How the Commission is Funded
Commission operations are funded by fees assessed on the utilities and railroads it regulates. Annual assessments are set by the commission each year in April within the limits set by law.
How Commissioners are Appointed
The Governor appoints the three commissioners with confirmation by the Idaho Senate. No more than two commissioners may be of the same political party. The commissioners serve staggered six-year terms. Vacancies that occur when the Idaho Senate is not in session are filled by gubernatorial appointment subject to confirmation by the Senate upon reconvening in regular session.
The Governor may remove a commissioner before his/her term has expired for dereliction of duty, corruption or incompetence.
The IPUC has quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial as well as executive powers and duties. In its quasi-legislative capacity, the commission sets rates and makes rules governing utility operations. In its quasi-judicial mode the commission hears and decides complaints, issues written orders similar to court orders and may have its decisions appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court. In its executive capacity, the commission enforces state laws affecting utilities and rail industries.
Who the Commission Regulates
The Commission regulates investor-owned or privately-owned utilities that provide gas, water, electricity or some telephone services for profit. Examples are: Idaho Power and Intermountain Gas. The Commission no longer has rate-setting authority over most telephone service providers, including CenturyLink. It does, however, regulate landline providers for service quality, billing, and customer relations. In addition to rates, billing issues, quality of service and customer relations, the Commission is also responsible for safe operations of the utilities it regulates including inspection of gas pipelines.
The Commission oversees the safe operation of railroads and enforces state and federal regulations safeguarding the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. It also inspects railroad crossings for safety and maintenance. The Commission reviews railroad abandonment proposals.
The Commission does NOT regulate utility cooperatives (owned by the customers) or utilities operated by cities. The Commission has no jurisdiction over sewer operations, cable or satellite television, Internet service providers or cellular telephone companies.