4909.15 Fixation of reasonable rate.

(A) The public utilities commission, when fixing and determining just and reasonable rates, fares, tolls, rentals, and charges, shall determine:

(1) The valuation as of the date certain of the property of the public utility used and useful or, with respect to a natural gas, water-works, or sewage disposal system company, projected to be used and useful as of the date certain, in rendering the public utility service for which rates are to be fixed and determined. The valuation so determined shall be the total value as set forth in division (C)(8) of section 4909.05 of the Revised Code, and a reasonable allowance for materials and supplies and cash working capital as determined by the commission.

The commission, in its discretion, may include in the valuation a reasonable allowance for construction work in progress but, in no event, may such an allowance be made by the commission until it has determined that the particular construction project is at least seventy-five per cent complete.

In determining the percentage completion of a particular construction project, the commission shall consider, among other relevant criteria, the per cent of time elapsed in construction; the per cent of construction funds, excluding allowance for funds used during construction, expended, or obligated to such construction funds budgeted where all such funds are adjusted to reflect current purchasing power; and any physical inspection performed by or on behalf of any party, including the commission's staff.

A reasonable allowance for construction work in progress shall not exceed ten per cent of the total valuation as stated in this division, not including such allowance for construction work in progress.

Where the commission permits an allowance for construction work in progress, the dollar value of the project or portion thereof included in the valuation as construction work in progress shall not be included in the valuation as plant in service until such time as the total revenue effect of the construction work in progress allowance is offset by the total revenue effect of the plant in service exclusion. Carrying charges calculated in a manner similar to allowance for funds used during construction shall accrue on that portion of the project in service but not reflected in rates as plant in service, and such accrued carrying charges shall be included in the valuation of the property at the conclusion of the offset period for purposes of division (C)(8) of section 4909.05 of the Revised Code.

From and after April 10, 1985, no allowance for construction work in progress as it relates to a particular construction project shall be reflected in rates for a period exceeding forty-eight consecutive months commencing on the date the initial rates reflecting such allowance become effective, except as otherwise provided in this division.

The applicable maximum period in rates for an allowance for construction work in progress as it relates to a particular construction project shall be tolled if, and to the extent, a delay in the in-service date of the project is caused by the action or inaction of any federal, state, county, or municipal agency having jurisdiction, where such action or inaction relates to a change in a rule, standard, or approval of such agency, and where such action or inaction is not the result of the failure of the utility to reasonably endeavor to comply with any rule, standard, or approval prior to such change.

In the event that such period expires before the project goes into service, the commission shall exclude, from the date of expiration, the allowance for the project as construction work in progress from rates, except that the commission may extend the expiration date up to twelve months for good cause shown.

In the event that a utility has permanently canceled, abandoned, or terminated construction of a project for which it was previously permitted a construction work in progress allowance, the commission immediately shall exclude the allowance for the project from the valuation.

In the event that a construction work in progress project previously included in the valuation is removed from the valuation pursuant to this division, any revenues collected by the utility from its customers after April 10, 1985, that resulted from such prior inclusion shall be offset against future revenues over the same period of time as the project was included in the valuation as construction work in progress. The total revenue effect of such offset shall not exceed the total revenues previously collected.

In no event shall the total revenue effect of any offset or offsets provided under division (A)(1) of this section exceed the total revenue effect of any construction work in progress allowance.

(2) A fair and reasonable rate of return to the utility on the valuation as determined in division (A)(1) of this section;

(3) The dollar annual return to which the utility is entitled by applying the fair and reasonable rate of return as determined under division (A)(2) of this section to the valuation of the utility determined under division (A)(1) of this section;

(4) The cost to the utility of rendering the public utility service for the test period used for the determination under division (C)(1) of this section, less the total of any interest on cash or credit refunds paid, pursuant to section 4909.42 of the Revised Code, by the utility during the test period.

(a) Federal, state, and local taxes imposed on or measured by net income may, in the discretion of the commission, be computed by the normalization method of accounting, provided the utility maintains accounting reserves that reflect differences between taxes actually payable and taxes on a normalized basis, provided that no determination as to the treatment in the rate-making process of such taxes shall be made that will result in loss of any tax depreciation or other tax benefit to which the utility would otherwise be entitled, and further provided that such tax benefit as redounds to the utility as a result of such a computation may not be retained by the company, used to fund any dividend or distribution, or utilized for any purpose other than the defrayal of the operating expenses of the utility and the defrayal of the expenses of the utility in connection with construction work.

