Public Utilities; Rates; Agriculture
Directs public utilities to establish discounted rates for providing services used for agricultural activities located in agricultural districts. Effective 01/01/2090. (HB244 HD1)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that, for farmers and ranchers to remain competitive and self-sustaining, the State must provide incentives and mechanisms to ensure that all means of supporting the local agricultural industry are implemented. The public utilities commission regulates the rates charged by public utilities that provide essential services to the agriculture industry such as water, interisland shipping, and electricity.
The purpose of this Act is to provide for preferential rates for public utility services provided to ratepayers engaged in agricultural activities.
SECTION 2. Section 269-26.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Preferential [ water] rates for agricultural activities.
(a) It is the policy of the State to promote the long-term viability of
agriculture by establishing mechanisms that provide for preferential rates for [ potable
water for] public utility services that are provided to ratepayers that
engage in agricultural activities. The public utilities commission shall
have the authority to establish preferential rates for [ potable water] public
utility services that are used by ratepayers for agricultural
activities in a public utility's service area.
(b) Upon receipt of a bona fide request for
preferential rates for [
potable water] any public utility service
to be used for agricultural activities[ ,] on lands within an agricultural
district, and proof that the customer engages in agricultural activities[ ,]
on lands within an agricultural district, a public utility shall provide
proposed preferential rates for [ potable water] the requested public
utility service, including but not limited to potable water, electricity, and
freight transport, to be used only for qualified agricultural activities subject
to the public utilities commission for approval. All such rates approved by
the public utilities commission shall be subsidized by the [ potable water]
rates charged to other customers of the public utility, if required,
as determined by the public utilities commission. In reviewing the proposed
preferential rates, the public utilities commission, in consultation with the
department of agriculture, may establish additional criteria to qualify bona
fide agribusinesses for [ water] public utility services used
solely for agricultural activities. [ For rate cases initiated pursuant to
this section, the public utilities commission shall allow the recovery of any
reasonable unamortized costs incurred by the public utility in its previous
rate case; provided however, upon full amortization of these costs, rates shall
be adjusted accordingly.]"
SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2090.