Subject 515-2-1 GENERAL APPLICABILITY
Every member of the Commission will, in all cases, reserve his opinion and in no way commit himself in advance touching the merits of any matter or question to be passed upon by the Commission or that should be dealt with by it, until the facts and evidence are all submitted and the Commission considers the same in administrative session. In determining findings of fact or in its deliberations, the Commission will hold no presumption in favor of the position of any party, including the Public Interest Advocacy Staff, and shall only give weight and credit to any party in the case as can be supported by credible evidence in the record. Provided, however, that nothing in this Rule shall amend, modify or repeal in any way any burden of proof or burden of production requirements under Georgia law. In all matters which relate to the making of rates and which may become the subject of litigation, no member shall make any statement after such matter has been decided by the Commission which may be or is liable to be treated as an admission prejudiced to the action of the Commission. In all cases, and on all questions, any member may file his dissenting opinion when in the minority, or his reasons and grounds for his opinion when in the majority.
Administrative session meetings shall be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month unless postponed by the Chairman, at ten o'clock a.m. when a quorum is present, in the offices of the Commission in the State Offices Building, 244 Washington Street, S.W., Atlanta Georgia and there shall be such adjourned meetings as may be called, or postponed by the Chairman on his own motion, or on request of any two members. Such meetings shall be open to the public as provided by law. A majority of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
|(1)||Any action taken by the Commission shall be reduced to writing by the Commission and signed by the Chairman and Executive Secretary thereof. If the Chairman is unavailable to sign an ordeer within five (5) business days from the date the order is logged into the Executive Secretary's office, the Vice-Chairman may sign such an order. If the Executive Secretary is unavailable to sign an order within five (5) business days from the date the order is logged into the Executive Secretary's office, the Assistant Executive Secretary may sign such an order.|
|(2)||All such actions and orders shall be effective from the date such actions are reduced to writing and are signed as herein provided. No such action or order of the Commission may be given retroactive effect. A full and complete record shall be kept of the votes taken in connection with any such action, said record to be spread upon the official minutes of the Commission. When any matter is published by a member or officer or employee of the Commission, the same is his or her individual act or declaration, and not the act of the Commission, unless recited on its face that the Commission has so ordered or decided.|
Rule 515-2-1-.04 Applications, Petitions, Complaints, and Filings. Procedural Requirements Relating Thereto
|(1)||All applications, petitions and complaints made to the Georgia Public Service Commission must plainly and distinctly state the grounds thereof, all being set forth in writing. In like manner, all defenses must be distinctly made in writing and must plainly and distinctly state the grounds thereof. These specifications may be accompanied, if the parties so desire, by any explanation or argument or by any suggestion, touching the proper remedy or policy. The parties may also be heard in person, or by attorney or by written argument, upon such written statements being first filed.|
|(2)||Informal complaints may be made by letter or in person, and are given prompt attention by the Commission and its employees in an endeavor to bring about satisfaction of the complaint without a formal hearing.|
|(3)|| On all applications, petitions and
complaints, and in any instance in which the Commission initiates an action,
notice shall be given to the persons or corporations interested in or affected
by said action at least thirty (30) days before any hearing that may be
scheduled; provided, however, that the notification provisions of this subpart
shall not apply to any emergency action that the Commission may need to take in
the interest of safeguarding the public health, safety and welfare or any
action in which the parties do not object to proceeding on a more expedited
|(4)|| All filings at the Commission shall
comply with the following.
Each electric, natural gas, telephone, telegraph and radio common carrier
utility company must also file with the Commission concurrently with their
general rate increase applications and other exhibits two (2) copies of Minimum
Filing Requirements (MFRs). The MFRs shall be in format and content as
prescribed by the Commission for each different type utility, and as contained
in form numbered MFR-books as described below in this paragraph. Each utility
company desiring an exemption and/or a deviation from the prescribed filing
must notify the Commission and receive approval of such exemptions and/or
deviations from the Commission prior to the filing of its next application for
a general rate increase after this Rule shall have been issued. Blank schedules
of the MFRs to be completed by the utility companies will be furnished by the
Commission to the companies upon their written request.
Each electric utility company must also file with the Commission concurrently
with their fuel cost recovery applications and other exhibits two (2) copies of
Minimum Filing Requirements ("MFRs"). The MFRs shall be in format and content
as prescribed by the Commission.
