Public Service Commission

Relating to the Public Services Commission (PSC), the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) repealed authorization for grants to certain nonprofit corporations and reduced the compensation rate for consumer groups and consumer representatives from 100% of the costs of the participating in a PSC hearing to 50% of that cost.

The governor’s budget included a proposal to allocate no more than $250,000 PR in 2015-16 to study health issues related to wind energy systems. The PSC would be required to submit its report a little over one year after the biennial budget goes into effect. JFC amended the provision to require the PSC to review studies previously conducted to ascertain the health effects of industrial wind turbines on people residing near a wind turbine. Unlike the governor’s provision, the motion did not include an increase of any appropriations to the PSC.

JFC also made various changes related to the condemnation authority of oil pipeline companies, modified the regulation of alternative telecommunication utilities, and changed the definition of essential telecommunication services. In addition, JFC specified the chairperson of the PSC is a distinct appointment, deferring from that of a Commissioner, for compensation purposes.