General Information

 
The Consumer Protection & Information Section assists consumers resolve disputes with their utility service providers. 

To file a complaint, please use the RCA's online complaint portal or download the Informal Complaint Form.  A consumer protection and information officer will contact you within two business days upon receipt of your complaint.  If you have an urgent matter (e.g., disconnection of power), please contact us immediately.

RCA Consumer Protection & Information Section
Tel. No. (907) 276-6222
1-800-390-2782 (outside Anchorage)
Fax: (907) 276-0160
TTY/Alaska Relay: 7-1-1 or 1-800-770-8973

Please NOTE:
If your service has been disconnected for non-payment of electric or natural gas service, please contact the Alaska 2-1-1, which is a one-stop resource for finding help in your community.  However, if you feel that your service was wrongfully disconnected by the utility, please contact us immediately.

If your dispute relates to your local landline or instate long distance service, our ability to investigate your complaint may be limited due to  Senate Bill 83, which repeals a number of Alaska telecom laws and becomes effective November 27, 2019. 

Additionally, due to federal preemption, the RCA does not regulate cable, internet, or wireless services. 

If the RCA Consumer Protection and Information Section is unable to assist with your dispute, you may contact:

The Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-CALL-FCC. 

The Attorney General whose office investigates unfair or deceptive business practices and files legal actions on behalf of the State of Alaska to stop such practices.  You may visit the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit's website to determine if your complaint against a telecommunications provider falls under the Attorney General's jurisdiction.

The Better Business Bureau, Alaska Office.

For general questions about your rights and responsibilities, as well as the terms and conditions of regulated public utilities, please review the consumer factsheets, frequently asked questions, and current effective tariffs found under the Resources By Utility Type as shown below.



(Note: These average utility rates are as of June 30 each year and they do not encompass every fuel surcharge change or every rate change.)


Review Tariffs through this link: Certificated Public Utilities
(Note: By law, AS 42.05.371, regulated public utilities must abide under the rates, terms, and conditions provided in their current approved tariff.  Click on the certificate number to access the tariff.)

(A publication of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners)

Preventing Underground Utility Damages: Call Before You Dig

MEDIA INQUIRIES

The RCA is a quasi-judicial agency that regulates utilities and pipeline carriers in the State of Alaska.

Pursuant to 3 AAC 48.020(g), a commissioner, presiding officer, or commission staff member may not, except upon reasonable notice and opportunity for all parties to participate, communicate with a party, and other affected persons, about any issue of fact, law, or policy in a pending adjudicatory proceeding.

If you are media representative and have a question about a pending proceeding, please review the record of the proceeding before contacting the agency's media liaison.  If you need additional assistance, please contact Ms. Grace Salazar at (907) 276-6222.

Navigating the RCA Website

The RCA's website contains comprehensive information regarding matters of pending and closed dockets, utility tariffs, statutes, rules and regulations.  Researching a specific case (if the docket number is known) is straightforward and can be done by typing the docket number in the "Find a Matter" search box.  RCA docket files contain all the documents associated with that case.  For example, a rate case often involves several interested parties who file comments, exhibits, and testimony. 

When searching for all matters about a specific utility company, simply enter the company name in the "Find an Entity" search box.  When researching a specific topic within a number of cases, such as "ENSTAR Natural Gas Company" or "ENSTAR", there is the Advanced Search feature under the RCA Library tab, which accepts Boolean connectors and will direct you to relevant cases. 

When searching for all open dockets, please use these links:

All Open Utility Dockets

All Open Pipeline Dockets

All Open Tariff Matters 

All Open Rule-Making Docket 

Timelines for RCA decisions on any docketed matters are set out in AS 42.05.175.

Other consumer assistance agencies and services

Note:  The information listed below may not be comprehensive and does not constitute an endorsement or approval, but is intended to provide a starting point for consumer information.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): Learn About Drinking Water

(An independent corporation governed by a board of directors with the mission to "reduce the cost of energy in Alaska.")

(A subsidiary of Homer Electric Association, Inc.)

(AHFC provides programs to help homeowners recoup their expenses in making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.)

