4928.143 Application for approval of electric security plan - testing.

(A) For the purpose of complying with section 4928.141 of the Revised Code, an electric distribution utility may file an application for public utilities commission approval of an electric security plan as prescribed under division (B) of this section. The utility may file that application prior to the effective date of any rules the commission may adopt for the purpose of this section, and, as the commission determines necessary, the utility immediately shall conform its filing to those rules upon their taking effect.

(B) Notwithstanding any other provision of Title XLIX of the Revised Code to the contrary except division (D) of this section, divisions (I), (J), and (K) of section 4928.20 , division (E) of section 4928.64 , and section 4928.69 of the Revised Code:

(1) An electric security plan shall include provisions relating to the supply and pricing of electric generation service. In addition, if the proposed electric security plan has a term longer than three years, it may include provisions in the plan to permit the commission to test the plan pursuant to division (E) of this section and any transitional conditions that should be adopted by the commission if the commission terminates the plan as authorized under that division.

(2) The plan may provide for or include, without limitation, any of the following:

(a) Automatic recovery of any of the following costs of the electric distribution utility, provided the cost is prudently incurred: the cost of fuel used to generate the electricity supplied under the offer; the cost of purchased power supplied under the offer, including the cost of energy and capacity, and including purchased power acquired from an affiliate; the cost of emission allowances; and the cost of federally mandated carbon or energy taxes;

(b) A reasonable allowance for construction work in progress for any of the electric distribution utility's cost of constructing an electric generating facility or for an environmental expenditure for any electric generating facility of the electric distribution utility, provided the cost is incurred or the expenditure occurs on or after January 1, 2009. Any such allowance shall be subject to the construction work in progress allowance limitations of division (A) of section 4909.15 of the Revised Code, except that the commission may authorize such an allowance upon the incurrence of the cost or occurrence of the expenditure. No such allowance for generating facility construction shall be authorized, however, unless the commission first determines in the proceeding that there is need for the facility based on resource planning projections submitted by the electric distribution utility. Further, no such allowance shall be authorized unless the facility's construction was sourced through a competitive bid process, regarding which process the commission may adopt rules. An allowance approved under division (B)(2)(b) of this section shall be established as a nonbypassable surcharge for the life of the facility.

(c) The establishment of a nonbypassable surcharge for the life of an electric generating facility that is owned or operated by the electric distribution utility, was sourced through a competitive bid process subject to any such rules as the commission adopts under division (B)(2)(b) of this section, and is newly used and useful on or after January 1, 2009, which surcharge shall cover all costs of the utility specified in the application, excluding costs recovered through a surcharge under division (B)(2)(b) of this section. However, no surcharge shall be authorized unless the commission first determines in the proceeding that there is need for the facility based on resource planning projections submitted by the electric distribution utility. Additionally, if a surcharge is authorized for a facility pursuant to plan approval under division (C) of this section and as a condition of the continuation of the surcharge, the electric distribution utility shall dedicate to Ohio consumers the capacity and energy and the rate associated with the cost of that facility. Before the commission authorizes any surcharge pursuant to this division, it may consider, as applicable, the effects of any decommissioning, deratings, and retirements.

(d) Terms, conditions, or charges relating to limitations on customer shopping for retail electric generation service, bypassability, standby, back-up, or supplemental power service, default service, carrying costs, amortization periods, and accounting or deferrals, including future recovery of such deferrals, as would have the effect of stabilizing or providing certainty regarding retail electric service;

(e) Automatic increases or decreases in any component of the standard service offer price;

(f) Consistent with sections 4928.23 to 4928.2318 of the Revised Code, both of the following:

(i) Provisions for the electric distribution utility to securitize any phase-in, inclusive of carrying charges, of the utility's standard service offer price, which phase-in is authorized in accordance with section 4928.144 of the Revised Code;

(ii) Provisions for the recovery of the utility's cost of securitization.

(g) Provisions relating to transmission, ancillary, congestion, or any related service required for the standard service offer, including provisions for the recovery of any cost of such service that the electric distribution utility incurs on or after that date pursuant to the standard service offer;

(h) Provisions regarding the utility's distribution service, including, without limitation and notwithstanding any provision of Title XLIX of the Revised Code to the contrary, provisions regarding single issue ratemaking, a revenue decoupling mechanism or any other incentive ratemaking, and provisions regarding distribution infrastructure and modernization incentives for the electric distribution utility. The latter may include a long-term energy delivery infrastructure modernization plan for that utility or any plan providing for the utility's recovery of costs, including lost revenue, shared savings, and avoided costs, and a just and reasonable rate of return on such infrastructure modernization. As part of its determination as to whether to allow in an electric distribution utility's electric security plan inclusion of any provision described in division (B)(2)(h) of this section, the commission shall examine the reliability of the electric distribution utility's distribution system and ensure that customers' and the electric distribution utility's expectations are aligned and that the electric distribution utility is placing sufficient emphasis on and dedicating sufficient resources to the reliability of its distribution system.

(i) Provisions under which the electric distribution utility may implement economic development, job retention, and energy efficiency programs, which provisions may allocate program costs across all classes of customers of the utility and those of electric distribution utilities in the same holding company system.

