Utility Regulation Generally

ORS 757.210
Hearing to establish new schedules

  • alternative regulation plan


(a) Whenever any public utility files with the Public Utility Commission any rate or schedule of rates stating or establishing a new rate or schedule of rates or increasing an existing rate or schedule of rates, the commission may, either upon written complaint or upon the commission’s own initiative, after reasonable notice, conduct a hearing to determine whether the rate or schedule is fair, just and reasonable. The commission shall conduct the hearing upon written complaint filed by the utility, its customer or customers, or any other proper party within 60 days of the utility’s filing; provided that no hearing need be held if the particular rate change is the result of an automatic adjustment clause. At the hearing the utility shall bear the burden of showing that the rate or schedule of rates proposed to be established or increased or changed is fair, just and reasonable. The commission may not authorize a rate or schedule of rates that is not fair, just and reasonable.


As used in this subsection, “automatic adjustment clause” means a provision of a rate schedule that provides for rate increases or decreases or both, without prior hearing, reflecting increases or decreases or both in costs incurred, taxes paid to units of government or revenues earned by a utility and that is subject to review by the commission at least once every two years.


(a) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to rate changes under an approved alternative form of regulation plan, including a resource rate plan under ORS 757.212 (Resource rate plans).


Any alternative form of regulation plan shall include provisions to ensure that the plan operates in the interests of utility customers and the public generally and results in rates that are just and reasonable and may include provisions establishing a reasonable range for rate of return on investment. In approving a plan, the commission shall, at a minimum, consider whether the plan:


Promotes increased efficiencies and cost control;


Is consistent with least-cost resources acquisition policies;


Yields rates that are consistent with those that would be obtained following application of ORS 757.269 (Setting of rates based upon income taxes paid by utility);


Is consistent with maintenance of safe, adequate and reliable service; and


Is beneficial to utility customers generally, for example, by minimizing utility rates.


As used in this subsection, “alternative form of regulation plan” means a plan adopted by the commission upon petition by a public utility, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, that sets rates and revenues and a method for changes in rates and revenues using alternatives to cost-of-service rate regulation.


Prior to implementing a rate change under an alternative form of regulation plan, the utility shall present a report that demonstrates the calculation of any proposed rate change at a public meeting of the commission.


Except as provided in ORS 757.212 (Resource rate plans), the commission, at any time, may order a utility to appear and establish that any, or all, of its rates in a plan authorized under subsection (2) of this section are in conformity with the plan and are just and reasonable. Except as provided in ORS 757.212 (Resource rate plans), such rates, and the alternative form of regulation plan under which the rates are set, also shall be subject to complaint under ORS 756.500 (Complaint).


Periodically, but not less often than every two years after the implementation of a plan referred to in subsection (2) of this section, the commission shall submit a report to the Legislative Assembly that shows the impact of the plan on rates paid by utility customers.


The commission and staff may consult at any time with, and provide technical assistance to, utilities, their customers, and other interested parties on matters relevant to utility rates and charges. If a hearing is held with respect to a rate change, the commission’s decisions shall be based on the record made at the hearing. [Amended by 1971 c.655 §70a; 1981 c.715 §1; 1985 c.550 §2; 1987 c.447 §97; 1987 c.613 §1; 1989 c.5 §§3,23; 1995 c.785 §1; 2001 c.913 §3; 2005 c.845 §5; 2011 c.137 §3]
§§ 757.205 to 757.220

Notes of Decisions

Public Utility Commissioner's rule, which passed on utility expenses for payment of county's net business income tax to county ratepayers only, rather than to all utility ratepayers, was valid because commissioner is granted both broad regulatory authority over rates by ORS 756.040 and broad rulemaking authority by ORS 756.060. Multnomah County v. Davis, 35 Or App 521, 581 P2d 968 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

Chapter 757

Notes of Decisions

Under regulatory scheme, Public Utility Commissioner has authority to promulgate rule limiting telephone company's liability for directory listing errors or omissions. Garrison v. Pacific NW Bell, 45 Or App 523, 608 P2d 1206 (1980)

Refund is proper exercise of Public Utility Commission's general powers if refund (1) is based only on information in existence at time of rate order for which refund is being made; (2) is not based on evaluation of public utility's actual expenses or revenues; and (3) is not effectuated by offsetting future rates. Gearhart v. Public Utility Commission, 255 Or App 58, 299 P3d 533 (2013), aff'd 356 Or 216, 339 P3d 904 (2014)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Authority of Governor and Public Utility Commissioner to enter into binding agreements with respect to uniform curtailment plans, (1977) Vol 38, p 861


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021