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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Notice and hearing; order fixing price of water or requiring improvement
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 4-B
§ 89-j. Notice and hearing; order fixing price of water or requiring
improvement. Before proceeding under a complaint presented as provided
in section eighty-nine-i, 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 of its own motion as to any matter of which
complaint may be made, as provided in section eighty-nine-i 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 just and reasonable prices, rates or charges for water 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 supply or distribution of water, 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. If it shall be
made to appear to the satisfaction of the commission that the public
interest requires a change in the price of water 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 four of
section eighty-nine-c shall be the maximum price to be charged by such
person or corporation for water 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 the 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 water to be thereafter charged. In
determining the price to be charged for water 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, the burden
of proof to show that the change in rate or price if proposed by the
person or corporation operating such utility, or that the existing rate
or price, if on motion of the commission or in a complaint filed with
the commission it is proposed to reduce the rate or price, is just and
reasonable shall be upon the person or corporation operating such
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.