A. Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, a natural gas utility may file a SAVE plan as provided in this chapter. Such a plan shall provide for a timeline for completion of the proposed eligible infrastructure replacement projects, the estimated costs of the proposed eligible infrastructure projects, and a schedule for recovery of the related eligible infrastructure replacement costs through the SAVE rider, and demonstrate that the plan is prudent and reasonable. The Commission may approve such a plan after such notice and opportunity for hearing as the Commission may prescribe, subject to the provisions of this chapter.
B. The Commission shall approve or deny, within 180 days, a natural gas utility’s initial application for a SAVE plan. A plan filed pursuant to this section shall not require the filing of rate case schedules. The Commission shall approve or deny, within 120 days, a natural gas utility’s application to amend a previously approved plan. If the Commission denies such a plan or amendment, it shall set forth with specificity the reasons for such denial, and the utility shall have the right to refile, without prejudice, an amended plan or amendment within 60 days, and the Commission shall thereafter have 60 days to approve or deny the amended plan or amendment. The time period for Commission review provided for in this subsection shall not apply if the SAVE plan is filed in conjunction with a rate case using the cost of service methodology set forth in § 56-235.2, or a performance-based regulation plan authorized by § 56-235.6.
C. Any SAVE plan and any SAVE rider that is submitted to and approved by the Commission shall be allocated and charged in accordance with appropriate cost causation principles in order to avoid any undue cross-subsidization between rate classes.
E. At the end of each 12-month period the SAVE rider is in effect, the natural gas utility shall reconcile the difference between the recognized eligible infrastructure replacement costs and the amounts recovered under the SAVE rider, and shall submit the reconciliation and a proposed SAVE rider adjustment to the Commission to recover or refund the difference, as appropriate, through an adjustment to the SAVE rider. The Commission shall approve or deny, within 90 days, a natural gas utility’s proposed SAVE rider adjustment.
F. A natural gas utility that has implemented a SAVE rider pursuant to this chapter shall file revised rate schedules to reset the SAVE rider to zero, when new base rates and charges that incorporate eligible infrastructure replacement costs previously reflected in the currently effective SAVE rider become effective for the natural gas utility, following a Commission order establishing customer rates in a rate case using the cost of service methodology set forth in § 56-235.2, or a performance-based regulation plan authorized by § 56-235.6.
G. Costs recovered pursuant to this chapter shall be in addition to all other costs that the natural gas utility is permitted to recover, shall not be considered an offset to other Commission-approved costs of service or revenue requirements, and shall not be included in any computation relative to a performance-based regulation plan revenue-sharing mechanism. Further, if the Commission approves (i) an updated weighted average cost of capital for use in calculating the return on investment, (ii) the carrying costs on the over- or under-recovery of the eligible infrastructure replacement costs, (iii) the allowance for funds used during construction, or (iv) any combination thereof, such weighted average cost of capital shall be used only for the purpose of the eligible infrastructure replacement costs for the SAVE rider and shall not be used for any purpose in any other proceeding.
2010, cc. 142, 514.