75-20-215. Filing fee -- accountability -- refund -- use. (1) (a) A filing fee must be deposited in the state special revenue fund for the use of the department in administering Title 75, chapter 1, and this chapter. The applicant shall pay to the department a filing fee as provided in this section based upon the department's estimated costs of processing the application under this chapter. The fee may not exceed the following scale based upon the estimated cost of the facility:
(i) 6% of any estimated cost up to $1 million; plus
(ii) 1% of any estimated cost over $1 million and up to $5 million; plus
(iii) 0.8% of any estimated cost over $5 million and up to $10 million; plus
(iv) 0.5% of any estimated cost over $10 million and up to $20 million; plus
(v) 0.25% of any estimated cost over $20 million and up to $100 million; plus
(vi) 0.125% of any estimated cost over $100 million and up to $500 million; plus
(vii) 0.05% of any estimated cost over $500 million and up to $1 billion; plus
(viii) 0.025% of any estimated cost over $1 billion.
(b) The department may allow in its discretion a credit against the fee payable under this section for the development of information or providing of services required under this chapter or required for preparation of an environmental impact statement or assessment under the Montana or national environmental policy acts. The applicant may submit the information to the department, together with an accounting of the expenses incurred in preparing the information. The department shall evaluate the applicability, validity, and usefulness of the data and determine the amount that may be credited against the filing fee payable under this section. Upon 30 days' notice to the applicant, this credit may at any time be reduced if the department determines that it is necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter.
(2) (a) The department may contract with an applicant for the development of information, provision of services, and payment of fees required under this chapter. The contract may continue an agreement entered into pursuant to 75-20-106. Payments made to the department under a contract must be credited against the fee payable pursuant to this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the revenue derived from the filing fee must be sufficient to enable the department, the board, and the agencies listed in 75-20-216(6) to carry out their responsibilities under this chapter. The department may amend a contract to require additional payments for necessary expenses up to the limits set forth in subsection (1)(a) upon 30 days' notice to the applicant. The department and applicant may enter into a contract that exceeds the scale provided in subsection (1)(a).
(b) If a contract is not entered into, the applicant shall pay the filing fee in installments in accordance with a schedule of installments developed by the department, provided that an installment may not exceed 20% of the total filing fee provided for in subsection (1).
(3) The estimated cost of upgrading an existing transmission substation may not be included in the estimated cost of a proposed facility for the purpose of calculating a filing fee.
(4) If an application consists of a combination of two or more facilities, the filing fee must be based on the total estimated cost of the combined facilities.
(5) The applicant is entitled to an accounting of money expended and to a refund with interest at the rate of 6% a year of that portion of the filing fee not expended by the department in carrying out its responsibilities under this chapter. A refund must be made after all administrative and judicial remedies have been exhausted by all parties to the certification proceedings.
(6) The revenue derived from filing fees must be used by the department in compiling the information required for rendering a decision on a certificate and for carrying out its and the board's other responsibilities under this chapter.