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Utility Regulation

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates the rates, services and policies of natural gas, electricity, and telecommunications providers. We also approve the development of large energy facilities.

What We Regulate

Energy

Cases typically fall into the following categories:

  • Rates changes
  • Energy resource planning and certification
  • Service area
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Formal complaints
  • Setting appropriate incentives for gas purchasing programs


Energy Facilities Planning

Facility Planning includes both the need for a project and/or a permit for a proposed site or route.  Facilities cases are typically:

  • Large electric power plants
  • Electric transmission lines
  • Oil and natural gas pipelines
  • Storage facilities
  • Solar energy generating systems
  • Wind energy conversion systems


Telecommunications

Cases typically fall into the following categories:

  • Carrier Interconnection agreement approval and arbitration
  • Local and long distance carrier certification and service quality standards
  • Local exchange competition rulemaking
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Telephone Assistance Program and Lifeline
  • Universal service programs

How it Happens

In creating and maintaining the proper regulatory environment, the Commission

  • carries out the duties and responsibilities assigned to it by law
  • operates in both a quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative capacity
  • creates rules relating to the conduct of utilities and the procedures under which the Commission operates; provides a forum for resolving disputes between the public and utilities
  • considers the various viewpoints of interested parties, monitors utility operations, initiates investigations and deliberates in the public interest;
  • recognizes societal and technological changes that permit and encourage competition in the market place to the extent that public and utility interests are balanced and protected
  • develops and retains competent and dedicated commissioners and staff

In ensuring the delivery of safe, reliable and efficient utility services, the Commission:

  • emphasizes the production and consumption of energy resources that will minimize damage to the environment;
  • encourages conservation;
  • implements the state's energy policies;
  • establishes rules related to safety and quality of service;
  • encourages the development and appropriate implementation of new technologies and services for the public.

In making this all happen, the Commission:

  • Approves rates and service quality standards for large electric and natural gas companies
  • Approves resource plans for large electric utilities, including consideration of environmental effect of energy use
  • Grants Certificates of Need for large energy facilities, including power plants and transmission lines
  • Establishes depreciation and accounting procedures for electric and natural gas utilities
  • Approves appropriate financial incentives for energy conservation
  • Serves as board of appeals for the Conservation Improvement Program
  • Sets appropriate incentives for gas purchasing programs
  • Encourages and approves co-generation and small power generation resources
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