Maine Revised Statutes

§116. Funding of the commission

1. Entities subject to assessments.  Every transmission and distribution, gas, telephone and water utility and ferry subject to regulation by the commission and every qualified telecommunications provider is subject to an assessment on its intrastate gross operating revenues to produce sufficient revenue for expenditures allocated by the Legislature for the Public Utilities Commission Regulatory Fund established pursuant to this section. The budget for the Public Utilities Commission Regulatory Fund is subject to legislative review and approval in accordance with subsection 2. The portion of the total assessment applicable to each category of public utility or qualified telecommunications provider is based on an accounting by the commission of the portion of the commission's resources devoted to matters related to each category. The commission shall develop a reasonable and practicable method of accounting for resources devoted by the commission to matters related to each category of public utility or qualified telecommunications provider. Assessments on each public utility or qualified telecommunications provider within each category must be based on the utility's or qualified telecommunications provider's gross intrastate operating revenues. The commission shall determine the assessments annually prior to May 1st and assess each utility or qualified telecommunications provider for its pro rata share for expenditure during the fiscal year beginning July 1st. Each utility or qualified telecommunications provider shall pay the assessment charged to the utility or qualified telecommunications provider on or before July 1st of each year. Any increase in the assessment that becomes effective subsequent to May 1st may be billed on the effective date of the act authorizing the increase.
A. The assessments charged to utilities and qualified telecommunications providers under this section are just and reasonable operating costs for rate-making purposes. [2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §1 (AMD).]
B. For the purposes of this section, "intrastate gross operating revenues" means:
(1) In the case of all utilities except telephone utilities, revenues derived from filed rates except revenues derived from sales for resale;
(2) In the case of a telephone utility, all intrastate revenues, except revenues derived from sales for resale, whether or not the rates from which those revenues are derived are required to be filed pursuant to this Title; and
(3) In the case of a qualified telecommunications provider, all intrastate revenues except revenues derived from sales for resale. [2013, c. 600, §1 (RPR).]
C. Gas utilities subject to the jurisdiction of the commission solely with respect to safety are not subject to any assessment. [RR 1995, c. 1, §29 (COR).]
D. The commission may correct any errors in the assessments by means of a credit or debit to the following year's assessment rather than reassessing all utilities or qualified telecommunications providers in the current year. [2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §1 (AMD).]
E. The commission may exempt utilities or qualified telecommunications providers with annual intrastate gross operating revenues under $50,000 from assessments under this section. [2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §1 (AMD).]
For purposes of this section, "qualified telecommunications provider" means a provider of interconnected voice over Internet protocol service that paid any assessment under this subsection, whether voluntarily, by agreement with the commission or otherwise, prior to March 1, 2012.
[ 2013, c. 600, §1 (AMD) .]
2. Committee recommendations; legislative approval of budget.  The commission shall submit its budget recommendations, using a zero-based budgeting process or other process or method directed by the State Budget Officer, as part of the unified current services budget legislation in accordance with Title 5, sections 1663 to 1666. The commission shall make a presentation of its budget recommendations contained in any current services budget legislation and any supplemental budget legislation to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over public utilities matters. The joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over public utilities matters shall review the commission's recommendations and make recommendations to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over appropriations and financial affairs regarding the budget of the commission, including but not limited to all expenditures from the fund established pursuant to this section. The commission shall make an annual report in accordance with section 120 of its planned expenditures for the year and on its use of funds in the previous year. In addition to the assessments authorized under this section, the commission may also receive other funds as appropriated or allocated by the Legislature.
[ 2011, c. 590, §2 (AMD) .]
3. Deposit of funds.  All revenues derived from assessments levied against utilities or qualified telecommunications providers described in this section must be deposited with the Treasurer of State in a separate account to be known as the Public Utilities Commission Regulatory Fund.
[ 2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §2 (AMD) .]
4. Use of funds.  The Public Utilities Commission may use the revenues provided in accordance with this section to defray the costs incurred by the commission pursuant to this Title, including administrative expenses, general regulatory expenses, consulting fees and all other reasonable costs incurred to administer this Title.
[ 2007, c. 240, Pt. P, §1 (AMD) .]
5. Unexpended funds.  Any amount of the funds that is not expended at the end of a fiscal year does not lapse, but is carried forward to be expended for the purposes specified in this section in succeeding fiscal years.
