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Celebrating More than 150 Years of History

Old image of Oregon damThe first act of regulating a public utility was enacted by the Provincial Government of the Oregon Territory in 1843, while the first instance of utility regulation by a commission occurred in 1876 at the recommendation of Governor L.G. Grover. In 1907, the Railroad Commission was created with an elected three-member board. Their jurisdiction extended to utilities and transportation regulation with the “Public Utility Act of 1911.” 

Through the years, the number of commissioners and regulated jurisdictions continued to evolve. In 1986, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure finalizing a three person, Governor-appointed Commission, and changed the name to the Public Utility Commission of Oregon. In the mid-90s the regulation of motor transportation and rail safety was transferred to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Today, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulates Oregon investor-owned electric, natural gas, and telephone utilities, as well as select water companies. The agency balances the needs of consumers and utilities during a time when the utility industry is evolving with new technologies and resources.