HOW TO FILE A FORMAL COMPLAINT by otj26205

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									• The Administrative Law Judge may ask the         What happens if I don’t need a                      Where can I get a copy of those
  Parties to file written briefs about the         hearing?                                            rules?
   evidence presented at the hearing and why
                                                   If a hearing is not required because there is no    A complete set of rules is available on the
  the ruling should be in your favor.
                                                   disagreement about the facts of the case, the       PUC’s web site at www.puc.state.tx.us. From
• The Administrative Law Judge makes a             PUC’s Administrative Law Judge may ask the          the site map, go to “Rules and Laws,” then
  recommendation, called a Proposal for            Parties to file briefs about whether the            “Procedural Rules.”
  Decision, to the PUC Commissioners.              Commission should grant the relief you are          In addition, you may purchase copies of
  Parties who disagree with the                    requesting. The Commission will then                Commission rules from Central Records (call
  Administrative Law Judge’s                       consider a proposed order in Open Meeting.          512-936-7180), or you may come to the PUC
  recommendation may file pleadings called                                                             offices to view the rules.
  exceptions.
                                                             IMPORTANT                                 Do I need to include a complaint
• The Commissioners discuss the case at a
  public meeting and decide if the                          PROCEDURAL                                 number when I file documents with                    HOW TO FILE
  complainant has met his/her burden of                                                                the PUC?
  proof. You are not required to attend the                INFORMATION
                                                                                                       When you first file your Formal Complaint,
                                                                                                                                                             A FORMAL
  public meeting, but are welcome to attend.
  The Commissioners usually do not hear
  public comment at the meeting, but may
                                                   Where do I send documents about
                                                   my Formal Complaint?
                                                                                                       include the complaint number used during the
                                                                                                       Informal Complaint process. After your first
                                                                                                                                                            COMPLAINT
  ask questions.                                   Unless you are instructed otherwise by an           filing of documents for the Formal Complaint,
                                                                                                                                                                                      LIT Y C O M
                                                   Administrative Law Judge, send documents to         your case will be assigned a docket number,                               TI




                                                                                                                                                                           U




                                                                                                                                                                                                M
• The decision made by the Commissioners




                                                                                                                                                                    P U B LI C
                                                                                                       which is sometimes called a control number.




                                                                                                                                                                                                    IS S I
                                                   the PUC at the following address:




                                                                                                                                                                                                      ON
  is called a Final Order. Parties who are
  dissatisfied with the PUC’s decision may             Public Utility Commission of Texas              Always include the docket number on all                                   OF
                                                                                                                                                                                       TEXAS

  file motions for rehearing, asking the               Central Records                                 filings with the PUC. The PUC receives
  Commissioners to reconsider their                    Attn: Filing Clerk                              hundreds of filings each week, so it is               Public Utility Commission
  decision.                                            1701 N. Congress Avenue                         important to provide the number so your                1701 N. Congress Ave.
                                                                                                       documents can be filed correctly. Each time                P.O. Box 13326
                                                       P.O. Box 13326                                                                                         Austin, TX 78711-3326
• After the Commissioners rule on the                                                                  you file a document, you must submit a total
                                                       Austin, TX 78711-3326                                                                                      1-888-782-8477
  motion for rehearing, Parties have the                                                               of 11 sets to Central Records (10 copies plus
                                                   Remember to include the docket number on                                                                     www.puc.state.tx.us
  right to appeal the decision to district court                                                       the original).
  in Travis County.                                all documents you submit.

                                                   Am I required to follow special                     The information in this brochure is not intended
                                                   rules?                                              to provide a complete and comprehensive guide to
                                                   You will be required to follow certain              pursuing formal complaints at the Public Utility
                                                   procedural rules if you file a formal complaint.    Commission and the rights and duties of com-
                                                                                                       plainants before the Public Utility Commission.
                                                                                                       This brochure is not a substitute for legal advice
                                                                                                       or the Commission’s rules.
                                                                                                                                              May 2003


