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Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Subject 515-3-1 GENERAL RULES

Rule 515-3-1-.01 Definition of "Company"

The word "Company" as used herein, shall be deemed and taken to mean and include all corporations, companies, firms and persons that may now be engaged, or that may hereafter become engaged, in performing any service to the public that is now, or that shall hereafter be, subject by law to the jurisdiction or control of the Commission.

Rule 515-3-1-.02 Unjust Discrimination Forbidden

(1) The several companies in the conduct of their intrastate business, shall afford to all persons equal facilities in the conduct of such business, without unjust discrimination in favor of, or against, any; and wherever special facilities are afforded to one patron, whether upon a special rate authorized by this Commission or otherwise, such company shall be bound to afford to any other patron, or patrons, under substantially similar circumstances, like facilities upon like rates.
(2) All Rates Bona Fide. No Rebates. The rate charged for any service, by any company, shall be bona fide and public; and the giving of any rebate, bonus or "draw-back" is hereby expressly forbidden.

Rule 515-3-1-.03 Rates are Maximum Rates

(1) All of the rates prescribed by the Commission are maximum rates, which shall not be exceeded by any company.
(2) Rates May be Reduced Below-Maximum Provided no Discrimination is Made. Any company may charge less than the prescribed maximum rate, provided that, if a less rate be charged to one person, such company shall, for a like service, charge the same lessened rate to all persons, except as may be hereafter provided; and if any company shall reduce any of its rates to or from one agency or station, it shall, except in cases where otherwise specifically provided by the Commission, make a reduction of the same percentage to and from all other stations on its line, to the end that no unjust discrimination be made in favor of, nor against, any person, persons, or locality.
(3) Exact Charge May Be Collected. In no case shall any company collect for any service more than the exact amount due according to the current rate.

Rule 515-3-1-.04 Annual and Monthly Reports and Other Filings

(1) Annual Reports. Each gas, electric light and power company, telephone company, telegraph company and radio utility shall keep and maintain the Uniform System of Accounts prescribed by the Commission for such companies, and file with the Commission on or before the last day of April of each year, a report of operations prepared in accordance therewith, and for the fiscal year immediately preceding. The report shall be sworn to by an officer of the company as a true and correct statement of the business and affairs of the company. Further, each such company having annual revenues over $1,000,000 from utility operations regulated by the Commission shall file annual financial schedules certified by a certified public accountant (CPA) that the schedules were examined in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and that the schedules are presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The financial schedules to be so filed with the Commission as a minimum are: Balance Sheet; Income Statement; Retained Earnings Statement; and Statement of Changes in Financial Position. The companies may substitute to the Commission their annual certified report to their stockholders, if any is so issued, for the financial schedules specified in this rule.
(2) Monthly Reports. Each gas company and electric light and power company shall file in the office of the Commission within thirty days after the last day of each month, a report, duly sworn to, showing the earnings and expenses of such company during such month.
(3) Other Information to be Furnished When Required. In addition to the foregoing, each of said companies shall furnish such other reports and information as the Commission may require from time to time.
(4) Books, Etc., to be Produced. Furthermore, it shall be the duty of each of said companies to produce for the inspection of the Commission any and all books, papers, contracts, agreements and other original records, of any character whatsoever, that may be in possession of said company, or within its power, custody or control, or copies thereof, as may be demanded and designated by the Commission.

Exhibit (515-3-1-.04) A

Each operator of a Transmission or distribution pipeline system shall submit an annual report electronically by March 15 of each year. This includes private, municipals and master meter operators.

NOTE: Failure to file this Report annually on or before March 15 of each year constitutes a violation of GPSC Utility Rule 515-3-1-.04; and violators will be subject to Commission assessment of civil penalties of up to $15,000.00 for such violation, plus up to $10,000.00 per day for each day after March 15th such form is not filed with the Commission.

The information below shall be included on the 7100 annual reports filed for Transmission and Distribution gas systems.

