TITLE XXXIV
PUBLIC UTILITIES

CHAPTER 363
THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

Support Personnel to Commission

Section 363:28

    363:28 Office of the Consumer Advocate. –
I. The office of the consumer advocate shall be an independent agency administratively attached to the department of energy pursuant to RSA 21-G:10. The office shall consist of the following:
(a) A consumer advocate, appointed by the governor and council, who shall be a qualified attorney admitted to practice in this state. The consumer advocate shall serve a 4-year term and until a successor is appointed and qualified.
(b) An assistant consumer advocate appointed by the consumer advocate, who shall be a full-time classified employee.
(c) A secretary appointed by the consumer advocate.
(d) Two additional staff people appointed by the consumer advocate. When filling these positions, the consumer advocate should consider appointing rate analysts or economists.
II. Except as pertains to any end user of an excepted local exchange carrier or services provided to such end user, the consumer advocate shall have the power and duty to petition for, initiate, appear or intervene in any proceeding concerning rates, charges, tariffs, and consumer services before any board, commission, agency, court, or regulatory body in which the interests of residential utility consumers are involved and to represent the interests of such residential utility consumers.
III. The consumer advocate shall have authority to contract for outside consultants within the limits of funds available to the office. With the approval of the fiscal committee of the general court and the governor and council, the office of the consumer advocate may employ experts to assist it in proceedings before the public utilities commission, and may pay them reasonable compensation. The department of energy shall charge a special assessment for any such amounts against any utility participating in such proceedings and shall provide for the timely recovery of such amounts for the affected utility.
IV. The consumer advocate shall have authority to promote and further consumer knowledge and education. The consumer advocate shall advocate against proposed regional or federal rules or policies that are inconsistent with the policies, rules, or laws of New Hampshire. In its participation in regional activities, the consumer advocate shall consider how other states' policies will impact New Hampshire rates and work to prevent or minimize any rate impact the consumer advocate determines to be unjust or unreasonable.
V. The consumer advocate shall publicize the Link-Up New Hampshire and Lifeline Telephone Assistance programs in order to increase public awareness and utilization of these programs.
VI. The filing party shall provide the consumer advocate with copies of all confidential information filed with the public utilities commission in adjudicative proceedings in which the consumer advocate is a participating party and the consumer advocate shall maintain the confidentiality of such information.

Source. 1981, 220:7; 354:1. 1985, 300:4. 1986, 146:1. 1987, 136:3. 1999, 167:2. 2001, 4:1. 2007, 263:174, eff. July 1, 2007. 2010, 162:1, eff. June 17, 2010; 267:1, eff. Sept. 4, 2010. 2012, 177:3, eff. Aug. 10, 2012. 2018, 376:2, eff. Oct. 2, 2018. 2021, 91:211, 212, eff. July 1, 2021.