    CALL TOLL FREE 1-888-782-8477 (TTY 512-936-7136)                                            LOG ON TO WWW.PUC.STATE.TX.US
                                                    • Your name, address, telephone number and          Do I need to hire an attorney?                        Next, the PUC will determine whether you and
            FILING A                                  facsimile transmission number (if a fax                                                                 the service provider disagree about the facts, that
                                                                                                        You are not required to have an attorney to par-
           COMPLAINT                                  number is available). Note: any person
                                                                                                        ticipate in a PUC proceeding. However, you may
                                                                                                                                                              is, what happened to cause you to file your
                                                      representing you must provide the same                                                                  complaint. If there are no factual disputes, no
Who may file a formal                                                                                   want to hire an attorney to help you present your
                                                      information.                                                                                            hearing is required and the case can be decided
complaint at the PUC?                                                                                   case to the PUC.
                                                    • You must submit a total of 11 sets of                                                                   based on the applicable law and regulations.
If you are a customer of an electric or               documents (10 copies plus the original)           Will the PUC staff help me?                           If there are factual disputes, the PUC will refer
telecommunications service provider who filed         when you file your formal complaint as well                                                             the case to the State Office of Administrative
an informal complaint with the Public Utility         as each time you file a document.                 An Administrative Law Judge and a PUC Staff
                                                                                                                                                              Hearings (SOAH) for a hearing
Commission (PUC) and you are not satisfied                                                              Attorney will be assigned to your complaint.
                                                    • A description of the facts leading to the
with the resolution, you may file a formal                                                                                                                    What happens if a hearing is required?
complaint at the PUC.                                 complaint including the amount in                 The Staff Attorney’s job is to represent the public
                                                      controversy, if any.                              interest. He or she may be able to answer             The hearing is a proceeding, much like a trial.
If your complaint is with your local wires                                                              questions about PUC rules and procedures, but         Testimony is presented, and the Administrative
company and you reside within the city limits,      • A statement of the relief that you are
                                                      seeking.                                          the Staff Attorney will not represent you             Law Judge makes a recommendation to the PUC
you must first submit your complaint to the                                                             individually, and may ultimately take a position
city. The local wires company is the company                                                                                                                  on whether the complainant has met his/her
                                                    • The name of the electric provider or              adverse to yours.
that transmits and delivers electricity to a                                                                                                                  burden of proof to show that the utility or other
                                                      telecommunications utility or other person
customer’s home or business along the poles and                                                         Do not contact the Administrative Law Judge, the      entity acted in violation of any law, order, rule or
                                                      against whom you have a complaint.
wires (formerly a local electric utility). This                                                         Division Director of the Policy Development           regulation administered by the PUC.
company is still responsible for maintenance        • If your complaint is with a local wires           Division, the Commissioners or their staff by         Usually, the participants in a complaint case are
and repair of these poles and wires. You may file     company, a statement indicating if the            mail, telephone or email. The law does not allow      the complainant, the service provider and the
a formal complaint with the PUC after the city        complaint relates to service that you are
has reviewed your complaint or after 30 days if                                                         them to discuss pending cases with a Party. Their     Commission staff. These participants are referred
                                                      receiving within the limits of a city.            recommendations and decisions must be based on        to as Parties.
the city does not act.
                                                    • If you are seeking relief against a local wires   the evidence, written pleadings and arguments         The basic steps of the hearing process are as
Is it always necessary to file an                     company within the limits of a city, a            that are formally presented in the case.              follows:
informal complaint first?                             description of any complaint proceedings                                                                • An Administrative Law Judge will set a
                                                      conducted by the city. Also include the
In almost all cases, yes. The informal process is     outcome of those proceedings.
                                                                                                               THE COMPLAINT                                      schedule for the case. A prehearing conference
much easier for customers than pursuing a                                                                                                                         in Austin may be held for this purpose or to
formal complaint. The PUC is able to help           • A statement of whether you have attempted                   PROCESS                                         address other preliminary matters.
most customers who have problems by using             informal resolution through the Commission                                                              • The Parties will have the opportunity to
                                                      staff. Include the date on which the
                                                                                                        What can I expect to happen after my
the informal process.                                                                                                                                             conduct discovery, that is, obtain information
                                                      informal resolution concluded, or indicate
                                                                                                        complaint is filed?
                                                                                                                                                                  about the case from each other.
                                                       if the time for attempting an informal           The PUC will first determine whether your
What information do I need to                                                                           requested relief is something that the PUC can
                                                                                                                                                              • The Administrative Law Judge may require
                                                      resolution has passed.                                                                                      the Parties to file written testimony before the
include with my formal                                                                                  order. The PUC can order corrective action on a
complaint?                                                                                                                                                        date of the hearing.
                                                                                                        variety of complaints including adjustments to a
                                                                                                                                                              • A hearing is held in Austin, and witnesses
To file a formal complaint, you must file the                                                           customer’s bill. However, the Commission does
                                                                                                                                                                  must be present to testify and be cross-
following information with the PUC’s Central                                                            not have the authority to award monetary
                                                                                                                                                                  examined.
Records Division.                                                                                       damages.


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