The Administrative Division consists of the Secretary's Office, the Consumer Services Section, and the Finance Section. A description of each section's responsibilities and a detailed report of its activities during FY-00 are as follows:
SECRETARY OF THE COMMISSION
The Secretary of the Commission receives all filings made to the Commission and distributes them to the appropriate division. He assigns docket numbers to cases requiring public hearings and maintains a card file on cases so that information on the status of any case may be obtained quickly.
The Secretary maintains the Commission hearing docket book and hearing calendars, assigning cases for hearing in collaboration with examiners and Commissioners. He arranges schedules for hearing rooms and court reports, as well as prepares and mails hearing notices to all parties involved or known to have interest in the proceeding. He prepares weekly hearing calendars for the Commissioners, examiners, and press representatives.
The Secretary receives and records transcripts of testimony and checks invoices prepared by the court reporter.
The Secretary takes and distributes minutes of Commission meetings. He attests to and files orders of the Commission. He certifies copies of orders and other documents of record in the official files of the Commission.
The Secretary prepares transcripts of Commission cases appealed to the courts and maintains files on these cases. The Secretary files Commission oaths of office, surety bonds covering each railway policeman appointed by the governor, furnishing certification of the policeman's appointment along with the oath and bonding to the Secretary of the State.
The Secretary signs orders for the Commission to authorize transportation companies to place reduced rates into effect on less than statutory time, in order to meet an emergency.
The Secretary receives public officials, attorneys, transportation and utility executives, and other interested people, providing them with information on the procedural practices of the Commission.
The Secretary is responsible for the retention of all records of the Commission. He coordinates the transfer of records to the Department of Archives and History as well as destruction of records.
The Secretary acknowledges receipt of filings to advise parties of the requirements of the Rules of Practice and statutes governing proceedings in which they are involved. He gives general procedural information and answers inquiries requiring research into Commission records.
The Secretary is responsible for coordinating departmental telecommunications services. This primarily entails ensuring that the telephone and data lines are working properly.
A tabulation of the principal activities of the Secretary during FY-00 is as follows:
Commission orders issued: 1,856
Public hearings held: 219
The Finance Section plans, coordinates and directs the fiscal functions of the Commission, overseeing such activities as accounts, budgets, purchases, equipment and custodial care. Its responsibilities include maintaining the general books, consolidating operating budget requirements and preparing a budget request and operations plan.
The section also prepares budgetary performance reports; monitors the budget for possible problems and makes any necessary corrections; verifies and processes invoices and expense reports for payment; coordinates the payroll and maintains payroll records; bills utilities for inspection and supervision fees; maintains records of fees collected; notifies the Legal Division of any delinquent companies; and conducts special studies or assignments as requested by the Commission.
The section maintains office supplies for the Commission, develops and administers internal accounting procedures and administers a centralized purchasing service of approved materials, supplies and equipment.
PSC OPERATING FUND (326) FY-00 Statement of Operations
GAS PIPELINE SAFETY FUND (325) FY-00 Statement of Operations
CONSUMER SERVICES SECTION
The Consumer Services Section investigates complaints regarding the operation, services, and billings of regulated utility companies. The Consumer Services Section also has the responsibility of processing enrollments in Alabama's Do-Not-Call Register with the supervisor serving as coordinator for the program.
The staff consists of a supervisor, an administrative support assistant, and four investigators experienced in the field of utility operations and management. The Consumer Services staff resolves consumer complaints, provides information to consumers about the utility regulatory functions of the Commission, and interprets and conveys the views and opinions of utility consumers to the Commissioners for consideration in regulatory matters.
When a complaint is filed, the complainant is interviewed to obtain the circumstances and allegations involved. After reviewing and/or investigating the facts, the staff determines the appropriate action needed to resolve the complaint. A written report is prepared citing details of the complaint and the disposition. Field investigations are routinely conducted.
Upon request, the staff meets with community groups throughout the state regarding regulated utility matters. The staff is available to civic and community groups for speaking engagements regarding the Commission and utility regulation in general.
The Consumer Services Section processed 8,520 complaints/inquiries during FY-00. The total consisted of complaints/inquiries in the following categories: 1,058 electric, 230 gas, 3,998 telecommunications, 127 no jurisdiction, 220 miscellaneous jurisdiction, and 2,887 miscellaneous inquiries. The staff made 219 field investigations and attended 16 meetings.
The number of slamming complaints continues to decrease due to the aggressive efforts of the Consumer Services staff and the initiation of enforcement actions against violators. Consumer Services processed 529 slamming complaints during this reporting period, obtaining refunds/credits for consumers who had their telephone service switched without proper authorization. Enforcement actions resulted not only in consumer refunds but penalties in excess of $80,000.
Consumer Services processed over 5,000 requests for enrollment application forms for Alabama's Do-Not-Call Register and enrolled 7,805 consumers on the Register during FY-00.
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