Consumer's Guide to Local Public Hearings
Why Does The PSC Want To Hear From Me?
The Public Service Commission holds public hearings in the utilitiy's service area to give you, the ratepayer, an opportunity to testify on the proposed rate change or service proposal and present your comments directly to the PSC Commissioner. The Commission wants to know how your opinion on how the proposed rates or service changes will affect you and whether you support or oppose the company's request.
You Can Make A Difference:
Attend the hearings and testify
Your comments at public hearings are important to the case because the PSC will consider these comments as evidence of public support or opposition to the rates or proposed service.
Not Just A Question Of Rates
If you have have problems or concerns about your electric service, the response to outages or other service problems, billing or collection problems with the company, or other customer service problems, please bring them to the attention of the commission at the hearing. The PSC wants to hear about any problems you have with the company providing safe and adequate and quality service to you as well as whether the rates are just and reasonable.
Sign In And Speak Up
When you go into the hearing room, please sign the public hearing witness list. This is to alert the Regulatory Law Judge (RLJ) that you want to testify and so the RLJ can call the witnesses in the order they signed in. At the end of the hearing, the RLJ may offer anyone who had not signed the witness list an opportunity to testify.
Your testimony must be under oath (or affirmed) so that it can be considered as part of the case under the rules of evidence and the PSC procedure.
The PSC staff will conduct an information session one-half hour before the hearing. If you want to ask questions and obtain information about the case, this is your opportunity. At the hearing, the RLJ and the Commissioners cannot respond to your questions or provide information about the case since at this time they limited to hearing your comments and testimony. Also, because they will be reviewing the evidence presented at the trial type hearing in Jefferson City and the transcript of this public hearing before they reach a decision, the Commissioners cannot express any opinion or comment on the merits of the case.
The Commissioners, RLJ, and lawyers reprersenting the Staff, Public Counsel, and the utility company may ask you a few questions after you testify. Don't be concerned that this will be a long, grueling cross-examination. They ask questions to clarify a point or two in your testimony to help them understand your comments.
What Does The PSC Want To Hear From Me?
The best approach is to simply tell the Commissioners what you think about the proposed action in your own words. To give you a guide to help you with your testimony, here are some suggestions and questions to consider when presenting your opinion:
- How do the proposed rates or change in service affect you and your family?
- How does it affect your neighbors, friends, and other customers like you?
- If you oppose the rate increase or think it is too much of an increase, please give the reasons why you believe that. For example,
- Is the increase too high as compared to your income?
- Is the proposed increase unreasonable?
- Is the percentage increase greater than the wage increase you or people like you received?
- Will the proposed rates burden you, your family, neighbors, and other customers like you?
Are you a member of a church or other charitable organization that provides assistance to those who need utility payment help? Customers often say they are on a fixed income. It would be helpful to the PSC to know what that means to your situation.
- Social security?
- Aid to dependent children or other assistance?
- Pension? Disability payments?
- Wages, layoffs, more than one job?
If you or your friends and neighbors cannot testify at a public hearing, you can still record your opinion by letter, e-mail, or phone call to:
Public Service Commission
PO Box 360
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Office Of The Public Counsel
PO Box 2230
Jefferson City, MO 65102
(573) 751-4857 or (866) 922-2959
FAX: (573) 751-5562