STAND. COM. REP. NO.279-02
RE: H.B. No. 1777
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, to which was referred H.B. No. 1777 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to restrict the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) contested case hearing required for public utility rate increases, to "major" rate increases proposed by a public utility that result in an unspecified percentage increase in the public utility's revenues.
Verizon Hawaii submitted testimony in support of this bill. The University of Hawaii Environmental Center commented on this bill. Opposing testimony was received from the PUC, Consumer Advocate, Life of the Land, and a concerned individual.
Your Committee finds that the proposed bill may adversely affect due process protections afforded under current law. Your Committee further finds that it is not feasible to assess the economic impact of the bill because the percent increase in revenues that defines a "major" rate increase has not been specified.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Replacing references to "major rate increase" with references to "basic service rates", thereby restricting the PUC contested case hearing requirement to changes in basic service rates;
(2) Defining "basic service rates" to mean rates charged for a utility's basic monthly service;
(3) Granting PUC the discretion to hold a contested case hearing for increases in rates other than basic service rates; and
(4) Changing the effective date of the bill from upon its approval to July 1, 2050, to foster further dialogue with the Senate.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1777, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1777, H.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Finance.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce,
KENNETH T. HIRAKI, Chair