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Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission                              March 2008
Table of Contents
National News
Consumer Protection Week
Does It Make Cents?
Medical Emergencies
Complain Effectively
The UTC Can Help
National News 
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) held its Winter Committee Meetings in Washington, DC February 17-20, 2008. NARUC is a trade association representing  state public service commissions that regulate essential utility services throughout the country.
The NARUC Board  approved resolutions on several issues dealing with energy, telecommunications and water policy issues. Check out each resolution to read about topics that impact consumers across the state and the country.

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Welcome to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) e-newsletter. If you have questions about UTC Connections, please email consumer@utc.wa.gov.
The UTC works every day to protect consumers by ensuring that utility and transportation services are fairly priced, available, reliable and safe. This bi-monthly e-newsletter is intended to provide you with current information about regulated industries, current issues and topics that impact you.  Thank you.
National Consumer Protection Week
National Consumer Protection Week is March 2-8. The UTC is here to assist with private investor-owned utility and transportation companies but who do you contact for problems with retail companies, credit cards or identify theft, for instance? It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which agency to call. Help is just a click away at
www.consumer.gov/ncpw. This comprehensive Web site provides consumer information and links to federal, state and local government agencies, as well as to national consumer advocacy organizations.
Be Prepared. Be Informed. Be in Charge.
Does It Make Cents? phone 
Do you wonder what the best long distance rate is, and wish there was a one-stop shopping site? If you are searching around for that great deal, let your mouse do the walking and check out  www.abelltolls.com and www.e-wisdom.com. Both sites also give invaluable pointers on choosing the best plan. As with most services, there is no one-size fits all. The cheapest rate may not be the best rate for your calling patterns. Both sites also offer wireless, calling card and bundle comparisons.
Medical Emergencies
During a family medical crisis, losing power or phone service can be deadly. Fortunately, gas, electric and telephone utilities regulated by the UTC are not allowed to disconnect you during a medical emergency. To avoid disconnection or be reconnected, you must notify the utility company. Your medical professional must submit a certificate to the utility within five business days, some payment will be required during that grace period, and arrangements must be made on the past due bill. You must also keep current with your monthly bill.
Complain Effectively megaphone 
What if you have a problem with a company and you're not sure how to resolve it. Here are five things you can do to make yourself heard and get results.
  • First try to fix the problem directly with the company. Request to speak with a supervisor or manager if necessary.
  • Get information in writing. Document the name of the person you are speaking to, the date of the call and take good notes.
  • Stay calm and professional. You'll be much more effective if you stay cool.
  • Understand deadlines and other responsibilities. Some federal statutes require you to report a problem within a certain time period, or to submit a written claim.
  • Contact the regulating agency. They can help you understand confusing information, and seek corrective action on your behalf.
What Can the UTC Do For You?
Get help with problems with private utility and transportation providers.  Please call 1-800-562-6150 or email consumer@utc.wa.gov.
Tell a Friend
Please take a moment and forward the new UTC Connections e-newsletter to a friend, family member or co-worker who may be interested in similar issues.  Just click on "Forward email" below.  Thank you.