The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the three appointed commissioners find themselves under even more scrutiny. This morning the Legislative Audit Committee voted unanimously to proceed with a full blown audit of the embattled commission.
Last month we reported that Senators Scott Renfroe and Steve King, members of the audit committee, sent a letter requesting the PUC audit. The State Auditor’s Office completed its “30,000 foot” preliminary analysis, a letter from Diane Ray of the State Auditor’s Office recommends a full audit that will cover the following questions:
1. Has the PUC established and implemented adequate policies and procedures to ensure the PUC Commissioners’ regulatory and decision-making activities are transparent and comply with state laws, regulations, and governance standards? This would include evaluating the Commissioners’ standards of conduct and processes related to ex parte communications and conflicts of interest.
2. Does the PUC have adequate processes and controls in place to ensure PUC Commissioners’ expenditures are reasonable, appropriate, for allowable purposes, and in the best interests of the state.
Senator King explained his reasoning for the audit in a press release from the Colorado Senate News:
‘The P.U.C. should be acting as a guardian of public interest to ensure Colorado consumers receive high quality and reasonably priced services…Questions have risen in the legislature, public and media about some of their recent actions and these issues must be addressed.’
As we said before, the PUC is in dire need of reform. Hopefully this audit will be a first step in a direction more friendly to consumers and less cozy with industry, elected officials and special interests.