S-3308.2          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 6144



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1992 Regular Session


By Senators Thorsness, Sutherland, Saling and Stratton


Read first time 01/17/92.  Referred to Committee on Energy & Utilities.Regulating public service company tariff charge reduction or waiver.

     AN ACT Relating to authorizing a temporary reduction or waiver of existing tariff charges for the purpose of promoting a telecommunications service; and amending RCW 80.04.130 and 80.36.130.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 80.04.130 and 1990 c 170 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) Whenever any public service company shall file with the commission any schedule, classification, rule or regulation, the effect of which is to change any rate, charge, rental or toll theretofore charged, the commission shall have power, either upon its own motion or upon complaint, upon notice, to enter upon a hearing concerning such proposed change and the reasonableness and justness thereof, and pending such hearing and the decision thereon the commission may suspend the operation of such rate, charge, rental or toll for a period not exceeding ten months from the time the same would otherwise go into effect, and after a full hearing the commission may make such order in reference thereto as would be provided in a hearing initiated after the same had become effective.  The commission shall not suspend a tariff that makes a decrease in a rate, charge, rental, or toll filed by a telecommunications company pending investigation of the fairness, justness, and reasonableness of the decrease when the filing does not contain any offsetting increase to another rate, charge, rental, or toll and the filing company agrees to not file for an increase to any rate, charge, rental, or toll to recover the revenue deficit that results from the decrease for a period of one year.  The filing company shall file with any decrease sufficient information as the commission by rule may require to demonstrate the decreased rate, charge, rental, or toll is above the long run incremental cost of the service.  A tariff decrease that results in a rate that is below long run incremental cost, or is contrary to commission rule or order, or the requirements of this chapter, shall be rejected for filing and returned to the company.  The commission may prescribe a different rate to be effective on the prospective date stated in its final order after its investigation, if it concludes based on the record that the originally filed and effective rate is unjust, unfair, or unreasonable.  For the purposes of this section, a tariff that temporarily reduces or waives existing tariff charges for a service for a period of time not to exceed sixty days for either existing or new subscribers, in order to promote the use of the service, shall be considered a tariff that decreases a rate, charge, rental, or toll.

     The commission may suspend the initial tariff filing of any water company removed from and later subject to commission jurisdiction because of the number of customers or the average annual gross revenue per customer provisions of RCW 80.04.010.  The commission may allow temporary rates during the suspension period.  These rates shall not exceed the rates charged when the company was last regulated.  Upon a showing of good cause by the company, the commission may establish a different level of temporary rates.

     (2) At any hearing involving any change in any schedule, classification, rule or regulation the effect of which is to increase any rate, charge, rental or toll theretofore charged, the burden of proof to show that such increase is just and reasonable shall be upon the public service company.

     (3) The implementation of mandatory local measured telecommunications service is a major policy change in available telecommunications service.  The commission shall not accept for filing or approve, prior to June 1, 1993, a tariff filed by a telecommunications company which imposes mandatory local measured service on any customer or class of customers, except that, upon finding that it is in the public interest, the commission may accept for filing and approve a tariff that imposes mandatory measured service for a telecommunications company's extended area service or foreign exchange service.  This subsection does not apply to land, air, or marine mobile service, or to pay telephone service, or to any service which has been traditionally offered on a measured service basis.

     (4) The implementation of Washington telephone assistance program service is a major policy change in available telecommunications service.  The implementation of Washington telephone assistance program service will aid in achieving the stated goal of universal telephone service.


     Sec. 2.  RCW 80.36.130 and 1989 c 101 s 11 are each amended to read as follows:

     Except as provided in RCW 80.04.130 and 80.36.150, no telecommunications company shall charge, demand, collect or receive different compensation for any service rendered or to be rendered than the charge applicable to such service as specified in its schedule on file and in effect at that time, nor shall any telecommunications company refund or remit, directly or indirectly, any portion of the rate or charge so specified, nor extend to any person or corporation any form of contract or agreement or any rule or regulation or any privilege or facility except such as are specified in its schedule filed and in effect at the time, and regularly and uniformly extended to all persons and corporations under like circumstances for like or substantially similar service.

     No telecommunications company subject to the provisions of this title shall, directly or indirectly, give any free or reduced service or any free pass or frank for the transmission of messages by telecommunications between points within this state, except to its officers, employees, agents, pensioners, surgeons, physicians, attorneys at law, and their families, and persons and corporations exclusively engaged in charitable and eleemosynary work, and ministers of religion, Young Men's Christian Associations, Young Women's Christian Associations; to indigent and destitute persons, and to officers and employees of other telecommunications companies, railroad companies, and street railroad companies.