38.5.2012 SUBMITTING LEAST COST PLANS
(1) Utilities shall file least cost plans with the commission on a two year cycle. In the intermediate year the utility should file any necessary updates to the plan filed the previous year. Montana Power Company should file its first plan on March 15, 1993 and on March 15 of each odd year thereafter. Montana-Dakota Utilities should file its first plan on September 15, 1993 and on September 15 of each odd year thereafter. Pacific Power and Light Company should file its first plan on May 15, 1994 and on May 15 of each even year thereafter. All other electric utilities should file plans by March 15, 1994. Utility least cost plans and updates should be mailed to each person indicated on a service list to be compiled by the commission. In addition, utilities should make their plans available for public inspection at utility offices designated as follows: Montana Power Company - Butte, Missoula, Helena, Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings, Havre, Glasgow, Lewistown and Hamilton; Pacific Power and Light Company - Kalispell and Libby; Montana-Dakota Utilities Company - Glendive, Miles City and Billings. Utilities should also make their plans available for public inspection at each county library and each university, college, and junior college library in their Montana service territories.
(2) Persons wanting to comment in writing on a plan must do so within 30 days following the submission of the plan. Comments must be served on the commission, Montana Consumer Council, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and on the utility. Opportunity to comment orally on a plan may be provided through informal hearings that will take place no later than 60 days following the close of the written comment period. Based on its review of the plan and consideration of the comments of others, the commission may issue a general statement indicating whether the plan conforms to the guidelines. A plan which conforms to the guidelines will not bind the commission in its review of utility resource plans in conjunction with a rate case nor will it bind the commission for purposes of setting rates. If a utility files a rate case in the same year as it is required to file a least cost plan, the least cost plan shall be the resource plan upon which the marginal cost of service and rate design studies are based. If a utility files a rate case in an intermediate year, the least cost plan from the previous year, updated as necessary, shall be the resource plan upon which the marginal cost of service and rate design studies are based.
(3) Along with the least cost plan, each utility shall submit an action plan which illustrates how the plan will be implemented over the near-term under various load and resource scenarios.
(4) The forecasting process must be documented and reasonably understandable to the public and the commission. Although the commission may determine that a least cost plan conforms to these guidelines, it may not endorse the forecasting methods used by the utility or the results of the forecast; the commission will not transfer any risk associated with incorrect forecasts to ratepayers.
(5) At the request of an electric utility, and for good cause shown, the commission may waive the requirement to file a least cost plan.
History: 69-3-103, MCA; IMP, 69-3-102, 69-3-106(1), 69-3-201, MCA, ARM 38.5.2001; NEW, 1992 MAR p. 2764, Eff. 12/25/92.