MINIMUM FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR FUEL FILINGS
The following package of proposed fuel filing minimum filing requirements ("MFRs") is organized in three parts:
All applications, petitions or complaints filed with the Commission, or actions initiated by the Commission, on Friday prior to the second Tuesday in each month shall, unless otherwise directed by the Commission, be assigned for hearing on the fourth Tuesday or some succeeding date, and likewise those filed or commenced subsequent to the Friday preceding the second Tuesday in the month and not later than Friday prior to the fourth Tuesday shall, unless otherwise directed by the Commission, be assigned for hearing on the second Tuesday in the following month, or some succeeding date.
|(1)||At the hearing on all applications, petitions and complaints, the Chairman of the Commission shall call for and enter the names of all parties desiring to become a party of record, either for or against the docketed case being heard. In the discretion of the Commission, parties having made written intervention prior to the hearing may be entered as a party of record.|
|(2)||The Commission may, in its discretion and for good cause shown, authorize the late filing, or entering, of a notice of intervention.|
|(3)||The Commission may condition any order permitting intervention so as to assure the orderly conduct of the proceeding. If an intervenor has demonstrated a lack of familiarity with the Commission's hearing processes or the rules of evidence in Commission proceedings, the Commission may place reasonable restrictions on the intervenor designed to avoid delay or disruption of the proceeding and that are not related to the viewpoint of the intervenor, including but not limited to, placing a time limit on the intervenor's cross-examination of witnesses.|
The Commission will render a final decision in contested cases within thirty (30) days after the close of the record except that the Commission, by order, may extend such period in any case in which it shall find that the complexity of the issues and the length of the record require an extension of such period, in which event the Commission shall render decision at the earliest date practicable. If all parties of record in a contested case agree orally during the hearing of any contested case or sign written agreements to waive the requirements of law relating to findings of fact and conclusions of law, then no such findings or conclusions will be made unless otherwise directed by a majority of the Commission.
Any party of record that is dissatisfied with an order of the Commission may apply for rehearing, reconsideration, clarification and/or oral argument within ten days from the effective date of the order. This application shall be filed as a written petition in which it is stated with particularity the matters claimed to have been erroneously decided, the alleged errors underlying the decision and the relief sought. A certificate of service shall accompany this application documenting that a copy of the petition has been simultaneously furnished to each party of record. Responses may be filed with the Commission by any party of record within ten days of the date of service. If, in the opinion of the Commission, good cause has been shown in said petition for rehearing, reconsideration and oral argument, the application shall be granted for such further relief as may be directed. The Commission shall act on petitions within forty-five days of the filing of the petition.
In addition to other requirements of service and notice now imposed by law, a copy of any application, formal complaint, or notice to or issued by the Georgia Public Service Commission shall also be served upon the Consumers' Utility Counsel. The Commission shall not proceed to hear or determine any such petition, complaint or proceeding in which the Public Counsel is entitled to appear unless it shall affirmatively appear that the Public Counsel was given at least ten days' written notice thereof, unless such notice is affirmatively waived in writing or the Public Counsel appears and specifically waives such notice; provided, that once the Commission has begun to hear or determine any such petition, complaint or proceeding of which prior notice was given or waived, the Commission shall thereafter issue such orders and take such action relating thereto as it may deem appropriate, and upon such notice to parties as it may deem appropriate. Whenever service of notice is perfected by mail, four days shall be added to the prescribed period. Proof of service of notice may be made by certificate or other proof satisfactory to the Commission, and shall create a rebuttable presumption of service.
Promulgation, amendment, or repeal of all Rules adopted by the Commission in these chapters may be proposed, adopted and published by approval of a majority of the Commission as prescribed by law.
Petition. Each petition for promulgation, amendment, or repeal of rules
made pursuant to the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act shall be filed with
the Commission in writing and shall state:
|(2)||Proceeding on Petition. Upon receipt of the petition, the Commission shall decide upon the action to be taken. Within thirty days after receipt of the petition, the Commission either shall deny the petition in writing (stating its reasons for the denial) or shall initiate rule-making or rule-changing proceedings in accordance with Section 4 of the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.|
|(1)||Form of Petition. Each
petition for a declaratory ruling pursuant to the Georgia Administrative
Procedure Act shall be filed with the Commission and shall state:
|(2)||Service of Petition. If the petition requests a declaratory ruling as to the applicability of an order of the Commission entered in a contested case, the petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition upon all other parties in that case. If the petitioner is a customer of a person or company regulated by the Commission which would be affected by the petition, the petitioner shall serve the person or company of which he is a customer. Any person or company so served has ten days in which to file briefs in support of, or in opposition to, the petition for a declaratory ruling.|
|(3)||Proceedings on Petition. Unless the Commission so orders, no oral argument will be permitted. If there is no dispute with respect to any material fact, and unless the Commission so orders, no evidentiary hearings shall be held.|
for Interpretation and Rulings. Any request presented in any manner
other than in accordance with the provisions of this rule shall not be deemed
to be filed as a Petition for Declaratory Ruling but shall be deemed an
informal request for interpretation or ruling and shall be acted on as such.
