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      RS 30:598     


§598.  Prices; schedules; suspension of new rates

A.  No prices charged, demanded, or received under future contracts by any natural gas company for or in connection with the sale of intrastate natural gas shall be less than the just and reasonable minimum price accepted by the commissioner under R.S. 30:597 or as determined by the commissioner under R.S. 30:599, and any other price not so accepted or determined is declared to be unlawful.  All rules and regulations affecting or pertaining to such prices shall be just and reasonable.

B.  Except as ordered by the commissioner to effectuate the purposes of this Chapter, no natural gas company shall, with respect to any sale of intrastate natural gas (1) make or grant any undue preference or advantage to any person or subject any person to any undue prejudice or disadvantage, or (2) maintain any prices or service, contrary to the purposes of this Chapter.

C.  Under such rules and regulations as the commissioner may prescribe, every natural gas company shall file with the commissioner within such time (not less than ninety days after the effective date of this Chapter) and in such form as the commissioner may designate, schedules showing all prices for any sale of intrastate natural gas and the classifications, practices, and regulations affecting such prices, together with all contracts which in any manner affect or relate to such prices.

D.  Unless the commissioner otherwise orders, no change shall be made by any natural gas company in any such price or in any rule, regulation, or contract relating thereto, except after thirty days' notice to the commissioner and to the public.  Such notice shall be given by filing with the commissioner new schedules stating plainly the change or changes to be made in the schedule or schedules then in force and the time when the change or changes will go into effect.  The commissioner, for good cause shown, may allow changes to take effect without requiring the thirty days' notice herein provided for by an order specifying the changes so to be made and the time when they shall take effect and the manner in which they shall be filed and published.

E.  Whenever any such new schedule is filed, the commissioner shall have authority, either upon complaint of any party to a contract affected thereby, or upon his own initiative without complaint, at once, and if he so orders, without answer or formal pleading by the natural gas company, but upon reasonable notice, to enter upon a hearing concerning the lawfulness of such prices; and pending such hearing and the decision thereon, the commissioner, upon filing with such schedules and delivering to the natural gas company affected thereby a statement in writing of his reasons for such suspension, may suspend the operation of such schedule and defer the use of such prices, but not for a longer period than six months beyond the time when it would otherwise go into effect, and after full hearings, either completed before or after the price goes into effect, the commissioner may make such orders with reference thereto as would be proper in a proceeding initiated after it had become effective.  If the proceeding has not been concluded and an order made at the expiration of the suspension period, on motion of the natural gas company making the filing, the proposed change of price shall go into effect, unless the commissioner shall by order further extend the delay.  At any hearing involving a price sought to be changed, the burden of proof to show that the proposed change is lawful and is not contrary to the purposes of this Chapter, shall be upon the natural gas company, and the commissioner shall give to the hearing and decision of such questions preference over other questions pending before him and decide the same as speedily as possible.

Added by Acts 1973, Ex.Sess., No. 16, §1, emerg. eff. Dec. 8, 1973, at 9:55 A.M.

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