OVERVIEW<br />
Rights, Responsibilities, Capabilities<br />
THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF NEVADA (PUCN)<br />Established by state law in 1911<br />Supervises and regulates the o...
THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF NEVADA (PUCN)<br />The PUCN is a regulatory body, not a legislative body<br />It does n...
WHICH UTILITIES ARE REGULATED?<br /><ul><li>Electric*
Natural gas*
Water and wastewater service*
Gas and electric “master meter” service at mobile home parks
Telephone (onlylocal, landline)
Some propane systems (only single source, single dwelling)</li></ul>Also involved in monitoring gas pipelines, railroad sa...
WHO SERVES ON THE PUCN?<br />Three Commissioners appointed by the Governor for terms of four years<br />Persons who have a...
WHO SERVES ON THE PUCN?<br />Alaina Burtenshaw: <br />Appointed by Governor Gibbons on January 18, 2010<br />Appointed Cha...
THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />
THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Regulates nearly 400 gas, electric, telecommunications, water, and wastewater utilities in Nevad...
On average, the PUCN handles 100 to 150 cases or more at any given moment throughout the year<br />All proceedings are ope...
THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Four primary types of cases:<br />Contested Cases <br />Rulemakings <br />Investigations<br />An...
THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Contested Cases<br />Include: <br />rate change applications<br />requests for action on certain...
THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Rulemakings<br />Focus on changing or adding to the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC)<br />Usuall...
THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Investigatory Dockets: <br />Either required by Legislature or opened by Commission<br />Fact or...
THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Annual Filings/Uncontested Matters: <br />Filings or  actions required by statute or regulation,...
RATE CASES<br />General Rate Application: when a utility requests a change in the energy rate it charges.  Utility is requ...
RATE CASES<br />Deferred Energy Rate Application: A rate    filing madeto recover or refund the difference between revenue...
RATE CASES<br />Application is submitted<br />Pre-hearing Conference<br />Consumer session(s): Public has opportunity to c...
RATE CASES<br />Agenda Meeting: <br />Commissioners (or a quorum) vote after review of evidence and sworn testimony as con...
Ideally – Attend Consumer Sessions<br />General Consumer Sessions<br />Rate Cases<br />Non-Rate Cases<br />PUBLIC INVOLVEM...
More Information on Commenting<br />Comments are not evidence<br />Comment provides for informed decisions by the PUCN, bu...
More Information on Commenting<br />Request to be included on “service lists” to be provided with notices regarding specif...
The Bureau of Consumer Protection (Office of the Attorney General) functions as the consumer advocate – it is your voice b...
The PUCN Consumer Bill of Rights<br />Are contained in the “tariffs”<br />Designed to make it easy to obtain utility servi...
Eliminates deposits unless customer has poor credit history<br />Limits size of deposit and allows for installment payment...
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Utility Regulation Overview Presentation

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As Consumer Outreach Director for the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), I would often speak with various civic, business, and community groups and give presentations on the purpose and function of the PUCN, providing important information on the regulatory process, public comment, and consumer rights as set forth in the utility ’tariffs’ (rules).

