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Subject 515-7-1 GAS COMPANIES' CERTIFICATES

Rule 515-7-1-.01 Definitions

Terms used in these rules have the following meaning:

(a) "Applicant"--Any person who requests the issuance of a certificate to construct, acquire, or operate any gas pipeline or distribution system, or extension thereof, pursuant to the provisions of the Act approved February 17, 1956, Georgia Laws, 1956.
(b) "Certificate"--Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Commission to any applicant as provided by said Act.
(c) "Commission"--Georgia Public Service Commission.
(d) "Distribution System"--The coordinated facilities including mains, services, regulators, meters and other facilities (including peak shaving, or production plant) which are used or are proposed to be used to distribute natural or manufactured gas to the public.
(e) "Pipe Line"--The pipe used or proposed to be used for the transportation of natural or manufactured gas in intrastate commerce within the State from point of supply to each point of delivery of gas either to ultimate consumers, or to others for distribution and resale. Pipe Line includes such compressor equipment, regulator stations and measurement or metering stations, and other facilities as are associated with the pipe line.
(f) "Facilities"--All property, means and instrumentalities owned, operated, leased, licensed, used, furnished, or supplied for, by or in connection with the rendition of natural or manufactured gas service to the public.
(g) "Person"--Any corporation, public or private, company, person, partnership, firm or association, excepting only those municipal corporations and counties of this State whose facilities are located wholly within their own county.
(h) "Plant"--Property which is necessary to provide service to the public as set forth in the various fixed capital accounts of the Uniform System of Accounts for Gas Utilities prescribed by the Commission.
(i) "Service"--The act or means of supplying natural or manufactured gas to the public.
(j) "Utility"--Any person as herein defined engaged in the transmission or distribution of natural or manufactured gas in intrastate commerce within the State of Georgia.

Rule 515-7-1-.02 Construction and Operation of Gas Pipeline or Distribution Systems

(1) No person shall construct or operate in intrastate commerce except as qualified within this rule, any natural or manufactured gas pipeline or distribution system, or any extension thereof, or acquire ownership or control thereof, either directly or indirectly, without first obtaining from the Commission a certificate that the present or future public convenience and necessity require, or will require, such construction, operation or acquisition. Any person engaged in the construction or operation of any line, plant, or system, or any extension thereof as of February 17, 1956, shall be entitled to receive a certificate for the territory being served by such person on February 17, 1956, upon proper proof that such applicant is providing reasonably adequate service, if application therefor was made prior to February 17, 1957.
(2) Where revenue bonds have been issued by any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state in order to buy, construct, extend, operate or maintain any portion of its gas distribution system and necessary appurtenances thereof and the gas distribution system extends or is to be extended beyond the limits of the county in which the municipality or other political subdivision is located, or when the distribution systems of a county extends is or to be extended outside the limits of such county, a Certificate must be obtained from the Commission with respect to all such facilities located or proposed to be located beyond such county limits.
(3) Where revenue bonds have been issued by any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state in order to buy, construct, extend, operate or maintain any portion of its gas pipe line systems and necessary appurtenances thereof and the gas pipe line system extends or is to be extended outside the limits of the county in which the municipality or other political subdivision is located, or when the pipe line of a county extends or is to be extended outside the limits of such county, a Certificate must be obtained from the Commission with respect to all such pipe line located or proposed to be located beyond such county limits, if gas service is rendered or gas deliveries are made to others outside the limits of such county.

Rule 515-7-1-.03 Applications for Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity

All applications for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity must be in writing, properly authenticated. Any application that is deemed to be incomplete after it is filed with the Commission shall not be considered until such time as all of the information requested therein has been furnished. Applications for authority to construct or acquire additional facilities shall set forth in the order indicated the following, incorporating any data already on file with the Commission by reference:

