The Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) accomplishes its mission by developing, advocating, and implementing innovative, pro-consumer policies and practices through consumer outreach and regulatory mechanisms. The OCC serves the public interest through its advocacy in many areas including serving as a technical resource for utility consumers, legislators, small businesses, utilities, and other government agencies.
The OCC also strives to increase communication with consumers it represents by hearing and understanding their issues. The OCC represents consumers by participating in gubernatorial, legislative, and PUC-established task forces, advisory groups, working groups and in other forums to advocate the consumer position and to provide information to policymakers and the public about the consumer perspective on regulatory issues.
As an average utility ratepayer customer, it can be confusing and frustrating trying to understand how each of the charges indicated on your bill are determined. Primarily you must keep in mind that the PUC balances the public interest and the utility reliability in order to ensure that not only to consumers have just and reasonable rates, but also receive safe and reliable services. The OCC promotes affordable, reasonably priced, high quality, reliable service.
Based on the process outlined in detail in the PUC Process FYI Publication "How Utility Rates Are Determined" the regulated utility is required to fully document and support any changes to a regulated rate or service and go through the process of a Phase I and Phase II rate case proceeding. The purpose of Phase I of the rate case is for parties involved to work to help the Commission determine the percentage of increase or decrease in rates. Parties typically involved are Commission Staff, utility company personnel, the OCC, and utility company customers and customer groups. The purpose of Phase II of the rate case is for the Commission to decide how the change in rates will be distributed between different classes of customers which is also known as cost of service allocation and rate structure or rate design.