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Electric & Communication Safety

PUC's Responsibility


The Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) is responsible for overseeing the safe, reliable, and secure operation of electric power and thousands of miles of telecommunication lines located throughout Oregon. The PUC establishes and enforces regulations and promotes practices to ensure that the state’s right-of-ways, both underground and overhead power lines, are constructed, operated, and maintained in a safe and efficient manner. Issues of concern include joint use of utility poles and conduits, reliability of service, security, and incidents involving contact with electrical utility facilities.

To ensure the safety of the public and utility employees, the PUC:

  • Conducts scheduled field inspections of electrical distribution infrastructure.
  • Assists in resolving consumer electrical complaints requiring field investigations.
  • Participates in dockets that involve significant capital expenditures of the electrical system.
  • Analyzes the effectiveness of utilities’ responses to wide-scale outages
  • Reviews and analyzes incidents where there have been injuries, large outages, excessive property damage, or fatalities. 
  • Reviews the utilities’ Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR)-defined National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) inspection programs.
  • Performs electric utility vegetation audits.
  • Works in partnership with OJUA – an industry advisory group established to advise the PUC to address issues relating to utility poles. The OJUA is a resource that builds trust, cooperation and organization between the pole owners, users, and government entities to ensure safety.

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