Section 18A. The commission may make an assessment against each steam distribution company under the jurisdictional control of the department. Each steam distribution company shall annually report by March 31 its intrastate operating revenues for the previous calendar year to the department. The assessments shall be apportioned according to each steam distribution company's intrastate operating revenues, to produce an annual amount not greater than $600,000, as shall be determined and certified annually by the commission as sufficient to reimburse the commonwealth for funds appropriated by the general court for the operation and general administration of the department and for the cost of fringe benefits as established by the commissioner of administration under section 5D of chapter 29, including group life and health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacations, holidays and sick leave.
Each company shall pay the amount assessed against it within 30 days after receipt of the notice of assessment from the department. Such assessments collected by the department shall be credited to the General Fund. Any funds unexpended in any fiscal year for the purposes for which such assessments were made shall be credited against the assessment to be made in the following fiscal year and the assessment in the following fiscal year shall be reduced by any such unexpended amount.