§271G-10 Applications for certificates of public convenience and necessity. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section and in sections 271G-6 and 271G-12, no water carrier shall engage in operations between points within the State unless the carrier holds a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the public utilities commission authorizing the operation; provided that no new application shall be required for any common carrier by water that is the holder of a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the public utilities commission.
(b) Applications for certificates shall be made in writing to the commission, be verified under oath, be presented in a form, contain the information, and be accompanied by proof of service upon interested parties as the commission shall, by rule, require.
(c) The commission shall not approve an application for a certificate or otherwise grant authorization pursuant to an application to operate as a water carrier under this chapter until the commission has given notice and held public hearings conducted in accordance with the procedures under section 271G‑23.5.
(d) The commission shall issue a certificate to any qualified applicant, authorizing the whole or any part of the operations proposed in the application only if the commission finds that:
(1) The applicant is fit, willing, and able properly to perform the service proposed and to conform to this chapter and the requirements and rules of the commission; and
(2) The proposed service, to the extent to be authorized by the certificate, is or will be required by the present or future public convenience and necessity.
(e) The commission shall not make a finding of public convenience and necessity or issue an authorization, whether interim, permanent, or otherwise, to operate as a water carrier without the following specific findings supported by evidence in the record:
(1) Existing water carrier services are inadequate to presently service the public or meet demonstrated and quantifiable future demands for service;
(2) The proposed service is designed for and necessary to meet demonstrated and quantifiable unmet public needs for present water carrier service or demonstrated and quantifiable future demands for service;
(3) The proposed service will provide demonstrated and quantifiable benefits to the general public, business community, and the economy of all islands that are entitled to notice under section 271G-23.5, including demonstrated and quantifiable benefits with respect to reliability, affordability, and security of the service line;
(4) The specific, identified benefits of the proposed service outweigh its detrimental impact to the public's interest in maintaining services, including:
(A) Economies of scale and scope of current water carriers;
(B) Future capital costs of existing water carriers;
(C) Ability of existing water carriers to make necessary capital and resource investments;
(D) The financial health, stability, and revenue stream of existing water carriers; and
(E) The likelihood that existing levels of service will be maintained after the enactment of the proposed service; and
(5) If the commission's finding of public convenience and necessity differs from the recommendation of the consumer advocate, specific findings to address each ground for objection articulated by the consumer advocate.
The commission shall not make a finding of public convenience and necessity nor issue a certificate if the evidence in the record indicates that the issuance of the certificate would diminish an existing water carrier's ability to realize its allowed rate of return or if the certificate would allow an applicant to serve only high-margin or high-profit ports or lines of service that are currently served by an existing carrier.
(f) Any water carrier transporting passengers under a certificate issued pursuant to this chapter may occasionally deviate from the route over which it is authorized to operate under the certificate pursuant to the rules of the commission.
(g) The commission shall not issue any certificate that is designated as interim or temporary or that otherwise does not conform to the requirements of this chapter except in response to an emergency situation; provided that an emergency situation shall mean a state of emergency or local state of emergency pursuant to chapter 127A. Any certificate issued pursuant to this subsection shall expire upon the expiration of the state of emergency or local state of emergency or an earlier date determined by the commission in response to prevailing conditions. An extension of a certificate granted under this subsection beyond the expiration of the state of emergency or local state of emergency or date determined by the commission shall be granted only subject to the notice, hearing, and findings requirements of this chapter.
(h) The commission shall post a link on the front page of the commission's website to a publicly accessible electronic version of each application for a certificate pursuant to this section and to each order of the commission regarding posted applications, including the commission's final decision and order. Links posted under this subsection shall include a short description of the document to which the link refers, shall be active within twenty-four hours of the filing of an application or issuance of an order, and shall remain active for at least thirty days from the filing of the application or the issuance of the order or decision and order. [L 1974, c 94, pt of §1; am L 2011, c 213, §3; am L 2014, c 111, §§10, 28]