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Hearings & Rulemakings > Open Meetings >
Open Meetings at the UTC: How you can get involved
The UTC conducts its regular business at “Open Meetings” which are typically held the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. These meetings start at 9:30 a.m. in the UTC hearing room in Olympia. The public is welcome.
Any time a regulated company wishes to change its rates or terms of services, it must file a specific request or "filing" with the UTC. Generally, the commission has 30 days to act on this filing. The decision to approve or “suspend” the filing for formal review is made at the Open Meeting.
If the company’s filing affects a service you receive, a notice will appear on your bill or in your bill envelope. You might receive a separately mailed notice. This notice should explain the importance of the filing and tell you how to contact the UTC.
The agenda for each open meeting is available several days in advance of the meeting. If you want to regularly receive the agenda either by postal mail or by electronic mail, contact the commission. The agenda also is posted on the UTC’s web page open meeting page.
Consent Items & No Action Items
Of the roughly 1,600 filings the UTC considers annually, the vast majority are minor or non-controversial. Filings that need to be formally approved by the commissioners, but are deemed noncontroversial are put on the consent section of the agenda and are approved on a single motion by the commission. Filings that go into affect without commission approval are put on the no action section of the agenda. If you want to make a comment on a consent or no-action filing, you will be given an opportunity at the beginning of the meeting to flag the item and have it discussed in greater detail .
The commission will deliberate longer on filings that are considered controversial or require a more detailed explanation. These filings are listed as action items. Commission staff members will prepare a memo describing the filing and a recommendation to the commission on how to handle the filing. Memos are available to the public two days before the Open Meeting.
How to participate in an Open Meeting
When you arrive at the meeting, sign in and get a copy of the agenda and the memo of the filing you are interested in. When you sign-in, you can indicate your wish to speak on a particular agenda item. If you are interested in a no-action or consent item, this is a good time to indicate your desire to speak on the issue.
After the chairman calls the meeting to order, any last-minute changes to the agenda are announced. The chairman will ask if anyone wants to comment on any consent or no-action filings. If no one speaks up, the consent items are approved and the no action items will take effect automatically.
For each filing under the action section of the agenda, a staff member will address the commissioners. He or she will summarize the findings presented in the corresponding memo and recommend an action by the commission. After the staff presentation, other parties are allowed to speak including members of the public and company representatives.
When all parties have spoken on a filing, the commissioners discuss the merits of the filing. By law, this is the first time the three commissioners have been allowed to discuss this filing with each other. The commission can either approve the filing or “suspend” the filing for further investigation and possibly a formal proceeding.
If you cannot attend the open meeting, you can file a comment electronically.
Tips to Remember when Speaking
The UTC’s hearing room is located on the second floor of its headquarters at 1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia. For directions to the UTC. Parking is in front of the building.
For more information call the UTC at 1-800-562-6150.
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