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Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

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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.

Authority

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.

Qualifications

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

Elections

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.

Vacancies

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]

Duties

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

Bureau of Audits

Bureau of Consumer Services

Law Bureau

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

Compensation

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

References


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