69-2-103. Hearings examiner. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsections (1)(b) and (1)(c), if requested by the applicant, the commission shall appoint a hearings examiner for proceedings under this title.
(b) If four public service commissioners determine that a hearings examiner is not required for a proceeding, the commission is not required to appoint a hearings examiner.
(c) If three public service commissioners determine that a hearings examiner is necessary for a proceeding, the commission shall appoint a hearings examiner.
(d) The determinations in this subsection (1) must be made by a vote of the commission during a public meeting.
(e) If a hearings examiner is appointed at the request of an applicant in accordance with subsection (1)(a), the commission may assess the costs to the applicant.
(f) If the public service commission determines a hearings examiner is required in accordance with subsection (1)(c), the commission shall cover the costs and may not pass those costs on to an applicant.
(g) The commission may disqualify the hearings examiner and appoint another hearings examiner. The affidavit must state the facts and the reasons for the belief that the hearings examiner should be disqualified.
(2) The hearings examiner may not communicate with any party or a party's representative in connection with any issue of fact or law in the case unless there is notice and opportunity for all parties to participate. The commission may not communicate with any party before the conclusion of the hearing.
(3) The commission may adopt rules necessary to implement the utilization of a hearings examiner in accordance with this section.