WSR 02-20-105

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[ Docket No. A-021178 -- Filed October 2, 2002, 9:24 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule making would consider establishing rules relating to reporting of transactions between regulated utility and transportation companies and their subsidiaries to the commission. Industries that may be affected include household goods carriers, commercial ferries, auto transportation companies, solid waste and collection companies, petroleum pipeline companies, gas companies, low level radioactive waste, electric companies, water companies, telecommunications companies. Rules that may be affected include chapter 480-15 WAC, Household goods carriers; chapter 480-51 WAC, Commercial ferries; chapter 480-70 WAC, Solid waste; chapter 480-75 WAC, Petroleum pipeline companies; chapter 480-90 WAC, Gas operations; chapter 480-92 WAC, Low level radioactive waste; chapter 480-100 WAC, Electric operations; chapter 480-110 WAC, Water companies; chapter 480-120 WAC, Telecommunications operations; chapter 480-140 WAC, Budgets; and chapter 480-146 WAC, Securities and affiliated interests.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 80.01.040 and 80.04.160.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The regulated transportation and utility business environments have undergone a number of significant developments that include corporate and industry restructuring, competition, bankruptcy, financial rating downgrades, volatile commodity supply and demand, volatile pricing, and concern with the accuracy of corporate financial statements and reports. In this new environment, transactions between regulated companies and their affiliates and subsidiaries may significantly impact ratepayers. Transactions with affiliated interests are covered by existing law, but there are no rules covering some types of subsidiaries. Establishing reporting requirements regarding transactions between regulated companies and their subsidiaries would provide the commission with more timely identification and disclosure of intercompany transactions that pose difficult regulatory issues. Establishing rules applicable to regulated companies may include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. Require regulated companies to prefile the following transactions with subsidiaries:

a. Management or service contracts (to be defined).

b. Maintenance, operation and construction contracts.

c. Construction, maintenance, or use of a telecommunications line or service contracts.

d. Issuance of evidence of ownership or indebtedness or creation of liens on regulated company property.

2. Require regulated companies to file periodic reports detailing transactions that have already occurred with subsidiaries.

3. Require regulated companies to immediately post-file significant transactions/arrangements with subsidiaries.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: FERC, FCC, SEC.

Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study; and the commission will ask for initial written comments, and will provide the opportunity or additional comments.

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, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98504-7250, phone (360) 664-1174, fax (360) 586-1150.

Interested persons may file written comments on the CR-101 by October 30, 2002. For specific information regarding opportunities for written comment and to ensure receipt of further information concerning this rule making, please see below.

A stakeholder workshop will be held Tuesday, November 5, 2002, in Room 206 at the commission's headquarters, beginning at 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

WRITTEN COMMENTS AND STAKEHOLDER WORKSHOP: Written comments may be submitted to the commission at the address given above and should be filed with the commission no later than Wednesday, October 30, 2002, for consideration at the November 5, 2002, stakeholder workshop.

Electronic copies. The commission requests that comments be provided in electronic format to enhance public access, for ease of providing comments, to reduce the need for paper copies, and to facilitate quotations from the comments. Comments may be submitted by electronic mail to the Commission's Records Center at records@wutc.wa.gov. Please include:

The docket number of this proceeding (A-021178)

The commenting party's name

The title and date of the comment or comments

An alternative method for submitting comments may be by mailing/delivering an electronic copy on a 3 1/2 inch, IBM-formatted, high-density disk, in .pdf Adobe Acrobat format or in Word 97 or later. Include all of the information requested above. The commission will post on the commission's website all comments that are provided in electronic format. The website is located at http://www.wutc.wa.gov/021178. If you are unable to file your comments electronically or to submit them on a disk, the commission will always accept a paper document.

Opportunity for further comment is anticipated. Information about the schedule and other aspects of the rule making, including comments, will be posted on the commission's website as it becomes available. If you wish to receive further information on this rule making you may: (1) Call the Commission's Records Center at 360-664-1234; (2) e-mail the commission at records@wutc.wa.gov; or (3) mail written comments to the address above to the attention of Carole J. Washburn, Secretary. When contacting the commission, please refer to Docket No. A-021178 to ensure that you are placed on the appropriate service list. Questions may be addressed to Fred Ottavelli, (360) 664-1297 or e-mail at fottavel@wutc.wa.gov, or Sharyn Bate, (360) 664-1295, or e-mail at sbate@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. A-021178, and the words "Please keep me on the mailing list"; or (2) e-mail your name, address, telephone and fax numbers, referencing Docket No. A-021178, and the words "Please keep me on the mailing list" to records@wutc.wa.gov. Please note that all information in the mailings will be accessible through the commission's Internet website at http://www.wutc.wa.gov/021178. THOSE PARTIES WHO DO NOT RESPOND MAY NOT RECEIVE FURTHER MAILINGS OR INFORMATION ON THE RULE MAKING.

October 2, 2002

Paul Curl

for Carole J. Washburn

Secretary

Washington State Code Reviser's Office