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Utility Regulation Overview Presentation

  1. 1. OVERVIEW<br />
  2. 2. Rights, Responsibilities, Capabilities<br />
  3. 3. THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF NEVADA (PUCN)<br />Established by state law in 1911<br />Supervises and regulates the operation and maintenance of public utilities<br />An independent body balancing the interests of ratepayers and utilities:<br />CUSTOMERS: just & reasonable rates<br />UTILITIES: a fair return on its investments<br />Mission: enable universal access to affordable, efficient, safe, and reliable utility service in Nevada<br />(NRS 704.001)<br />
  4. 4. THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF NEVADA (PUCN)<br />The PUCN is a regulatory body, not a legislative body<br />It does not establish laws or policies, but it does follow the laws and policies set by the state legislature<br />Proceedings of the PUCN are “quasi-judicial” and very similar to a courtroom<br />
  5. 5. WHICH UTILITIES ARE REGULATED?<br /><ul><li>Electric*
  6. 6. Natural gas*
  7. 7. Water and wastewater service*
  8. 8. Gas and electric “master meter” service at mobile home parks
  9. 9. Telephone (onlylocal, landline)
  10. 10. Some propane systems (only single source, single dwelling)</li></ul>Also involved in monitoring gas pipelines, railroad safety, and excavation near underground installations<br />*(except for municipal systems, co-operatives, and General Improvement Districts)<br />
  11. 11. WHO SERVES ON THE PUCN?<br />Three Commissioners appointed by the Governor for terms of four years<br />Persons who have at least two years of experience in one or more areas of:<br />Accounting, Business Administration, Finance or Economics, Administrative Law, Professional Engineering<br />
  12. 12. WHO SERVES ON THE PUCN?<br />Alaina Burtenshaw: <br />Appointed by Governor Gibbons on January 18, 2010<br />Appointed Chairwoman by Governor Sandoval February 2, 2011<br />Term expires September 30, 2013<br />Rebecca Wagner: <br />Appointed by Governor Guinn on June 19, 2006<br />Reappointed by Governor Gibbons<br />Term expires September 30, 2011<br />Luis Valera <br />Appointed by Governor Sandoval on February 8, 2011<br />Term expires September 30, 2012<br />
  13. 13. THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />
  14. 14. THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Regulates nearly 400 gas, electric, telecommunications, water, and wastewater utilities in Nevada, along with gas pipeline and railroad safety issues<br />
  15. 15. On average, the PUCN handles 100 to 150 cases or more at any given moment throughout the year<br />All proceedings are open to attendance by the public; nothing is deliberated or decided behind closed doors<br />Format and opportunity for comment varies<br />Three levels<br />THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />
  16. 16. THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Four primary types of cases:<br />Contested Cases <br />Rulemakings <br />Investigations<br />Annual Filings/Uncontested Matters<br />
  17. 17. THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Contested Cases<br />Include: <br />rate change applications<br />requests for action on certain matters<br />Usually require a Prehearing Conference and Hearing  <br />While open to public attendance, members of the public are not entitled to speak or present evidence<br />
  18. 18. THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Rulemakings<br />Focus on changing or adding to the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC)<br />Usually requires at least one public Workshop and one Hearing<br />Workshop: No deliberation or legal determinations made (re: issuing an order), but the rulemaking topic is discussed. The public may attend<br />
  19. 19. THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Investigatory Dockets: <br />Either required by Legislature or opened by Commission<br />Fact or data finding, for the benefit of commission <br />Not necessarily acted upon at the time, but may be utilized or referred to in future dockets <br />Public may attend <br /> <br />
  20. 20. THE WORK OF THE PUCN<br />Annual Filings/Uncontested Matters: <br />Filings or actions required by statute or regulation, but do not require hearings because there are no real contested issues for which to take evidence<br />Example: regulated utilities have to file updates, annual reports, etc.<br />
  21. 21. RATE CASES<br />General Rate Application: when a utility requests a change in the energy rate it charges. Utility is required by law to file every three years (NRS 704.110).<br />
  22. 22. RATE CASES<br />Deferred Energy Rate Application: A rate filing madeto recover or refund the difference between revenue from energy rates and the actual cost for fuel and power purchased by the utility<br />Utility is not allowed to profit. At the conclusion of these cases, PUCN establishes a deferred energy credit (or charge) and sets a new energy rate (NRS 704.110)<br />
  23. 23. RATE CASES<br />Application is submitted<br />Pre-hearing Conference<br />Consumer session(s): Public has opportunity to comment, and to ask questions of utility and PUCN<br />Hearings: Utility, Bureau of Consumer Protection, and sometimes other parties submit evidence and offer sworn testimony, as well as comments. Presided over by a hearing officer (one of the Commissioners). Ultimately, a Draft Order is created.<br />