GPSC ANNUAL PIPELINE SAFETY REPORT

Operators Name:_______________________________________________

Mailing address:_______________________________________________

Phone number:

During Business Hours:________________________________________

After Business Hours: ________________________________________

Fax number: __________________________________________________

Email address:_________________________________________________

(If possible please do not provide individual email addresses)

Contact person:________________________________________________

(Gas Superintendent, City Manager, etc)

Leak Survey Information

Miles of main surveyed:________________________________________

(January 1 through December 31)

Number of services surveyed:___________________________________

(January 1 through December 31)

Company/Individual performing survey:_________________________

 

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Above Ground Leaks

     

Below Ground Leaks

     

Please list names/titles & after hours numbers of key personnel who might respond to an emergency incident:______________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

Rule 515-3-1-.05 Free Service Forbidden

No company or person subject to the jurisdiction of this Commission, shall, directly or indirectly, give or furnish any free or reduced rate service in this State, except as lawfully prescribed by the Commission.

Rule 515-3-1-.06 Rates and Services as Required by Commission

All rates, rules and regulations now in effect or which may hereafter become effective, which are not higher than the maximum rates prescribed by this Commission, whether such rates are the result of voluntary action upon the part of any company, corporation or person subject to the jurisdiction of this Commission, or otherwise, are hereby established as the rates of the Georgia Public Service Commission, and no such rates shall be discontinued nor raised without the consent of the Public Service Commission first being obtained, but all such rates shall continue in force without hindrance, the same as other rates prescribed by the Commission. Any and all facilities, privileges or service, now in effect or practiced, or hereafter made effective, extended or practiced, which give, grant, extend or allow patrons, shippers or other persons, transacting business with said companies, corporations or other persons as much or more of the privileges, facilities or service to which they are entitled by law or by any rule, regulations or order of this Commission, whether such privileges, facilities or service are given, granted, extended or allowed as the result of voluntary action upon the part of such companies, corporations or persons, or otherwise, are hereby established as the requirements of the Georgia Public Service Commission, and no such privileges, facilities or service shall be discontinued without the consent of the Public Service Commission first being obtained, but all such privileges, facilities or service shall be given, granted, extended or allowed without hindrance, the same as other requirements of this Commission.

Rule 515-3-1-.07 No Change in Rates, Charges, Classification or Service

(1) No change shall be made by any person, firm or corporation (hereinafter referred to as "utility") subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission in any rate, charge, classification or service subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission, or in any rule or regulation relating thereto, except alter thirty days' notice to the Commission and to the public, unless the Commission otherwise orders, or unless the Commission has previously authorized or approved the same. Such notice shall be given by filing with the Commission and keeping open for public inspection new schedules stating plainly the change or changes to be made in the schedule or schedules then in force and the time when the change or changes will go into effect. The Commission, for good cause shown, may allow changes to take effect without requiring the thirty days' notice herein provided for by an order specifying the changes so to be made and the time when they shall take effect and the manner in which they shall be filed and published.
(2) Whenever any such new schedule is filed, the Commission shall have authority, either upon written complaint or upon its own initiative without complaint, at once, and, if it so orders, without answer to formal pleading by the utility but upon reasonable notice, to enter upon a hearing concerning the lawfulness of such rate, charge, classification, or service; and, pending such hearing and the decision thereon, the Commission, upon filing with such schedules and delivering to the utility affected thereby a statement in writing of its reasons for such suspension, may suspend the operation of such schedule and defer the use of such rate, charge, classification or service, but not for a longer period than five months beyond the time when it would otherwise go into effect; and after such hearings as are required, either completed before or after the rate, charge, classification, or service goes into effect, the Commission may make such orders as are proper with reference thereto within the authority vested in the Commission. The Commission is empowered to reduce or revoke any such suspension with respect to all or any part of such schedule. If the proceeding has not been concluded and an order made at the expiration of the suspension period, the proposed change of rate, charge, classification, or service shall go into effect at the end of such period, but in case of a proposed increased rate or charge, the Commission shall by order require the interested utility to keep accurate account in detail of all amounts received by reason of such increase, specifying by whom and in whose behalf such amounts were paid, and upon completion of the hearing and decision shall by further order require such utility to refund, with interest at the maximum legal rate, in such manner as the Commission may direct, such portion of such increased rates or charges as by its decision shall be found not justified. Any portion of such refunds not thus refunded to patrons or customers of the utility shall be refunded or disposed of by the utility as the Commission may direct, provided, however, no such funds shall accrue to the benefit of the utility. At any hearing involving a rate or charge sought to be increased, the burden of proof to show that the increased rate or charge is just and reasonable shall be upon the utility, and the Commission shall give to the hearing and decision of such questions preference over other questions pending before it and decide the same as speedily as possible.
(3) Before any increased rate or charge shall go into effect without the approval of the Commission, the Commission shall by order, require the interested utility to file a bond with the Commission written by a surety approved by the Commission and authorized to transact business in this State. The bond shall be fixed by the Commission in an amount not to exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00). The bond shall be payable to the Governor and conditioned upon the faithful performance of the requirements of the refund order entered by the Commission, Code Sec. 93-307-1, and the rules and regulations of the Commission.

