Rule 12.1(d) provides that, before approving a settlement, the Commission must determine that the settlement is reasonable in light of the whole record, consistent with the law, and in the public interest. We find that the Settlement Agreement fully satisfies these requirements and therefore should be approved.
A proposed settlement is reasonable if it saves the Commission significant expenses and use of its resources, when compared to the risk, expense, complexity, and likely duration of further proceedings. In re Southern California Gas Co. (1999) D.00-09-034, 2000 Cal. PUC LEXIS 694, at p. 29. Generally, the parties' evaluation should carry material weight in the Commission's review of a settlement. See Id. at 31. Here, CPSD indicates that it is completely satisfied that the Settlement Agreement fully resolves all of the concerns raised in its protest and further argues that the Settlement Agreement adoption would be in the public interest. We agree. The Settlement Agreement does the following:
1. It shows unequivocal acknowledgement of CPSD's concerns by Applicant, the history of cooperation by Applicant in addressing the issues raised by the CPSD during the course of this proceeding, and Applicant's commitment to comply with all regulatory matters going forward;
2. It shows Applicant's commitment to remit all outstanding fees and surcharges currently owed to the Commission, as well as a penalty payment to the California General Fund;
3. The terms and conditions it imposes upon Applicant allow Applicant to continue to serve its customers. It provides the Commission with necessary assurances that in the future, Applicant will comply with its regulatory obligations. It imposes a $10,000 penalty for the unlawful operations to date, will provide sufficient deterrence to Applicant from engaging in future violations for which further penalties will be imposed by the Commission;
4. It requires Applicant to remit to the Commission all outstanding fees and surcharges, plus interest, totaling $282.57;4
5. It requires Applicant to remit to the Commission all future fees, surcharges and mandated reports in a timely fashion;
6. It upholds, preserves, and defends the integrity of the Commission's licensing process, requiring carriers to seek authority before commencing intrastate service, by imposing a penalty for violations; and
7. It saves the Commission the further expense and commitment of resources involved in possible hearings of the questions of the violations set forth in CPSD's protest and the degree of culpability associated with same.
As a result of the Settlement Agreement, the Commission finds that the public will benefit by the increase in funds to the Commission's public purpose programs for which the collected outstanding fees and surcharges will be applied. The Settlement Agreement is consistent with existing law. Additionally, the terms of the Settlement Agreement are consistent with precedent established by other settlement agreements that the Commission has approved based on similar factual situations.
The proposed Settlement Agreement is an all-party settlement as CPSD and Applicant are the only two parties in this proceeding. The settling parties reasonably reflect the affected interests. The Parties have had sufficient opportunity to review and discuss the terms of the Settlement Agreement. All issues raised by the CPSD's protest to the Application have been resolved in the Settlement Agreement. The draft tariffs submitted with the Application were not rejected by the Commission's Communications Division. Therefore, the Settlement Agreement is found to be reasonable and in the public interest and therefore should be adopted. Accordingly, we adopt the Settlement Agreement and Applicant is granted a registration CPCN consistent with the terms and conditions set forth in the Settlement Agreement.
4 On May 9, 2009, Applicant paid $2,825.86 in surcharges and fees for the period of July 1, 2007 through December 31, 2008.