An Act To Reduce Financial Burdens on Small Water Utilities
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, current law requires a small water utility with gross annual revenues of no more than $50,000 to have an audit performed by an independent certified public accountant for any year the utility seeks a rate adjustment; and
Whereas, this requirement imposes a disproportionate financial burden on these small water utilities that prevents them from seeking an adjustment in rates, which could lead to inadequate revenue for the utility and adversely affect its ability to provide services to its customers; and
Whereas, in order to avoid these adverse consequences, some ability to relieve small water utilities of this burden quickly when appropriate is necessary; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA §505, sub-§1, ¶A, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 77, §1, is amended to read:
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
Under current law, a qualified small water utility with gross annual revenues of $50,000 or less is required to have an independent audit of internal accounts of that water utility performed by a certified public accountant for any year the water utility seeks a rate increase.
This bill allows the Public Utilities Commission to waive that independent audit requirement if the water utility shows good cause as to why the requirement should be waived.