Learn more about the groups working to support the CPUC mission.
CPUC History & Organizational Structure
In 1911, the CPUC was established by Constitutional Amendment as the Railroad Commission. In 1912, the Legislature passed the Public Utilities Act, expanding the Commission's regulatory authority to include natural gas, electric, telephone, and water companies as well as railroads and marine transportation companies. In 1946, the Commission was renamed the California Public Utilities Commission.
The Governor appoints the five Commissioners, who must be confirmed by the Senate, for six year staggered terms. The Governor appoints one of the five to serve as CPUC President. The CPUC employs economists, engineers, administrative law judges, accountants, lawyers, and safety and transportation specialists. The Office of Ratepayer Advocates is an independent arm of the CPUC that represents consumers in CPUC proceedings, pursuant to statute.
The CPUC has a Public Advisor who assists the public in participating in CPUC proceedings, and a unit that is charged with informally resolving consumer complaints.
The Administrative Law Judges process formal filings, facilitate alternative dispute resolution, conduct hearings, develop an adequate administrative record, prepare timely proposals for Commission consideration, and prepare and coordinate Commission meeting agendas.
The ALJ Division administers the Commission's Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.
The Communications Division assists the CPUC in developing and implementing policies to promote competition in all telecommunications markets and to address regulatory changes required by state and federal legislation.
The Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division (CPED) supports Commission activities in passenger transportation, energy, and communications industries. CPED licenses privately-owned passenger transportation carriers such as rideshares (Uber, Lyft), limousines, tour buses, airport shuttles and ferries; enforces citation programs against utilities and service providers; establishes and ensures compliance with rules and regulations for utility companies and transportation carriers; and investigates allegations of carrier misconduct and utility waste, fraud, and abuse. CPED also conducts field operations with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify illegal and noncompliant transportation carriers.
The Legal Division supports the General Counsel who is the attorney to the CPUC. The General Counsel, working with the legal staff, represents and appears for the People of the State of California and the CPUC in all actions and proceedings involving any question under the Public Utilities Code or under any order or act of the CPUC.
The News and Outreach Office assists customers with utility complaints and provides information and assistance to the media, local governments and community organizations, the public, and other stakeholders about the CPUC's many pioneering and innovative programs, policies, and proceedings.
The Office of Governmental Affairs (OGA) represents the CPUC before the State Legislature and Executive Branch and oversees representation of the CPUC and State of California before the United States Congress and federal agencies.
The Office of Internal Audit Services (IAS) provides independent, objective assurance and advisory services designed to add value and improve the CPUC's operations, accountability, and transparency. The Chief Internal Auditor reports to the Commissioners, through the Audit Committee, and under general direction of the President. IAS operates under the internal audit charter approved by the Audit Committee on June 27, 2019.
The Public Advocates Office participates in CPUC proceedings, workshops, and other forums with significant dollar impacts on consumers that address issues of consumer protection, development of fair rules for competition or other significant policy issues, and that address service quality, rate levels, and rate of return. The Public Advocates' mission, as defined by Senate Bill 960 in 1996 and embodied in Public Utilities Code Section 309.5, is to "obtain the lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels."
Please visit the Public Advocates Office at www.publicadvocates.cpuc.ca.gov.
The Safety and Enforcement Division (SED) has safety oversight of electric and communications facilities, natural gas and propane gas systems. SED advocates for public safety through incident investigations and audits, development of proposed new safety rules, and taking enforcement actions to prevent violations of natural gas, electric, and telecommunications General Orders and statutory requirements. SED coordinates with California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and CALFIRE during wildfires, Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) events and other emergencies. The Division also provides safety alerts and awareness to Commissioners and makes recommendations in CPUC safety rulemakings and investigation cases. SED has the authority to issue citations with penalties against utility operators for violations of public utility safety codes and requirements
The Safety Policy Division (SPD) provides advisory support to the CPUC on matters of utility safety policies. Safety is a high priority and SPD’s advice is used to enhance the CPUC’s policymaking capabilities. SPD’s focus includes safety-related policy development, analysis, and implementation of regulations by the CPUC affecting electric, gas, telecommunications, water, and transportation utilities.
The Utility Audits, Risk and Compliance Division (UARCD) encompasses two branches: Utility Audits Branch (UAB) and Risk and Compliance Branch (RCB). The UAB performs audits on regulated utilities to ensure utilities implement ratepayer-funded programs in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and CPUC directives. The RCB manages the enterprise risk system by identifying, measuring, reporting, and monitoring risk that affect CPUC’s objectives.
The Wildfire Safety Division (WSD)’s primary directive is to evaluate and approve or deny electrical corporations’ Wildfire Mitigation Plans in accordance with Public Utilities Code Section 8386 et. seq in order to ensure that the electrical utilities are taking effective actions to reduce utility-related wildfire risk. In addition, the Wildfire Safety Division will actively audit and evaluate IOU compliance with Wildfire Mitigation Plans, promptly addressing faults, including Public Safety Power Shutoff protocols, and is responsible for issuing safety certifications to the electrical corporations if they have satisfied several requirements. The Wildfire Safety Division receives and incorporates guidance from the Wildfire Safety Advisory Board.
As of July 1, 2021 the Wildfire Safety Division has transitioned to the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety, a new department under the California Natural Resources Agency. Please find them at their new website energysafety.ca.gov.
- Administrative Law Judges
- Administrative Services
- Communications Division
- Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division
- Energy Division
- Executive Office
- Legal Division
- News and Outreach Office
- Office of Governmental Affairs
- Office of Internal Audit Services
- Public Advocates Office
- Rail Safety Division
- Safety and Enforcement Division
- Safety Policy Division
- Utility Audits Risk and Compliance Division
- Water Division
- Wildfire Safety Division