This chapter may be cited as the Washington state energy financing voter approval act.
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a mechanism for citizen review and approval of proposed financing for major public energy projects. The development of dependable and economic energy sources is of paramount importance to the citizens of the state, who have an interest in insuring that major public energy projects make the best use of limited financial resources. Because the construction of major public energy projects will significantly increase utility rates for all citizens, the people of the state hereby establish a process of voter approval for such projects.
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 2 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
The definitions set forth in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Public agency" means a public utility district, joint operating agency, city, county, or any other state governmental agency, entity, or political subdivision.
(2) "Major public energy project" means a plant or installation capable, or intended to be capable, of generating electricity in an amount greater than three hundred fifty megawatts, measured using maximum continuous electric generating capacity, less minimum auxiliary load, at average ambient temperature and pressure. Where two or more such plants are located within the same geographic site, each plant shall be considered a major public energy project. An addition to an existing facility is not deemed to be a major energy project unless the addition itself is capable, or intended to be capable, of generating electricity in an amount greater than three hundred fifty megawatts. A project which is under construction on July 1, 1982, shall not be considered a major public energy project unless the official agency budget or estimate for total construction costs for the project as of July 1, 1982, is more than two hundred percent of the first official estimate of total construction costs as specified in the senate energy and utilities committee WPPSS inquiry report, volume one, January 12, 1981, and unless, as of July 1, 1982, the projected remaining cost of construction for that project exceeds two hundred million dollars.
(3) "Cost of construction" means the total cost of planning and building a major public energy project and placing it into operation, including, but not limited to, planning cost, direct construction cost, licensing cost, cost of fuel inventory for the first year's operation, interest, and all other costs incurred prior to the first day of full operation, whether or not incurred prior to July 1, 1982.
(4) "Cost of acquisition" means the total cost of acquiring a major public energy project from another party, including, but not limited to, principal and interest costs.
(5) "Bond" means a revenue bond, a general obligation bond, or any other indebtedness issued by a public agency or its assignee.
(6) "Applicant" means a public agency, or the assignee of a public agency, requesting the secretary of state to conduct an election pursuant to this chapter.
(7) "Cost-effective" means that a project or resource is forecast:
(a) To be reliable and available within the time it is needed; and
(b) To meet or reduce the electric power demand of the intended consumers at an estimated incremental system cost no greater than that of the least-cost similarly reliable and available alternative project or resource, or any combination thereof.
(8) "System cost" means an estimate of all direct costs of a project or resource over its effective life, including, if applicable, the costs of distribution to the consumer, and, among other factors, waste disposal costs, end-of-cycle costs, and fuel costs (including projected increases), and such quantifiable environmental costs and benefits as are directly attributable to the project or resource.
[2002 c 190 § 1; 1995 c 69 § 2; 1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 3 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
Election approval required before issuance of bonds.
No public agency or assignee of a public agency may issue or sell bonds to finance the cost of construction or the cost of acquisition of a major public energy project, or any portion thereof, unless it has first obtained authority for the expenditure of the funds to be raised by the sale of such bonds for that project at an election conducted in the manner provided in this chapter.
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 4 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
Conduct of election.
The election required under RCW 80.52.040
shall be conducted in the manner provided in this section.
(1)(a) If the applicant is a public utility district, joint operating agency, city, or county, the election shall be among the voters of the public utility district, city, or county, or among the voters of the local governmental entities comprising the membership of the joint operating agency.
(b) If the applicant is any public agency other than those described in subsection (1)(a) of this section, or is an assignee of a joint operating agency and not itself a joint operating agency, the election shall be conducted statewide in the manner provided in Title 29A RCW for statewide elections.
(2) The election shall be held at the next statewide general election occurring more than ninety days after submission of a request by an applicant to the secretary of state unless a special election is requested by the applicant as provided in this section.
(3) If no statewide election can be held under subsection (2) of this section within one hundred twenty days of the submission to the secretary of state of a request by an applicant for financing authority under this chapter, the applicant may request that a special election be held if such election is necessary to avoid significant delay in construction or acquisition of the energy project. Within ten days of receipt of such a request for a special election, the secretary of state shall designate a date for the election pursuant to RCW 29A.04.321
and certify the date to the county auditor of each county in which an election is to be held under this section.