(b) The amount of any tax credits granted to an electric light company under section 5727.391 of the Revised Code for Ohio coal burned prior to January 1, 2000, shall not be retained by the company, used to fund any dividend or distribution, or utilized for any purposes other than the defrayal of the allowable operating expenses of the company and the defrayal of the allowable expenses of the company in connection with the installation, acquisition, construction, or use of a compliance facility. The amount of the tax credits granted to an electric light company under that section for Ohio coal burned prior to January 1, 2000, shall be returned to its customers within three years after initially claiming the credit through an offset to the company's rates or fuel component, as determined by the commission, as set forth in schedules filed by the company under section 4905.30 of the Revised Code. As used in division (A)(4)(b) of this section, "compliance facility" has the same meaning as in section 5727.391 of the Revised Code.

(B) The commission shall compute the gross annual revenues to which the utility is entitled by adding the dollar amount of return under division (A)(3) of this section to the cost, for the test period used for the determination under division (C)(1) of this section, of rendering the public utility service under division (A)(4) of this section.

(C)

(1) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, the revenues and expenses of the utility shall be determined during a test period. The utility may propose a test period for this determination that is any twelve-month period beginning not more than six months prior to the date the application is filed and ending not more than nine months subsequent to that date. The test period for determining revenues and expenses of the utility shall be the test period proposed by the utility, unless otherwise ordered by the commission.

(2) The date certain shall be not later than the date of filing, except that it shall be, for a natural gas, water-works, or sewage disposal system company, not later than the end of the test period.

(D) A natural gas, water-works, or sewage disposal system company may propose adjustments to the revenues and expenses to be determined under division (C)(1) of this section for any changes that are, during the test period or the twelve-month period immediately following the test period, reasonably expected to occur. The natural gas, water-works, or sewage disposal system company shall identify and quantify, individually, any proposed adjustments. The commission shall incorporate the proposed adjustments into the determination if the adjustments are just and reasonable.

(E) When the commission is of the opinion, after hearing and after making the determinations under divisions (A) and (B) of this section, that any rate, fare, charge, toll, rental, schedule, classification, or service, or any joint rate, fare, charge, toll, rental, schedule, classification, or service rendered, charged, demanded, exacted, or proposed to be rendered, charged, demanded, or exacted, is, or will be, unjust, unreasonable, unjustly discriminatory, unjustly preferential, or in violation of law, that the service is, or will be, inadequate, or that the maximum rates, charges, tolls, or rentals chargeable by any such public utility are insufficient to yield reasonable compensation for the service rendered, and are unjust and unreasonable, the commission shall:

(1) With due regard among other things to the value of all property of the public utility actually used and useful for the convenience of the public as determined under division (A)(1) of this section, excluding from such value the value of any franchise or right to own, operate, or enjoy the same in excess of the amount, exclusive of any tax or annual charge, actually paid to any political subdivision of the state or county, as the consideration for the grant of such franchise or right, and excluding any value added to such property by reason of a monopoly or merger, with due regard in determining the dollar annual return under division (A)(3) of this section to the necessity of making reservation out of the income for surplus, depreciation, and contingencies, and;

(2) With due regard to all such other matters as are proper, according to the facts in each case,

(a) Including a fair and reasonable rate of return determined by the commission with reference to a cost of debt equal to the actual embedded cost of debt of such public utility,

(b) But not including the portion of any periodic rental or use payments representing that cost of property that is included in the valuation report under divisions (C)(4) and (5) of section 4909.05 of the Revised Code, fix and determine the just and reasonable rate, fare, charge, toll, rental, or service to be rendered, charged, demanded, exacted, or collected for the performance or rendition of the service that will provide the public utility the allowable gross annual revenues under division (B) of this section, and order such just and reasonable rate, fare, charge, toll, rental, or service to be substituted for the existing one. After such determination and order no change in the rate, fare, toll, charge, rental, schedule, classification, or service shall be made, rendered, charged, demanded, exacted, or changed by such public utility without the order of the commission, and any other rate, fare, toll, charge, rental, classification, or service is prohibited.

(F) Upon application of any person or any public utility, and after notice to the parties in interest and opportunity to be heard as provided in Chapters 4901., 4903., 4905., 4907., 4909., 4921., and 4923. of the Revised Code for other hearings, has been given, the commission may rescind, alter, or amend an order fixing any rate, fare, toll, charge, rental, classification, or service, or any other order made by the commission. Certified copies of such orders shall be served and take effect as provided for original orders.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.199, HB 379, §1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.20, HB 95, §1, eff. 9/9/2011.

Effective Date: 11-24-1999