For rate-making purposes the commission may consider 2 or more municipalities as a regional unit if the same public utility serves the municipalities and if the commission determines that the public interest so requires.
In the case of a public utility furnishing water, the commission shall include, in the determination of water rates, the cost of fluoridating the water in the area served by the public utility furnishing water if the governing body of the city, village or town which owns or is served by the public utility furnishing water authorizes the fluoridation of water by the public utility furnishing water.
Unless the governing body of a city, village or town adopts a resolution providing that the city, village or town will pay the retail charges for the production, storage, transmission, sale and delivery or furnishing of water for public fire protection purposes that are not included in general service charges:
A public utility shall include the charges in the water utility bill of each customer of the public utility in the city, village or town.
A municipal utility may, in addition to including the charges in water utility bills under subd. 1.
, bill the charges to any person who meets all of the following conditions:
The person owns land that is located in the city, village or town and in an area in which the municipal utility has an obligation to provide water for public fire protection. If the person owns 2 or more parcels that are adjacent to each other or divided only by a roadway or brook, creek, river, or stream, the municipality may bill the person for only one parcel.
Any public utility which is not a city, town or village and which supplies gas or electricity to its customers may not recover in rates set by the commission from any customer for any expenditure for costs in a proceeding before the commission which exceed 4 times the total amount assessed to the utility under s. 196.85 (1)
unless the object of the expenditure has been ordered by the commission. The commission, by rule, shall establish procedures whereby a public utility may recover its expenditures under this subsection.
In this subsection “facility" means nuclear-fired electric generating equipment and associated facilities subject to a loss of coolant accident in March 1979.
The commission may not authorize a utility furnishing electricity to recover in rates charged to consumers for the costs of repairing, maintaining or operating any facility owned by another public utility located outside of this state.
The commission may not authorize a utility furnishing electricity to recover in rates charged to consumers for insurance premiums that provide coverage for an accident at a facility in March 1979, if the coverage is first obtained on or after May 7, 1982.
No utility may otherwise pay directly or indirectly for the costs in pars. (b)
The commission shall promulgate rules establishing requirements and procedures for the commission, in setting rates for retail electric service, to reflect the assignment of costs and the treatment of revenues from sales to customers outside this state that the public utility does not have a duty to serve.
See also ch. PSC 117
, Wis. adm. code.
In determining a reasonably adequate telecommunications service or a reasonable and just charge for that telecommunications service, the commission shall consider at least the following factors in determining what is reasonable and just, reasonably adequate, convenient and necessary or in the public interest:
Impact on the quality of life for the public, including privacy considerations.
Promotion of economic development, including telecommunications infrastructure deployment.
Promotion of telecommunications services in geographical areas with diverse income or racial populations.
See also chs. PSC 113
, and 185
, Wis. adm. code.
A charge for fire protection services under sub. (3) is a fee not a tax; imposing the fee against a church is constitutional. City of River Falls v. St. Bridget's Catholic Church, 182 Wis. 2d 436
, 513 N.W.2d 673
(Ct. App. 1994).
This section and related administrative rules dictate contract terms between a regulated utility and its customers and do not create any duties independent of the utility service contract. A phone company's failure to include a subscriber in its directory did not result in tort liability. Recycle Worlds Consulting Corp. v. Wisconsin Bell, 224 Wis. 2d 586
, 592 N.W.2d 637
(Ct. App. 1999), 98-0752
A public utility has no duty to provide services to persons in the utility's area of undertaking requesting service who live in a mobile home park, are supplied with services by a vendor selected by the park operator that is not a public utility, and are not claiming that service is inadequate or rates unreasonable. An agreement between the park operator and the selected vendor is not void as against public policy. Northern States Power Co. v. National Gas Company, Inc. 2000 WI App 30
, 232 Wis. 2d 541
, 606 N.W.2d 613
Facilities granted other utilities; physical telecommunications connections; petition; investigation. 196.04(1)(a)2.
“Physical connection" means the number of trunk lines or complete circuits and connections, including connections by wire, optics, radio signal or other means, required to furnish reasonably adequate telecommunications service between telecommunications providers.
“Political subdivision" means any county, city, village, or town or public utility owned or operated by any county, city, village, or town.
“Transmission equipment and property" means any conduit, subway, pole, tower, transmission wire, or other equipment on, over, or under any right-of-way owned or controlled by a political subdivision, street, or highway.
Transmission equipment and property access. 196.04(1)(b)1.
Any person who owns transmission equipment and property shall permit, for reasonable compensation, the use of the transmission equipment and property, including an attachment to a pole, by any public utility, video service provider, or telecommunications provider if public convenience and necessity require such use and if the use will not result in irreparable injury to any owner or user of the transmission equipment and property or in any substantial detriment to the service to be rendered by the owner or user.