(a) The exact legal name of the applicant; if the applicant is a corporation, the State or territory under the laws of which the applicant was organized, the location of the applicant's principal place of business, the names of all States where the applicant is authorized to do business and a concise but comprehensive description of the existing business, operations and properties of the applicant with particular reference to the transportation, distribution and sale of natural or manufactured gas.
(b) The name, title or post-office address of the person to whom correspondence or communications in regard to the application are to be addressed. Unless advised to the contrary, the Commission will serve notices, orders, and other papers upon the person so named.
(c) A brief but accurate description of the project or facilities for which a certificate is sought and the dates on which it is intended to begin and complete construction or acquisition.
(d) A statement setting forth the service proposed to be rendered by applicant, showing communities proposed to be served, with the population of each, main line industrial customers, sales or interchange with other utilities and any other service. In describing such other service, furnish the name of any other utility rendering service within any county in which any community or customer to be served by applicant is located, together with a general statement of pertinent facts as to the extent and nature of such existing service, specifying whether such other utility is serving natural or manufactured gas.
(e) A description of the facilities proposed to be constructed, acquired or operated, giving, insofar as such information may be pertinent, the size, capacity, length and location of pipelines and laterals; the extent of distribution systems; the location, rated horsepower and capacity of all compressor stations; the location and description of other important property units; a description of the proposed manner or method of operating said proposed facilities, including proposed operating pressures, the capacity of the proposed facilities, estimates of maximum and minimum day demands, and any other pertinent facts showing that such facilities will be capable of performing adequately the service which the applicant proposed to render. In connection herewith the applicant shall furnish:
1. Fifteen (15) copies of a map delineating the size and location of applicant's proposed pipe lines, or distribution system, the communities to be served, the points of connection with existing facilities and the location of points of gas supply to be utilized in connection with the proposed facilities; such map shall include roads, waterways and any other natural boundaries to enable the Commission to distinguish the true location of the proposed facilities; as well as any other operator's gas facilities within 1,200 feet of the applicant's proposed facilities. The location of the proposed pipeline or distribution system and other gas operator's facilities must be delineated in contrasting colors. The maps shall be at least 11 x 14 inches.
2. A statement setting forth all contracts for the construction, purchase or lease of the proposed facilities and giving the affiliation, if any, between applicant and any other party to said contracts. A detailed breakdown of costs must be included for the construction, purchase or lease of the proposed facilities. The cost breakdown shall include the following:
(i) Overall cost of the project,
(ii) Cost per foot for each size of pipe,
(iii) Cost for right-of-way,
(iv) Financing costs,
(v) Cost of labor, and
(vi) Any other costs.
(f) A statement of the source of gas, together with a copy of the interstate pipeline contracts or full requirements contract therefore, which is to supply the market which is proposed to be served. However, if such interstate pipeline contracts or full requirements contract contain discounted or negotiated rates or terms, the applicant may file such contracts pursuant to Commission Rule 515-3-1-.11.
(g) A statement setting forth all facts bearing upon economic feasibility including:
1. The estimated total overall capital cost of the proposed extension or acquisition, including all expenditures involved in the construction or acquisition of the proposed facilities, proposed cost of financing, working capital, and other incidental costs, amount of engineering and contracting fees to be paid and a brief statement of applicant's proposed plan of financing.
2. A detailed statement of the extent to which such plan is supported by firm or contingent commitments from all financial sources, including commitments from banks, trust companies, insurance companies, investment bankers, steel companies, pipeline supply companies and other sources.
3. A statement showing estimates of total revenues expected from the proposed new facilities to be constructed, acquired or operated, total fixed charges, total operating expenses.
4. A general statement covering the rates proposed to be charged by applicant for each kind of natural or manufactured gas service proposed to be rendered, and the expected sales, revenues, average revenue per MCF and average revenue per therm to be derived therefrom.
(h) A general description of the proposed method of supervising the operations of the proposed project, including reference to any relevant service or management contracts, existing or contemplated.
(i) A statement of any other facts and circumstances upon which applicant relies to establish that present or future public convenience and necessity required the new construction, acquisition or operation of such facilities.
(j) In addition to all of the information specified in paragraphs (a) through (i) of this rule, an application submitted under O.C.G.A. § 46-4-28(a.1) must include:
1. Documentation sufficient to support the applicant's contention that the existing certificate holder has failed to begin construction or operation of any pipeline or distribution system, or extension thereof, in substantially all the of the territory covered by such certificate as further defined in Rule 515-7-1-.13;
2. Documentation demonstrating that a specified end-use customer, property owner, or developer has requested natural gas service from applicant, the extent of the service requested, and the date said service is needed;
3. The territory for which the applicant is seeking to provide natural gas service to a specified end-use customer, property owner, or development;
4. Documentation demonstrating that any newly certified area requested by applicant to serve the specified end-use customer, property owner, or development in question can be established by the Commission with a boundary that meets safety and public welfare requirements;
5. The rates and terms of service applicable to the specified end-use customer, property owner, or development in question; and
6. Documentation demonstrating that applicant can provide said requested service in a timely manner.

