The mission of the GAS Section of the PUC is to achieve a flexible regulatory environment that provides safe, reliable, and quality services to gas utility customers on just and reasonable terms. The Section serves the public interest by balancing the needs of customers and gas service providers in the following areas of responsibility:
Maintaining gas 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 reliable, responsive, safe, and timely gas service.
Ensuring that investor-owned gas utilities earn a return sufficient for their long-term economic viability and their ability to update their physical plant or equipment necessary to provide reliable and safe service throughout their Colorado service areas.
This Section of the PUC accomplishes its mission by issuing authorities to operate, establishing industry rate and service standards, initiating enforcement and compliance activities, and assisting consumers with complaints and educational efforts.
- Issuing Authorities to Operate
Each gas utility serving Colorado customers must apply for and receive a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity ("CPCN"). Issuing CPCNs increases public confidence in the companies authorized to provide gas services in the state. This promotes financially healthy companies who will stay in business and provide a high level of service to their customers. The PUC provides oversight 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 gas services of investor-owned gas utilities must be approved by the PUC. The Section reviews requests by gas providers for rate changes to ensure that financial, engineering, legal, and economic requirements are met.
In addition, the PUC establishes service standards to initiate and maintain service and equipment to a level necessary to promote the comfort and convenience for customers of providers operating in Colorado. These standards range from establishing meter-measurement standards to determining customer deposit requirements to establishing guidelines for non-discriminatory reservation of pipeline capacity by gas transportation customers.
- Initiating Enforcement and Compliance Activities
The Section ensures compliance with state statutes, Commission decisions and rules, and takes enforcement action to correct non-compliance, as appropriate. A variety of tools are available to obtain compliance. These tools include 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 inquiries from a variety of sources on the full range of utility issues. These activities include response 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.