Below are the utilities under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission (“PSC”). The Division of the Public Advocate may intervene in cases filed at the PSC by any of these utility providers.
Don’t wait for a disconnection notice! If you have difficulty paying your utility bill, contact your service provider as soon as you are aware of a problem. In most cases, the utility is willing to work with you so you can avoid termination of service.
The PSC’s role in the regulation is limited by state and federal laws. The PSC may grant franchises to cable system operators providing service in unincorporated areas of the state, as well as terminate or revoke previously granted franchises. Rate regulation by the PSC is limited by Federal law to the basic service level and associated equipment and installation charges, and then the PSC must approve any proposed rates calculated in accordance with the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”). Finally, there is some general oversight by the PSC regarding quality of service by cable providers granted a franchise by the PSC.
Satellite providers are not regulated by the PSC.
In 1999, the energy industry in Delaware was restructured by the Delaware General Assembly. Under restructuring, consumers may chose an alternative energy supplier, and customers who do not switch are served by the distribution company under Standard Offer Service (SOS) Rates. The incumbent utility remains the distribution service provider, while transmission service is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Presently, Delmarva Power and Light is the sole electric distribution company (EDC) over which the PSC has jurisdiction.
The PSC does not regulate municipal electric providers. A number of years ago, Delaware Electric Cooperative members voted to be removed from PSC oversight; therefore, neither the PSC nor the DPA is able to assist members with issues or concerns.
Only the distribution of natural gas to Delaware consumers is regulated by the PSC, while the Federal Energy Regulator Commission regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas. The costs associated with the distribution of natural gas are recovered through base rates, while the cost of the gas (the commodity itself) is recovered on an annual basis as part of a fuel adjustment proceeding. Natural gas distribution companies may also recover unanticipated or extraordinary expenses through a tariff rider – for example, the ‘environmental rate rider’ recovers costs associated with the cleanup of old manufactured gas sites. The PSC also administers the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Program for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety which concerns the operation of both propane and natural gas distribution systems.
The PSC has no jurisdiction over propane or fuel oil providers or the prices they charge. Questions related to propane or fuel oil costs should be directed to the specific provider.
The PSC regulates most aspects of water distribution, including the rates that may be charged to customers and the granting of Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to extend or expand service territories. Matters such as water quality, however, are not regulated directly by the PSC.
In July 2001, a new mechanism – “Distribution System Improvement Charge” (or “DSIC Rate”) – was created by the General Assembly to allows PSC regulated water utilities to recover, between full rate proceedings, the depreciation expense and a pre-tax return on completed “eligible distribution system improvements.” This DSIC rate is capped at 5.0% of the total bill, may be adjusted twice annually, and is reset to zero upon the filing of a base rate case by a utility.
The Commission has no jurisdiction over municipalities or governmental authorities providing water services, with the exception of granting, under certain circumstances, CPCNs to those entities.
Long Neck Water Company
Subsidiary: Southern Shores Water Co. – serves Sea Colony Condominiums near Bethany Beach
Broadkiln Beach Water Co., Prime Hook Water Co., Wilkerson Water Co.
Cantwell Water Co. of Odessa
Pickering Beach Water Co.
Slaughter Beach Water Co.
In 2004, the PSC was granted regulatory oversight of non-governmental wastewater utilities having fifty or more customers in the aggregate, including the authority to issue and revoke Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCNs). The Commission has adopted rules, regulations and procedures necessary to implement this authority.
Municipalities, governmental agencies and wastewater authorities and districts, or wastewater utilities serving fewer than 50 customers in the aggregate are not regulated by the PSC. There may be additional wastewater utilities subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission; therefore, wastewater system operators, and customers of non-governmental community wastewater systems (not individual septic systems), should contact the PSC to help make a determination.
Other Regulated Entities:
Related Topics: cable, consumers, customers, Delaware Public Service Commission, Division of the Public Advocate, DPA, electric, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, natural gas, natural gas supply, PSC, Public Advocate, rates, wastewater, water