Rule 515-7-1-.04 Notice of Application

(1) Applicant shall serve a copy of the application on the Mayor and Council (or equivalent city governing body) of the city within the corporate limits of which service is proposed to be rendered, and a certificate of service shall be appended to all copies of the application itself. Service may be by mail unless otherwise ordered by the Commission.
(2) When the application has been assigned for hearing applicant must publish notice on the time, place and purpose of the hearing once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in each territory affected, and evidence of such publication must be submitted at the hearing.
(3) Notice of the application and scheduled hearing thereon will be given by the Commission to the chief executive officer of the municipality or municipalities affected and to each holder of a gas Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

Rule 515-7-1-.05 Verified Original and Fifteen Conformed Copies of Application to Be Filed

A verified original and fifteen (15) conformed copies of the application for Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity shall be filed with the Commission. If the applicant is a corporation, a certified copy of its articles of incorporation and amendments thereto shall be annexed to the application unless otherwise on file with the Commission.

Rule 515-7-1-.06 Form of Certificate

Certificates will be issued by the Commission in two forms, viz.,"Pipe Line" and "Distribution System", and a separate application must e filed for each type certificate. A "Distribution System" certificate authorizes the acquisition or construction and operation of an integrated gas distribution system, including all areas served therefrom. "Pipe Line" certificates are required for authorization to acquire, operate or construct any natural or manufactured gas pipe lines within the State of Georgia.

Rule 515-7-1-.07 Separate Application for Each Distribution System

(1) A separate application shall be filed for each distribution system for which a certificate is desired, and except as follows, a certified copy of any franchise held for the area proposed to be served shall be attached to the application. If no franchise is held, this fact must be stated. The Commission will not require the filing of a franchise for territory served on February 17, 1956.
(2) "Distribution System" certificates will be issued defining certificated area, and no further authority to construct, extend or enlarge facilities within said certificated areas need to be obtained from the Commission by the certificate holder, but certificates may be amended by proper application to extend or enlarge a certified area.

Rule 515-7-1-.08 "Grandfather Clause" Applications

(1) Applications for "Grandfather Clause" certificates covering facilities in service and extent of service provided as of February 17, 1956, shall contain a description of the area, territory or location which applicant serves, and a map or maps shall be annexed to the application on which is clearly shown the area, pipeline, or territory for which a certificate is requested.
(2) Applications for a certificate covering facilities in service and extent of service provided as of February 17, 1956, shall not include proposed construction or extension of plant outside of the requested service area. Such new territory applications shall be filed separately.

Rule 515-7-1-.09 Transfer, Lease or Hypothecation of Certificate

No certificate may be transferred or hypothecated or leased except upon application to and approval by the Commission.

Rule 515-7-1-.10 Certificates Not to be Capitalized

Certificates will be issued by the Commission without charge and no utility shall capitalize on its books any value or amount for such certificates, and in rate proceedings the Commission will not allow any value in the rate base representing an alleged certificate value. Reasonable expenses incurred by a utility may be charged to operating expenses.

Rule 515-7-1-.11 Certificate Area to be Developed as a Unit

The applicant for a certificate to serve an area shall select an area which can and should be developed as a unit. When a certificate is held for any area it is the responsibility of the certificate holder to provide the service requirements within that area, subject to terms an conditions of the rules and regulations of company and/or its rate schedule on file with the Commission. The application for a "Distribution System" certificate for one city or community area should not include any other incorporated community area except only where two or more contiguous incorporated areas are served or are to be served from a single integrated distribution system.

Rule 515-7-1-.12 Participation at Hearings

Participation at hearings on certificate applications will be parties with a real interest, viz., those who propose to serve the area in question, both the applicant and any others, or those who are authorized or delegated to represent the public or consumers in some way. Objections, or protests concerning an application shall be made in writing setting forth the reason, nature, and extent of the objections or protests and such to be filed with the Commission and served on the applicant at least five days in advance of the scheduled hearing on the application. Generally, participation in the hearing as a separate party will not be allowed to those whose interest is neither that of a public utility proposing to establish or extend gas service, nor that of a representative of the public or gas consumers.

