The Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) regulates customer rates and services of the state's investor-owned electric, natural gas and telephone utilities; and certain water companies. The Commission does not regulate people's utility districts, cooperatives or municipally-owned utilities except in matters of safety. The PUC ensures consumers receive utility service at fair and reasonable rates, while allowing regulated companies the opportunity to earn an adequate return on their investment.
The PUC is divided into several sections:
The Utility Program whose research, analysis and technical support makes sure regulated companies provide safe, reliable and high-quality service at reasonable rates. Their efforts also promote effective competition in those industries.
The Residential Service Protection Fund includes three telephone assistance programs that provide services to qualifying low-income or disabled Oregonians and allow those with hearing and speech disabilities to place and receive calls to and from those without disabilities.
The Consumer Services Section provides assistance to the public in resolving concerns, conflicts and disputes with utilities.
The Administration Hearings Division conducts rulemaking and contested case hearings on issues concerning utility services.
The PUC conducts its business in bi-weekly public meetings at its headquarters in Salem, and it encourages public involvement in its decisions. The PUC also conducts public hearings on specific issues. The Commission's responsibilities are carried out by a staff of 128 employees. Each year the PUC issues a variety of reports including statistical information on utility companies.