Did you know that there is a state office whose mission is to advocate for Colorado utility customers? It’s called the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC). The OCC is housed within the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, but the office itself doesn’t have any regulatory authority — rather, it works in tandem with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the state’s utility regulation board.
The OCC offers consumer information on issues related to energy utilities, particularly electric and natural gas:
The OCC accomplishes its mission by developing, advocating, and implementing innovative, pro-consumer policies and practices through consumer outreach and regulatory mechanisms. The OCC serves the public interest through its advocacy in many areas including serving as a technical resource for utility consumers, legislators, small business, the utilities, and other government agencies. The OCC also strives to increase communication with consumers it represents by hearing and understanding their issues.
What the OCC does NOT do:
- Promulgate rules and regulations
- Accept complaints (these need to be filed through the PUC)
- Provide legal services or representation to individual consumers
The OCC does, however, provide helpful services both by advocating for Colorado utility customers and by providing the public with helpful tips and consumer resources. For instance, you can explore the OCC website to find information on:
- What to do if you receive a disconnection notice from your utility
- Energy and money saving tips for residential and small business energy consumers
- How to save energy and money when buying a new home
- Understanding utility rates and your energy bill
- Helpful tips on topics such as winter heating safety; utility scams; and more.
You can even take an energy quiz to find out how much you know about energy efficiency.
The OCC was established in 1984 and must be periodically renewed by the Legislature through the sunset process. Sunset reviews for the OCC from 1987, 1997, 2005, 2014, and 2020 are available to view online or in print copy through the State Publications Library. In addition, the library also offers access to other OCC publications such as Top 10 Winter Energy Saving Tips as well as program brochures, newsletters, and annual reports that provide historical context on the 36-year-old program. These publications can be found by searching the term “consumer counsel” in the library’s online catalog.