State of Alaska Division of Legislative Audit

08-20079-13

October 31, 2013
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SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review on the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Regulatory Commission of Alaska, July 19, 2013

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes (sunset legislation), we have reviewed the Regulatory Commission of Alaska’s (commission or RCA) activities. The purpose of this audit was to determine if there is a demonstrated public need for its continued existence and if it has been operating in an effective manner. As required by AS 44.66.050(a), this report shall be considered by the committee of reference during the legislative oversight process in determining whether the commission should be reestablished. Currently, under AS 44.66.010(a)(3), RCA will terminate on June 30, 2014, and will have one year from that date to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

Overall, RCA is operating in the public’s interest. In our opinion, the commission fulfills a public need and is serving Alaskans by:

  • Assessing utility and pipeline companies’ capabilities for safely serving the public;
  • Evaluating regulated entities’ tariffs and charges;
  • Verifying charges passed through to consumers from electric and natural gas utilities;
  • Adjudicating disputes between ratepayers and regulated entities; and
  • Providing consumer protection services. We recommend the legislature extend RCA’s termination date until June 30, 2022.

Although the commission partially addressed case management system data deficiencies noted in the audit of RCA’s FY 11 annual report, continuing deficiencies were noted and further improvements are recommended. We also recommend the legislature consider clarifying the statutory timeline for rulemaking proceedings.

Findings and Recommendations

Recommendation No. 1

RCA’s chair should improve and enforce written procedures to ensure case management system data is accurate, consistent, and complete.

Although RCA management developed written procedures for tariff filing and docket data entry during FY 12, testing results showed procedures were not consistently applied. The data errors can be attributed to a lack of adequate training and documentation of data review, and a lack of ongoing quality reviews to ensure case management system data is accurate, consistent, and complete.

Recommendation No. 2

The legislature should consider clarifying AS 42.05.175(e) to ensure RCA fulfills legislative intent when processing regulatory dockets.

The legislature should consider clarifying AS 42.05.175(e) to ensure RCA fulfills legislative intent when processing regulatory dockets. Currently, RCA interprets AS 42.05.175(e) to allow for two separate dockets during the regulatory process. If the legislature intends the entire regulatory deliberative process to be subject to the 730-day timeline, the legislature should consider clarifying Alaska Statutes.

DCCED Regulatory Commission of Alaska
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