PUBLIC INPUT HEARINGS IN RATE PROCEEDINGS
§ 69.321. Public input hearings in rate proceedingsstatement of policy.
(a) Prior to the holding of an initial hearing in a rate case, information received by the Commission indicating public concern shall be directed to the Bureau of Consumer Services of the Commission. This information will be made available to the Office of Administrative Law Judge.
(b) If the Commission determines that substantial public interest in a rate proceeding has been shown, at least one public input hearing will be held in the utilitys service area.
(c) To allow an opportunity for the complete airing of concerns expressed or issues raised by consumers, public input sessions should be held as early as is practical during the course of the proceeding.
(d) At the start of each public input hearing, the presiding officer will provide a short, clear and specific statement describing the ratemaking process; the history of the particular case to date; future progress of the case; and an explanation of the following consumers options at the hearing:
(1) To testify formally in the case, upon oath or affirmation, and be subject to cross-examination.
(2) To make unsworn or unaffirmed statements at the hearing. These statements may be off the record and will not be subject to cross-examination, will not be transcribed by the court stenographer and will not be considered by the presiding officer in the recommended decision.
(3) Not to testify at the public input session but to provide information to the Commissions Office of Trial Staff attorney assigned to the case, the Consumer Advocate and the Small Business Advocate for possible use by them in the hearings at their discretion.
(e) On-the-record testimony, to the extent it is relevant, material and competent, will be considered as evidence by the presiding officer and the Commission, subject to the customary rules of procedure and evidence.
(f) The presiding officer will make every attempt to give consumers full opportunity to provide input into the case.
(g) At least one representative from the Commission should be present at each public input session to deal with individual service problems a consumer may have with the utility.
(h) Utilities will be encouraged to provide representatives to answer questions consumers may have with respect to the pending case.
(i) If the actions of a participant in a public input session are determined by the presiding officer to be obstructive to the orderly conduct of the proceedings and adverse to the public interest, the presiding officer may adjourn or continue the public input session.
The provisions of this § 69.321 adopted April 4, 1997, effective April 5, 1997, 27 Pa.B. 1658.
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