The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates

Resolution 2005-04


Calling upon  state regulatory authorities to establish regular reporting requirements for utilities on service quality and to establish minimum performance standards with appropriate enforcement provisions so that adequate, reliable, and safe service is achieved and maintained; and

Whereas, adequate service quality from providers of gas, electric, water, and telecommunications services is essential to everyday life and affects almost every function of our society, and service inadequacies and interruptions frustrate or disrupt normal functions; and

Whereas, adequate service quality from such providers is also vital to our Nation’s economy, our position in the global economy and to national security;

Whereas, gas, electric, water, and telecommunications service providers have a duty to provide service that is adequate, reliable, and safe; and

Whereas, consumers expect and should receive service that is consistently adequate, reliable, and safe; and

Whereas, utility industry developments over the past decade such as mergers, diversification,  and changing economic conditions have encouraged utilities to cut costs, reduce staffs and outsource some utility operating functions, and such efforts to economize may have led to deterioration of service quality; and

Whereas, a gradual decline in performance may not be detected for some time if regulators do not keep informed as to service quality through regular monitoring; and

Whereas, by keeping informed, regulators are better able to recognize signs of deterioration and inadequacies so that they can take corrective action to avert major service quality problems that would otherwise be frustrating and disruptive to consumers; and

Whereas, standardized reporting requirements and regular reporting are necessary for regulators to be able to monitor service quality and changes in performance; and

Whereas,  reports should address performance areas such as customer relations and billing (e.g.,  responsiveness of customer call centers, responsiveness to consumer complaints, timeliness of installations and repairs, and accuracy and frequency of billing and meter reading) and operating performance (e.g., frequency and duration of outages, and responsiveness to safety calls); and

Whereas, reporting requirements should be carefully designed to yield accurate data that is uniform and consistent; and

Whereas, in addition to keeping informed about service quality, regulators should establish  measurable performance standards that must be met for providers to achieve and maintain a minimum quality of service, to the extent that quality of service is measurable, so that expectations are clear and problems are minimized; and

Whereas, performance standards should be supported by appropriate enforcement provisions; and

Whereas, service quality data and information should be available to the public to encourage companies to achieve good performance results,  to assure that regulation is open and effective and to assist consumers who must choose among competitive providers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NASUCA calls upon state regulatory authorities to  establish regular service quality reporting requirements applicable to gas, electric, water, and telecommunications service providers, and to establish minimum performance standards with appropriate enforcement provisions to monitor and promote improvement toward a consistently high level of service quality for their gas, electric, water, and telecommunications customers.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NASUCA authorizes its Standing Committees to develop specific positions and to take appropriate actions consistent with the terms of this resolution to secure its implementation, with the approval of the Executive Committee of NASUCA.  The Standing Committees or the Executive Committee shall notify the membership of any action taken pursuant to this resolution.

Submitted by:

Michael D. Chrysler, Chair, Consumer Protection Committee

June 12, 2005

Approved by NASUCA:

Place: New Orleans, LA

Date: June 14, 2005