Mission & Background
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates three cornerstone service industries in Minnesota's economy, i.e., electricity, natural gas and telephone. PUC staff consists of approximately 50 permanent full-time staff.
The PUC consists of five commissioners appointed by the governor to six-year, staggered terms. By law, no more than three commissioners can be of the same political party and at least one commissioner must reside at the time of appointment outside the seven-county metropolitan area. Commissioners must be persons learned in the law, engineering, public accounting, property and utility valuation, finance, physical or natural sciences, production agriculture or natural resources as well as being representative of the general public. The governor designates one of the commissioners to serve as chair. The commissioners and staff work full time at the PUC's office in Saint Paul, except when attending hearings in other parts of the state.
The PUC’s mission is to create and maintain a regulatory environment that ensures safe, adequate and efficient utility services at fair, reasonable rates consistent with State telecommunications and energy policies. It does so by providing independent, consistent, professional and comprehensive oversight and regulation of utility service providers. One of the key functions of the commission in performing this mission is to balance the private and public interests affected in each docket, and to make decisions that appropriately balance these interests in a manner that is “consistent with the public interest.”
A professional, respectful, and stimulating work environment that, in the pursuit of the PUC’s mission and sound decision-making, fosters flexibility, collaboration, and communication among knowledgeable, productive, and dedicated public servants and that recognizes their contributions and encourages their professional development.
The PUC is a quasi-judicial body whose authority, powers and functions resemble those of a court or a judge. The PUC must be objective in determining facts and drawing conclusions of law that justify its decisions or official actions. PUC decisions depend on a set of guidelines or criteria to assess the relief sought and are enforceable under the law. Minnesota law defines the PUC's function and conduct in Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 216A, 216B, 216E-G and 237.