Policy Objectives

The Office uses a set of policy objectives, approved by the Committee of Consumer Services, to guide its work in advocating on behalf of Utah's residential and small commercial public utility customers.

  1. Reliable Service at Reasonable Cost: The Committee of Consumer Services supports the Office advocating positions and taking appropriate actions that will result in public utilities providing reliable service to Utah consumers at the lowest reasonable cost, while appropriately considering risk factors.
  2. New Electric Generating Resources: The Committee of Consumer Services supports a process for determining new electric resources that considers all appropriate costs, benefits and risks to Utah consumers. The Committee does not support a preference for any type of fuel or generating source, but rather a decision that minimizes costs (appropriately considering risk) and maximizes benefits to consumers in the long run.
  3. Public Processes: The Committee of Consumer Services supports the Office advocating positions and taking appropriate actions that will result in public processes in the regulation of public utilities that promote broad participation, transparent operations, and maintain consumer protections.
  4. Maximizing Consumer Information: The Committee of Consumer Services supports all efforts toward maximizing consumer access to and understanding of information about utility operations, the regulatory and rate setting process, and all energy, telecommunications and related consumer protection issues.
  5. Pursue Cost Beneficial Policy Changes: The Committee of Consumer Services believes that all significant policy changes that impact Utah consumers of public utilities should be pursued in a manner that minimizes costs, while appropriately considering risk, and maximizes benefits to consumers in the long run.
  6. Rates Used Only to Fund Utility Service: The Committee generally opposes using utility rates of residential and small commercial customers as a funding source for the enactment of non-utility policies or programs that are not directly linked to the provision or consumption of utility services for those customers.
  7. Low Income Programs: The Committee recognizes that there are some general rate benefits associated with utility low income programs, although these benefits are sometimes difficult to quantify. Therefore, the Committee supports a reasonable amount of funding for these programs.
  8. Maximize Benefits Without Being Unjust to Any Subset: The Committee supports the Office advocating positions and taking appropriate actions that generally aim to maximize overall benefits for residential and small commercial customers, but also to oppose any utility rate or policy that is unjust or unreasonable for any subset of these customers.
  9. Cost Effective Energy Efficiency: The Committee supports utilities pursuing cost effective energy efficiency and conservation programs. The Committee also supports pursuing these programs via rate mechanisms that minimize rate shocks and ensure that an appropriate level of benefit from the programs accrues to residential and small commercial customers.
  10. Consumer Protections: The Committee of Consumer Services supports the Office advocating positions and taking appropriate actions to maintain basic consumer protections for Utah public utility consumers. These protections include, but are not limited to: • Access to safe and reliable energy and telecommunications services.
    • Strong privacy protections to ensure that customer records and personal information, including payment and usage history, are only accessible to the customer, the utility and its partners and used solely for standard operations of the utility, such as efficient use of utility resources, production of accurate customer bills and the facilitation of conservation and energy efficiency programs.
    • Fair and reasonable standards for terms and conditions of service such as deposit and credit requirements, service denials and terminations, and deferred payment provisions.
    • Prohibitions of unfair, deceptive, fraudulent and anti-competitive practices on the part of any provider of electricity, natural gas or telecommunications.
    • Access to unbiased, accurate and understandable information concerning price, terms of service, and actual usage on all utility bills, marketing literature and relevant communications.
    • Widespread distribution of the benefits of any new regulated services, such as technological advances, improved efficiency, and competitive prices.
  11. Utah Universal Service Fund: The Committee of Consumer Services supports the Office advocating positions to help ensure proper oversight and efficient use of Utah Universal Public Telecommunications Service Support Fund (also known as the Utah USF).