Rule 515-7-1-.13 Commission May Suspend, Revoke, Alter or Amend Certificate

(1) The Commission may at any time after notice and opportunity to be heard and for reasonable cause suspend, revoke, alter or amend any certificate if the holder of the certificate has willfully violated or refused to observe any of the lawful and reasonable orders, rules or regulations prescribed by the Commission, or any other law of this State regulating these pipe line or distribution systems, if in the opinion of the Commission the holder of the certificate is not furnishing adequate service, or if the continuance of said certificate in its original form is incompatible with the public interest.
(2) Any certificate issued under Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 46 shall be revoked or amended by the Commission upon application to the Commission by a person to provide natural gas service to a specified end-use customer, property owner, or developer who has requested natural gas service if the holder of the certificate has failed to begin construction or operation of any pipeline, or distribution system, or any extension thereof, in substantially all of the territory covered by such certificate. Provided, however, that the applicant must show that the specified end-use customer, property owner, or developer who has requested natural gas service is located at least two and a half (2½) miles beyond where the holder of the certificate has begun construction or operation of any pipeline, or distribution system, or any extension thereof. Once a person has filed such an application, the portion of the certificate of the territory for which the applicant is seeking to provide natural gas service to a specified end-use customer, property owner, or developer shall be deemed revoked or amended. The Commission shall determine whether the applicant shall be entitled to a certificate for the territory that has been excluded from the certificate by revocation or amendment, whether such territory should be reissued to the person who held the certificate at the time of the application, or whether such territory shall be deemed uncertificated. The Commission shall make such determination within 90 days of the application and shall consider, in addition to the factors set forth in subsection (a) of Code Section 46-4-25, whether the applicant can offer service in a timely manner, and such other factors the Commission deems in the public interest. The Commission in determining whether to reissue a certificate to the person who held the certificate at the time of the application shall consider the length of time the certificate was held without service being provided. The newly certificated area shall be designed by the Commission to serve the customers, property owners, or developers in question while ensuring a boundary with safety and public welfare as the focus.
(a) As used in this rule,"construction" shall be deemed to have begun if a contract has been executed between the certificate holder and a third party, to include but not be limited to mains and costs, and with actual commencement of gas facilities being built within nine (9) months of the contract date.
(b) As used in this rule,"substantially all of the territory covered by such certificate" shall mean 75% or greater of the geographic territory covered by such certificate where such percentage is calculated as follows:

% = (N/D) * 100

For said calculation the terms shall be defined as:

N = The acreage contained in the area within a one (1) mile perimeter surrounding the certificated area in which holder of certificate has begun construction or operation of any pipeline, or distribution system, or any extension thereof. As used in this rule,"construction" shall be deemed to have begun if a contract has been executed between the certificate holder and a third party, to include but not be limited to mains and costs, and with actual commencement of gas facilities being built within nine (9) months of the contract date.

D = The total acreage of the certificated area.

(3) Within ninety (90) days of the submission of a complete application, the Commission shall determine whether the applicant shall be entitled to a certificate for the territory that has been excluded from the certificate by revocation or amendment, whether such territory should be reissued to the person who held the certificate at the time of the application, or whether such territory shall be deemed uncertificated.
(4) The ninety (90) day time frame during which the Commission is charged with reaching a determination under O.C.G.A. § 46-4-28(a.1) shall not commence unless and until a completed application has been submitted by the applicant. Within fifteen (15) days after the filing of such an application, the Commission shall provide the applicant with either a written notification stating that said application is deemed to be complete, or, a written notice of incompleteness specifying what information is lacking. In those instances in which additional information is provided pursuant to a notice of incompleteness, the Commission shall notify the applicant no later than fifteen (15) days following its receipt of the additional information whether such information is sufficient to regard the application as complete. An application will be deemed by the Commission to be withdrawn if after twenty (20) days from the date of a notice of incompleteness of said application applicant has not filed the required information or provided an explanation as to why said information is unavailable.

