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Measures To Modernize The Public Utilities Commission

Concerning the operations of the public utilities commission, and, in connection therewith, modernizing the commission's statutory directives regarding distributed generation of electricity; requiring additional disclosure from intervenors in adversarial proceedings; providing the commissioners with access to independent subject-matter experts; and making an appropriation.
2021 Regular Session
State Government
Telecommunications & Information Technology
Bill Summary

Section 1 of the act authorizes the allocation of up to $250,000 per year of the money that the public utilities commission (commission) receives from the public utilities commission fixed utility fund for contracts with outside consultants and experts.

Section 2 requires an intervenor in a proceeding before the commission to disclose, and the commission to publish on its website, any corporate affiliation, receipt of funding, or other financial relationship that exists or, within the prior 2 years, existed between that intervenor and the regulated utility in the matter.

Section 3 directs the commission to adopt rules to require the commission, when considering any matter before the commission, to improve equity for, minimize impacts on, and prioritize benefits to disproportionately impacted communities.

Under current law, the annual fee collected from each regulated public utility to support the fixed utility fund and the telecommunications utility fund is capped at 0.25% of the public utility's gross instrastate utility operating revenue for the preceding calendar year; except that the annual fee collected from a public utility that is a telephone corporation is capped at 0.20% of the telephone corporation's gross intrastate utility operating revenue for the preceding calendar year. Section 4 raises these caps to 0.45% and 0.40%, respectively.

Section 5 requires the commission, when considering electric utilities' plans for acquisition of generation facilities, to consider the economic opportunities that such acquisitions would provide for workforce transition and community assistance plans and the benefits for low-income customers and disproportionately impacted communities.

Section 6 requires the commission to promulgate rules requiring qualifying retail utilities subject to the renewable energy standard to retire renewable energy credits in a manner that benefits cities, counties, and businesses in the state, enables customers to account for the environmental benefits of the renewable energy, and is consistent with timely attainment of the state's clean energy and climate goals. Section 6 also directs that utilities plan their expenditures on renewable energy and retail distributed generation so as to address historical shortfalls in benefits to low-income customers and disproportionately impacted communities before reaching the 2% statutory cap on such expenditures, with at least 40% of new expenditures allocated to this purpose between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2028.

With respect to the retirement of any electric generating facility, section 7 requires an investor-owned electric utility to submit, and the commission to consider, 2 alternative net present value of revenue requirement projections, one based on using Colorado energy impact bonds and one based on not using Colorado energy impact bonds.

Section 8 requires the commission, in approving a resource plan, to include the social cost of carbon dioxide with regard to a portfolio's net present value of revenue requirements.

Section 9 expands the time for the commission to issue a decision on an application that is not accompanied by prefiled testimony and exhibits from 210 days to 250 days after the commission has deemed the application complete.

Section 10 broadens the purposes for which a utility may seek permission to issue Colorado energy impact bonds to include not only the retirement of electric generating facilities but also other programs or projects approved by the commission, including programs or projects to mitigate the effects of extreme weather, wildfires, climate change, or other hazards, but not to include the utility's own liability for wildfire or other damages.

Sections 11 and 12 make adjustments to appropriations in related acts, and section 13 makes an appropriation for the purposes of the act to draw from the public utilities commission fixed utility fund rather than from the general fund. The total amount appropriated from the fixed utility fund is $971,839, and the total reduction in general fund expenditures is $471,849.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details