2017 ORS 757.215¹
Commission authorized to suspend new rates or order interim rates during hearings
  • revenues collected under unapproved rates to be refunded
  • order after hearing

(1) The Public Utility Commission may, pending such investigation and determination, order the suspension of the rate or schedule of rates, provided the initial period of suspension shall not extend more than six months beyond the time when such rate or schedule would otherwise go into effect. If the commission finds that the investigation will not be completed at the expiration of the initial suspension, the commission may enter an order further suspending such rate or schedule for not more than three months beyond the last day of the initial suspension.

(2) This section does not prevent the commission and the utility from entering into a written stipulation at any time extending any period of suspension.

(3) After full hearing, whether completed before or after such rate or schedule has gone into effect, the commission may make such order in reference thereto as would be proper in a proceeding initiated after such rate or schedule has become effective.

(4) If the commission is required to or determines to conduct a hearing on a rate or schedule of rates filed pursuant to ORS 757.210 (Hearing to establish new schedules), but does not order a suspension thereof, any increased revenue collected by the utility as a result of such rate or rate schedule becoming effective shall be received subject to being refunded. If the rate or rate schedule thereafter approved by the commission is for a lesser increase or for no increase, the utility shall refund the amount of revenues received that exceeds the amount approved as nearly as possible to the customers from whom such excess revenues were collected, by a credit against future bills or otherwise, in such manner as the commission orders.

(5) The commission may in a suspension order authorize an interim rate or rate schedule under which the utility’s revenues will be increased by an amount deemed reasonable by the commission, not exceeding the amount requested by the utility. Any such interim increase for a public utility as defined in ORS 757.005 (Definition of public utility) that produces, transmits, delivers or furnishes heat, light or power shall be effected by rates designed to increase the utility’s revenues without materially changing the revenue relationships among customer classes or between the revenues derived from demand charges and from energy charges. An interim rate or rate schedule shall remain in effect until terminated by the commission. Upon completion of the hearing and decision, the commission shall order the utility to refund that portion of the increase in the interim rate or schedule that the commission finds is not justified. Any refund of an interim increase under this subsection shall be based upon an analysis of the utility’s earnings for a period reasonably representative of the period during which the interim increase was in effect. Refunds shall be made as nearly as possible to the customers against whom the interim rates were charged, by credits against future bills or in such other manner as the commission orders.

(6) Refunds ordered by the commission under subsection (4) or (5) of this section shall include interest on the amount determined to be subject to refund from the date such interim rate or rate schedules took effect. [Amended by 1981 c.715 §2; 1991 c.964 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Public Utility Commissioner’s rule, which passed on utility expenses for pay­ment of county’s net business income tax to county ratepayers only, rather than to all utility ratepayers, was valid because com­mis­sioner is granted both broad regulatory authority over rates by ORS 756.040 (General powers) and broad rulemaking authority by ORS 756.060 (Authority to adopt rules and regulations). Multnomah County v. Davis, 35 Or App 521, 581 P2d 968 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

Chapter 757

Notes of Decisions

Under regulatory scheme, Public Utility Commissioner has authority to promulgate rule limiting telephone company’s liability for directory listing errors or omissions. Garrison v. Pacific NW Bell, 45 Or App 523, 608 P2d 1206 (1980)

Refund is proper exercise of Public Utility Commission’s general powers if refund (1) is based only on in­for­ma­­tion in existence at time of rate order for which refund is being made; (2) is not based on evalua­tion of public utility’s actual expenses or revenues; and (3) is not effectuated by offsetting future rates. Gearhart v. Public Utility Commission, 255 Or App 58, 299 P3d 533 (2013), aff’d 356 Or 216, 339 P3d 904 (2014)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Authority of Governor and Public Utility Commissioner to enter into binding agree­ments with respect to uniform curtail­ment plans, (1977) Vol 38, p 861

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 757—Utility Regulation Generally, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors757.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 757, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano757.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.