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Department of Public Service

Guide to Handling Complaints about Your Regulated Utility Service

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC or Commission) has produced this guide to advise you about its complaint handling process. The information is designed to help you understand how to resolve an issue or complaint you may have with your electric, natural gas, telephone, cable television or water company.

Complaint Handling with the NYS Public Service Commission

If you have a complaint, first try to resolve it with your utility. If you are unable to get satisfactory help, the PSC has staff that will assist you by investigating your complaint.

The Commission’s complaint process involves three levels of investigation:
1. The initial complaint
2. The informal hearing or review
3. An appeal to the Commission

1. Initial Complaint Process

File your complaint by Internet, telephone, letter. In an effort to ensure that utilities fulfill their obligation to provide effective customer service, we will first ask the utility to contact you and resolve your concerns. If the utility does not contact you with its initial acknowledgement, does not provide its response to you within two weeks or the matter remains unresolved after you have received the response, you should contact us and we will investigate the matter and report our findings to you.

The Office of Consumer Services will conduct a full investigation of your complaint and notify you in writing or by telephone of the decision, the reasons for the decision and the action you may take. While your complaint is being investigated by the Commission staff, you must pay the portion of your bill that is not in dispute or your service may be terminated by the utility.

2. Informal Hearing or Review

If you believe the initial decision is wrong, you can request an informal hearing or informal review. This request should be in writing or by telephone and made within 15 days of the initial decision.

After the request is reviewed, you will receive a letter stating when and where the informal hearing will be held. You do not have to be present at the informal review. You will be asked to bring certain documents to the informal hearing or send them to the informal reviewer. You and/or a representative of your choice may participate in either the informal hearing or review process. If you and the utility are unable to settle your complaint, the hearing officer or reviewer will make a decision on your complaint and notify you in writing of the decision.

3. Appeal to the Commission

If you believe that the informal hearing officer’s or reviewer’s decision was wrong, you can appeal it within 15 days of the decision to the Commission.

Your written appeal must contend that there was an error by the hearing officer or reviewer that affected the decision or that evidence not previously available would affect the decision. The Commission will make a decision on the appeal and may uphold, change, reject, or return the decision to the hearing officer or reviewer for further consideration, or may order further proceedings. You will be notified in writing of the Commission’s decision.

If you have an unresolved complaint, you may file it at

If you’re having difficulty resolving a dispute with your regulated energy, telephone, cable television or water company, the Public Service Commission staff is available to assist you.

Call the Toll-Free Complaint Numbers:
Helpline (for complaints/inquiries)

8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday For complaints/inquiries regarding billing or service with your electric, gas, telephone, cable television or water company.

Hotline (for gas/electric shutoffs)

7:30 am to 7:30 pm, Monday through Friday If you are threatened with a residential electric or gas service shut-off.

Consumers with hearing or speech impairment can contact the PSC through the New York State Relay Service by dialing 711.

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