separate and distinct offense, and in the case of a continuing violation every day's continuance shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation.)) Pursuant to RCW 81.108.030 (4)(d) and chapter 81.04 RCW, the commission may assess penalties of up to one thousand dollars for each violation per occurrence if a site operator violates any provisions of Title 81 RCW, commission rule, or decision.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1991 c 272. 92-03-050 (Order R-366, Docket No. T-910676), 480-92-110, filed 1/10/92, effective 2/10/92.]