Utility Regulation

In Utah, three state entities play key roles in the utility regulatory process. Learn about the regulatory process here.

Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission is an independent agency with the authority to set rates and tariffs for public utilities in Utah. The Commission also evaluates utility resource plans, assesses the reliability and quality of utility service, responds to customer complaints and addresses other requests related to the public utilities it regulates. The Commission receives evidence from a variety of interested stakeholders and in some cases conducts hearings in making its rulings on these matters. The Commission also has authority to establish rules to enact the Utah laws related to its authority. Utah has three public service commissioners, each appointed by the Governor to a six-year term and one designated as Chairman. The Commission has a small expert, professional staff to advise the Commissioners on matters before them. The Commission also has the authority to assign investigative and analytical work to the Division of Public Utilities.

Division of Public Utilities

The Division of Public Utilities is a division of the Utah Department of Commerce. It presents expert analysis, audits regulated utilities, and conducts investigations into specific issues both as initiated by itself and as requested by the Commission. Utah law establishes the Division of Public Utilities to act in the public interest and make its recommendations considering certain specific factors (see Utah Code §54-4a-6 ). The Director of the Division of Public Utilities is appointed by the Executive Director of the Department of Commerce, who in turn is appointed by the Governor and serves on the cabinet. The Division of Public Utilities receives legal counsel from attorneys assigned from the Attorney General's office.

Office of Consumer Services (OCS)

The OCS is established as the residential and small commercial advocate in public utility proceedings. The Director of the OCS is appointed by the Governor to a six-year term. The OCS is also advised by a nine-member layperson Committee, the members of which are appointed by the Governor to four-year terms. The Committee also gives direction on the Policy Objectives of the OCS. The Committee meets approximately five times per year. These meetings are all open to the public and often contain substantial background information on current regulatory proceedings as well as discussions of current and emerging issues in the energy and telecommunications industries.

By statute, the OCS advocates positions before the Public Service Commission and in other forums that are advantageous to the customer classes it represents. The OCS develops positions based on its established policy objectives, considering the range of well accepted and emerging regulatory policy and consumer protections, and always based upon analysis and evidence that can be clearly presented to the Commission. The OCS also receives legal counsel from an attorney assigned from the Attorney General's office.

For more information on the Utah statutes governing the public utility regulatory process and these three government entities see: Utah Code Title 54 .