(1)  Before the filing of a petition, a utility and qualifying facility may mutually agree to request voluntary mediation through a Commission-appointed mediator.  The utility and qualifying facility must equally share the cost of any contracted mediator.  Requests for mediation must be signed by authorized representatives of the utility and qualifying facility and filed pursuant to ARM 38.2.1203.

(2)  Upon receipt of a request for voluntary mediation, the Commission's presiding officer may appoint a mediator. The appointed mediator may not be a member of Commission staff.

(3)  Requests for mediation must be served on the Montana Consumer Counsel.

(4)  Unless the parties and appointed mediator otherwise agree, the voluntary mediation will proceed as follows:

(a)  Within seven days of the appointment of the mediator, each party must submit to the mediator an opening mediation statement, including a complete copy of each party's proposed power purchase agreement and a list identifying each disputed contract term.

(b)  Within seven days of the submission of an opening mediation statement, each party may submit to the mediator a response statement.

(c)  The parties and mediator will use reasonable efforts to schedule mediation within 60 days from the date of the request for voluntary mediation.

(5)  The filing of a request for voluntary mediation will not affect the formation of a legally enforceable obligation under ARM 38.5.1909.


History: 69-3-103, 69-3-604, MCA; IMP, 69-3-102, 69-3-603, 69-3-604, MCA; NEW, 2022 MAR p. 1919, Eff. 9/24/22.