The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has turned back a pre-merger attempt by Puget Sound Power and Light Co. to make permanent a $165.5-million rate increase allowed under its periodic rate adjustment mechanism (PRAM). (The PRAM is designed to remove disincentives to utility conservation efforts by "decoupling" revenues from sales levels and relying instead on a revenue-per-customer approach to cost recovery.) Puget had earlier agreed to defer a scheduled base-rate filing pending the UTC's review of its proposed merger with Washington Energy Co. The UTC approved the deferral, subject to Puget's agreement to file a rate case by April 1996 if the merger did not go forward, but warned that any PRAM collections beyond the scheduled expiration date of October 1, 1996, would be treated as temporary rates subject to refund. The UTC added that Puget could file a base-rate case at any time to seek permanent recovery of the PRAM collections. Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission v. Puget Sound Power and Light Co., Dkt. Nos. UE-901183-T et al., Nov. 7, 1995 (Wash.U.T.C.). t
Phillip S. Cross is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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