See also chs. PSC 113
, and 185
, Wis. adm. code.
Balance sheet filed annually. 196.07(1)
Each public utility shall close its accounts annually on December 31 and promptly prepare a balance sheet of that date. On or before the following April 1 every public utility shall file with the commission the balance sheet together with any other information the commission prescribes, verified by an officer of the public utility. The commission, for good cause shown, may extend the time for filing the balance sheet and prescribed information.
If a public utility fails to file a report with the commission containing its balance sheet and other information prescribed by the commission by the date the report is due under sub. (1)
, the commission may prepare the report from the records of the public utility. All expenses of the commission in preparing the report, plus a penalty equal to 50 percent of the amount of the expenses, shall be assessed against and collected from the public utility under s. 196.85
. The amount of the charge to a public utility shall not be limited by s. 196.85 (1) (b)
and shall be in addition to any other charges assessable under s. 196.85
. The penalty provision of the charge shall be credited to the general fund under s. 20.906
History: 1983 a. 53
; 2001 a. 16
Audit and inspection.
The commission shall provide for the examination and audit of all accounts, and all items shall be allocated to the accounts in the manner prescribed by the commission.
Depreciation rates and practices; findings by commission; dividends from reserves; retirements. 196.09(1)(1)
Every public utility shall file with the commission, within such time as may be required by the commission, its estimate of the annual rate of depreciation required for each of its classes of fixed capital used for public utility purposes, and of the composite annual rate of depreciation required for such fixed capital as an aggregate, which shall constitute the public utility's estimates of the amount which should be returned to it out of its rates for service, to meet the depreciation of its property.
After the submission of the estimates under sub. (1)
, the commission shall review the estimates. If the commission determines that the estimates submitted are reasonable and proper, it shall certify its determination to the public utility. If the commission determines that the estimates submitted are not reasonable and proper, it shall certify to the public utility the percentages which it considers reasonable and proper. If the fixed capital accounts of the public utility are not subdivided to permit the rates for the various classes of fixed capital used for public utility purposes to be applied, the estimates submitted by the public utility and the percentages determined by the commission may be based upon the aggregate of such fixed capital.
After the commission certifies to the public utility its findings as to the percentages required for depreciation under sub. (2)
, the public utility shall have 30 days within which to make application to the commission for a hearing and order. If the public utility does not make application to the commission for a hearing and order within the time set, the commission's certification of findings shall have the effect of an order and the public utility shall have the right of appeal from the certification as provided in this chapter.
The commission may provide, in order to meet changing conditions, that a public utility submit from time to time the estimate required under sub. (1)
. If it requires such resubmission of estimates, the commission shall follow the procedure for certifying its findings under sub. (2)
. In revising the reasonable and proper percentages of depreciation, the commission shall give consideration to the experience of the public utility in accumulating a depreciation reserve under previous rates, any retirements actually made and any other relevant factor.
If the commission establishes, by certification or order, the reasonable and proper percentages of depreciation, the percentages shall constitute the percentages to be used in any proceeding involving the rates or practices of the public utility, except that if at the time of such proceeding the commission finds that the percentages of depreciation previously established are no longer reasonable and proper, the commission shall establish reasonable and proper percentages for the purpose of such proceeding and certify the new percentages under this section.
If the commission establishes for any public utility, by certification or order, the percentages necessary for depreciation on fixed capital used for public utility purposes, the public utility shall credit to its depreciation reserve in each accounting period the amount required to provide for depreciation at the percentage established. If the public utility is a corporation, the corporation may not pay any dividend out of earnings for any fiscal period subsequent to the commission's certification or order, or carry any portion of its earnings to its surplus account, except out of earnings remaining after crediting its depreciation reserve in accordance with the rates established by the commission, except as provided under par. (b)
After application and hearing the commission, upon a finding that it is necessary in the public interest, may exempt a public utility from the duty of crediting to the depreciation reserve in any accounting period a greater amount than is possible without impairing its ability to pay dividends for the current calendar year. Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify the requirements of ss. 180.0623
If a public utility desires to account for depreciation on a sinking fund basis and the commission determines that such basis of accounting for depreciation reasonably may be employed, the commission shall establish, under sub. (2)
, the composite rate to be applied to the aggregate fixed capital used for public utility purposes to determine the amount which shall be charged to operating expenses, and the interest rate applicable to the reserve balance at which additional credits to the reserve shall be computed. If a public utility accounts for depreciation on a sinking fund basis, the public utility shall:
Credit to the reserve the amount charged to operating expenses plus the amount obtained by applying the interest rate to the reserve balance.
Be subject to the same restrictions and regulations in its accounting for the entire amount to be credited to the depreciation reserve as are applicable to other public utilities which account for depreciation by other methods under this section.
No public utility may charge to its depreciation reserve anything except losses on property actually retired from service.
An order establishing depreciation rates for a utility's nuclear plant did not require an environmental impact statement. Wisconsin Environmental Decade, Inc. v. PSC, 105 Wis. 2d 457
, 313 N.W.2d 863
(Ct. App. 1981).
The commission shall keep itself informed of all new construction, extensions and additions to the property of public utilities, and shall prescribe the necessary forms, regulations and instructions for the keeping of construction accounts, which shall clearly distinguish all operating expenses from new construction.
See also chs. PSC 113
, Wis. adm. code.
