The mission of the Electricity Section of the PUC is to achieve a regulatory environment that provides safe, reliable, and quality services to electric utility customers on just and reasonable terms. The Electricity Section of the PUC serves the public interest by balancing the needs of customers and utility service providers in the following areas of responsibility:
Maintaining electricity rates as low as possible for residential and business consumers consistent with minimum standards of service, safety, economic viability, and the environment.
Providing customers with adequate, reliable, responsive, safe, and timely electric service.
Ensuring that investor-owned regulated electric providers earn a return sufficient for their long-term economic viability and their ability to update their physical plant or equipment necessary to provide electric service essential to Colorado consumers.
The PUC has financial and quality of service regulatory authority over two investor-owned electric utilities and one electric cooperative association. The Commission has partial regulatory authority over municipal electric utilities, and 24 electric cooperative associations.
The Electric Section of the PUC accomplishes its mission by issuing authorities to operate, establishing industry rate, service, adequacy and reliability standards, initiating enforcement and compliance activities, and assisting consumers with complaints and educational efforts.
- Issuing Authorities to Operate
Each electric utility serving Colorado customers must apply for and receive a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to operate in Colorado. Issuing CPCNs increases public confidence in the companies authorized to provide electric services in the state. It promotes financially healthy companies who will stay in business and provide a high level of service to their customers. The PUC provides oversight over entry and exit from the Colorado market with the goal of protecting customers and assuring that companies provide service to customers on a non-discriminatory basis.
- Establishing Industry Rate and Service Standards
Rates for electric services must be approved by the PUC. The Section reviews requests by electric utilities for rate changes to ensure that financial, engineering, legal, and economic requirements are met. The Section considers and implements alternative rate regulation, such as variable, incremental, or interruptible electric rates where consistent with the public interest.
In addition, the Section assists the PUC Commissioners in establishing service standards to initiate and maintain service and equipment to a level necessary to promote the safety, health, comfort, and convenience for customers of all regulated electric providers operating in Colorado. These service standards range from establishing minimum adequacy and reliability standards to ensuring power is available to Colorado consumers to determining customer deposit requirements.
- Initiating Enforcement and Compliance Activities
The Section ensures compliance with state statutes, Commission decisions, rules and safety standards, and takes enforcement action to correct non-compliance, as appropriate. A variety of tools are available to obtain compliance including desk and field audits of financial and service records, inspections of facilities and equipment, complaint investigation, show-cause actions, revocation action, and court actions intended to force compliance. Each of these tools involves due process intended to protect the rights of the regulated service provider as well as allowing input from other affected parties. Due process may include warning letters, notices of proposed action, opportunities to respond to allegations, mediation, settlement negotiations, evidentiary hearings, right to appeal decisions before the Commission, and appellate review of all final Commission decisions.
- Assisting Consumers with Complaints and Education
The Section responds to financial, economic, and engineering inquiries. These activities include responding to general inquiries from individual citizens, the General Assembly, the Governor's office, other federal, state, and local government officials, industry professionals, utility service providers, attorneys, and national investment firms.