WSR 99-19-155

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[ Commission Docket No. UE-991168-- Filed September 22, 1999, 9:58 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The subject of this rule making is the reliability of the electric service and electric systems of investor-owned electric companies. Specifically, the commission will consider rules that address service interruptions and power quality. Three existing rules will also be considered for changes: WAC 480-100-076 Service responsibilities, 480-100-186 Standard frequency, and 480-100-191 Standard voltage and permissible variation.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 80.01.040.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Existing electric company reliability statistics are either so imprecise, unavailable or nonexistent, that the commission cannot say with confidence that past levels of reliability are being maintained. As the electric utility industry becomes more competitive, electric companies are facing increasing pressure to cut costs, and reliability investments are potential targets for cost-cutting measures. The commission, which is responsible for ensuring service is adequate, must have more reliable statistics to know whether reliability is increasing or decreasing.

Electric service customers' equipment has become increasingly sensitive to variations in power quality. Even if the quality of power is maintained at current levels, there likely will be an increase in power quality problems experienced by customers. This rule making will determine whether there should be changes in power quality standards or whether there are alternative ways to address this increasing problem.

These issues are discussed more completely in two reports prepared by the commission for the legislature: The "Washington State Electricity System Study" conducted in compliance with ESSB 6560, and the "Washington Electric Utility Service Quality, Reliability, Disclosure and Cost Report," conducted in compliance with E2SHB 2831. Both reports can be acquired from the commission at the address listed on the notice shown below. The 6560 report can also be found on the Internet at www.energy.cted.wa.gov/6560, and the 2831 report at www.wutc.wa.gov/.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The state of Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) enforces electric company compliance with the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) as it relates to worker safety. Electric companies in Washington are required to design and build utility plant to this code. The commission has already apprized L&I of the rule making and will keep the agency informed, inviting comments.

Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study; and the commission will ask for initial written comments, and will provide the opportunity for additional comments if substantial disagreements are reflected in the comments. The commission will schedule workshops involving representatives of affected constituencies in a manner designed to develop a common understanding of the issues, and seek the better options for addressing those issues.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. Interested persons may contact the Secretary, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504-7250, (360) 664-1174, fax (360) 586-1150. Such persons may submit comments, as specified below, or may ask to be included in the commission's list of interested persons for the proceeding.

WRITTEN COMMENTS: Written comments in response to the CR-101 from persons interested in the subject matter of this proposed rule making may be filed with the commission secretary, referencing Docket No. UE-991168, not later than October 13, 1999. All commenters are asked, but not required, to file an original and ten copies of their written comments. The commission also requests, but does not require, that comments be provided on a 3 1/2 inch IBM formatted high-density disk, in WordPerfect version 5.1 or later, labeled with the docket number of this proceeding and the commenter's name, the date, and type of software used. The commission may offer additional opportunities to provide written comments. Interested persons may file additional written comments in response to any such invitation.

NOTICE OF WORKSHOP: On September 22, 1999, the commission filed a CR-101 preproposal notice of inquiry and initiated rule making to address the reliability of the electric systems and electric service of investor-owned electric companies. Interested persons may attend the initial workshop scheduled to be held in the Commission's Hearing Room, Room 206, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA, on Wednesday, October 13, 1999, beginning at 1:15 p.m.

The commission will provide written notice so workshops to all commenters and to any other persons who specifically ask to receive notice in this rule-making proceeding.

Questions may be addressed to Mark Anderson by telephone at (360) 664-1311 or by e-mail at manderso@wutc.wa.gov.

NOTICE: TO CONTINUE RECEIVING NOTICES AND INFORMATION ABOUT THIS RULE MAKING -- The commission wants to ensure its mailings are sent to persons who are interested in the topic and want to receive that information. ANY PERSON WHO COMMENTS will continue to receive notices and information. If you do not submit comments but wish to remain on the mailing list for this rule making, please advise the Records Center by any one of the following methods: (1) Send a note with your name, address (or a copy of your mailing label), and telephone and fax numbers referencing Docket No. UE-991168, and the words "Please keep me on the mailing list;" or (2) e-mail your name, address, telephone and fax numbers, referencing Docket No. UE-991168, and the words "Please keep me on the mailing list" to records@wutc.wa.gov. Please note that information in the mailing will be accessible through the Commission's Internet web site at http://www.wutc.wa.gov/. PERSONS WHO DO NOT RESPOND MAY NOT RECEIVE FURTHER MAILINGS OR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS RULE MAKING.

September 22, 1999

Carole J. Washburn

Secretary

Washington State Code Reviser's Office