• 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.

  • CPUC Divisions

    Our Executive Office ensures that procedural matters are handled in a timely manner and is also responsible for efficient internal operations.

    The News and Outreach office raises the awareness of the CPUC by informing and educating the media and the public about the CPUC's services, policies, and decisions.

    The Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division (CPED) serves as the first line of defense for California utility customers. CPED collects and resolves consumer complaints, establishes and enforces rules and regulations for transportation carriers, and investigates allegations of utility waste, fraud, and abuse.

    The Office of Governmental Affairs 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 Energy Division assists Commission activities in the electricity, natural gas, steam, and petroleum pipeline industries.

    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 Safety and Enforcement Division has safety oversight of electric and communications facilities, natural gas and propane gas systems, railroads, light rail transit systems, and highway/rail crossings, licensing, consumer protection, and safety oversight of motor carriers of passengers, household goods, and water vessels, and regulatory oversight of hot air balloons and some air carriers.

    The Division of Water & Audits supports the CPUC by investigating water and sewer system service quality issues and analyzing and processing utility rate change requests.

    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 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.

    Administrative Services provides finance, facilities, contracts, and other administrative functions to the entire CPUC. 

    The Internal Audit Unit performs audits of the CPUC's internal controls and management, and provides consulting services as requested to assist CPUC operations. Internal Audit reports directly to the CPUC through its Finance and Administration Committee, and operates under a charter approved by the CPUC on January 11, 2018.

    The Office of the Safety Advocate (OSA) is the CPUC’s newest Division, established in Fall 2016 pursuant to legislation to “advocate for the continuous, cost-effective improvement of the safety management and safety performance of public utilities.” OSA will participate in CPUC proceedings as an advocate on utility safety concerns to inform the official record on safety related risks and provide transparency of safety information.  OSA will also recommend improvements to the CPUC’s safety management policies, procedures, and safety culture.

    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." 

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