Rule 515-3-1-.08 Allocation of Gas or Electric Utility Service

The Commission shall allocate any Gas or Electric utility service in such manner as it shall deem proper in order to protect the public health, safety or welfare, including for such purposes, the power and authority to alter, amend, suspend, or terminate any existing rate, schedule, contract, rule or regulation affecting such utility service, and to prescribe new or further rates, schedules, contracts, rules or regulations affecting such utility service, provided, however, that in any event such rates, schedules, contracts, rules or regulations as are altered, amended, or prescribed by the Commission shall be just and reasonable, in the event that:

(a) The Commission funds, after notice to the persons affected and hearing respecting the manner, if any, in which the Commission should exercise such power and authority, as well as the necessity therefor, such hearing to be initiated by the Commission on its own motion or by any person, that a shortage exists or is imminent in the quantities of such utility service available in the State of Georgia, or in any portion thereof, and that it is necessary for the Commission to exercise such power and authority in order to protect the public health, safety or welfare; or
(b) The Commission finds that an emergency exists with respect to the quantities of such utility service available in the State of Georgia, or in any portion thereof, and that it is necessary for the Commission to exercise such power and authority in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare before notice and hearing can be afforded to the persons affected, provided, however, that the directives, rulings and orders of the Commission respecting such utility service based upon a finding that an emergency exists pursuant to the subparagraph shall be temporary and provisional and the Commission shall, as soon as practicable under the circumstances, afford notice and hearing to the persons affected as to whether such directives, rulings, or orders of the Commission shall be continued, modified, made permanent, or otherwise affected.

Rule 515-3-1-.09 Electric, Gas, Telephone, and Radio Utility Companies Shall Maintain Inventory Records

(1) Class "A" and Class "B" electric and gas utility companies shall maintain a continuous inventory record of all units of electric or gas utility plant in agreement with the Uniform System of Accounts prescribed by the Georgia Public Service Commission. For the purpose of this rule Class "A" and Class "B" electric and gas utility companies are defined as those whose gross revenues from the sale of electric or gas energy exceeds $1,000,000 per annum.
(2) Class "A" and "B" telephone companies shall maintain a continuous inventory record of all units of telephone utility plant in agreement with the Uniform System of Accounts prescribed by the Georgia Public Service Commission. For the purpose of this rule Class "A" telephone utility companies are define as those whose gross revenue is $100,000,000 or more and Class "B" companies as those whose gross revenue is less than $100,000,000.
(3) Radio utility companies shall maintain a continuous inventory record of all units of radio utility plant in agreement with the Uniform System of Accounts prescribe by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Rule 515-3-1-.10 Accounting Requirements

