Privately owned companies that provide electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, and telephone services are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC is available to help resolve disputes and work through issues if you are not able to solve your problem directly with the utility. The CPUC also regulates railroads and passenger transportation and moving companies (e.g., limousines, shuttles, moving companies, Uber, and Lyft).
Publicly owned utilities, such as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and cable television and Internet services, are not regulated by the CPUC. Contact those companies directly or seek to resolve issues with your local government. Click on these links for additional information about telephone and cell phone plans and services and cable television or Internet service issues.
To Report a Public Safety Concern:
If you have a public safety concern related to gas, electric, cable, telephone, water, or mobile home park utilities—such as a dangling wire or a gas leak—call 911 and report the problem.
After you call 911, you can also file a public safety complaint with CPUC using the complaint process described below.
Discounts and Assistance for Low-Income Customers:
Utility companies have discount programs available for qualifying customers. Check with your local utility. In addition, check if you qualify for one of these programs:
- The California LifeLine Program provides discounted home phone and cell phone services to qualified households: https://www.californialifeline.com/en.
- CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy) and FERA (Family Electric Rate Assistance Program) offer discounts on electric bills for qualifying households: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=976.
Get Help Restarting Your Utility Service or Negotiating a Payment Plan:
If your energy, telephone, or water service has been shut off—or you are afraid they may be shut off—because you have fallen behind on your bills, and you cannot resolve the problem directly with the utility service, the CPUC may be able to help you restart your services and negotiate a payment plan. You do not need to wait until your services are shut off. Call 1-800-649-7570 for assistance if your utility service is in jeopardy of being disconnected. The CPUC website has more information on restarting your utility service and negotiating with your utility company. The CPUC cannot help you resolve issues with companies it does not regulate, such as publicly owned utilities and cable television and Internet providers.
To File a Complaint:
For billing, services and other complaints, your first step is to contact the provider directly. If you cannot resolve the problem, you can file an informal complaint using CPUC’s online complaint form, by calling 1-800-649-7570, or by sending a letter to:
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102–3298
If you disagree with the outcome of your informal complaint, you may be able to appeal or file a formal complaint. More information is available at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/complaints/.
Questions about Telephone or Cell Phone Plans or Services:
If you have questions about telephone or cell phone plans or services, visit our information page.
Cable Television or Internet Service Issues:
For cable television and Internet issues, try to resolve your complaint with the provider directly, or you can contact your city or county that regulates these services. Contact information for the local government that regulates the utility may be on the front or back of your bill. If this information is not on your bill, contact your provider, or your city or county, for information on where to file your complaint. You also can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or you may submit a complaint to our office.