Summary of Statement No. 71

Accounting for the Effects of Certain Types of Regulation (Issued 12/82)

Summary

This Statement provides guidance in preparing general purpose financial statements for most public utilities. Certain other companies with regulated operations that meet specified criteria are also covered.

In general, the type of regulation covered by this Statement permits rates (prices) to be set at levels intended to recover the estimated costs of providing regulated services or products, including the cost of capital (interest costs and a provision for earnings on shareholders' investments).

For a number of reasons, revenues intended to cover some costs are provided either before or after the costs are incurred. If regulation provides assurance that incurred costs will be recovered in the future, this Statement requires companies to capitalize those costs. If current recovery is provided for costs that are expected to be incurred in the future, this Statement requires companies to recognize those current receipts as liabilities.

This Statement also requires recognition, as costs of assets and increases in net income, of two types of allowable costs that include amounts not usually accepted as costs in the present accounting framework for nonregulated enterprises, as follows:

If rates are based on allowable costs that include an allowance for the cost of funds used during construction (consisting of an equity component and a debt component), the company should capitalize and increase net income by the amount used for rate-making purposes-instead of capitalizing interest in accordance with FASB Statement No. 34, Capitalization of Interest Cost.

If rates are based on allowable costs that include reasonable intercompany profits, the company should not eliminate those intercompany profits in its financial statements.

Pending completion of the Board's current project on accounting for income taxes, this Statement continues current practices of most utilities with respect to accounting for deferred income taxes. Accordingly, if the current income tax benefits (or costs) of timing differences are passed through to customers in current prices and it is probable that any resulting income taxes payable in future years will be recovered through future rates, the company should not record deferred income taxes resulting from those timing differences. However, the company should disclose the cumulative net amounts of timing differences for which deferred taxes have not been recorded.

This Statement may require that a cost be accounted for in a different manner from that required by another authoritative pronouncement. In that case, this Statement is to be followed because it reflects the economic effects of therate-making process—effects not considered in other authoritative pronouncements. All other provisions of that other authoritative pronouncement apply to the regulated enterprise.

This Statement clarifies the application of certain other authoritative pronouncements, which is expected to result in at least two changes in general-purpose financial statements of certain public utilities. First, expected refunds of revenue collected in prior years will be charged to income in the period in which those refunds are first recognized. Second, leases will be classified (as capital or operating leases) in accordance with FASB Statement No. 13, Accounting for Leases, as amended. Because Statement 13 has not been applied by some utilities in the past, this Statement provides a four-year transition period before retroactive application of lease capitalization is required. Statement 13 provided a similar transition period for unregulated enterprises.