The books and records of each utility company shall be maintained in conformity with a Uniform System of Accounts prescribed by the Georgia Public Service Commission as follows:

(a) Each electric and gas utility company shall adopt the system of accounts devised by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for Class "A" and "B" or Class "C" and "D" companies, as appropriate.
(b) Uniform System of accounts.
1. Each telephone and telegraph company shall adopt the revised system of account devised by the Federal Communications Commission for Class "A" and "B" companies, as appropriate, except as follows:
(i) Depreciation. To the extent that the Uniform System of Accounts for Class "A" and "B" Telephone Companies of the Federal Communications Commission ( 47 CFR 32.2000(g) ), adopted above may require that depreciation rates be based on estimated service lives developed by individual company histories and experience, the same are hereby superseded. The prescribed rates are as follows:
(I) Composite rate. Unless otherwise provided by the Commission, either through prior approval in individual cases or upon prescription by the Commission, depreciation rates for all classes of depreciable telephone plant shall be fixed at an overall composite rate not to exceed eight (8%) percent, effective January 1, 1995;
(II) Individual Account Rate Limits. Subject to the composite rate just stated, the following maximum depreciation rates shall apply to the various classes of plant accounts as stated:

ACCOUNT

 

DEPRECIATION RATE (%)

 
   

Motor Vehicles

       
 

Cars

 

20.0

   
 

Light Trucks

 

20.0

   
 

Heavy Trucks

       
           

Garage Work Equipment

 

11.0

   
         

Other Work Equipment

 

11.0

   
           
         

Buildings

 

4.5

   

Furniture

 

10.0

   
           

Office Equipment

 

12.5

   

Office Equipment - Communications

12.5

   
           

Computer Equipment

 

18.0

   

Computer Equipment - PC

20.0

   
           

Central Office Equipment - Analog

17.0

   

Central Office Equipment - Digital

9.0

   

Central Office Equipment - Electromechanical

20.0

   

Operator Systems

 

8.0

   
         

Radio Systems - Analog

 

10.0

   

Radio Systems - Digital

 

8.0

   
           

Circuit - Analog

 

14.0

   

Circuit - Digital

 

14.0

   
           

Public Telephone Equipment

 

12.5

   
           

Other Terminal Equipment

 

12.5

   
           

Pole Line

   

15.0

   
           

Aerial Cable - Metallic

 

16.0

   

Aerial Cable - Fiber

 

14.0

   
           

Underground Cable - Metallic

 

4.5

   

Underground Cable - Fiber

 

3.5

   
           

Buried Cable - Metallic

 

9.0

   

Buried Cable - Fiber

 

5.2

   
           

Submarine Cable

 

10.0

   
           

Intrabuilding Cable

 

6.0

   
           

Aerial Wire

 

20.0

   
           

Conduit Systems

 

2.5

   
                    

