PUC; Intervenors Fund

Establishes a public utilities commission intervenors pilot
project fund to be administered by the commission to assist
intervenors in investigations conducted by or proceedings held
before the commission.  (SB791 SD2)

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 2
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the public utilities
 2 commission permits intervention by individuals and entities and
 3 has instituted rules governing the conditions under which an
 4 individual or entity may intervene.  In an application to
 5 intervene, a potential intervenor must demonstrate the extent to
 6 which the applicant's interest is not represented by existing
 7 parties, the extent to which the application's participation can
 8 assist in the development of a sound record, the extent to which
 9 the applicant's participation will broaden the issues or delay
10 the proceeding, and the extent to which the applicant's interest
11 in the proceeding differs from the general public.
12      The legislature further finds that there are individuals and
13 entities who would qualify for intervention in a proceeding
14 before the public utilities commission, but who do not, and who
15 in fact cannot, because of the financial cost involved.  Due to
16 the complexity and the technical nature of the proceedings before
17 the public utilities commission, intervention without sufficient
18 resources is difficult if not impossible.
19      The legislature finds that because intervenors play an

Page 2                                                     791
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2

 1 invaluable role in bringing important public issues to the public
 2 utility commission's attention and in presenting a broad range of
 3 relevant information when there are consumer groups with
 4 conflicting interests, an intervenor pilot project fund would
 5 provide an overall community benefit by encouraging those
 6 individuals or entities who would qualify for intervention and
 7 who would otherwise intervene except for cost, to decide to
 8 intervene.
 9      The purpose of this Act, therefore, is to strengthen the
10 existing intervenor program by establishing a two-year intervenor
11 pilot project fund to be administered by the public utilities
12 commission to assist intervenors in electric utility cases before
13 the commission.
14      SECTION 2.  Chapter 269, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
15 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
16 read as follows:
17      "269-    Public utilities commission intervenors pilot
18 project fund.  (a)  There is established in the state treasury a
19 fund to be known as the public utilities commission intervenors
20 pilot project fund, which shall be administered by the public
21 utilities commission for the purpose of assisting persons who are
22 permitted to intervene in any investigation by or proceeding
23 before the commission as provided in this section.

Page 3                                                     791
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2

 1      (b)  There shall be deposited into the intervenors pilot
 2 project fund a portion of the costs and fees paid or collected
 3 pursuant to section 269-30(a), and all moneys appropriated to,
 4 received by, and collected by the public utilities commission for
 5 the assistance of intervenors in commission investigations and
 6 proceedings; provided that the amount of all moneys on balance in
 7 the intervenor pilot project fund shall not exceed $500,000 at
 8 any one time.
 9      (c)  Upon a showing that:
10      (1)  Intervention has been granted in an investigation or
11           proceeding involving electric utilities;
12      (2)  The intervenor has a need for financial assistance;
13      (3)  The intervenor has made reasonable efforts to secure
14           funding elsewhere, without success;
15      (4)  The intervenor will maintain accurate and meaningful
16           books of account on the expenditures incurred and will
17           allow the public utilities commission to review these
18           accounts upon request; and
19      (5)  The intervenor will make a significant contribution to
20           the investigation or proceeding;
21 moneys shall be expended from the intervenors pilot project fund
22 for the payment of an intervenor's representation by counsel as
23 allowed under section 269-13, the presentation of evidence,

Page 4                                                     791
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2

 1 including but not limited to expert testimony, and any other
 2 reasonable fees and expenses.
 3      (d)  The public utilities commission shall submit a report
 4 to the legislature detailing all moneys received by and disbursed
 5 out of the intervenors pilot project fund prior to the convening
 6 of each regular session.
 7      (e)  The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91
 8 as may be necessary to implement this section."
 9      SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the public
10 utilities commission special fund of the State of Hawaii the sum
11 of $500,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal
12 year 2000-2001, for deposit into the public utilities commission
13 intervenors pilot project fund as established by this Act.  The
14 sums appropriated shall be expended by the public utilities
15 commission for the purposes of this Act.  On June 30, 2001, any
16 unexpended balance in the public utilities commission intervenors
17 pilot project fund from the appropriations contained in this
18 section shall be transferred to the public utilities commission
19 special fund.
20      SECTION 4.  New statutory material is underscored.
21      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval;
22 provided that section 3 shall take effect on July 1, 2000.