The Rate Increase Process And How to Get Involved
If you’d like to get involved in a utility rate case before the Public Service Commission, the first step is to review the public documents about the case. Those documents are available on the Commission’s Docket Management System. Once on the DMS web page, use the search function to find the case in which you’re interested. You can search by docket number or by the name of the utility.
Once you have copies of all the relevant documents, carefully review them to make sure you understand the specifics of the request. Educating yourself will give credibility to your objections. Public hearings are held as part of all rate cases, and members of the public are invited to testify during those hearings. When you are interested in following a particular rate case, you may subscribe to email notifications about the case. To follow specific cases, just supply your email address and the docket or NDI number of the case you want to follow. When information about those cases is added to the Commission’s Docket Management System, you will receive an email.
Once a utility files for a rate increase, the Commission creates a schedule for the case and publishes public notices. At this point, interested parties may ask to intervene in the case.
The utility will then present its rate case at a public hearing conducted by the commission. Any intervenors and the Office of Regulatory Staff may also present testimony at the hearing. Public witnesses usually present their testimony the first day or, if established by the Commission, at local public hearings held in the evening at 6 p.m. All witnesses are subject to cross-examination by the parties to the proceeding. Public witnesses are not parties to the case and cannot cross-examine other witnesses or ask questions of the Commissioners.
Once the hearing is complete, the Commission reviews all relevant documents and testimony and then makes a decision. The Commission is required to make its decision within six months of the original rate-increase filing date.
During any case before the Commission, members of the public may file letters of protest. A letter of protest form and instructions for writing the letter are available on the Public Service Commission website.