(C)

(1) The burden of proof in the proceeding shall be on the electric distribution utility. The commission shall issue an order under this division for an initial application under this section not later than one hundred fifty days after the application's filing date and, for any subsequent application by the utility under this section, not later than two hundred seventy-five days after the application's filing date. Subject to division (D) of this section, the commission by order shall approve or modify and approve an application filed under division (A) of this section if it finds that the electric security plan so approved, including its pricing and all other terms and conditions, including any deferrals and any future recovery of deferrals, is more favorable in the aggregate as compared to the expected results that would otherwise apply under section 4928.142 of the Revised Code. Additionally, if the commission so approves an application that contains a surcharge under division (B)(2)(b) or (c) of this section, the commission shall ensure that the benefits derived for any purpose for which the surcharge is established are reserved and made available to those that bear the surcharge. Otherwise, the commission by order shall disapprove the application.

(2)

(a) If the commission modifies and approves an application under division (C)(1) of this section, the electric distribution utility may withdraw the application, thereby terminating it, and may file a new standard service offer under this section or a standard service offer under section 4928.142 of the Revised Code.

(b) If the utility terminates an application pursuant to division (C)(2)(a) of this section or if the commission disapproves an application under division (C)(1) of this section, the commission shall issue such order as is necessary to continue the provisions, terms, and conditions of the utility's most recent standard service offer, along with any expected increases or decreases in fuel costs from those contained in that offer, until a subsequent offer is authorized pursuant to this section or section 4928.142 of the Revised Code, respectively.

(D) Regarding the rate plan requirement of division (A) of section 4928.141 of the Revised Code, if an electric distribution utility that has a rate plan that extends beyond December 31, 2008, files an application under this section for the purpose of its compliance with division (A) of section 4928.141 of the Revised Code, that rate plan and its terms and conditions are hereby incorporated into its proposed electric security plan and shall continue in effect until the date scheduled under the rate plan for its expiration, and that portion of the electric security plan shall not be subject to commission approval or disapproval under division (C) of this section, and the earnings test provided for in division (F) of this section shall not apply until after the expiration of the rate plan. However, that utility may include in its electric security plan under this section, and the commission may approve, modify and approve, or disapprove subject to division (C) of this section, provisions for the incremental recovery or the deferral of any costs that are not being recovered under the rate plan and that the utility incurs during that continuation period to comply with section 4928.141 , division (B) of section 4928.64 , or division (A) of section 4928.66 of the Revised Code.

(E) If an electric security plan approved under division (C) of this section, except one withdrawn by the utility as authorized under that division, has a term, exclusive of phase-ins or deferrals, that exceeds three years from the effective date of the plan, the commission shall test the plan in the fourth year, and if applicable, every fourth year thereafter, to determine whether the plan, including its then-existing pricing and all other terms and conditions, including any deferrals and any future recovery of deferrals, continues to be more favorable in the aggregate and during the remaining term of the plan as compared to the expected results that would otherwise apply under section 4928.142 of the Revised Code. The commission shall also determine the prospective effect of the electric security plan to determine if that effect is substantially likely to provide the electric distribution utility with a return on common equity that is significantly in excess of the return on common equity that is likely to be earned by publicly traded companies, including utilities, that face comparable business and financial risk, with such adjustments for capital structure as may be appropriate. The burden of proof for demonstrating that significantly excessive earnings will not occur shall be on the electric distribution utility. If the test results are in the negative or the commission finds that continuation of the electric security plan will result in a return on equity that is significantly in excess of the return on common equity that is likely to be earned by publicly traded companies, including utilities, that will face comparable business and financial risk, with such adjustments for capital structure as may be appropriate, during the balance of the plan, the commission may terminate the electric security plan, but not until it shall have provided interested parties with notice and an opportunity to be heard. The commission may impose such conditions on the plan's termination as it considers reasonable and necessary to accommodate the transition from an approved plan to the more advantageous alternative. In the event of an electric security plan's termination pursuant to this division, the commission shall permit the continued deferral and phase-in of any amounts that occurred prior to that termination and the recovery of those amounts as contemplated under that electric security plan.

(F) With regard to the provisions that are included in an electric security plan under this section, the commission shall consider, following the end of each annual period of the plan, if any such adjustments resulted in excessive earnings as measured by whether the earned return on common equity of the electric distribution utility is significantly in excess of the return on common equity that was earned during the same period by publicly traded companies, including utilities, that face comparable business and financial risk, with such adjustments for capital structure as may be appropriate. Consideration also shall be given to the capital requirements of future committed investments in this state. The burden of proof for demonstrating that significantly excessive earnings did not occur shall be on the electric distribution utility. If the commission finds that such adjustments, in the aggregate, did result in significantly excessive earnings, it shall require the electric distribution utility to return to consumers the amount of the excess by prospective adjustments; provided that, upon making such prospective adjustments, the electric distribution utility shall have the right to terminate the plan and immediately file an application pursuant to section 4928.142 of the Revised Code. Upon termination of a plan under this division, rates shall be set on the same basis as specified in division (C)(2)(b) of this section, and the commission shall permit the continued deferral and phase-in of any amounts that occurred prior to that termination and the recovery of those amounts as contemplated under that electric security plan. In making its determination of significantly excessive earnings under this division, the commission shall not consider, directly or indirectly, the revenue, expenses, or earnings of any affiliate or parent company.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.61, HB 364, §1, eff. 3/22/2012.

Effective Date: 2008 SB221 07-31-2008