Introduction and Services
- The Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) is
a state agency that represents the interests of Pennsylvania utility
customers before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC),
federal regulatory agencies, and state and federal courts. The OCA
was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1976 and is an
independent office within the Office of Attorney General.
Sonny Popowsky has been the Consumer Advocate since June 1990. The OCA has a staff of attorneys assisted by analysts, administrative and clerical support staff, a consumer liaison and a consumer education coordinator.
The OCA represents consumers in cases before the PUC involving a wide range of utility issues. These include rate increase cases, purchased gas cost cases, retail competition issues, mergers, and alternative regulation plans. The OCA is involved in rulemakings, policy statements, and state and federal level cases that involve either the price consumers pay for vital utility service or the quality of service they receive. The office uses its resources to help the greatest number of consumers. The OCA generally stresses the interests of residential consumers.
The OCA tries to keep utilities from charging more than they need to provide safe and adequate service to consumers. The OCA can appeal a PUC final decision if it believes the decision is in error and is harmful to consumers. The OCA has filed many appeals from PUC decisions. Some have gone as far as the Pennsylvania and United States Supreme Courts.