Alabama Public Service Commission Meeting Report

Alabama Public Service Commission Meeting Report

The AAR Public Policy Team attended the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) monthly meeting on September 11, 2018 to monitor its impacts on the real estate industry and property owners.

Summary of the PSC Meeting: The commissioners considered business of the PSC’s different divisions: the Utility Services Division, which regulates natural gas, telecommunications and wastewater utility providers; the Gas Pipeline Safety Division; the Utility Enforcement Division, which regulates motor carriers and railways; and the Electricity Policy Division, which regulates Alabama Power.

Finally, the Commission considered business of the Legal Division. The main item of note on the Legal Division’s docket was their recommendation that the commissioners approve a final rule allowing Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, to provide rides for no more than 14 hours within a 24-hour period. The PSC’s proposed rule issued on June 8, 2018 would have allowed drivers to operate for no more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period. Lyft Inc. submitted comments generally in favor of that proposed rule but requested the drive time limit be changed to 14 hours instead of 12. The Legal Division recommended final adoption of the rule to incorporate Lyft’s recommendation, which the commissioners approved in a unanimous 3-0 vote.

The PSC’s next meeting is October 2, 2018. It generally meets the first Tuesday of every month.

Further information on the PSC

The PSC was originally established as the Railroad Commission of Alabama in 1881. Its regulatory purview evolved to include other utilities and common carriers, and it was eventually designated by the Alabama Legislature as the Alabama Public Service Commission in 1915. Today, the PSC regulates electricity, natural gas utilities, telecommunications providers, private waste water utilities and motor carriers.

The PSC is composed of three elected members: the president and two associate commissioners. The PSC’s mission is to “ensure a regulatory balance between regulated companies and consumers in order to provide consumers with safe, adequate and reliable services at rates that are equitable and economical.”