Utilities are those easily overlooked but very important resources in our everyday life. A downed power line or busted water pipe, for instance, can cause unwanted inconveniences for the community.
Utilities like gas, power, and water are regulated and maintained by the state government. When an issue needs to be addressed, it’s every citizen’s right to file a complaint. In SC, utility complaints can be filed with local agencies—a fact most people are unaware of. But what exactly is a utility complaint? Here are some facts:
What is a Utility?
In South Carolina, utilities are defined as the following:
– Natural gas,
– Local and intrastate telephone service,
– Intrastate household goods movers or moving companies, and
– Intrastate passenger carriers such as buses and transit.
Take note that your complaint can’t be about rates, billings, or charges. A government agency can only intervene when the complaint is about service or repairs. Furthermore, there are utilities not covered by any government agency. These are the following:
– Electric cooperatives,
– City/town-owned water and wastewater utilities,
– City/town-owned natural gas utility,
– Cellular phone service provider,
– Internet service provider,
– Propane gas provider,
– Interstate moving companies, and
– Interstate public transportation.
Complaints filed for the aforementioned companies can’t be lobbied by state regulatory agencies.
Filing a Complaint
In the case of service interruption or repair delay, the first step is to call the utility company directly. This will help inform them of the problem you’re facing. Be sure to make a detailed description of the problem.
If the problem isn’t addressed by the utility company, the next step is to escalate it to a regulatory agency. Once the complaint reaches them, they will contact the utility company and launch an investigation of their own.
Regulatory agencies are there on behalf of public interest. This is the very reason why a complaint filed against a utility company can and should be addressed by them.