UTC receives plenty of utilities complaints

Staff Writer

In 2017, customers of regulated energy companies filed more complaints with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission than those of any other regulated industry, with customers of landline telephone companies following close behind.
In its annual analysis of consumer complaints, the UTC found almost half of the 993 complaints opened in 2017 were against regulated energy companies.
Regulated companies issued more than $82,000 in bill credits and refunds to customers as a result of those complaint investigations.
Consumers filed 474 complaints against regulated electric and natural gas companies, which led to more than $27,065 in bill credits or refunds. The complaints largely involved disputed bills, disconnect threats, customer service, and quality of service.
Of the 370 complaints against telephone companies, customers received $50,450 in bill credits or refunds. The complaints mostly involved disputed bills, quality of service, customer service, and disconnections.
Regulated water companies, solid waste companies, moving companies, and airport shuttles combined accounted for 124 complaints in 2017. Customers of these companies received $4,500 in refunds or credits.
In addition to resolving complaints, the UTC’s Consumer Protection Help Line received over 6,600 phone calls and 905 written letters and emails from the public. Staff helped consumers find utility assistance, provided information on consumer rights and assisted consumers in locating permitted residential moving companies.
The UTC regulates the rates and services of telecommunications companies, investor-owned electric utilities, natural gas and water companies, garbage-collection haulers, residential moving and charter-bus companies, and commercial ferries. The UTC protects consumers by ensuring that utility and transportation services are fairly priced, available, reliable and safe.
Consumers can file a complaint against a regulated company by calling the Consumer Protection Help Line at 1-888-333-WUTC, e-mailing consumer@utc.wa.gov or visiting www.utc.wa.gov/fileacomplaint.

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