Summary: H.R.12912 — 94th Congress (1975-1976)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.12912. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (03/30/1976)

Electric Utility Rate Reform and Regulatory Improvement Act - Title I: General Provisions -- Declares it the purpose of this Act to reform inequities in the structure of electric utility rates.

Title II: Utility Rate Reform - Defines terms as used in this title. Limits applicability of this title to sales of electric energy for purposes other than resale by an electric utility, where sales by such utility for purposes other than resale exceed 200 million kilowatt-hours during the second preceding calendar year.

Imposes national minimum standards on utility rate structures, to be enforced by State regulatory authorities. Prohibits rate structures which allow lower rates for increased consumption without a showing that such lower rates actually reflect decreased costs. Eliminates price differentials for residential users of subsistence quantities of electricity, unless the Governor of the State has determined that an adequate alternative means to alleviate the burden to low-income residential consumers has been implemented.

Stipulates that promotional and advertising costs may not be treated by a utility as an operating expense for purposes of rate determination.

Requires evidentiary hearings by regulatory authorities on proposed rate increases. Limits the amount of actual increases pursuant to an automatic adjustment clause which may become effective without such a hearing. Requires that regulatory authorities annually review existing utility rate schedules.

Authorizes State regulatory authorities to prescribe variances upon application by individual electric consumers unduly hardshipped by rate schedules.

Directs State authorities to prescribe load management techniques to reduce maximum kilowatt demand on electric utilities. Establishes procedures to be followed in determining marginal costs of service to electric consumers.

Establishes an Electric Utility Rate-making Assistance Office in the Federal Energy Administration to provide information and assistance with respect to ratemaking policies and procedures established by this Act.

Title III: Economic Regulation of Bulk Power Supply - Amends the Federal Power Act to require that public utilities make new, increased, or retired capacity in bulk power facilities available to others engaged in the sale or transmission of electric energy in the same geographical area. Establishes additional requirements and procedures to insure continuation of service in cases of anticipated deficiencies in the available supplies of electric power.

Requires that the Federal Power Commission hold evidentiary hearings on proposed rate increases. Limits the amount of actual increases pursuant to an automatic adjustment clause which may becomes effective without such a hearing.

Requires the establishment of an Office of Public Counsel in the Federal Power Commission for the purpose of adequate representation of consumer interests before the Commission. Authorizes the appropriation of $500,000 for fiscal year 1978 and $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1979 to such Office. Authorizes the Commission to pay reasonable fees to certain participants in evidentiary hearings, not to exceed $1,000,000 for all such persons in any fiscal year.

Directs the Commission to prescribe minimum standards to assure a reliable supply of electric energy. Requires electric utilities to develop a quality control program to assure compliance with such reliability standards.

Directs the Commission, upon consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, to study the desirability and means of increasing competition within the electric utility industry. Directs the Administrator of the Energy Research and Development Administration to conduct a study on the feasibility of generating electricity near the place of consumption.

Title IV: Financial Assistance to State Regulatory Authorities - Authorizes the Electric Utility Ratemaking Assistance Office (established by title II of this Act) to make grants to State regulatory authorities for the following purposes: (1) to increase the quantity and quality of State regulatory staff; (2) to establish programs to meet Federal consumer representation requirements; and (3) to demonstrate innovative rate structures.

Prescribes criteria on the allotment of funds to the States. Authorizes the appropriation of $30,000,000 in any fiscal year for grants to improve staffing. Authorizes the appropriation of $5,000,000 for grants for consumer representation, and $5,000,000 for grants for rate structure innovation.

Title V: Coordination of Planning and Siting of Bulk Power Facilities - Requires that electric utilities which control bulk power facilities prepare an annual long-range plan for the use of each such facility. Establishes areawide planning councils to review such plans and submit area plans for bulk power facilities to the Commission.

Directs the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission to supervise the overall approval process for the siting of bulk power facilities. Establishes procedures to assist in coordinating the Federal approval process.