Rule 515-7-1-.14 Additional Information to be Supplied

The applicant shall supply the Commission with any such additional information or data as may be found necessary in order for the Commission to render a fair and equitable decision in issuance of certificates.

Rule 515-7-1-.15 Multiple Natural Gas Distribution Systems Within a Single Certificated Area

(1) In the event that a person applies for a certificate to construct or operate in intrastate commerce any natural or manufactured gas distribution system, or any extension thereof, or to acquire ownership or control thereof, either directly or indirectly, for an area for which another person already possesses such a certificate, the applicant must show, in addition to the other demonstrations required by law and Commission rule, that the existing holder of the certificate for the area has willfully violated or refused to observe any of the lawful and reasonable orders, rules, or regulations prescribed by the Commission or any other law of this state regulating these pipeline or distribution systems, is not furnishing adequate service, or that the continuance of the holder's certificate with regard to the area in question is incompatible with the public interest.
(2) In determining whether the existing certificate holder is furnishing adequate service or whether the continuance of the existing certificate holder's certificate with regard to the area in question is compatible with the public interest, the Commission shall consider:
a)
(i) the time period for which the requested area for certification has remained unserved, or not adequately served, by a provider or the current certificate holder in the requested area; and
(ii) the reason(s) for the area not receiving service;
b) whether the existing certificate holder did not serve a requesting customer within the applied for territory and the reasons for the failure to provide service.
c) the cost impact, including any benefit, on ratepayers of granting the application for certification and amending the existing certificate versus denying the application for certification.
d) any other factors the Commission deems relevant.
(3) Should the Commission determine that the applicant has met the showing set forth in subparagraph (1) and (2) above, along with the other requirements for the granting of a certificate set forth in the pertinent Commission rules and orders, the Commission will:
a) Grant the applicant a certificate for the area in question, and
b) Amend the existing certificate holder's certificate to exclude the area in question.
(4) Nothing in subparagraph (3) shall be construed to limit the Commission from taking any additional lawful action with regard to the applicant or existing certificate holder.
(5) In the event that a person applies for a certificate to construct or operate in intrastate commerce any natural or manufactured gas distribution system, or any extension thereof, or to acquire ownership or control thereof, either directly or indirectly, for an area within the limits of the home county of a municipal or county corporation with a natural gas distribution system or natural gas facilities, the applicant must show, in addition to the other demonstrations required by law and Commission rule, that the granting of the application would not create any risk to public safety and welfare.
(6) Except for good cause shown and upon credible testimony that such crossing or closure within eighty (80) feet is safe and affords no significant danger to the public safety and welfare and after hearing before the Commission, no person shall construct or install any natural gas facilities that cross or are located within eighty (80) feet from any pipeline facility of another person. This prohibition shall apply in all instances, including where, as of the effective date of this rule, the distribution system or facilities operated by more than one person are in existence within a single certificated area or home county. A copy of the application for leave filed under this Subsection shall be served on the gas system operator whose system would be crossed or approached with eighty (80) feet. In instances in which the rights of parties will not be substantially prejudiced, the Commission maintains the discretion to waive the requirement for a hearing prior to granting an exception to the prohibition against crossings or closures within eighty (80) feet if the party seeking the exception and the party whose natural gas facilities will be affected by the exception have both agreed to waive said hearing.
(7) A municipality that annexes any area outside of the county that was the municipality's home county as of the effective date of this rule may not extend its distribution system into the annexed area, or any other area outside of its home county as of the effective date of this rule, if a certificate of public convenience and necessity has been issued to any other person covering such territory, unless it has been demonstrated that the holder of the certificate for the area has willfully violated or refused to observe any of the lawful and reasonable orders, rules, or regulations prescribed by the commission or any other law of this state regulating these pipeline or distribution systems, is not providing adequate service or that the continuance of the holder's certificate with regard to the area in question is incompatible with the public interest. If an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity is pending before the Commission for a territory outside the municipality's home county as of the effective date of this rule, a municipality shall not extend its distribution system into that area until a final determination on the application has been issued by the Commission. The municipality may intervene in the Commission docket on the pending application.
(8) Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to alter the existing obligations pursuant to the Commission's GC-1 form of persons constructing or operating in intrastate commerce within this state any pipeline or distribution system, or any extension thereof, for the transportation, distribution, or sale of natural or manufactured gas.