S-1707.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5892



State of Washington      55th Legislature     1997 Regular Session


By Senators Swanson, Snyder, Thibaudeau and Heavey


Read first time 02/18/97.  Referred to Committee on Energy & Utilities.

Requiring public service companies to notify the utilities and transportation commission.

    AN ACT Relating to public utilities; adding a new section to chapter 80.04 RCW; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that large-scale downsizings, mergers, or work force reductions by public utility suppliers, such as electric, natural gas, telecommunications, and water companies can have a substantial impact in the quality of utility service and may adversely impact the safety of workers and the public.  The legislature further finds that it is in the public interest for the utilities and transportation commission to review and comment on these potential impacts prior to major large-scale mergers or work force reductions.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 80.04 RCW to read as follows:

    (1) A public service company is required to notify the commission ninety days prior to a work force reduction, merger, or downsizing of one hundred or more employees that occurs within a ninety-day period.  The company must submit documentation of the potential impact on quality of service and worker and public safety resulting from the proposed downsizing or merger.  Within seventy days of notification, the commission must review the potential impact of the work force reduction on the quality of utility service provided to communities, businesses, individuals, and state and local governments served by the public service company, and hold a public meeting to allow consumer comment.  The commission will then notify the public service company and interested parties of its findings.  The results of the review may be used by the commission in making a determination on any pending acquisition or merger.

    (2) For the purposes of this section, "public service company" means, but is not limited to, electric companies, water systems, resellers of service and holding companies, and telecommunications companies classified as competitive companies subject to minimal regulations.


                            --- END ---