mary beth o hara osborne director of regulatory affairs sept 17 2014 n.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
2014 EAP Consumer Services Conference PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
2014 EAP Consumer Services Conference

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 32

2014 EAP Consumer Services Conference - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 112 Views
  • Uploaded on

Mary Beth O’Hara Osborne Director of Regulatory Affairs Sept. 17, 2014. 2014 EAP Consumer Services Conference. About the PUC. $68 + million budget for the 2014-15 FY Funded by assessments on utilities, not PA tax dollars; however some federal funding reimbursements do exist

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about '2014 EAP Consumer Services Conference' - lyneth


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
mary beth o hara osborne director of regulatory affairs sept 17 2014
Mary Beth O’Hara Osborne

Director of Regulatory Affairs

Sept. 17, 2014

2014 EAP Consumer Services Conference

about the puc
About the PUC
  • $68 + million budget for the 2014-15 FY
  • Funded by assessments on utilities, not PA tax dollars; however some federal funding reimbursements do exist
  • Regulates nearly 8,000 entities
  • Created by General Assembly in 1937
  • Duties given by statute – Public Utility Code, Title 66, Pa. Consolidated Statutes
our office locations
Our Office Locations
  • We have about 500 employees at the PUC, who are based in Harrisburg, but have regional offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton
purpose of puc
Purpose of PUC
  • Original Purpose: to protect consumers from monopolies
    • Imposing unreasonably high rates, or
    • Providing inadequate service
    • Safety was and is of primary importance
  • Changes in the laws over the last nearly 20 years have placed PUC in the role of overseeing competition in marketplace
office of competitive market oversight
Office of Competitive Market Oversight
  • The Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO) has recently become a Bureau

within the Executive Director’s Office

  • OCMO is headed by Kirk House and Dan Mumford
director of regulatory affairs
Director of Regulatory Affairs

The Director of Regulatory Affairs Oversees 262 positions in the following Bureaus:

  • Technical Utility Services
  • Bureau of Audits
  • Bureau of Consumer Services
  • Office of Administrative Law Judge
  • Office of Special Assistants
technical utility services
Technical Utility Services
  • Serves as the principal technical advisory bureau regarding fixed utility and transportation regulatory matters
  • Advises on technical issues for electric, natural gas, water/wastewater and telecommunications
  • Offers policy recommendations on rates, tariffs, regulatory matters, applications processes and emergency operations
bureau of audits
Bureau of Audits
  • Performs financial, management, operational and specialized audits of regulated utility companies
  • Reviews adjustment clause rate filings and 1307(e) reconciliation statements
  • Provides recommendations to refund over-collected costs and to improve accounting and operational procedures to save utilities, consumer money
bureau of consumer services
Bureau of Consumer Services
  • Responds to and investigates informal complaints from residential and small commercial customers made against regulated utility companies and, in some instances, electric and gas supply companies
  • Serves as intermediary between utilities and consumers to:
    • Resolve complaints
    • Develop payment arrangements
    • Provide utility-related information
    • Monitor utility compliance with PUC regulations
office of administrative law judge
Office of Administrative Law Judge
  • Fulfills a judicial role by hearing cases, mediating cases through alternative dispute resolution process and issuing decisions
  • Provides fair and prompt resolution of contested proceedings, including consumer complaints, rate filings, investigations, billing disputes and applications
office of special assistants
Office of Special Assistants
  • Serves as an advisory support bureau
  • Provides legal and technical advice primarily regarding challenges to ALJ decisions and policy issues
  • Drafts opinions and orders for consideration at Public Meetings disposing of Exceptions filed in response to OALJ decisions and also, pursuant to motions adopted at Public Meeting
  • Reviews petitions for relief
goals priorities
Goals & Priorities
  • Strategic Planning
    • Succession planning
  • Management Structure
    • Streamlining/Efficiencies
    • Reducing caseload in a timely manner without sacrificing quality work
  • Aligning Goals and Objectives
    • Facilitating collaboration and communication between and among Bureaus and Offices to handle work well
challenges
Challenges
  • Managing the increased workload of Bureau of Consumer Services, Secretary’s Bureau, Office of Administrative Law Judge and potentially Office of Special Assistants, with budget challenges
    • Causes of Workload Increase
      • Polar Vortex
      • Variable Rates
    • Budget Challenges
      • Operating under zero growth budget and a projected shortfall due to increased labor costs, federal funding reimbursements which are flat-lined at decades-old levels
variable rates issues
Variable Rates Issues
  • Winter 2014
    • Higher prices in wholesale market = higher prices for customers with variable-rate contracts (uplift charges) with competitive suppliers and fixed-rate customers whose contracts expired
    • This led to significantly higher call and intake volume (30% - 40%).
variable rates issues cont
Variable Rates Issues, cont.
  • Case and Call Volume
    • In 2014 (through 9/16/2014) BCS has taken in 65,000 cases to investigate as compared with 70,410 for the entire year of 2013.
    • Of these 65,000 cases, close to 10,000 have been variable rate, supplier, or general competition and contract related as compared with approximately 2,100 cases for the entire year of 2013.
variable rates issues cont1
Variable Rates Issues, cont.
  • It is hoped that cases can be resolved to the customer’s satisfaction at the BCS and company level
  • To facilitate case closures, BCS is working with companies to develop an Informal Complaint Resolution Program (more on this later)
variable rates issues cont2
Variable Rates Issues, cont.
  • Decisions to informal complaints are mailed to the Complainant by BCS along with an “Intent to Appeal” form. 
  • If the Complainant timely sends this to the Secretary, the Secretary’s  Bureau then sends out a formal complaint form, and the complainant has 20 days to file a formal complaint appealing the BCS decision.  This is a requirement of 52 Pa. Code Section 56.172.
  • In FY 2013-14, the Secretary’s Bureau received 700 formal EGS-related complaints
case management
Case Management
  • For Fiscal Year 2013-14, OALJ had approximately 3,000 active cases/assignments
  • While ALJs make decisions based solely upon the record, the written product is subject to quality review
  • All Initial Decisions and Recommended Decisions are reviewed for legal and technical sufficiency before issuance
case management cont
Case Management, cont.
  • Decisions are then served by the Secretary’s Bureau on all parties of record
  • Internal and statutory deadlines control the timing of many decisions by an ALJ
  • A party may challenge the ALJ’s decision by filing Exceptions, which are then handled by the OSA which prepares an Order for consideration by the Commission at Public Meeting
informal complaint filed by consumer against utility company
Informal Complaint Filed by Consumer Against Utility Company

