(a)  Purpose. - Upon written notice by the Commission in any pending proceeding, or by the chairman of the Hearing Division or any Hearing Commissioner or Examiner to whom any such proceeding has been referred for hearing, the parties or their attorneys may be directed to appear before the Commission, or such Commissioner or Examiner, at a time and place designated in such notice, for a conference for the purpose of formulating issues and consideration of:

(1)           The simplification of issues;

(2)           The necessity or desirability of amending the pleadings either for the purpose of clarification, amplification, or limitation;

(3)           The possibility of making admissions of certain averments of fact or stipulations concerning the use by either or both parties of matters of public record, such as annual reports and the like, to the end of avoiding the unnecessary introduction of proof;

(4)           The procedure at the hearing;

(5)           The limitation of the number of witnesses;

(6)           The propriety of prior mutual exchange between or among the parties of prepared testimony and exhibits; and

(7)           Such other matters as may aid in the simplification of the evidence and disposition of the proceeding.

(b)  Facts Disclosed Privileged. - All facts disclosed during a prehearing conference shall be privileged and, unless agreed upon by the parties involved and read into the stenographic record of the proceeding, shall not be used against the participating parties either before the Commission or elsewhere unless substantiated by other evidence.