The provisions of this rule shall not be construed to preclude:
Any application, petition, complaint, or other matter filed with the Commission in which no activity of record or written order is taken for a period of one year shall be automatically dismissed without prejudice for lack of prosecution. However, a matter will not be dismissed for inactivity where an application, motion or other request is pending before the Commission, or the matter is otherwise inactive because of a pending decision or order by the Commission. Computation of the one-year period shall begin with the date of the last filing or other activity or record concerning the matter. This rule shall be applicable to all docketed and non-docketed proceedings, but is not intended to include time during which matter filed with the Commission is before a court of competent jurisdiction. In order to avoid automatic dismissal, a motion must be made or an order issued, properly signed and filed with the Commission before the one-year period expires. A party may file a motion to extend the time for an additional six months; however, the Commission, on its own motion, may extend or waive this portion of the rule to conclude the docket. Thirty days prior to the expiration of the one-year period, the Commission shall give notification to the Consumers' Utility Counsel and all parties of record that a matter shall automatically stand dismissed in accordance with the provisions of this rule. For the purposes of this rule, activity of record shall include any application, petition, complaint, motion, brief, or other pleading filed with the Commission as well as any hearing or oral argument held in the matter.
|(1)|| As used in this Rule, the term:
|(2)||Proceedings before the Commission shall be open and transparent to all Parties and to the public. Except for any trade secret information provided pursuant to Commission Rule 515-3-1-.11 or any other statute or rule regarding trade secret filings with the Commission, all communications, directly or indirectly, between a Party and the Commission, an individual Commissioner, a Commission hearing officer, or a member of the Commissioner Advisory Staff relating to a Proceeding shall be made in a public and open manner that allows all other Parties the opportunity to respond to such communication or information. Copies of all written or electronic communications relating to a Proceeding shall be contemporaneously filed with the Executive Secretary and served on all Parties. All oral communications relating to a Proceeding shall be made at a properly noticed meeting, hearing, or workshop of the Commission.|
|(3)||If, due to an emergency situation, a Party making a communication cannot comply with the notice requirements in subsection (2) of this rule, or if a Party inadvertently makes a communication in violation of this rule, the Party shall file with the Commission the information described below in subsection (4)(a) to (d), as well as a description of the emergency situation or an explanation of how the violation was inadvertent, as soon as possible after the communication.|
|(4)|| If a member of
the Commission, a Commission hearing officer, or a member of the Commissioner
Advisory Staff receives or makes a communication in violation of this rule, he
or she shall place the following on the record of the proceeding as soon as
possible after the communication:
|(5)||Nothing in this rule shall prohibit a member of the public who is not a Party to a Proceeding from communicating with the Commission or with an individual Commissioner relating to the Proceeding. Nothing in this rule shall prohibit a Party from providing any information relating to a Proceeding to the Commission, to an individual Commissioner, a Commission hearing officer, or to a member of the Commissioner Advisory Staff, provided that such information is provided openly pursuant to subsections (2) or (3) of this rule. Nothing in this rule shall prohibit a member of the Commission or a member of the Commissioner Advisory Staff from communicating with other members of the Commission and other members of the Commissioner Advisory Staff regarding a Proceeding pending before the Commission. Members of the Commissioner Advisory Staff shall not communicate regarding the Proceeding with any other Party including the Public Interest Advocacy Staff unless such communication is made openly utilizing the procedures set forth in subsection (3) of this rule. A "Chinese Wall" procedure shall be utilized to provide for independence between the Commissioner Advisory Staff and the Public Interest Advocacy Staff. The team leaders of the Commissioner Advisory Staff and the Public Interest Advocacy Staff shall not be in a career path reporting position to anyone on the other team. In those instances where a team member is in a career path reporting position to someone on the other team, only the team leader, not the career path manager, may direct the team member's participation or positions on the team.|
|(6)||This rule shall apply commencing immediately upon the conclusion of the hearings to receive testimony in the Proceeding and end the day after the official time for filing for reconsideration. Provided, however, that if a motion forreconsideration is made, the rule shall continue to apply until the Commission has rendered its final decision on such motion.|
|(7)||This Rule shall not apply to non-substantive inquiries about procedural and scheduling issues.|
|(8)||Penalties. Failure of a Party to abide by the Commission's rule prohibiting ex parte communications may result in reprimand or exclusion of the Party from the hearing pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 50-13-13(a)(6) and/or penalties under O.C.G.A. § 46-2-91.|