[ 2005, c. 135, §2 (AMD) .]
6. Violations. 
[ 2003, c. 505, §11 (RP) .]
7. Special assessment. 
[ 1991, c. 343, §4 (RP) .]
8. Public Advocate assessment.  Every utility or qualified telecommunications provider subject to assessment under this section is subject to an additional annual assessment on its intrastate gross operating revenues to produce sufficient revenue for expenditures allocated by the Legislature for operating the Office of the Public Advocate. The portion of this assessment applicable to each category of public utility or qualified telecommunications provider is based on an accounting by the Public Advocate of resources devoted to matters related to each category. The Public Advocate shall develop a reasonable and practicable method of accounting for resources devoted by the Public Advocate to matters related to each category of public utility or qualified telecommunications provider. Assessments on each public utility or qualified telecommunications provider within each category must be based on the utility's or qualified telecommunications provider's gross intrastate operating revenues. The revenues produced from this assessment are transferred to the Public Advocate Regulatory Fund and may only be used to fulfill the duties specified in chapter 17. The assessments charged to utilities and qualified telecommunications providers under this subsection are considered just and reasonable operating costs for rate-making purposes. The Public Advocate shall develop a method of accounting for staff time within the Office of the Public Advocate. All professional and support staff shall account for their time in such a way as to identify the percentage of time devoted to public utility and qualified telecommunications provider regulation and the percentage of time devoted to other duties that may be required by law.
A. The Public Advocate shall submit its budget recommendations, using a zero-based budgeting process or other process or method directed by the State Budget Officer, as part of the unified current services budget legislation in accordance with Title 5, sections 1663 to 1666. The assessments and expenditures provided in this section are subject to legislative approval. The Public Advocate shall make an annual report of its planned expenditures for the year and on its use of funds in the previous year. The Public Advocate may also receive other funds as appropriated by the Legislature. [2011, c. 590, §3 (AMD).]
B. The Public Advocate may use the revenues provided in accordance with this section to fund the Public Advocate and 9 employees and to defray the costs incurred by the Public Advocate pursuant to this Title, including administrative expenses, general expenses, consulting fees and all other reasonable costs incurred to administer this Title. [1999, c. 259, §3 (AMD).]
C. [1993, c. 633, §3 (AFF); 1993, c. 633, §1 (RP).]
C-1. Funds that are not expended at the end of a fiscal year do not lapse but must be carried forward to be expended for the purposes specified in this section in succeeding fiscal years. [2005, c. 135, §3 (AMD).]
D. [2003, c. 505, §12 (RP).]
[ 2011, c. 590, §3 (AMD); 2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §3 (AMD) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1987, c. 141, §A6 (NEW). 1987, c. 631, §§4,5 (AMD). 1989, c. 58, §§1,2 (AMD). 1989, c. 571, §A3 (AMD). 1989, c. 875, §§E44,45 (AMD). 1991, c. 9, §§E19-21 (AMD). 1991, c. 343, §§1-4 (AMD). 1991, c. 528, §CC2 (AMD). 1991, c. 528, §RRR (AFF). 1991, c. 591, §CC2 (AMD). 1993, c. 118, §4 (AMD). 1993, c. 174, §1 (AMD). 1993, c. 633, §§1,2 (AMD). 1993, c. 633, §3 (AFF). RR 1995, c. 1, §29 (COR). 1995, c. 225, §4 (AMD). 1995, c. 368, §L1 (AMD). 1995, c. 665, §O1 (AMD). 1997, c. 424, §§B4,5 (AMD). 1997, c. 586, §4 (AMD). 1997, c. 643, §J1 (AMD). 1997, c. 719, §1 (AMD). 1999, c. 259, §3 (AMD). 1999, c. 398, §C1 (AMD). 2001, c. 28, §1 (AMD). 2001, c. 136, §1 (AMD). 2003, c. 272, §§1,2 (AMD). 2003, c. 505, §§11,12 (AMD). 2005, c. 3, §J1 (AMD). 2005, c. 135, §§1-3 (AMD). 2007, c. 16, §§1, 2 (AMD). 2007, c. 240, Pt. P, §1 (AMD). 2007, c. 478, §1 (AMD). 2007, c. 539, Pt. KK, §13 (AMD). 2011, c. 590, §§2, 3 (AMD). 2011, c. 623, Pt. B, §§1-3 (AMD). 2013, c. 600, §1 (AMD).