California Public Service Commission

Find California public service commissions (PSC). Public service commissions provide information about public utility commissions (PUC), departments of public utilities, utility commissions, rates, fees, service providers, and public service jobs.

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About Public Service Commissions

What is a Public Service Commission?

A Public Service Commission is a state agency that is responsible for regulating the rates and services of public utilities. It may also be known as a Public Utility Commission, Utility Regulatory Commission, or Public Corporation Commission. Regulated utilities include services where there is limited competition or where other market conditions require a regulatory authority to address social concerns and the public interest. The purpose of a Public Service Commission is to ensure that consumers receive safe, reliable, and reasonably priced services from competent and financially viable companies. Services that commonly fall within the jurisdiction of Public Service Commissions include electric, natural gas, water, sewer, and telecommunications utilities. Public Service Commissions are executive branch agencies that operate independently and have elected or appointed boards of commissioners.

Much of the activity of a Public Service Commission is centered on rate setting for utility services. Utility service providers submit proposals for changes in service rates, which must be reviewed and approved by the Public Service Commission. The review is an extensive process requiring utility service providers to submit detailed information regarding assets, planned maintenance and upgrades, financial statements and projections. The process also involves a comment period for members of the public, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders. Public Service Commissions have the authority to approve, reject, or modify requested rate changes.

Public Service Commissions also play a role in the review and approval of Integrated Resource Plans. These are comprehensive plans developed by electricity service providers detailing the projected demand for service, the resources available to meet the demand, and how the utility will ensure that it has the capacity to meet demand at a reasonable cost.

Public Service Commissions ensure the reliability of services for consumers by requiring utility service providers to develop and implement inspection and maintenance plans. Utility service providers periodically submit plans for regular inspection, maintenance, repair, and replacement of assets that are designed to meet established reliability standards.

Public Service Commissions also respond to complaints from consumers and consumer advocacy groups. For complaints that cannot be resolved directly with a utility service provider, Public Service Commissions may investigate and issue corrective orders to the utility company.