(4) Prior to an election under this section, the applicant shall submit to the secretary of state a cost-effectiveness study, prepared by an independent consultant approved by the state finance committee, pertaining to the major public energy project under consideration. The study shall be available for public review and comment for thirty days. At the end of the thirty-day period, the applicant shall prepare a final draft of the study which includes the public comment, if any.
(5) The secretary of state shall certify the ballot issue for the election to be held under this section to the county auditor of each county in which an election is to be held. The certification shall include the statement of the proposition as provided in RCW 80.52.060
. The costs of the election shall be relieved by the applicant in the manner provided by RCW 29A.04.410
. In addition, the applicant shall reimburse the secretary of state for the applicant's share of the costs related to the preparation and distribution of the voters' pamphlet required by subsection (6) of this section and such other costs as are attributable to any election held pursuant to this section.
(6) Prior to an election under this section, the secretary of state shall provide an opportunity for supporters and opponents of the requested financing authority to present their respective views in a voters' pamphlet which shall be distributed to the voters of the local governmental entities participating in the election. Upon submission of an applicant's request for an election pursuant to this section, the applicant shall provide the secretary of state with the following information regarding each major public energy project for which the applicant seeks financing authority at such election, which information shall be included in the voters' pamphlet:
(a) The name, location, and type of major public energy project, expressed in common terms;
(b) The dollar amount and type of bonds being requested;
(c) If the bond issuance is intended to finance the acquisition of all or a portion of the project, the anticipated total cost of the acquisition of the project;
(d) If the bond issuance is intended to finance the planning or construction of all or a portion of the project, the anticipated total cost of construction of the project;
(e) The projected average rate increase for consumers of the electricity to be generated by the project. The rate increase shall be that which will be necessary to repay the total indebtedness incurred for the project, including estimated interest;
(f) A summary of the final cost-effectiveness study conducted under subsection (4) of this section;
(g) The anticipated functional life of the project;
(h) The anticipated decommissioning costs of the project; and
(i) If a special election is requested by the applicant, the reasons for requesting a special election.
[2015 c 53 § 96; 1982 c 88 § 1; 1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 5 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
Effective date—1982 c 88: "This act shall take effect on July 1, 1982." [1982 c 88 § 2.]
Form of ballot propositions.
The proposition for each major public energy project listed upon a ballot pursuant to this chapter shall be in the form provided in this section.
(1) If the funds are intended to finance the planning or construction of all or a portion of the project, the proposition shall read substantially as follows:
"Shall (name of applicant) be authorized to spend (dollar amount of financing authority requested) to construct the (name of the project) (type of project) located at (location) , the anticipated total construction cost of which is (anticipated cost of construction) ?"
(2) If the financing authority is intended to finance the acquisition of all or a portion of the project from another party, the proposition shall read substantially as follows:
"Shall (name of applicant) be authorized to spend (dollar amount of financing authority requested) to acquire the (name of project) (type of project) located at (location) , the anticipated total acquisition cost of which is (anticipated cost of acquisition) ?"
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 6 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
Approval of request for financing authority.
A request for financing authority pursuant to this chapter shall be considered approved if it receives the approval of a majority of those voting on the request.
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 7 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
In planning for future energy expenditures, public agencies shall give priority to projects and resources which are cost-effective. Priority for future bond sales to finance energy expenditures by public agencies shall be given: First, to conservation; second, to renewable resources; third, to generating resources utilizing waste heat or generating resources of high fuel-conversion efficiency; and fourth, to all other resources. This section does not apply to projects which are under construction on December 3, 1981.
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 8 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
Severability—1981 2nd ex.s. c 6.
If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 10 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]
Effective dates—1981 2nd ex.s. c 6.
Section 8 of this act shall take effect immediately. The remainder of this act shall take effect on July 1, 1982. Public agencies intending to submit a request for financing authority under this act are authorized to institute the procedures specified in section 5(4) of this act prior to the effective date of this act.
[1981 2nd ex.s. c 6 § 11 (Initiative Measure No. 394, approved November 3, 1981).]