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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary

Financial-Related Audit

Public Utilities Commission

July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2002

Key Findings and Recommendations

  • The Public Utilities Commission's expenditure controls require improvement. Certain internal control breakdowns exposed the Commission to financial risk and misreporting of expenditures in the accounting system. We noticed instances where a large discount was lost, a telephone company had to return a significant overpayment, and transaction record dates did not reflect the actual date of liability.
  • The TAP fund balance continued to grow during the audit period with a carry-forward balance of $2.76 million from fiscal year 2002 into fiscal year 2003. The Commission has discretion to adjust the level of TAP assessments, and program grant eligibility requirements were recently changed making it very difficult for the Commission to manage and forecast plan finances. We suggested that the Commission consider developing financial tools and data sources to assist in the management and projection of TAP finances, allowing it to minimize its fund balance.
Agency Background

The Public Utilities Commission is a regulatory agency with jurisdiction over Minnesota's electric, natural gas, and telecommunications utilities. The Commission is made up of five commissioners appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners are appointed to six-year staggered terms. Mr. Burl Haar has served as the Commission's executive secretary since 1993.

Financial-Related Audit Reports address internal control weaknesses and noncompliance issues noted during our audits of state departments and agencies. The scope of our audit work at the Public Utilities Commission included assessments, administrative expenditures, and the Telephone Assistance Plan from 2000 to 2002.

Office of the Legislative Auditor, Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155 : or 651‑296‑4708