(III) Company Specific Treatment. Other overall composite or specific account depreciation rates, or extraordinary retirements, may be authorized by the Commission for ratemaking purposes on an individual company basis where adequate evidence presented in a ratemaking proceeding justifies such treatment. Notwithstanding any other provision of this rule the Commission reserves the right, at its discretion, to require companies to present depreciation studies in ratemaking proceedings and to determine, based on the evidence in that proceeding the depreciation rate to be used for ratemaking purposes. Telephone companies may select the application of remaining life depreciation rate calculations for conducting such studies or any other approved methodology;
(IV) Composite Rate Modifications. The burden of proof for just and reasonable depreciation rates shall be upon the Company as provided in O.C.G.A. Section 46-2-25 and the Commission reserves the right to review and revise the composite rate of depreciation prescribed in paragraph (i)(I) hereof from time to time, based upon investigations and evidence presented in individual cases or in connection with depreciation studies on similar classes of plant performed by any telephone company;
(V) Savings Clause. Nothing herein shall be construed as abrogating or otherwise repealing any higher depreciation rate heretofore authorized by the Commission;
(VI) The provisions of this rule shall not apply to any telephone utility participating in the three-way process under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, or any telephone utility serving over 100,000 access lines.
(ii) Extraordinary Retirements. Telephone Companies shall also be permitted to book extraordinary retirements without prior Commission approval due to obsolescence, technological change, abandonment or catastrophe, not to exceed in a single fiscal year one (1%) percent of telephone plant in service, less depreciation and not to exceed an amortization period of one year, such retirements to be in addition to the requested 8.0% overall composite rate; provided further, no more than a cumulative total of two (2%) percent of telephone plant in service, less depreciation, shall be extraordinary retired over a ten-year period without Commission approval. While this Rule is designed to relieve the administrative burden of the requirements of the Uniform System of Accounts for Class "A" and "B" telephone companies of the Federal Communications Commission ( 47 CFR 32.2000(g)(4) ) adopted above for minor extraordinary retirements, the Company shall have the burden of proof as provided by O.C.G.A. Section 46-2-25 to show that these retirements were reasonable before recovery is allowed in rates.
2. Each radio utility company shall adopt the system of accounts for radio common carriers 1976, devised by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, as hereafter may be amended, except as revised by this Commission as follows:
(i) Instruction I.D., page 5, shall read: Each RCC shall keep the primary accounts applicable to its operations. In addition, each RCC may keep any subaccount its management deems appropriate for better representing the RCC'S operations. Each RCC'S management shall be responsible for determining which primary and subaccounts are applicable to their company. On the other hand, each RCC shall be subject to periodic audits and reviews by this Commission's staff at which time this Commission shall exercise its authority to order affected RCC'S to install additional accounts the Commission deems needed to more adequately reflect the RCC'S operations.
(ii) Instruction I.E., page 5, shall be expanded to read: In this regard, all records required by these rules shall be preserved for the period of time specified in the current edition of the Federal Communications Commission's record retention schedule, FCC Rules and Regulations, Volume X, Part 42, unless otherwise specified by this Commission.
(iii) Instruction 5.C., last Sentence, page 9, shall read: The depreciation for each subaccount of 102 will be calculated by multiplying the beginning of the current month balance of each plant account 211 through 250 by the depreciation rate for that account. Such depreciation rates are to be approved in advance by this Commission.
(iv) Operating Tax Accounts 304 and 305: The titles to these accounts shall omit the word "Federal."
(v) Operating Tax Account 306: The title of this account, both in the Index and the Text, shall read Investment Tax Credits--Net.
(vi) Operating Revenue Account 505 shall be expanded and subdivided as necessary to incorporate Dispatch Station Revenue.
(vii) Operating Expense Account 658, Vehicle Expense, paragraph B, shall read: In allocating vehicle expenses to plant accounts, credit this account and debit the affected plant accounts with the vehicle expenses charged to work orders. This Commission's preferred method by which vehicle expenses are to be allocated is to charge each work order on the basis of labor hours charged to that work order. Alternate allocation procedures that are of a rational and systematic manner may be installed at the option of the RCC'S management, and maintained as deemed appropriate by this Commission from its periodic audits and reviews of the radio utility's operations.
(viii) Clearing Accounts 804-817: This Commission prefers that all costs possible be charged direct to the ultimate accounts without processing through clearing accounts. On the other hand, this Commission shall permit radio utility management to use clearing accounts they deem necessary for more adequate recording of their radio utility operations.
(c) Each utility company shall adopt the following system to account for investment tax credits: For all investment tax credits used prior to the 1971 Federal Income Tax revision, the unamortized portion shall be shown on the balance sheet as unamortized investment tax credits and shall be amortized to the income statement, as other utility income, not less rapidly than ratably over the life of the property that gave rise to the investment tax credit. The rate making treatment for those investment tax credits shall be to deduct the unamortized portion from the rate base and add the annual amortization to income in determining the net operating income available for return on investment. The unamortized portion of all investment tax credits used subsequent to, or as a result of, the 1971 act shall be accounted for in a separate subaccount(s) from the above mentioned credits as will their annual amortizations. The rate making treatment to be accorded these investment tax credits will be to deduct the unamortized portion from the rate base unless the company has formerly notified the Internal Revenue Service, in writing, that it exercises the option provided by law to have the annual amortization added to the net operating income available for return and substantiates the election of said option by including a certified copy of said letter with its application. Account numbers pertinent to these transactions shall be in accordance with the Uniform System of Accounts prescribed in (a) and (b) above.
(d) Each utility company utilizing accelerated depreciation for income tax purposes under Sections 167 and 168 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall set up in the appropriate account, provided for in the Uniform System of Accounts prescribed in (a) or (b) above, as deferred income tax liability the difference between the company's actual tax liability computed using accelerated depreciation and the tax liability the company would have incurred had it taken the depreciation expense computed for book purposes on a straight line basis. These accumulated deferred income tax liabilities shall be deducted from the rate base for rate making purposes. The company shall charge this account for any future income tax expense which is greater than its tax expense would be if the book depreciation expense were used in computing its income tax liability rather than the depreciation expense actually shown on the income tax return and said amount shall not be included as an operating expense of the company in determining its revenue requirements in future rate proceedings.
(e) No utility shall require a cash deposit to establish or reestablish credit in an amount in excess of two-and-one-half twelfths of the estimated charge for the service for the ensuing twelve months; and, in the case of seasonal service, in an amount in excess of one-half of the estimated charge for the service for the season involved. Each electric and gas utility company shall account for any deposits collected from customers in the following manner: Each electric and gas utility shall pay interest on applicants' or customers' deposits for utility service held six months or longer at a simple rate of 7% per annum unless a different rate for such utility is set by the Commission. Upon receipt of a customer or applicant deposit, the utility shall furnish the customer/applicant a receipt showing the following information:
1. Name of customer/applicant;
2. Amount of deposit;
3. Date of receipt;
4. Name of utility;
5. Interest rate;
6. Address where service is to be rendered;
7. Statement of the terms under which the deposit may be refunded.

