(1) Two simplified regulatory treatment options are available to a small water or sewer utility that allow it to establish or change its rates by a method other than filing a rate application in accordance with the minimum rate case filing standards of ARM 38.5.101, et seq. The options are:
(a) adoption of the commission-approved standard rate tariff to establish rates as described in ARM 38.5.2528; or
(b) filing a rate application in accordance with the operating ratio methodology as described in ARM 38.5.2529.
(2) A small water or sewer utility is not required to establish or change its rates using the simplified regulatory treatment options. It may elect to file a rate application in accordance with ARM 38.5.101, et seq.
(3) If a utility's election of either of the two simplified regulatory options described in ARM 38.5.2527(1)(a) or (1)(b) would result in increased rates to customers, it may request, or the commission may require the utility to implement the rates in increments over a reasonable time period.
(4) An existing small water or sewer utility must be in compliance with 69-3-203, MCA (annual report requirement), in order to elect either of the simplified regulatory treatment options or to request authorization for a reserve account as provided in ARM 38.5.2531.