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LACK OF DATA ALMOST COSTS MFS A FINE

SHARE LACK OF DATA ALMOST COSTS MFS A FINE

Mountain Fuel Supply Co. narrowly escaped being fined by the Utah Public Service Commission for failing to provide supplemental information in its recent application seeking a $9.7 million rate increase.

During a scheduling conference Tuesday, attorneys for the Utah Division of Public Utilities and the Utah Committee of Consumer Services said the application does not contain sufficient background data or references to allow analysts to properly review the application. They were joined by PSC Commissioner James Byrne, who also criticized the lack of documentation contained in the application filed March 19.Attorneys for Mountain Fuel said the needed supplementary material is readily available upon request and argued that a company preparing an application cannot know in advance what supplementary information will be needed by other parties in the case.

PSC Chairman Ted Stewart rejected that argument noting that commission rules clearly state that all data contained in an application should be properly footnoted and referenced so that those reviewing the document can analyze the information.

Stewart said since applications become part of the evidence in rate cases, the commission expects all information contained in the application to be adequately referenced and documented. He said commission rules are clear on that intent and said the current application is deficient.

"There was some consideration of imposing a fine - something minimal - if nothing more than to get the company's attention," Stewart said. "We won't this time, but we will order the company to organize an informal technical conference within three days to try and resolve the concerns that were raised here today."

The commission scheduled formal hearings on the application to begin Sept. 5. The hearings are expected to run 2 1/2 weeks. A public witness day is set for Sept. 14.

Stewart said the commission hopes to draft an order prior to beginning formal hearings on a Utah Power & Light Co. rate case in early October.