(1) These guidelines apply to electric utilities subject to the provisions of 69-8-419 through 69-8-421, MCA.

(2) These guidelines provide policy guidance on long-term electricity supply resource planning and procurement. With the exception of ARM 38.5.8301, the guidelines do not impose specific resource procurement processes or mandate particular resource acquisitions. Instead, the guidelines describe a process framework for considering resource needs and suggest optimal ways of meeting those needs. Electricity supply resource decisions affect the public interest. A utility can better fulfill its obligations, mitigate risks, and achieve resource procurement goals if it includes the public in the electricity supply resource portfolio planning process. An independent advisory committee of respected technical and public policy experts may offer the utility an excellent source of up-front, substantive input that would help mitigate risk and improve resource procurement outcomes in a manner consistent with these guidelines. Consistent with these guidelines, and after an opportunity for public input, the utility must ultimately make electricity supply resource acquisition decisions based on economics, reliability, management expertise, and sound judgment.

(3) A utility should thoroughly document its portfolio planning processes, resource procurement processes, and management decision-making so that it can fully demonstrate to the commission and stakeholders the prudence of supply-related costs and/or justify requests for approval of electricity supply resources. A utility should routinely communicate with the commission and stakeholders regarding portfolio planning and resource procurement activities.

(4) These guidelines provide the basis for commission review and consideration of the prudence of a utility's electricity supply resource planning and procurement actions, and are the standards against which the commission will evaluate electricity supply resources for which a utility requests approval under 69-8-421, MCA. As such, the guidelines should assist utilities in making prudent decisions and in fully recovering supply-related costs. Successful application of the guidelines will require a commitment from the commission, utilities, and stakeholders to honor the spirit and intent of the guidelines.

(5) These guidelines supersede the commission's electric least cost planning rules (ARM 38.5.2001 through 38.5.2012) solely with respect to electricity supply resource planning and procurement functions.

History: 69-3-2006, 69-8-403, 69-8-419, MCA; IMP, 69-3-2004, 69-3-2005, 69-8-403, MCA; NEW, 2003 MAR p. 654, Eff. 4/11/03; AMD, 2003 MAR p. 2894, Eff. 12/25/03; AMD, 2006 MAR p. 1461, Eff. 6/2/06; AMD, 2008 MAR p. 575, Eff. 3/28/08.