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Consumer and Utility Provider Disputes and Complaints

If you have a dispute with your investor-owned electric, natural gas or telephone service provider, you should first try to resolve it with the company. If those efforts are unsuccessful, you can contact the PUC where a consumer affairs representative will investigate your situation and attempt to help you and your utility settle the complaint through discussions and agreements. Additional PUC staff members with expertise in technical, legal and financial matters may become involved as well.

Requesting PUC Assistance with a Dispute
There are several ways to contact the PUC to request assistance.
  • Online form
  • E-mail the PUC
  • Call toll-free: 1-800-332-1782
  • Regular mail: SD PUC, 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501-5070
When contacting the PUC for assistance, please provide the following information to help the consumer affairs representative fully understand and investigate your situation.
  • Your name and complete mailing and physical address(es)
  • The name of the utility and names of company personnel you have talked with about your specific complaint
  • Your utility account number and the status of your account (for example, are you subject to disconnection?)
  • The complete facts of your complaint
  • The action the utility took on your complaint
  • A brief explanation of the solution desired

Filing a Formal Complaint
If you and your utility company cannot reach a resolution through this informal process, PUC staff may advise you to file a formal complaint. A formal complaint is entered into a docket, which is collection of documents filed with the commission for a particular case. The docket is electronically maintained on the PUC's Web site. See examples of consumer complaint dockets.

Filing a formal complaint can be a lengthy process that, unless settled, may involve a hearing before the PUC where the three commissioners act as judges, reviewing evidence from both sides of the case. You do not need to be represented by an attorney, but may choose to do so if you wish.

The commissioners follow an established set of guidelines in resolving disputes. These guidelines include South Dakota law, administrative rules and, if appropriate to the complaint, tariffs the utility has filed with the commission. The tariff lists how the utility will provide various services and how much you are expected to pay for those services. The commissioners can only consider the facts of the case and base their decision on the guidelines described.

Evaluate Your Experience
The PUC uses your feedback to evaluate and improve its service to all consumers. Please tell us about your experience. Download this form, print and return it to the PUC.