PURA: Guide to Public Hearings

Guide to Public Hearings
 
What is a public hearing all about?
A public hearing is one step in determining whether the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) will take action that will affect the rates or services offered by a utility or the facilities the utility operates.  The PURA has a long tradition of encouraging public participation in the regulation of the state’s utilities.  The PURA public hearing process offers the opportunity for consumers, local government officials, industry representatives, and others to bring their thoughts and concerns about a utility planning, rate or construction case to the attention of the three Directors.  Bringing these concerns and views to a public hearing is essential if the Directors are to reach the most fair and reasonable decision possible.
Our Directors and Hearing Officers are interested in the issue of customer service, and we encourage customers of regulated utility companies to let us know their feelings.  If you have an opinion about the matter being considered, we would like to hear from you.
 
How can I be a part of this process?
Just come to the hearing and express your views.  Plan to arrive a few minutes early so that you can sign up with the PURA Consumer Representative or other PURA representative to speak at the hearing.

I have never testified before the PURA.  Is it difficult?
No, it is easy to testify.  You do not need a lawyer.  At the beginning of the hearing, the Director or Hearing Officer will ask if consumers wish to speak for the record.  At that time, simply stand up or raise your hand.  You will be sworn in, and invited to tell your story in your own words.  You do not need to stay until the hearing ends.  You will be called in the order in which you signed up.  Directors, Hearing Officers and any of the parties to the case who may be in attendance cannot answer questions: this is their opportunity to hear your testimony.
   
Dates, times, and locations of PURA hearings are posted on its calendar.

If you are unable to attend a public hearing but wish to make your position known to the PURA, please mail your comments to: Executive Secretary, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.  Comments may also be submitted to the PURA via e-mail addressed to PURA.ExecutiveSecretary@ct.gov.

Please include the Docket Number in all correspondence to the PURA.

PURA does not accept comments about cases over the phone.  Your comments must be in writing to be included as part of the record in the case.

When will the PURA make a decision?
After the hearing is completed, the PURA makes a decision based on the information contained in the record made during the hearing.  When the hearings are finished, there is no longer any way to add information to the record.  The PURA Directors can use only the testimony and exhibits presented at the hearing as a basis for their decision.  A briefing period may follow the hearing.  Briefs are written arguments about issues the Directors need to decide.  They are usually written by attorneys for the utilities, the PURA, and others.  The PURA Directors read the transcripts, exhibits, and briefs.  They schedule times to meet and talk about the issues raised in the hearing.  These meetings are held in New Britain and are open for the public to observe.

After the Directors reach a decision, an order is issued.  Copies of the decision are available at the PURA's on-line final decision database or can be obtained by calling the Consumer Services Unit at 1-800-382-4586.
 
 
If you have an individual problem that the utility company has not handled to your satisfaction, you may write or call the Consumer Services Unit at 1-800-382-4586 between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM weekdays.
 
 
Content last updated November 2011