(Alaska Relay is a free service for people with hearing or speech loss to communicate with other individuals or agencies.)

(Information on heating system selection, replacement and estimating energy savings.)

(Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money through energy efficiency.)

(FCC regulates interstate telecommunications services.  Alaskan consumers may contact the FCC for assistance on Internet, cable, and cellular services.)

(FERC regulates interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil.)

(Helps offset the cost of home heating for eligible Alaskans.)

(The AG Consumer Protection Unit investigates unfair or deceptive business practices and files legal actions on behalf of the State of Alaska to stop such practices.)

(RAPA advocates on behalf of the public interest in utility and pipeline matters that come before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.)

(An organization formed to provide a forum and structure for the six interconnected Railbelt electric utilities in Alaska.)


Other:

(A consumer advocacy organization.)

(BBB helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses, and those that aren't, more than 4 million BBB business reviews.)


(An organization that advoicates for clean renewable energy.)

For additional government and industry resources, visit this link.


GLOSSARY OF UTILITY-RELATED TERMS
E911: An abbreviated dialing code that directs emergency calls to police, fire, and emergency services.

2-1-1: An abbreviated dialing code that directs callers to health and human services information and referral providers.

ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution): ADR refers to any means of settling disputes, usually presided by a hearing examiner, administrative law judge, mediator or an arbitrator.

AUSF (Alaska Universal Service Fund): This local charge is similar to the Federal Universal Service Fund. The Alaska USF provides support for three different programs: Lifeline & Link Up, DEM Weighting and Public Interest Pay Telephone. Lifeline helps reduce the local monthly charge for low-income customers. DEM Weighting provides support to certain small local exchange companies with high switching costs. The PIPT program supports the cost of pay telephones in locations where they are needed for health, safety and public welfare and would not otherwise exists as a result of the operation of competitive market.

Broadband: A term that refers to the ability to transmit data at high rates of speed (45Mb/s and above). Usually associated with the transmission of data, multimedia audio and video (such as high-speed Internet access), it may also be part of private networks. See RCA's broadband report to the legislature in Docket I-17-004.

Ccf: One hundred cubic feet; a unit used to measure natural gas usage.

CIAC (Contribution-in-Aid-of-Construction): A term used in utility line extensions.

CINGSA (Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska): Alaska's first commercial natural gas storage facility.

CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier): A local telephone company that competes with the incumbent local exchange carrier (or ILEC, see below) for the local telephone business of customers.

COPA (Cost of Power Adjustment):  A mechanism that allows a power company to adjust its rates to coincide with changes in fuel costs (3 AAC 52.503).  

CPCN (Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity): CPCN is a certificate by which all public utilities and pipeline carriers are required to obtain from the RCA before operating and receiving compensation for providing a commodity or service (AS 42.05.221 -.281 for public utilities and AS 42.06.240 for pipelines).

CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Information):  CPNI refers to any information collected by telecommunications service providers, including but not limited to: billing records, type of services that subscribers are receiving, call details and history, and other customer information.  To learn more about the FCC's CPNI rules, download the FCC's Order here.  

Cramming: Cramming is billing for optional services that you never requested or authorized. The RCA has developed rules to prevent cramming by requiring complete and accurate disclosure of services and charges on a consumer's telephone bill (3 AAC 52.230).

DR&R (Dismantling, Removal, and Restoration): a term often on utility and pipeline infrastructure.

ESSS (Electric Service & Safety Standards):  These are set of rules for electric companies in providing services to customers in Alaska (3 AAC 52.400 - 3 AAC 52.500).
 
FEA (Federal Executive Agencies): An organization comprised of various federal agencies. 

FET (Federal Excise Tax): A charge on all telecommunications services, including local, long distance and wireless bills.

G&T (Generation & Transmission):  Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy from a generating site, such as a power plant, to an electrical substation.

GCA (Gas Cost Adjustment): A mechanism that provides a dollar-for-dollar recovery of costs incurred by a natural gas utility to purchase and deliver natural gas to its system. The GCA rate enables the local utility to correct any over or under collections of natural gas costs in previous periods (3 AAC 52.505).

ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier): The “traditional” local telephone company in a geographic region.