Upon discontinuance of service, each utility shall promptly and automatically refund the customers' deposits plus accrued interest on the balance, if any, in excess of the unpaid bills for service furnished by the utility. In the case of any residential customer who has received utility service at the same location for twenty-four consecutive months, and who has paid his monthly utility bills promptly and regularly, and is not, at the end of such twenty-four-month period, delinquent in the payment of his bills, the utility shall, within thirty days of the end of the twenty-four-month period, automatically refund the deposit plus accrued interest, provided however, that the term promptly and regularly shall not be construed to disallow the refund to a customer who has had only two delinquent payments during the twenty-four month period. If a customer has had service discontinued for nonpayment of his bill, or has not paid his bills promptly and regularly, the utility shall withhold the refund, but thereafter, review the customer's account every twelve billings, and at the completion of twenty-four month during which a record of prompt and regular payments has been established, the utility shall automatically refund the deposit, plus accrued interest. At the option of the utility, a deposit plus accrued interest may be refunded in whole or in part, at any time earlier than the times here in above prescribed, and based on any credit review period less than twenty-four months in the discretion of the utility.

(f) Reserved.
(g) Rural Telephone Bank borrowers shall follow the accounting treatment described by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in their accounting interpretation of the Uniform System of Accounts applicable to Rural Telephone Bank stock. The account numbers pertinent to these transactions shall be in accordance with the Uniform System of Accounts prescribed in (b) above.

