Guide to Public Hearings
A public hearing is one step in determining whether the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) will take action that will affect the rates or services offered by a utility or the facilities the utility operates. The PURA has a long tradition of encouraging public participation in the regulation of the state’s utilities. The PURA public hearing process offers the opportunity for consumers, local government officials, industry representatives, and others to bring their thoughts and concerns about a utility planning, rate or construction case to the attention of the three Commissioners. Bringing these concerns and views to a public hearing is essential if the Commissioners are to reach the most fair and reasonable decision possible.
Just come to the hearing and express your views. Plan to arrive a few minutes early so that you can sign up with the PURA Consumer Representative or other PURA representative to speak at the hearing.
No, it is easy to testify. You do not need a lawyer. At the beginning of the hearing, the Commissioner or Hearing Officer will ask if consumers wish to speak for the record. At that time, simply stand up or raise your hand. You will be sworn in, and invited to tell your story in your own words. You do not need to stay until the hearing ends. You will be called in the order in which you signed up. Commissioners, Hearing Officers and any of the parties to the case who may be in attendance cannot answer questions: this is their opportunity to hear your testimony.
After the hearing is completed, the PURA makes a decision based on the information contained in the record made during the hearing. When the hearings are finished, there is no longer any way to add information to the record. The PURA Commissioners can use only the testimony and exhibits presented at the hearing as a basis for their decision. A briefing period may follow the hearing. Briefs are written arguments about issues the Commissioners need to decide. They are usually written by attorneys for the utilities, the PURA, and others. The PURA Commissioners read the transcripts, exhibits, and briefs. They schedule times to meet and talk about the issues raised in the hearing. These meetings are held in New Britain and are open for the public to observe.