The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Glustrom v. Colorado Public Utilities Commission on June 25, 2012.
Recovery of Costs—Unjust and Unreasonable Rate Order—“Used and Useful”—Exclusion of Testimony.
In 2005, with the approval of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Public Service Company of Colorado (Xcel) began constructing a coal-fired electric power unit known as Comanche 3. When Xcel sought to recover a portion of its construction costs nearly four years later during a rate proceeding, Leslie Glustrom intervened. Glustrom sought to introduce testimony that Xcel acted improperly and, consequently, should not recover its costs. The PUC excluded most of her testimony, a ruling that Glustrom challenged. Glustrom separately challenged the depreciation rate and the possibility that Comanche 3 might not be “used and useful” at the time rates went into effect. The PUC denied her challenges, and the district court affirmed.
The Supreme Court held that the PUC did not abuse its discretion when it struck substantial portions of Glustrom’s testimony pursuant to the Colorado Rules of Evidence. Further, the depreciation rate approved by the PUC was established pursuant to law and in accordance with the evidence. The Court also held that the PUC was free to exercise its discretion in departing from a strict application of the “used and useful” principle. Glustrom failed to meet her burden in showing why such a departure here would result in a rate that is unjust and unreasonable in its consequences.
Summary and full case available here.