  24. 24. RATE CASES<br />Agenda Meeting: <br />Commissioners (or a quorum) vote after review of evidence and sworn testimony as contained in the draft order that came from the hearing<br />Order may be approved in whole or in part, or approved with changes, or denied<br />Public comment at the beginning and end of every regular agenda<br />Agendas often (but not always) the final step or ‘act’ by the commission on a docket. There may be ‘motions to reconsider’ or ‘compliances’ not yet achieved that keep a docket open.<br />
  25. 25. Ideally – Attend Consumer Sessions<br />General Consumer Sessions<br />Rate Cases<br />Non-Rate Cases<br />PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT<br />
  26. 26. More Information on Commenting<br />Comments are not evidence<br />Comment provides for informed decisions by the PUCN, but decisions are based on evidence and sworn testimony, and in accordance to state law<br />To file an official comment in a docket<br />File within timeframe outlined by the notice, AND <br />Indicate you are a “commenter”  <br />Otherwise, comments go into a general comments file (and are not considered to be part of the file for that case) <br />PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT<br />
  27. 27. More Information on Commenting<br />Request to be included on “service lists” to be provided with notices regarding specific cases (form available on puc.nv.gov) <br />Contact Consumer Outreach Director<br />PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT<br />
  28. 28. The Bureau of Consumer Protection (Office of the Attorney General) functions as the consumer advocate – it is your voice before the Commission. <br />Advocate for reliable public utility service at the lowest reasonable cost, particularly for residential and small business customers. <br />Represents the public interest before the PUCN, as well as federal utility regulatory agencies, courts and all other forums with jurisdiction over Nevada public utilities.<br />Do not typically deal with individual cases<br />Contact: Office of the Attorney General, 100 North Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701, (775) 684-1100; 555 East Washington Avenue Suite 3900, Las Vegas, NV 89101, (702) 486-3420<br />ag.state.nv.us<br />YOU SHOULD KNOW<br />
  29. 29. The PUCN Consumer Bill of Rights<br />Are contained in the “tariffs”<br />Designed to make it easy to obtain utility services and keep those services <br />Recognizes that utilities provide vital services which must be made available to all<br />SERVICE AND BILLING:WHAT RIGHTS DO YOU HAVE?<br />
  30. 30. Eliminates deposits unless customer has poor credit history<br />Limits size of deposit and allows for installment payments<br />Requires utilities to offer budget billing program<br />Requires payment plans for needy customers<br />Offers special protection for the elderly and handicapped<br />Postpones service termination when health is at risk<br />Provides third party notice prior to service termination<br />Allows customers to apply for service via phone or mail<br />PUCN CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS<br />
  31. 31. Read the “tariffs.” Tariffs are the rules that govern utility service, and spell out the rights and responsibilities of ratepayers and utilities. If you believe a utility has violated one of these rules, then you have grounds for a complaint. <br />RULE 7! (Or, visit online): <br />www.nvenergy.com<br />www.swgas.com<br />www.centurylink.com<br />Call PUCN Consumer Complaint Division<br />EDUCATE YOURSELF: TARIFFS<br />
  32. 32. EDUCATE YOURSELF: CONSERVATION<br />‘The cheapest unit of energy is the one you never use . . .’ <br />US Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy<br />www.energysavers.gov<br />U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy “Energy Star” <br />www.energystar.gov<br />Energy Tips from NV Energy: <br />www.nvenergy.com<br />Energy Tips from SWG: <br />www.swgas.com<br />
  33. 33. EDUCATE YOURSELF: Call Before You Dig<br />811 is the national number designated by the Federal Communications Commission to help protect do-it-yourselfers, landscapers and contractors from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects – large and small<br />
  34. 34. YOU HAVE A BILLING OR SERVICECOMPLAINT . . . WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?<br />PUCN Consumer Complaint Division<br />Have you attempted to resolve the problem with the utility? <br />Does the PUCN regulate the company? <br />What are the grounds for your complaint? <br />How should you file your complaint? <br />Most complaints that the PUCN handles are by phone. These informal complaints are normally handled within one day of receipt. You can also call for information regarding utility service, or to file a protest against a utility: <br />Las Vegas: (702) 486-2600<br />Reno/Carson City: (775) 684-6100<br />ALSO: puc.nv.gov (Comment/Complaint Form)<br />
  35. 35. Thank You.<br />For more information:<br />(702) 486-2600<br />Las Vegas<br />(775) 684-6100<br />Carson City<br />  <br />puc.nv.gov<br />

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