Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
|State executive officials|
- 1 Current officeholder
- 2 Authority
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Elections
- 5 Vacancies
- 6 Duties
- 7 Divisions of the office
- 7.1 Director of Operations' Office
- 7.2 Bureau of Audits
- 7.3 Bureau of Consumer Services
- 7.4 Law Bureau
- 7.5 Secretary's Bureau
- 7.6 Bureau of Administrative Services
- 7.7 Office of Administrative Law Judge
- 7.8 Bureau of Conservation Economics & Energy Planning
- 7.9 Bureau of Fixed Utility Services
- 7.10 Legislative Affairs Office
- 7.11 Office of Special Assistants
- 7.12 Office of Trial Staff
- 8 Compensation
- 9 Former officeholders
- 10 Contact information
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 References
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.
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.
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
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.
The Law Bureau provides comprehensive legal support to the commissioners, commission staff, and directors of all other bureaus. Their purview includes advising on regulatory matters and representing the commission in all jurisdiction actions before the state and federal courts, including appellate litigation.
The Secretary's Bureau provides a certifying signature for all official actions of the commission. The bureau handles administrative functions for the commission and manages all public meeting agendas.
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
- Coming soon
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
P.O. Box 3265
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
- Public Utility History, "A history of the Pennsylvania public utility commission (Pages 2-3)," Retrieved June 15, 2011
- Pennsylvania State Legislature, "Executive branch," June 1, 2011
- Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission website, Retrieved June 15, 2011
- The Council of State Governments Book of the States, Chapter 4, Table 4.11, Retrieved June 14, 2011