Consumers or other affected parties can file a complaint with the relevant regulatory authority if they believe that a utility or other regulated energy company has failed to follow the law or applicable regulatory rules. Most regulatory agencies encourage consumers to first attempt to resolve the issue by working directly with the regulated entity. But if this is unsuccessful, regulatory commissions typically have a process that consumers can use to pursue their complaint. This is often a two-step process:
The first step is an informal complaint that allows a commission staff member to contact the utility to explore whether a resolution is possible without opening a formal proceeding.
The second step is a formal complaint that results in an investigation by the commission. If the initial investigation suggests the complaint is valid, then the commission will open a formal proceeding.
Formal complaint proceedings allow both parties to the dispute to present testimony, followed by a ruling from the commission. If a complaint is found to be valid, the commission can order the utility to rectify the issue and may impose fines or other consequences.