Difference between revisions of "Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission"

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===Law Bureau===
===Law Bureau===
The [http://www.puc.state.pa.us/general/Com_Org/bur_law.aspx Law Bureau] provides comprehensive legal support to the entire. Their purview includes advising on regulatory matters and representing the commission in all jurisdiction actions before the state and federal courts, including appellate litigation.
===Secretary's Bureau===
===Secretary's Bureau===

Revision as of 11:20, 15 June 2011

State executive officials
State legislatures
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is a five person state executive board in the Pennsylvania state government, responsible for oversight of the commonwealth's public utility industries. Commissioners are nominated to staggered, five-year terms by the Governor and confirmed by the state senate. [1]

Current officeholder

The current chairman is Robert Powelson. The vice chairman is John F. Coleman. They serve alongside Tyrone Christy, Wayne Gardner, and James Cawley.


Though the state constitution does not specifically create the public utility commission, it does allow for the addition of public officers in Article IV, Section 1:

All officers, whose selection is not provided for in this Constitution, shall be elected or appointed as may be directed by law.


There are no specific qualifications to serve on the Public Utility Commission.


Public Utility Commissioners are not elected in Pennsylvania. The Governor nominates candidates for approval by the state senate, and the senate confirms the nominations by a two-thirds majority before the candidates assume office. Commissioners serve staggered, five-year terms.


Article IV, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution grants the governor the power to appoint officers to fill vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in the office, the governor nominates a successor. This nomination must be made to the commonwealth senate within 90 days of the vacancy. The senate must then take action (confirming or not confirming the nomination) within 25 legislative days.[2]


The Public Utility Commission is responsible for regulating Pennsylvania's public utility industries and protecting consumers. The commission works to ensure safe and reliable services, educate consumers about their utility options, and promote new technologies and markets.[3]

Specifically, the commission:

  • regulates approximately 6,000 electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water/wastewater, and transportation utilities
  • regulates electric, gas, and water distribution rates
  • regulates motor carries
  • inspects more than 40,000 miles of natural gas pipelines
  • inspects motor vehicles and railroad facilities
  • works to make high-speed Internet service more readily available[1]

Divisions of the office

The Public Utility Commission has thirteen offices and bureaus that the various handle administrative, legal, legislative, regulatory, and financial duties of the commission.

Director of Operations' Office

The Director of Operations' Office is the central office in the department. The office coordinates the activities of all the other bureaus, and serves as a conduit for information between the commissioners and bureau/office directors.

Bureau of Audits

The Bureau of Audits conducts audits and investigations of Pennsylvania's fixed utilities. The bureau conducts three types of audits of approximately 32 fixed utilities every five to eight years, and of smaller utilities on an as-needed basis.

  • Adjustment clause audits -- State law mandates annual adjustment clause audits for certain utilities. These audits verify the costs incurred by utility companies and are used to determine how fairly the companies are charging their customers.
  • Financial audits -- Financial audits include original cost audits, original cost studies, and continuing property records audits.
  • Management audits -- These audits evaluate a utility company's management structure. They consider at the sustainability of both short- and long-term operations plans and the overall organizational structure. Separate from these management audits, the bureau conducts management efficiency investigations.

Bureau of Consumer Services

The Bureau of Consumer Services handles consumer complaints and provides information to consumers. The bureau also monitors utility company compliance with regulations. There are two divisions within the bureau: customer assistance and complaints; and policy.

Law Bureau

The Law Bureau provides comprehensive legal support to the entire. Their purview includes advising on regulatory matters and representing the commission in all jurisdiction actions before the state and federal courts, including appellate litigation.

Secretary's Bureau

Bureau of Transportation and Safety

Bureau of Administrative Services

Office of Administrative Law Judge

Bureau of Conservation Economics & Energy Planning

Bureau of Fixed Utility Services

Legislative Affairs Office

Office of Special Assistants

Office of Trial Staff


In 2010, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioners was paid an estimated $135,434 according to the Council of State Governments.[4]

Former officeholders

Coming soon

Contact information

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Street Address:
400 North Street
Keystone Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 1-800-692-7380

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 3265
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265

Department address listing
Staff telephone directory

See also

External links



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