Every telecommunications utility shall permit physical connections to be made, and telecommunications service to be furnished, between any telecommunications system operated by it and the telecommunications toll line operated by another telecommunications provider, or between its toll line and the telecommunications system of another telecommunications provider, or between its toll line and the toll line of another telecommunications provider, or between its telecommunications system and the telecommunications system of another telecommunications provider if all of the following apply:
The connection will not result in irreparable injury to the owners or other users of the facilities of the public utility making the connection.
The connection will not result in any substantial detriment to the service to be rendered by a public utility making the connection.
If there is a failure to agree upon the use of transmission equipment and property under sub. (1)
or the conditions or compensation for the use, or if there is a failure to agree upon the physical connections or the terms and conditions upon which the physical connections shall be made, any public utility, video service provider, telecommunications provider, or other interested person may apply to the commission. If, after investigation, the commission determines that public convenience and necessity require the use of the transmission equipment and property or the physical connections and that the use or physical connections will not result in irreparable injury to the owner or other users of the transmission equipment and property or of the facilities of the public utility, video service provider, or telecommunications provider or in any substantial detriment to the service to be rendered by the owner or the public utility, video service provider, telecommunications provider, or other users of the transmission equipment and property or facilities, the commission, by order, shall direct that the use of the transmission equipment and property be permitted and that the physical connections be made. The commission shall prescribe reasonable conditions and compensation for the use of the transmission equipment and property and shall determine how and within what time the physical connections shall be made and by whom the expense of making and maintaining the physical connections shall be paid. An order under this subsection may be revised by the commission.
In this subsection, “sewerage system operator" means any of the following:
A public inland lake protection and rehabilitation district that exercises the powers of a town sanitary district under s. 33.22 (3)
and that operates a sewerage system under s. 60.77 (4)
If the parties cannot agree and the commission finds that public convenience and necessity or the rendition of reasonably adequate service to the public requires that a public utility, telecommunications provider, sewerage system operator, or video service provider be permitted to extend its lines on, over or under the right-of-way of any railroad, or requires that the tracks of any railroad be extended on, over or under the right-of-way of any public utility, telecommunications provider, sewerage system operator, or video service provider, the commission may order the extension by the public utility, telecommunications provider, sewerage system operator, video service provider, or railroad on, over or under the right-of-way of the other if it will not materially impair the ability of the railroad, telecommunications provider, sewerage system operator, video service provider, or public utility, on, over or under whose right-of-way the extension would be made, to serve the public. The commission shall prescribe lawful conditions and compensation which the commission deems equitable and reasonable in light of all the circumstances.
See also ch. PSC 132
, Wis. adm. code.
It was reasonable to determine that an award under sub. (4) should consist of compensation for: 1) the right of crossing the railway, measured by the diminution of value; and 2) the consequential damages that result directly from the construction and maintenance of the utility's crossing. Wisconsin Central LTD. v. PSC, 170 Wis. 2d 558
, 490 N.W.2d 27
(Ct. App. 1992).
Public utility property; valuation; revaluation.
If the commission deems it proper or necessary for effective regulation, the commission shall value or revalue all the property of every public utility actually used and useful for the convenience of the public.
History: 1983 a. 53
Uniform accounting; forms; books; office. 196.06(1)(1)
Every public utility shall keep and render to the commission in the manner and form prescribed by the commission uniform accounts of all business transacted.
The commission may require any public utility engaged directly or indirectly in any business other than that of the production, transmission or furnishing of heat, light, water, telecommunications service or power to keep and render separately to the commission in like manner and form the accounts of all such other business. This chapter applies to the books, accounts, papers and records of such other business if the commission requires the keeping and rendering separately of the accounts under this subsection.
Each public utility shall keep and render its books, accounts, papers and records accurately and faithfully in the manner and form prescribed by the commission and shall comply with all directions of the commission relating to such books, accounts, papers and records.
Each public utility shall have an office in one of the towns, villages or cities in this state in which its property or some part thereof is located, in which it shall keep all books, accounts, papers and records required by the commission to be kept within the state. No books, accounts, papers or records required by the commission to be kept within the state shall be removed from the state, except upon conditions prescribed by the commission.
See also chs. PSC 113
, and 185
, Wis. adm. code.
Balance sheet filed annually. 196.07(1)(1)
Each public utility shall close its accounts annually on December 31 and promptly prepare a balance sheet of that date. On or before the following May 1 every public utility shall file with the commission the balance sheet; counts of the numbers of meters serving residential, small commercial, and small industrial customers as of December 31; and any other information the commission prescribes, verified by an officer of the public utility. The commission, for good cause shown, may extend the time for filing the balance sheet and prescribed information.
If a public utility fails to file a report with the commission containing its balance sheet and other information prescribed by the commission by the date the report is due under sub. (1)
, the commission may prepare the report from the records of the public utility. All expenses of the commission in preparing the report, plus a penalty equal to 50 percent of the amount of the expenses, shall be assessed against and collected from the public utility under s. 196.85
. The amount of the charge to a public utility shall not be limited by s. 196.85 (1) (b)
and shall be in addition to any other charges assessable under s. 196.85
. The penalty provision of the charge shall be credited to the general fund under s. 20.906
Audit and inspection.
