The two Indiana state government agencies which handle utility regulatory
matters—the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) and the Indiana
Office of Consumer Counselor (OUCC)—have enhanced their consumer services’
processes, in an effort to help consumers receive the quickest and most
efficient service for their needs.
Although each agency’s statutory role remains unchanged, the duties related
to consumer services have been streamlined and more clearly defined,
according to a joint statement released today.
For the record, the IURC regulates rates, charges and service quality for
most Indiana utilities, while the OUCC represents consumer interests in all
cases before the IURC.
Effective this week, the IURC’s Consumer Affairs Division will begin
handling all consumer complaints about regulated utilities (such as
disconnection of service, service quality, billing disputes, and metering
concerns). Rather than having to decide which agency to call, consumers will
be directed to the IURC, which is the agency with statutory authority to
resolve utility disputes and to have a formal appeals process in place.
Additionally, the OUCC will begin collecting all consumer comments and
inquiries on pending cases. Directing all case-specific comments to the OUCC
will ensure that the state’s utility consumer advocate has the opportunity
to review all consumer concerns as it conducts its technical and legal
reviews in rate cases and other proceedings. After reviewing comments, the
OUCC files them for inclusion in the IURC’s formal evidentiary record, which
the IURC Commissioners consider before making a final decision.
In addition to participating in cases, the OUCC offers a wide range of
information on general utility consumer topics, including tips on
understanding utility bills, ways to save on energy and water, and more. All
OUCC publications are available online at www.in.gov/oucc
“This approach will provide consumers and both agencies with a clear
roadmap,” said IURC Chair Jim Atterholt. “As a former congressional aide and
state legislator, I know from firsthand experience that this reform will
make it easier for consumers to find help as they try to resolve a complaint
with a regulated utility.”
“Many consumers are not aware that they can have their voices heard in
regulatory cases,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler.
“Our hope is that this new process will make more consumers aware of their
opportunities to comment, while making the process as simple as possible.”
This week’s changes reflect a collaborative effort between the IURC and OUCC
to eliminate duplicative work within the agencies’ consumer affairs
divisions. The changes are also intended to ensure prompt and thorough
coverage of all consumer contacts by the respective agencies. Both agencies
will handle the redistributed workload with existing personnel and
Consumers with utility-specific complaints requiring dispute resolution can
contact the IURC toll-free at (800) 851-4268 or online at
Consumers who have concerns regarding pending cases or an interest in
general utility consumer information can contact the OUCC toll-free at (888)
441-2494 or www.in.gov/oucc