Tariffs are public documents, written by regulated entities and approved by the regulatory commission, that detail a utility’s rates, rules, service territories, and terms of service. Tariffs are written in accordance with the final decision of the regulatory body. Since decisions are often open to interpretation, tariffs must be approved by the regulatory body before they are legal. In general, tariffs include the following:
- A preliminary statement that describes the regulated entity’s terms of service and service territory, and sets forth the accounts and adjustment mechanisms used in revenue accounting.
- Rate schedules that define rates and other terms of service for specific classes of customers.
- Rules that detail terms and conditions for service not described in rate schedules.
- Sample forms, including all standard form contracts, approved contract deviations, and other standard forms used in day-to-day business.
Tariffs that have been approved by a regulatory commission are binding legal documents that constitute the contract between the regulated entity and its customers. A regulated entity cannot change its tariffs or fail to follow any provision in its tariffs in any way without approval from the regulatory agency. Copies of an entity's tariffs can be found on the company’s website.