Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2005-37 

September 12, 2005 

Rev. Proc. 2005-62


SECTION 1. PURPOSE

This revenue procedure sets forth the manner in which a public utility company may treat the issuance of a financing order by a State agency authorizing the recovery of certain specified costs incurred by the utility and the securitization of the rights created by that financing order.

SECTION 2. BACKGROUND

Revenue Procedure 2002-49, 2002-2 C.B. 172, provides a safe-harbor regarding the treatment of legislatively authorized transactions entered into by investor-owned electric utilities to recover transition costs resulting from the restructuring of the electric utility industry and the institution of a competitive marketplace. Some States enacted legislation to allow the recovery of these transition costs through a non-bypassable surcharge to customers within a utility’s historic service area.

Utilities continue to operate in wholly or partially regulated environments and maintain exclusive distribution networks for customers in their historic service areas. Rates charged for these operations are determined by local authorities to allow for the recovery of costs and an appropriate return on capital. Some States have enacted legislation that allows utilities to recover certain specified costs through a surcharge based on consumption by customers within the utilities’ historic service areas and also authorizes securitization of the surcharge. These statutes are unique to regulated utilities. Accordingly, the tax treatment allowed by this revenue procedure for these transactions is peculiar to this situation. See Revenue Procedure 2005-61, page , this Bulletin, which adds certain related issues to areas in which rulings or determination letters will not be issued.

SECTION 3. CHANGES

The scope of Revenue Procedure 2002-49 was limited to transition costs that resulted from the deregulation of the generation operations of electric utility companies. This revenue procedure expands the scope of Revenue Procedure 2002-49 to all public utility companies, and costs that are recoverable through a securitization mechanism are not limited to transition costs. Additionally, this revenue procedure eliminates certain requirements in section 4.04(3) of Revenue Procedure 2002-49 relating to level payments and now requires that payments be made on a quarterly or semiannual basis.

SECTION 4. SCOPE

This revenue procedure applies to investor-owned public utility companies that, pursuant to specified cost recovery legislation, receive an irrevocable financing order from an appropriate State agency that determines the amount of certain specified costs the utility will be permitted to recover through qualifying securitization of an intangible property right created by the special legislation.

SECTION 5. DEFINITIONS

.01 PUBLIC UTILITY

For purposes of this revenue procedure, the terms “public utility” or “utility” refer to any investor owned utility company (electric or non-electric) that is subject to the regulatory authority of a State public utility commission or other appropriate State agency.

.02 SPECIFIED COST RECOVERY LEGISLATION

For purposes of this revenue procedure, specified cost recovery legislation is legislation that—

(1) Is enacted by a State to facilitate the recovery of certain specified costs incurred by a public utility company;

(2) Authorizes the utility to apply for, and authorizes the public utility commission or other appropriate State agency to issue, a financing order determining the amount of specified costs the utility will be allowed to recover;

(3) Provides that pursuant to the financing order, the utility acquires an intangible property right to charge, collect, and receive amounts necessary to provide for the full recovery of the specified costs determined to be recoverable, and assures that the charges are non-bypassable and will be paid by customers within the utility’s historic service territory who receive utility goods or services through the utility’s transmission and distribution system, even if those customers elect to purchase these goods or services from a third party;

(4) Guarantees that neither the State nor any of its agencies has the authority to rescind or amend the financing order, to revise the amount of specified costs, or in any way to reduce or impair the value of the intangible property right, except as may be contemplated by periodic adjustments authorized by the specified cost recovery legislation;

(5) Provides procedures assuring that the sale, assignment, or other transfer of the intangible property right from the utility to a financing entity that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by the utility will be perfected under State law as an absolute transfer of the utility’s right, title, and interest in the property; and

(6) Authorizes the securitization of the intangible property right to recover the fixed amount of specified costs through the issuance of bonds, notes, other evidences of indebtedness, or certificates of participation or beneficial interest that are issued pursuant to an indenture, contract, or other agreement of a utility or a financing entity that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by the utility.

.03 SPECIFIED COSTS

For purposes of this revenue procedure, specified costs are those costs identified by the State legislature as appropriate for recovery through the securitization mechanism of the specified cost recovery legislation.

.04 QUALIFYING SECURITIZATION

For purposes of this revenue procedure, a qualifying securitization is an issuance of any bonds, notes, other evidences of indebtedness, or certificates of participation or beneficial interests that—

(1) Is secured by the intangible property right to collect charges for the recovery of specified costs and such other assets, if any, of the financing entity that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by the utility;

(2) Is issued by a financing entity that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by the utility that is initially capitalized by the utility in such a way that equity interests in the financing entity are at least 0.5 percent of the aggregate principal amount of the non-equity instruments issued; and

(3) Provides for payments on a quarterly or semiannual basis.

SECTION 6. APPLICATION

.01 The utility will be treated as not recognizing gross income upon—

(1) The receipt of a financing order that creates an intangible property right in the amount of the specified costs that may be recovered through securitization;

(2) The receipt of cash or other valuable consideration in exchange for the transfer of that property right to a financing entity that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by the utility; or

(3) The receipt of cash or other valuable consideration in exchange for securitized instruments issued by the financing entity that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by the utility.

.02 The securitized instruments described in Section 5.04 will be treated as obligations of the utility.

.03 The non-bypassable charges are gross income to the utility recognized under the utility’s usual method of accounting.

SECTION 7. EFFECT ON OTHER DOCUMENTS

This document modifies, amplifies, and supersedes Rev. Proc. 2002-49.

SECTION 8. EFFECTIVE DATE

This revenue procedure is effective September 12, 2005.

SECTION 9. DRAFTING INFORMATION

The principal author of this revenue procedure is Thomas M. Preston of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Financial Institutions & Products). For further information regarding this revenue procedure, contact Mr. Preston at (202) 622-3970 (not a toll-free call).


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