Rule 515-3-1-.11 Trade Secrets

(1) In the event that any party or utility subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission is required to file with the Commission, or otherwise requested to provide to the Commission staff information which that party or utility considers to be a trade secret (as defined in O.C.G.A. Section 10-1-761(4)) (hereinafter referred to as "protected information"), then the following procedures shall apply:
(a) The affected party or utility shall submit, within the time specified or agreed to, the required or requested protected information under protective seal with the designation "TRADE SECRET" prominently attached to each page thereof; and
(b) The affected party or utility shall, at the same time, provide a version of the document containing protected information which can be used for public disclosure with the designation "PUBLIC DISCLOSURE DOCUMENT" prominently attached to each page thereof; and
(c) The affected party or utility shall, at the same time, provide by written affidavit the legal and factual basis for its assertion that the protected information is a trade secret and should not be disclosed, including, for each item claimed to be a trade secret:
1. Why the information derives economic value from not being generally known to others;
2. How others can obtain economic value from its disclosure; and
3. Procedures utilized by the affected party or utility to maintain its secrecy; and
(d) The affected party or utility shall maintain a master list of all documents submitted to the Commission pursuant to this rule, which list shall identify the document submitted, the number of copies submitted, and, if applicable, the docket in connection with which submission was made.
(2) Upon request by any person pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. Section 50-18-70, et seq., for access to information which includes protected information, the Commission shall respond by providing that person with any non-protected information requested, the "public disclosure" version of the protected information, and written notice that certain information has been withheld as alleged protected information not subject to public disclosure.
(3) Any person who is a party or intervenor in a docket or non-docket matter, other than the Consumers' Utility Counsel, and desires access to protected information submitted to the Commission pursuant to this rule, may petition the Commission for such access. A hearing shall be held to consider the request, at which time the affected party or utility shall have the burden of proving that the potential for economic harm to them outweighs the public benefit derived from allowing the party or intervenor access to such information.
(a) Any person who is granted access to protected information pursuant to paragraph (3) above, and the Consumer's Utility Counsel, shall be required to enter into a protective agreement with the affected party or utility which shall include, but not be limited to, the following terms:
1. Access to and use of the protected information shall be limited to matters relating to the docket or non-docket;
2. The protected information shall not be disclosed to any other person at any time unless such disclosure is required by an order of the Commission or a court of competent jurisdiction or authorized by the affected party or utility;
3. The protected information shall not be copied or otherwise reproduced by the party or intervenor;
4. The agreement shall apply to all employees, attorneys, agents, and consultants of the party or intervenor;
5. Any other terms or conditions as are reasonable to insure the confidentiality of the protected information.
(4) The Commission, upon request by the party or intervenor and after being provided with an executed copy of the protective agreement, shall provide the party of intervenor with the number of copies of the protected information agreed upon in the protective agreement, which copies shall be returned to the Commission not later than forty-five (45) days after the conclusion of the docket or non-docket, or the conclusion of judicial appeals relating to the matter.
(5) Within thirty (30) days of compliance by parties or intervenors with the provision of paragraph 4 above requiring the return of the protected information to the Commission, the Commission shall return all copies of the protected information in its possession to the affected party or utility, and the affected party or utility must preserve and maintain a master copy of said protected information for a period of seven (7) years.
(6) The public disclosure version of the protected information shall be utilized in the course of an open docket or public hearing, if necessary; provided, however, that, if the Commission staff or any party determines that protected information must be utilized in the course of an open docket or public hearing, then they shall meet or confer with the affected party or utility in a good faith effort to accommodate such use, or make an appropriate motion before the Commission for such use.
(7) Any party or intervenor, the Commission staff, the Consumers' Utility Counsel, or the Commission on its own motion, may challenge the designation of information as a "trade secret" by filing a motion to that effect with the Commission. In such a case, the affected party or utility shall have the burden of proving that the information constitutes a trade secret. If, after a hearing and an in-camera inspection, the Commission determines that the information provided does not constitute a trade secret or only a portion of the information is a trade secret, or that the protected information must be disclosed in part or in whole in connection with any hearing, or otherwise, then the Commission shall issue an order to that effect, which order shall be automatically stayed for thirty (30) days from the date of the order.
(8) The Commission, its staffs, attorneys, agents, and consultants, shall not disclose any protected information except as authorized by the affected party or utility, by Commission order, by court order, or by these rules, and shall take all reasonable and necessary measures to maintain the confidentiality of the protected information.