Profit sharing and sliding scales. 196.11(1)
A public utility may enter into any reasonable arrangement with its consumers or employees, for the division or distribution of its surplus profits, or providing for a sliding scale of charges, or other financial device if the arrangement is:
Practicable and advantageous to the parties interested; and
Entered into by a public utility other than a telecommunications utility and found by the commission to be reasonable and just and consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
Any arrangement under this section shall be under the supervision and regulation of the commission. The commission may order any rate, charge or regulation which the commission deems necessary to give effect to the arrangement. The commission may make any change in a rate, charge or regulation as the commission determines is necessary and reasonable and may revoke its approval and amend or rescind all orders relative to any arrangement. This subsection does not apply to telecommunications cooperatives, unincorporated telecommunications cooperative associations, or telecommunications utilities except as provided in s. 196.205
A telecommunications utility may enter into any reasonable arrangement with its consumers or employees, for the division or distribution of its surplus profits, or providing for a sliding scale of charges or other financial device, if the arrangement is practical and advantageous to the parties interested.
Report by public utilities; items. 196.12(1)
Each public utility shall furnish to the commission, in the form and at the time the commission requires, accounts, reports or other information which shows in itemized detail:
Receipts from residuals, by-products, services or other sales.
Any other information whether or not similar to the information under pars. (a)
No public utility operated by a city, village or town having a population of less than 5,000 shall be required to report under this section except as to earnings, operating expenses, including depreciation and maintenance, cost of renewals, extensions and improvements to the property and the nature and amount of service furnished in such detail as the commission deems necessary, except that if the commission conducts any investigation of the public utility upon formal complaint, the commission may require the detailed reports required under sub. (1)
History: 1983 a. 53
; 1993 a. 246
See also chs. PSC 113
, and 185
, Wis. adm. code.
Commission's report. 196.13(1)
The commission shall publish biennial reports showing its proceedings together with any financial or other data which concerns and is appropriate for all public utilities and may publish any other report related to public utilities.
The commission shall publish in its reports the value of all the property actually used and useful for the convenience of the public of a public utility if the commission has held a hearing on the public utility's rates, charges, service or regulations or if the commission has otherwise determined the value of the public utility's property.
Confidential handling of records. 196.135(2)
The commission shall promulgate rules establishing requirements and procedures for the confidential handling of records filed with the commission.
If the commission decides to allow public access under s. 19.35
to a record filed with the commission, the commission shall, before allowing access and within 3 working days after making the decision to allow access, serve written notice of that decision by certified mail or personal service on the person who filed the record, if any of the following applies:
The commission granted the record confidential handling status under the rules promulgated under sub. (2)
The person who filed the record requested confidential handling status under the rules promulgated under sub. (2)
and the commission has not yet acted on the request.
The commission denied a request for confidential handling under the rules promulgated under sub. (2)
; the person whose request was denied filed a petition for review of the commission's decision to deny the request; and the petition is pending before a court.
The commission shall not provide access to a record that is the subject of a notice under sub. (3)
within 12 days of the date of service of the notice.
A person who is entitled to a notice under sub. (3)
may bring an action for judicial review of a decision by the commission to allow public access under s. 19.35
to a record. Section 19.356 (3)
applies to such an action, except that “record subject" means the person who is entitled to notice under sub. (3)
, “authority" means the commission, “notice under s. 19.356 (2) (a)
" means the notice under sub. (3)
, and “action commenced under s. 19.356 (4)
" means the action under this paragraph.
History: 2003 a. 47
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 47
, which creates this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Municipal utility customer information. 196.137(1)(a)
“Customer information" means any information received from customers which serves to identify customers individually by usage or account status.
A municipal utility may not release customer information to any person except with the consent of the customer obtained on a form specified under sub. (4)
, or except to any of the following:
Agents, vendors, partners, or affiliates of the municipal utility that are engaged to perform any services or functions for or on behalf of the municipal utility.
In connection with an issue of municipal securities and to the extent the municipal utility determines release is necessary to comply with securities disclosure obligations, a lender or a purchaser, or potential purchaser, of or investor, or potential investor, in municipal securities.
In connection with the preparation of real estate closing documents, a title agent, insurer, lender, mortgage broker, or attorney providing legal services.
In connection with a real estate transaction or appraisal of real property, a real estate broker or salesperson licensed under ch. 452
or an appraiser certified or licensed under ch. 458
In connection with the foreclosure of real property, a lender or prospective purchaser.
Transmission and distribution utilities and operators within whose geographic service territory the customer is located.
The commission or any person whom the commission authorizes by order or rule to receive the customer information.
An owner of a rental dwelling unit to whom the municipal utility provides notice of past-due charges pursuant to s. 66.0809 (5)
An owner of real property provided with municipal utility service or the owner's designated agent or representative.
Any person who is otherwise authorized by law to receive the customer information.
(3) Public record exception.
Customer information is not subject to inspection or copying under s. 19.35
(4) Consent form.
No later than April 1, 2014, the commission shall specify a form for a municipal utility to obtain a customer's consent to the release of customer information.
(5) Customer postcards.
A municipal utility that sends a billing statement to a customer on a postcard does not violate the prohibition under sub. (2)
History: 2013 a. 25
Public record exception.
The commission may withhold from public inspection any information which would aid a competitor of a public utility in competition with the public utility.
History: 1983 a. 53
; 1985 a. 236
See s. 19.36
for other public record exceptions.
Units of product or service.
The commission shall prescribe for each kind of public utility, other than a telecommunications utility, suitable and convenient standard commercial units of product or service.
History: 1993 a. 496