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The District of Columbia Public Service Commission (Commission) is an independent District Government agency established by Congress in 1913 to regulate the electric, gas, and telephone companies in the District by functioning as a quasi-judicial agency. Today, the mission of the Commission is to serve the public interest by ensuring that financially healthy electric, gas, and telecommunications companies provide safe, reliable, and quality utility services at reasonable rates for District of Columbia residential, business and government customers.

The Commission has identified 3 goals for carrying out its mission in FY 2000: (I ) Economic development in the District is promoted through the introduction of competition in the electric, gas, and telecommunications industries and the continued regulation of monopoly services. (2) Public safety is promoted through the pipeline safety and public payphones programs and the investigation of utility outages and other occurrences such as manhole explosions. (3) Customer satisfaction is encouraged by increasing public access to the Commission through the consolidation of offices to 1333 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005 and the implementation of a number of information technology projects such as a new LAN and website. The Commission also routinely surveys utility complainants and participants in outreach activities.

Organization of the Public Service Commission

The Commission is composed of a Chairman and two other Commissioners who are appointed to four-year terms by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council of the District of Columbia.

Three senior managers report to the Commissioners and together supervise Commission staff. The General Counsel heads the legal office. The Executive Director is responsible for the Offices of Technical Services, Consumer Services, and Commission Secretary. The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the financial and budgeting programs of the Commission. The Office of the General Counsel serves as the legal advisor to the Commission on a broad spectrum of issues that relate to the Commission's regulatory responsibilities and day-today operations of the Commission. The Office of Technical Services (OTS) is responsible for the financial, economic and engineering review and analysis of cases and issues before the Commission. In addition, OTS serves as project manager for the federal and Washington Gas funded Pipeline Safety Program, and tracks and reviews utility and telecommunications activities at regional and federal agencies and entities. OTS provides financial, economic and engineering advisory services to the Commission, through compliance reviews, audits, and program management of cases and investigations. The Office of the Commission Secretary is responsible for maintaining the official files of the Commission. The Office of Consumer Services (OCS) serves as the public relations arm for the Commission and is responsible for the day-to-day activities of three programs: ( I ) mediation of utility company complaints and inquiries; (2) public and community outreach programs to help consumers make informed choices in the competitive era; and (3) registration of applications to install new payphones and mediation of complaints regarding existing payphones. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer develops, implements and administers the budgeting, accounting, financial reporting and auditing systems as mandated by the District's Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

How Does The Public Service Commission Serve The Public?

Utility Complaints & Inquiries

If a consumer has a problem with a utility company or competitive local exchange carrier, contact the Commission's Office of Consumer Services at 202/626-5120. Consumer specialists are available to mediate complaints. If a consumer specialist is not able to resolve the complaint, a complainant can request a formal hearing, in writing. A complainant can also ask the Office of the People's Counsel to provide legal representation at no charge. The Office of the People's Counsel can be reached at 202/727-3071. In the case of billing disputes, the Commission's engineering staff can also conduct electric and gas meter tests. Requests for meter tests can be made through the Office of Consumer Services at 202/626-5120.

Payphone Complaints

If a consumer has a problem involving payphones within the District of Columbia, the consumer can call a hotline number 202/737-4PSC, where messages can be left 24 hours a day. Information is retrieved from the voice mail box each morning for follow-up. Complaints can also be made by phone, fax ( 202-626-9210), e-mail (dcpsc.org), or in writing. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Commission's Payphone Inspector checks the site, and also ascertains whether the payphone is in compliance with the Commission's payphone rules.

Payphone Applications/Oppositions

The Commission is the regulatory agency for the installation and placement of public payphones in the District of Columbia. All payphones must be registered, and an application approved by the Commission before installation.

Gas Customer Choice Pilot Programs

The Commission has approved alternative gas supplier programs, called Gas Customer Choice Programs. The programs offer consumers the opportunity to shop around for the best price for natural gas. A consumer can obtain more information by calling a special number I-877-Y-CHOOSE.

D.C. Electric Choice Program 202/626-5120

By January 2001, residential customers and commercial customers will be able to select an alternative electricity supplier.

Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs)

The Commission also has statutory authority over new providers of local telecommunications services. The Commission has approved approximately 100 CLECs. Over 20 CLECs are providing local service in the District of Columbia, as of May 9, 2000. The tariffs of these CLECs are on file at the Commission and available on the Commission website.

Telecommunications Relay Service - 711

District of Columbia residents can now dial 711 to communicate with deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-disabled people who use text telephones, also known as TTY devices. The current D.C. relay numbers, 202-855-1234 (text users) and 202-855-1000 (voice users) will continue to be available for calls within Washington, D.C.

District One Call - DOC (Miss Utility)

Call Miss Utility at I /800-257-7777 at least 48 hours in advance of all digging or construction.

Need Discount Rates

The Commission requires Bell Atlantic-DC, PEPCO, and Washington Gas to offer discount rates to low income residential customers. For more information, call the Commission's Office of Consumer Services at 202/626-5120 or the D.C. Energy Office at 202/673-6750.

Community Meetings 202/626-5120

The Commission has an extensive community outreach program which includes participation in ANC, civic association, Town Hall, and other community meetings. Please invite us to share our exhibits, brochures, discount applications and other information. Please call to arrange for a speaker or presentation.

Phone: 202/626-5120
Fax: 202/626-9210
Email: www.dcpsc.org
Website : www.dcpsc.org

Rev 6/28/00

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