Local Number Portability (LNP): A procedure that allows consumers to keep their telephone number when they switch local service from one telephone carrier to another.

Mcf: One thousand cubic feet; a unit used to measure natural gas usage.

MUSA (Municipal Utilities Service Assessment):   Through an ordinance passed by the Municipality of Anchorage, MUSA is a payment in lieu of taxes.

NAF (Network Access Fee): The NAF is designed to recover a portion of the cost of the "local loop" (i.e., the wires and associated local network facilities that connect a telephone customer to the local telephone company's central office switch). All local exchange carriers must charge the NAF.

National “Do-Not-Call” Registry: A list maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that allows consumers to have their telephone number removed from databases used by telemarketers. Consumers can register for the national do-not-call registry either online or at http://www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free (888) 382-1222.

PCE (Power Cost Equalization Program):  A program funded by the Alaska Energy Authority to reduce the electric bills of residential customers living in rural communities. For more information about the PCE, please refer to the Power Cost Equalization Brochure.

PIPT (Public Interest Pay Telephone)

QF (Qualifying Facility):  QF refers to a facility that meets certain regulatory requirements for operation, efficiency, and use of energy output.

RCC (Regulatory Cost Charges): Charge incurred through legislation to fund the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (3 AAC 47.010).

RRC (Railbelt Reliability Council): An organization formed to provide a forum and structure for the six interconnected Railbelt electric utilities. 

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition): SCADA is a computer system for gathering and analyzing real time data.  SCADA systems are used to monitor and control a plant or equipment in industries such as telecommunications, water and waste control, energy, and oil and gas. 

SRF (Simplified Rate Filing): SRF is a process in which an electric cooperative may adjust its rates as frequently as quarterly but may not exceed a cumulative 20 percent in any three-year period or a cumulative eight percent in a 12-month period.  Rate adjustments under SRF regulations are in addition to purchased and fuel cost rate adjustments (AS 42.05.381(e) and 3 AAC 48.700).

Slamming: Slamming is when your telecommunications provider is changed without your authorization. You should immediately contact your original carrier and advise that your local telephone (or long distance) service was changed without authorization. You should also contact the company that requested the unauthorized switch and request a refund or credit and make sure you do not get monthly recurring charges (for example, some long distance companies charge a flat long distance calling plan billed monthly.

STMP (State Telecommunications Modernization Plan): RCA rules that assure that telephone companies provide all consumers with adequate service at minimum requirements and standards (3 AAC 53.700).

Tariff: A tariff is a set of policies and procedures or terms and conditions under which a utility offers its services and facilities. A legally filed and effective tariff rate, charge, toll, rental, rule, regulation, or condition of service may not be changed except in the manner provided in AS 42.05.371.

TA (Tariff Advice): A tariff advice is filing procedure by which utility companies follow to change its legally filed and effective tariff rate, charge, toll, rental, rule, regulation, or condition of service. The review process for the filing prescribed by AS 42.05.361 - AS 42.05.441, includes a period for public comment (published under Notices in local newspapers) and allows the Commission to approve, reject, or suspend the tariff filing for further investigation. For most utilities, this review process takes 45 days.

Telecommunications Act of 1996: Federal legislation that, among other things, permitted former Bell operating companies to enter the long distance telephone business.

UAS (Universal Access Surcharge): This surcharge, also commonly referred to as the TRS surcharge, is for Telecommunications Relay Service centers that transmit and translate calls between hearing individuals and individuals who are hearing or speech impaired. The Alaska's TRS carrier is South Dakota Association of the Deaf d/b/a Alaska Relay, CSD of Alaska.

VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): The use of the Internet Protocol (a data transmission protocol) to transmit and switch (or “route”) voice messages which have been converted to data.  VoIP may include the use of the Internet, private networks, and/or the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN, see above) to carry or complete calls. VoIP is sometimes referred to as IP Telephony.

WLNP (Wireless Local Number Portability): Local Number Portability (LNP, see above) applied to and between wireless carriers and between wireless and traditional or competitive telephone carriers.

To view the statutes and regulations cited above, click here.





Date Issued: 1/1/2020