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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities and Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
Chapter 300. Energy Regulation; in General
1/17/2020

20VAC5-300-80. Order Relating to Confidential Treatment of Fuel Monitoring Report Fm-12.

By letter dated June 28, 1990, Delmarva Power and Light Company ("Delmarva") requested that certain information which Delmarva provides in conjunction with the Commission's fuel monitoring system be kept confidential and not released to the general public. On July 18, 1990, Appalachian Power Company requested similar treatment. Information to support the preparation of "Fuel Monitoring Report 12 (FM12) - Coal and Oil Purchase Summary Report" and several other reports is filed monthly with the Commission's Division of Economics and Finance to monitor the fuel expenses incurred by electric utilities in the operation of generating facilities. The Commission initiated this proceeding when it became apparent that the fuel monitoring information of all electric utilities presented similar confidentiality issues.

Section 56-249.3 of the Code of Virginia requires certain electric utilities to file such information on fuel transactions and fuel purchases as the Commission deems necessary on a monthly basis. It is pursuant to this statute that utilities file the information to support the preparation of Report FM12 and several additional reports. Report FM12 contains a very specific breakdown of information related to the utilities' purchases of coal and oil. Section 56-249.3 of the Code of Virginia provides that the information required from utilities may include the supplier of the fossil fuel; the cost in cents per MBTU, with a notation of whether the fuel was contracted for, purchased on the spot market, or purchased from an affiliate of the electric utility; total demurrage charges incurred at each generating plant; total cost of transportation incurred at each generating plant; and the average cost of the fossil fuel in cents per MBTU's consumed at each plant with and without handling charges. Section 56-249.4 of the Code of Virginia provides that any information filed in accordance with § 56-249.3 of the Code of Virginia shall be open to the public. Although the Commission has wide discretion to determine the information to be filed under § 56-249.3, we have no discretion under § 56-249.4 to withhold some of the information from public disclosure.

Nevertheless, the Commission finds that the confidentiality concerns of the electric utilities are well-founded in one respect. Under § 56-249.3 of the Code of Virginia we have heretofore required separate reporting of both the delivered price of fossil fuel and the cost of its transportation to various utility facilities. This level of detail is not necessary for the public reports prepared under § 56-249.3, in our view. In the future, for purposes of § 56-249.3, utilities may report total delivered fossil fuel prices without separate reporting of transportation costs. For regulatory monitoring purposes, the staff may require the utilities to continue to provide detailed fossil fuel purchase information outside of the context of § 56-249.3 and under an appropriate agreement of confidentiality.

Our decision here should not be interpreted to permit utility companies to refuse disclosure to our staff of any information which staff deems necessary to accomplish its official duties. Nor should it be read as a defense to discovery by any party to a commission proceeding, subject to appropriate protective orders if necessary. Staff review and the scrutiny of other parties in fuel factor and other Commission proceedings should be sufficient to protect the public interest in reasonable utility fuel purchases. Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED:

1. That electric utility companies filing information under § 56-249.3 of the Code of Virginia may report fuel purchase costs on the basis of total delivered prices;

2. That all information reported by electric utility companies pursuant to § 56-249.3 of the Code of Virginia shall continue to be made public by the Commission pursuant to § 56-249.4 of the Code of Virginia; and

3. That, there being nothing further to come before the Commission in this proceeding, Case Number PUE900046 shall be closed and the papers therein placed in the Commission's files for ended causes.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-249.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Case No. PUE900046, eff. September 28, 1990.

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