Authors: Senator James Merritt
Provides that a public utility that provides water service or wastewater service may establish a utility system improvement program (USIP) to recover costs for eligible utility system improvements. (Current law provides for the establishment of a distribution system improvement charge (DSIC), and provides that a DSIC can be established only by a public utility that provides water service.) Specifies that eligible utility system improvements for purposes of a USIP may be, but are not required to be, projects: (1) to replace an existing utility system plant that is aged; or (2) that otherwise constitute a replacement plant. Provides that for purposes of a USIP, a public utility's pretax return includes revenues necessary to pay state utility receipts taxes associated with USIP revenues. Provides that before filing a petition with the utility regulatory commission (IURC) for approval of a USIP, a public utility shall petition the IURC for approval of the public utility's five year plan for eligible utility system improvements. Provides that a public utility that implements a USIP shall, before the expiration of the public utility's approved five year plan, petition the IURC for review and approval of the public utility's basic rates and charges. Provides that the IURC may not approve a USIP to the extent it would produce total USIP revenues exceeding 10% (versus 5% under current law for DSIC revenues) of the public utility's base revenue level approved by IURC in the public utility's most recent general rate proceeding. Requires a public utility to annually reconcile the difference between its USIP revenues and costs. Repeals definitions related to DSICs and makes conforming amendments. Specifies the applicability of these amendments to a public utility that has a DSIC in effect at the time of these amendments.