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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Notice and hearing; order fixing price of steam, or requiring improvement
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 4-A
§ 85. Notice and hearing; order fixing price of steam, or requiring
improvement. Before proceeding under a complaint presented as provided
in section eighty-four, the commission shall cause notice of such
complaint, and the purpose thereof, to be served upon the person or
corporation affected thereby. Such person or corporation shall have an
opportunity to be heard in respect to the matters complained of at a
time and place to be specified in such notice. An investigation may be
instituted by the commission on its own motion as to any matter of which
complaint may be made, as provided in section eighty-four of this
chapter, or to enable it to ascertain the facts requisite to the
exercise of any power conferred upon it. After a hearing and after such
an investigation as shall have been made by the commission or its
officers, agents, examiners or inspectors, the commission may, by order,
fix the maximum price of steam to be charged by such corporation or
person, for the service to be furnished notwithstanding that a higher or
lower price has been theretofore prescribed by general or special
statute, contract, grant, franchise condition, consent or other
agreement; and may order such improvement in the manufacture,
distribution or supply of steam, or in the methods employed by such
person or corporation, as will in its judgment be adequate, just and
reasonable. Any such change in price shall be upon such terms,
conditions or safeguards, as the commission may prescribe. It it shall
appear to the satisfaction of the commission that the public interest
requires a change in the price of steam charged by any such person or
corporation, or that such change is necessary for the purpose of
providing adequate and efficient service, or for the preservation of the
property, the commission, upon such terms, conditions or safeguards as
it deems proper, may authorize an immediate, reasonable, temporary
increase or decrease in such price pending a final determination of the
price to be thereafter charged by such person or corporation. The terms,
conditions or safeguards prescribed may include provisions for the
purposes for which the additional revenue derived from any such
temporary increase may be expended and for the impounding thereof until
the same shall be applied to the purposes so specified. The price fixed
by the commission under this section or under subdivision five of
section eighty shall be the maximum price to be charged by such person,
corporation or municipality for steam for the service to be furnished
within the territory and for a period to be fixed by the commission in
the order, not exceeding three years except in case of a sliding scale,
and thereafter until the commission shall, upon its own motion or upon
the complaint of any corporation, person or municipality interested, fix
a higher or lower maximum price of steam to be thereafter charged. In
determining the price to be charged for steam the commission may
consider all facts which in its judgment have any bearing upon a proper
determination of the question although not set forth in the complaint
and not within the allegations contained therein, with due regard among
other things to a reasonable average return upon capital actually
expended and to the necessity of making reservations out of income for
surplus and contingencies. At any hearing involving a rate or price, the
burden of proof to show that the change in rate, if proposed by the
person, corporation or municipality operating such utility, or that the
existing rate, if on motion of the commission or in a complaint filed
with the commission it is proposed to reduce the rate, is just and
reasonable, shall be upon the person, corporation or municipality
operating the utility, and the commission may give to the hearing and
decision of such questions preference over all other questions pending
before it and decide the same as speedily as possible.