The Public Service Commission has made it easier to level a complaint against your utility company.
The Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Robert Clayton, says the process of filing a small formal complaint against a utility was just too complex.
“It’s been my observation over seven years in the Commission, seeing some customers who will file a complaint and then just give up, decide it’s not worth their time and money to pursue it,” Clayton said.
Starting this fall, there will be some changes to the process for filing complaints that involve less than $3,000.
“The thing is it shouldn’t take a year, it shouldn’t take a year and half to resolve these things we need to get to them faster and we need to get to a resolution,” Clayton said.
Now the MPSC will encourage a decision to be made on each case within 100 days.
“I will tell you that we still have to abide by the constitutional due process obligations and we’re not going to be able to remove every hurdle, but I’m hoping in the majority of the cases we’ll be able to reach a faster conclusion,” Clayton said.
Before, utility customers were required to go to Jefferson City to get a hearing. Now, a regulatory law judge will travel to the area the complaint is being made to hold a hearing.
“So if we can go to them and allow an easier process, they may not be successful on their complaint, but we’re gonna give everyone a chance to fully resolve those in their own home area rather than come to Jeff City,” Clayton said.
The MPSC will also make the proceedings less formal, without affecting the rights of the parties. Clayton says that will allow people to easily file a complaint without hiring an attorney. He says these complaints serve an important role.
“Generally utilities are monopolies, they’re the only game in town, there’s no competition. So if you’re unhappy with customer service or billing or the price, you really don’t have an option to go anywhere else. Whether it be electricity service or gas service, you just don’t have any choice, so we have to stand in the place of that competition,” Clayton said.