Complaint Handling Procedures for: Utility Practices/Procedures Customer Billings Disconnections of Accounts Electric Powerline Extensions Gas Mains Third-Party Billings The Commission's Mandate The British Columbia Utilities Commission is an independent provincial agency set up to regulate energy utilities in the province (except for municipally owned utilities) which distribute and sell electricity and gas. Types of Complaints The Commission receives complaints from utility customers who are unable to resolve disputes with their respective utilities on their own. The Commission is available to assist the public in the resolution of complaints with utilities in the following areas: Utility Practices/Procedures Customer Billings Disonections of Accounts Mains/Powerline Extensions Third-Party Billings Making a Complaint Prior to accepting a complaint, the Commission must be satisfied that the customer has made a serious attempt to settle the dispute with the utility. While many complaints are successfully resolved between the customer and the utility, the Commission is available to assist in the resolution of unresolved disputes. Ideally the complaint to the Commission should be made in writing and should provide the following information: - name of the complainant; - complainant's address; - utility account number (optional); - the key elements of the dispute; - names of utility staff/officials contacted; - dates contacts were made; and - reasons, from the customer's viewpoint, why the problem was not resolved. In situations where disconnection of service is likely or where a complaint requires immediate action, a customer can contact the Commission at (604) 660-4700. In order to provide easy access to customers located outside the Lower Mainland, the Commission has a B.C. Toll-free number: 1-800-663-1385. Role of the Ombudsman If a customer is not satisfied with the Commission's handling of a complaint, he or she may contact the Ombudsman's Office to review the process used. The Ombudsman has the authority to review the processes used by the Commission, including the process for resolving complaints. The Ombudsman generally holds the power to recommend reconsideration of a matter rather than to order change. Commission Contact For further information please contact the Commission Secretary: Robert J. Pellatt, Commission Secretary B.C. Utilities Commission Box 250, 900 Howe Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3 Telephone (604) 660-4700 Facsimile (604) 660-1102 B.C. Toll-Free 1-800-663-1385 The following brochures are also available from the Commission upon request: - An Introduction to the B.C. Utilities Commission - Introduction to the Public Hearing Process A library of current documentation is also maintained at the Commission s office. Library hours are as follows: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.