Learn About the PUC
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulates three investor-owned electric utilities (Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, and Idaho Power), as well as three investor-owned natural gas utilities (Avista, Cascade Natural, and NW Natural), telephone providers (landline only), and a portion of the state’s 3,500 water utilities. The PUC does not regulate cellphone or internet service providers. The PUC also enforces electric and natural gas safety standards and handles utility-related dispute resolution on behalf of Oregon residents. In the event of an emergency, the PUC is part of the Oregon Emergency Response System to coordinate and manage state resources.
General PUC Information
PUC Programs to Ensure Oregonians have Access to Adequate, Affordable Utility Service
The Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP)
- Loans specialized communications equipment at no cost with no income guidelines to eligible Oregon residents with a disability in hearing, vision, speech, mobility, or cognition. View the brochure
for more information.
Oregon Lifeline Program – A federal and state funded program that provides a monthly discount on phone or broadband service for qualifying low-income Oregon households. View the English or Spanish brochures for more information.
– Free service that provides full telephone accessibility to people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, and speech disabled. Learn more.
Low Income Energy Rates
House Bill 2475 (2021) provided the PUC new authority to set differentiated rates for low income customers As of August 2022, the PUC has approved interim differential rates for the following energy utilities:
The PUC is currently working with Idaho Power on options for the company to provide interim low income relief to the Oregon portion of its service territory.
Utility Safety Inspections
The PUC’s Safety Division has field audit staff that inspects utility lines and facilities, develops safety policies and regulations, conducts audits, investigates incidents, and educates utility operators to help ensure compliance with Pipeline Hazardous Materials & Safety Administration (PHMSA), National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), and the PUC's established safety regulations.
The PUC annually evaluates the vegetation management programs for investor-owned electric utilities in Oregon for compliance with PUC regulations. Every three years the PUC also audits the vegetation management programs of the consumer-owned utilities (not regulated by the PUC) as well.
The PUC is part of the Oregon Emergency Response System with the Office of Emergency Management and shares responsibility for two Emergency Support Functions (ESFs).
Senate Bill 978 (2021) requires all electric utilities in Oregon to develop wildfire protection plans to help prevent and mitigate wildfire risk. The PUC reviews and approves plans for Oregon’s three investor-owned utilities (PacifiCorp, PGE, and Idaho Power). Oregon’s 38 consumer-owned utilities (Cooperatives, Peoples’ Utility Districts, and Municipalities) file plans for review by their own governing authorities, and submit copies of the approved plans to the PUC.
Energy Trust of Oregon
In 2007, the legislature passes SB 838 to fund the acquisition by Energy Trust of more low-cost electricity, energy efficiency opportunities. The PUC oversees Energy Trust operations as required by law and a 2005 grant agreement. View the links below for more details about the Energy Trust of Oregon: