The Consumer Assistance page is designed to provide general consumer information about complaint handling and other issues relating to the Commission. You can find additional consumer information on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page, as well as on each of the regulated utility pages: Cable, Electric, Natural Gas, Telecommunications, Wastewater, and Water.

The Commission has also developed a pamphlet which explains the role of the Commission in the regulation of public utilities, how complaints are handled, and how to participate in a rate proceeding.

If at any time you have questions, comments or concerns about the regulated utility services you receive, please contact the Commission.

Delaware Help Hotline

If you need financial assistance with payment of your utility bill, dial '211' for the Delaware Help Hotline. For out-of-state long distance, the number is 1-800-273-9500.

Lifeline and Link-Up Assistance

The Lifeline and Link-Up Assistance programs are funded through the federal Universal Service Fund. Under the Lifeline program, telephone customers who participate or are eligible for certain public assistance programs are entitled to receive a basic telephone service discount. Link-Up can provide a 50 percent reduction on telephone service installation charges for qualifying households that do not currently have telephone service.

For more information on these programs, including eligibility requirements, visit www.lifelinesupport.org or contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322). To apply for Lifeline or Link-Up with Verizon Delaware, LLC call 1-800-837-4966, or visit Verizon's website and search for "Lifeline." While not regulated by the Delaware Public Service Commission, Lifeline eligible residents are also able to apply for a free wireless handset and free monthly minutes by visiting SafeLink Wireless or by calling 1-800-977-3768.

Termination of Service for Non-Payment

Whenever you have problems paying your bill, you should first contact your utility service provider who can often work with you in establishing payment arrangements, or provide a listing of community resources that may be able to help. If you are still in need of financial assistance, the Delaware Helpline (1-800-464-4357) can provide information on state government agencies and referrals to community resources.

The rules and procedures that each utility must follow prior to disconnecting a customer for non-payment are contained in its tariff - contact your utility provider for a copy. If you still have questions, contact the Commission for assistance.

Complaints

Only formal complaints are addressed by the Commission. Before resorting to the formal process, consumers are urged to contact the utility first. If this contact does not provide the desired results, The Division of the Public Advocate is available to assist customers in resolving complaints with utility providers.

If the consumer still feels the issue is unsettled after making these two contacts, the formal process may be initiated. The instructions for filing a formal complaint can be found in the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure. It is important to note that the complaint will need to identify a law, rule, or order that has been violated, and the complaint will need to state the relief requested. The formal complaint process will require both sides to produce evidence to support their case and it may require the complainant to appear for a hearing.

Electric Supplier Questions

The Delaware Public Service Commission has received several inquiries recently regarding electric suppliers. Here are some tips and information for choosing an electric supplier.

Rate Proceedings and Public Participation

When a utility files for a change in its regulated service rates, the Delaware Public Service Commission ("Commission" or "PSC") normally has 60 days in which to consider the proposed changes. If a significant increase is proposed, the rates are usually suspended and the case is assigned to a hearing examiner who will hold evidentiary hearings and make recommendations to the Commission. Delaware law presently allows a utility to impose a limited rate increase during the hearing process, which is subject to refund if the Commission finds it was not appropriate or justified.

Customers of the utility seeking a rate increase are urged to participate in the rate proceeding by attending a public comment session. At these sessions, you can express your concerns, or bring to light issues regarding the quality of service you receive. The hearing examiner and the Commissioners give great consideration to the issues raised by a utility's customers. If you are unable to attend a public comment session, you may state your concerns in a letter or e-mail to the PSC.

You may also attend the technical, evidentiary hearings; however, the primary purpose of these hearings is the presentation and cross-examination of testimony by formal parties and there is generally not an opportunity for members of the public to speak.

Members of the public can participate as a formal party to a rate proceeding, but they must petition for status as an intervenor (see the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure for more details). An intervenor is a full party with rights to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses, and is also subject to cross-examination by the other parties. Due to the legal and financial responsibilities of an intervenor, most individuals choose to present their views during the public comment sessions, or through the advocacy of the Division of the Public Advocate.