What to Expect at Public Participation Hearings

Public Participation Hearings (PPHs) are held to give the public a chance to learn about, or express their opinions on, issues before the California Public Utilities Commission(CPUC). For example, when a utility asks to increase rates or to construct a power plant, PPHs will be held in the area that may be impacted by the request.

PPHs are free and open to the public. No advance reservation or sign ups are necessary.

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presides over the PPH, and sometimes a CPUC Commissioner may attend.  At the beginning of the PPH, the ALJ will provide an overview of the CPUC hearing process.  If the applicant (the utility in most cases) is present, the ALJ may ask them to describe their proposal to the audience.


CPUC's Public Advisor's Office facilitates PPHs. They

  • Sign-up people who wish to speak;
  • Answer questions about the CPUC;
  • Provide information on how to receive documents related to a proceeding, and/or participate in the formal proceeding;
  • Explain how and where to provide written comments; and
  • Answer other related questions.


If you need a language interpreter, and/or American Sign Language interpreter, please send a request to the Public Advisor's Office at least five business days before the PPH.  The CPUC will provide these services for free to whomever needs them.

If a large number of people sign-up to speak, the ALJ may set a time limit in order to allow everyone a chance to be heard.

There will be a CPUC court reporter present to record your comments for the official record.  

Elected officials attending the PPH are allowed to speak first. 

Public participants may not bring to PPHs signs larger than 8.5 in x 11 in, or signs of any size with supports or handles (wood, metal, etc.)

On occasion, no one, or only few people, attend PPHs.  In such cases, the ALJ may end the PPH after waiting a short period of time.  We recommend you arrive at least 15 minutes before the PPH starts.


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