(1) Within 20 days after receipt of an application for
allocated cost of service and rate design changes, the commission may, on its own
motion or upon petition by any party, request the utility and all other
interested parties to attend a conference for the purpose of identifying and
clarifying potential issues associated with said application. Such conference
shall be informal and without prejudice to the rights of the parties, and no
statement or admission made at such conference shall be admissible in evidence
in any formal hearing before the commission.