The mission of the Office of the People's Counsel ("OPC" or "Office") is to advocate for the provision of safe and reliable quality utility service and equitable treatment at rates that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory; assist individual consumers in disputes with utility providers; provide technical assistance, education and outreach to consumers and ratepayers, community groups, associations and the Consumer Utility Board; and provide legislative analysis and information to the Council of the District of Columbia on matters relating to utilities. The Office’s mission further includes consideration of the District’s economy and promotion of the environmental sustainability of the District. Specifically, OPC's mission includes:
- Advocating on behalf of District consumers in adjudicatory and regulatory proceedings before the DC Public Service Commission, federal agencies and courts;
- Representing District consumers in individual disputes involving gas, electric and telephone companies providing residential service in the District of Columbia;
- Educating consumers about ongoing and emerging utility issues;
- Collaborating and forming alliances with District agencies and other stakeholders involved in the utility regulatory process;
- Informing and advising District policy makers, including the Executive Office of the Mayor and the District Council, of emerging utility issues affecting their constituents;
- Advising the District Council on the need for legislative action to address consumer-based utility issues;
- Serving as a statutory member on the Sustainable Energy Utility Advisory Board to assist in the development of a city-wide sustainable energy policy; and
- Providing consultative services and technical assistance to utility consumers to facilitate their participation in utility proceedings and to ensure that their interests are adequately represented in these proceedings.
Summary of Services
OPC is a party to all utility-related proceedings before the DC Public Service Commission and represents the interests of District ratepayers before local and federal regulatory agencies and courts. The Office assists individual consumers in disputes with utility companies about billing or services and provides consumer education and outreach to community groups and associations on emerging issues impacting the quality, reliability and affordability of their utility services and associated environmental issues. The Office provides technical assistance to consumers, the Consumer Utility Board (CUB) as well as other District community groups. OPC also provides legislative analysis for, assistance to, and testimony before, the District Council on utility matters.