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How to Handle A Problem With A Regulated Utility

As a residential customer of a regulated utility in Georgia, you have rights subject to the provisions of the Georgia Public Service Commission's (PSC) Administrative Regulations. The PSC monitors the rates and services of most electric, gas, and telecommunication service providers. The Commission also oversees natural gas pipeline safety and the deregulation of the natural gas industry.
The PSC does not regulate water, sewer or sanitation services or have the authority to regulate the rates established by municipally-owned utility companies or electric membership corporations.

Handling a Problem With a Regulated Utility
If you believe you are not receiving safe, reliable and adequate utility service, take the matter up directly with the utility that provides the service. You may submit your complaint by telephone, letter, or in person. No attorney is required.
You should tell the utility about your problem, providing all the necessary facts. Your complaint will be handled more quickly if you give the utility a complete explanation of your complaint.

PSC's Office of Consumer Affairs
If you do not hear from the utility within a reasonable time, or if you are not satisfied with the utility's action, you may contact the Consumer Affairs Office of the Georgia Public Service Commission.
The PSC can help you with the following types of problems:

Improper termination of service

Charges on your utility bill that you believe are incorrect or unauthorized

Customer deposits for utility services

Poor quality of service

Problems with delayed connection of services

How to File A Complaint With the PSC
You may submit your complaint to the PSC by telephone, letter, e-mail or in person. Again, you do not need an attorney to file your complaint. You can save time for yourself and the PSC staff by providing complete information. The staff will need the following information to investigate your complaint:

Your name, street address or box number, city, county, zip code, and day time telephone number.

The name of the utility and names of the utility personnel with whom you have talked.

The complete facts of your complaint.

A brief explanation of the resolution desired.

Action on your complaint
A Consumer Affairs representative will review your complaint and discuss the problem with you.
Not every complaint can be resolved to the customer's satisfaction. However, prompt action is taken on all complaints and every effort is made to see that complaints are handled appropriately.
Most of the complaints the PSC receives are resolved in an informal manner through discussions involving the customer, the utility, and the PSC staff. However, if these efforts are not satisfactory, a formal complaint may be filed.

Formal Complaints
A formal complaint is usually filed when a complainant feels that only formal action by the Commission can resolve the matter. A formal complaint must be made in writing to the PSC's Executive Secretary. An attorney is not required.

Consideration of Formal Complaints
In response to a formal complaint, the Commission will require the utility to explain why the complaint cannot be resolved. The Commission may also schedule a formal hearing at which all parties involved give sworn testimony. Following the hearing, the Commission will make a decision on the complaint.

Fairness
The Public Service Commission considers all complaints from consumers and makes sure that consumers are treated fairly by the utilities.
If you have a complaint, take it first to the utility. If you are not satisfied with the utility's response, then contact the Public Service Commission.
Customer Bill of Rights
As a residential customer of a regulated public utility in Georgia, you have the following rights subject to the provision of the Georgia Public Service Commission's Administrative Regulations:

You have the right to service, provided you (or a member of your household whose debt was accumulated at your address) are not indebted to the utility.

You have the right to inspect and review the utility's rates and operating procedures during the utility's normal office hours.

You have the right to be present at any routine utility inspection pertaining to your service's conditions.

You must be provided a separate, distinct disconnection notice alerting you to a possible disconnection of your service if payment is not received.

You have a right to dispute any reasons given for an announced termination of your services.

You have the right to maintain your utility service for up to 30 days upon presentation of a medical certificate issued by a health official.

You have the right to contact the Public Service Commission regarding any dispute that you have been unable to resolve with your utility.
Last Updated: June 15, 2000
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