Learn from the most commonly asked questions regarding how and when to consider filing a complaint about your utility services.
A consumer complaint can be the result of a billing dispute, difficulty in getting service or repairs completed to your satisfaction, poor quality of service, or other utility related issues.
Anyone who uses electric,natual gas,or telephone services utility service or is responsible for the billing and payment of a utility account. This may be a family member, custodian, or estate executor.
If I have a complaint about my utility bill or service, what is my first step as a DC utility consumer?
Consumers must attempt to negotiate problems with the company first. Frequently, the complaint is resolved immediately and satisfactorily once the company is notified of the problem. If not, aggrieved customers may contact OPC. As part of its statutory mandate, OPC may assist and/or represent individual utility consumers in resolving disputes with PEPCO, Washington Gas, Bell Verizon, or other public service providers serving consumers in the District of Columbia.
Consumer complaints may be made online, over the telephone, or in person. The majority of complaints are received over the phone and more infrequently, on a walk-in basis. No appointment is necessary.
The OPC complaint specialist will need the customer's name, address, name of the utility company, account and telephone number, the nature of the complaint, and the name of the company representative with whom you spoke. Other demographic information may be requested for informational purposes only.
Yes. You may complain about problems with service, billing or any other issue related to the public utilities in the District of Columbia. OPC also investigates public pay phone complaints.
The consumer complaint specialist or an OPC attorney will determine whether your complaint has merit. If it does, your complaint will be handled first on an informal basis. Informal resolution of a complaint is accomplished once an agreement satisfactory to the consumer and the utility company is negotiated. In the event informal resolution is not reached, you have the right to request a formal hearing before a hearing officer of the Public Service Commission (PSC). In some cases, the consumer may be represented by an attorney from OPC at the formal hearing. Ninety-eight percent of complaints received by OPC are resolved informally.
As with all complaints, the first step for the consumer is to contact the utility company and attempt to negotiate an agreement. If you cannot reach an agreement, call OPC immediately. We will use all reasonable efforts to prevent termination of service. Consumers are urged not to wait when dealing with possible termination of service. It is far more difficult to resolve complaints once service has been disconnected. It is very important to make whatever payment you can, because the utility companies take your payment history into account when negotiating.
No. However, OPC will provide consumers with a list of community organizations and governmental agencies, such as the DC Energy Office, that may be helpful in this regard. The DC Energy Office administers the energy assistance program. For more information call (202) 673-6750.
No. Neither OPC nor PSC has jurisdiction in these matters. Consumers with questions and/or complaints about long-distance billing shold call their respective long-distance service providers and/or the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) at 1-888-225-5322.
No. This service is provided by law and related costs are included in the office's appropriated budget.