The commission shall provide for the examination and audit of all accounts, and all items shall be allocated to the accounts in the manner prescribed by the commission.
Depreciation rates and practices; findings by commission; dividends from reserves; retirements. 196.09(1)(1)
Every public utility shall file with the commission, within such time as may be required by the commission, its estimate of the annual rate of depreciation required for each of its classes of fixed capital used for public utility purposes, and of the composite annual rate of depreciation required for such fixed capital as an aggregate, which shall constitute the public utility's estimates of the amount which should be returned to it out of its rates for service, to meet the depreciation of its property.
After the submission of the estimates under sub. (1)
, the commission shall review the estimates. If the commission determines that the estimates submitted are reasonable and proper, it shall certify its determination to the public utility. If the commission determines that the estimates submitted are not reasonable and proper, it shall certify to the public utility the percentages which it considers reasonable and proper. If the fixed capital accounts of the public utility are not subdivided to permit the rates for the various classes of fixed capital used for public utility purposes to be applied, the estimates submitted by the public utility and the percentages determined by the commission may be based upon the aggregate of such fixed capital.
After the commission certifies to the public utility its findings as to the percentages required for depreciation under sub. (2)
, the public utility shall have 30 days within which to make application to the commission for a hearing and order. If the public utility does not make application to the commission for a hearing and order within the time set, the commission's certification of findings shall have the effect of an order and the public utility shall have the right of appeal from the certification as provided in this chapter.
The commission may provide, in order to meet changing conditions, that a public utility submit from time to time the estimate required under sub. (1)
. If it requires such resubmission of estimates, the commission shall follow the procedure for certifying its findings under sub. (2)
. In revising the reasonable and proper percentages of depreciation, the commission shall give consideration to the experience of the public utility in accumulating a depreciation reserve under previous rates, any retirements actually made and any other relevant factor.
If the commission establishes, by certification or order, the reasonable and proper percentages of depreciation, the percentages shall constitute the percentages to be used in any proceeding involving the rates or practices of the public utility, except that if at the time of such proceeding the commission finds that the percentages of depreciation previously established are no longer reasonable and proper, the commission shall establish reasonable and proper percentages for the purpose of such proceeding and certify the new percentages under this section.
If the commission establishes for any public utility, by certification or order, the percentages necessary for depreciation on fixed capital used for public utility purposes, the public utility shall credit to its depreciation reserve in each accounting period the amount required to provide for depreciation at the percentage established. If the public utility is a corporation, the corporation may not pay any dividend out of earnings for any fiscal period subsequent to the commission's certification or order, or carry any portion of its earnings to its surplus account, except out of earnings remaining after crediting its depreciation reserve in accordance with the rates established by the commission, except as provided under par. (b)
After application and hearing the commission, upon a finding that it is necessary in the public interest, may exempt a public utility from the duty of crediting to the depreciation reserve in any accounting period a greater amount than is possible without impairing its ability to pay dividends for the current calendar year. Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify the requirements of ss. 180.0623
If a public utility desires to account for depreciation on a sinking fund basis and the commission determines that such basis of accounting for depreciation reasonably may be employed, the commission shall establish, under sub. (2)
, the composite rate to be applied to the aggregate fixed capital used for public utility purposes to determine the amount which shall be charged to operating expenses, and the interest rate applicable to the reserve balance at which additional credits to the reserve shall be computed. If a public utility accounts for depreciation on a sinking fund basis, the public utility shall:
Credit to the reserve the amount charged to operating expenses plus the amount obtained by applying the interest rate to the reserve balance.
Be subject to the same restrictions and regulations in its accounting for the entire amount to be credited to the depreciation reserve as are applicable to other public utilities which account for depreciation by other methods under this section.
No public utility may charge to its depreciation reserve anything except losses on property actually retired from service.
An order establishing depreciation rates for a utility's nuclear plant did not require an environmental impact statement. Wisconsin Environmental Decade, Inc. v. PSC, 105 Wis. 2d 457
, 313 N.W.2d 863
(Ct. App. 1981).
The commission shall keep itself informed of all new construction, extensions and additions to the property of public utilities, and shall prescribe the necessary forms, regulations and instructions for the keeping of construction accounts, which shall clearly distinguish all operating expenses from new construction.
See also chs. PSC 113
, Wis. adm. code.
Profit sharing and sliding scales. 196.11(1)(1)
A public utility may enter into any reasonable arrangement with its consumers or employees, for the division or distribution of its surplus profits, or providing for a sliding scale of charges, or other financial device if the arrangement is:
Practicable and advantageous to the parties interested; and
Entered into by a public utility other than a telecommunications utility and found by the commission to be reasonable and just and consistent with the purposes of this chapter.