Utility/ consumer can appeal BCS decision through formal complaint process

BCS investigator rules on complaint

BCS initiates complaint; notifies utility

Utility response (30 days)

Consumer calls BCS

BCS accepts as inquiry (no criteria for complaint, however, contact with BCS is recorded)

formal complaint filed by consumer against utility company
Formal Complaint Filed by Consumer Against Utility Company

Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement intervenes in case

Secretary’s Bureau assigns it to the OALJ

Hearings are held and OALJ issues decision

Secretary’s Bureau receives filing

OSA drafts Order for Commission to vote on at Public Meeting

Secretary assigns it to Office of Special Assistants

Exceptions are filed with Secretary

Secretary’s Bureau issues order

Commission adopts OSA’s draft order

pre warm transfer initiative informal complaint resolution
Pre-Warm Transfer Initiative/Informal Complaint Resolution
  • Targeted major gas/electric utilities with highest case volume, but all companies other than suppliers may participate
  • Upon a case being opened by BCS intake staff, the utility is notified electronically within 15-30 minutes via existing BCS Data Exchange Process
pre warm transfer initiative informal complaint resolution cont
Pre-Warm Transfer Initiative/Informal Complaint Resolution, cont.
  • The company contacts the complainant in an effort to resolve the issue:
    • No restrictions. Company chooses which cases to contact
    • When BCS has the phone and software capability to support the function, the companies may choose to transition to a warm transfer via phone rather than calling the complainant after the case opening
pre warm transfer initiative informal complaint resolution cont1
Pre-Warm Transfer Initiative/Informal Complaint Resolution, cont.
  • BCS receives confirmation from the complainant that the matter is resolved to his/her satisfaction and BCS closes the case
  • Benefits to the company:
    • No utility report required, just an email or voice mail confirmation to close the case
    • The case will not be evaluated by an investigator for infractions, but may be randomly selected for compliance review for UCARE Report
pre warm transfer initiative informal complaint resolution cont2
Pre-Warm Transfer Initiative/Informal Complaint Resolution, cont.
  • Methods of contact:
    • Company contacts our voice message system with the complainant on the line and they record their resolution/satisfaction. The voice file is attached to the case and the case is closed.
    • An email confirmation may be sent to the complainant by the company, with a copy to the BCS service account. BCS generates its own email to the consumer and closes the case. If the BCS email rejects, a letter is sent to the complainant via U.S. postal service. (Fax and snail mail also accepted)
pre warm transfer initiative informal complaint resolution cont3
Pre-Warm Transfer Initiative/Informal Complaint Resolution – cont.
  • Benefits to BCS:
    • Faster case resolution
    • All processes are clerical and administrative in nature
    • Much of this is designated for automated routing to clerical support staff
    • Process routes activity away from inbound telephone traffic to lighten the load
    • Allows BCS Policy Staff to maintain its random case selection and evaluation to meet case analysis and UCARE reporting requirements
partnering with utilities
Partnering with Utilities
  • To promote:
    • Positive changes to customer processes
    • Promote customer satisfaction
  • Goal:
    • Satisfied resolution of complaint
    • Customer retention
final thoughts
Final Thoughts

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's a day you've had everything to do and you've done it.”― Margaret Thatcher