Electric utility customer protection
(1)In addition to any other authority of the commission:
(a)The commission may attach such conditions to the approval of a financing order as the commission deems appropriate to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of the transaction to customers, directly impacted Colorado workers and communities, and the electric utility;
(b)The commission shall specify in the financing order a process to structure, market, and price CO-EI bonds, including the selection of the underwriter or underwriters, in a manner consistent with the public interest and the legal obligations of the electric utility;
(c)The commission shall review and determine the reasonableness of all proposed up-front and ongoing financing costs; and
(d)The commission has the authority required to perform comprehensive due diligence in its evaluation of an application for a financing order and has the authority to oversee the process used to structure, market, and price CO-EI bonds.
(2)Within one hundred twenty days after the issuance of CO-EI bonds, the applicant shall file with the commission information regarding the actual up-front issuance costs of the CO-EI bonds. The commission shall review, on a reasonably comparable basis, such information to determine if the issuance resulted in the lowest overall costs that were reasonably consistent with both market conditions at the time of the pricing and the terms of the financing order. The commission may disallow incremental up-front issuance costs in excess of the lowest overall costs by requiring the electric utility to make a credit in an amount equal to the excess of actual issuance costs incurred, and paid for out of CO-EI bond proceeds, and the lowest overall issuance costs as determined by the commission. The commission may not make adjustments to the CO-EI charges for any such excess up-front issuance costs.
(3)In performing its responsibilities under this article 41, the commission may engage outside consultants and counsel, selected by the commission, who are experienced in securitized electric utility ratepayer-backed bond financing similar to CO-EI bonds. These outside consultants and counsel have a duty of loyalty solely to the commission, must not have any financial interest in the CO-EI bonds, and shall not participate in the underwriting or secondary market trading of the CO-EI bonds. The expenses associated with any engagement shall be paid by the applicant utility and shall be included as financing costs and included in the CO-EI charge, are not an obligation of the state, and are assigned solely to the transaction.
(4)If an electric utility’s application for a financing order is denied or withdrawn or for any reason no CO-EI bonds are issued, any costs of retaining expert consultants and counsel on behalf of the commission, as authorized by subsection (3) of this section and approved by the commission, shall be paid by the applicant electric utility and shall be eligible for recovery by the electric utility, including carrying costs, in the electric utility’s future rates.
Section 40-41-107 — Electric utility customer protection,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-40.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).