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The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) includes three members who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for a term of four years. A Director manages the staff and daily operations of the PUC. The agency is authorized 95.6 full time employees. These staff members have specialized knowledge in engineering, economics, law, finance, support or management. The PUC is comprised of the following working sections and units:
The Energy Section is responsible for supporting the mission of the Commission to assure the availability of safe, reliable, adequate, and efficient electric, gas, steam and water services to utility customers at rates that are just, reasonable, and not discriminatory. The Section conducts financial and engineering analyses, audits and investigations for the Commission in issues of operating authority, rates, quality of service, resource planning, compliance and enforcement.
The Telecommunications Section assists the Commission oversee telecommunications utilities. These functions, performed under direction of the Commission, include: tariff administration; certification of new providers; service quality monitoring; market observation and study; administration of various telephone subsidy programs; and, analysis and development of regulatory schemes which help further development of a more competitive telecommunications market in Colorado.
The Economics Section has a wide range of duties which support the overall mission of the Commission. The Section serves the agency through its analysis of investor-owned electric, natural gas distribution and transmission, propane distribution, water, and steam utilities regulated by the Commission with the objective of aiding the Commission strike a balance between utilities' health and stability, consumer protection, and economic development.
The Transportation Section is comprised of two units. The Rates and Authorities Unit strives to ensure the affordability and availability of motor carriers transporting passengers for hire. This Unit conducts financial reviews, ensures fair and cost-based carrier rates; conducts audits and service complaint investigations; processes carrier applications; and issues permits. The Investigations and Compliance Unit is responsible to enforce safety and operating rules. The staff of this unit investigate complaints of alleged illegal operations, conduct vehicle safety inspections, and check motor carrier records to ensure compliance with Commission rules and applicable State and Federal laws.
The Administrative Hearings Section consists of administrative law judges (ALJs) and certified court reporters. ALJs establish procedural schedules, conduct hearings, and issue recommended decisions for all types of proceedings referred to them by the Commissioners. They also offer mediation services in connection with such proceedings. Court reporters make a stenographic record of testimony and legal argument presented at Commission hearings and, for a fee, will produce written transcripts of such testimony/argument if requested to do so.
The External Affairs Unit resolves complaints between customers and regulated utility companies. It informs the public about PUC decisions and ratepayer issues through publications, as agency spokesperson and through community outreach.
The Policy Advisory Unit provides advice and technical training to the decision-makers of the Commission - the Commissioners and Administrative Law Judges. The internal support administrative team handles all filings by determining the timing, disposition and weekly agenda to ensure that all statutory deadlines are met.
The Rail/Transit Safety Section is responsible for safety at all public highway-rail crossings in Colorado, is the State Safety Oversight Agency for rail fixed guideway systems. The Section conducts on-site safety inspections, accident investigations, performs a complete audit of all transit agencies rail fixed guideway systems every three years.
The Gas Pipeline Safety Section ensures the safety of utility services, conducting gas pipeline safety inspections and accident investigations.
The Administrative Services Section is responsible for fund administration, budget preparation, purchasing, central records control, business system administration, personnel, and administrative support.
The Research, and Emerging Issues Section advances policy discussions and Commission decisions concerning current and emerging issues that impact utilities and service providers regulated by the Colorado PUC and their customers. The team accomplishes this mission by initiating, facilitating, coordinating, and performing objective and balanced research and sharing the results of this work with the Commissioners and Staff.