In North Carolina, the North Carolina Utilities Commission regulates the rates and services of all public utilities in the state. The present commission evolved from the Railroad Commission which regulated the railroad, steam boat, and telegraph companies.
Currently, the electric, telephone, natural gas, water, wastewater, water resale, household goods transportation, busses, brokers, and ferryboats in the state are regulated by the commission. The commission also regulates electric membership corporations, small power producers, and electric merchant plants, to a limited degree. However, the commission does not regulate telephone membership corporations, cable TV, satellite, commercial mobile radio service, cellular, pagers, or data and internet service providers.
Apart from ensuring the safety of natural gas pipelines the commission performs the following functions:
- provides fair regulation of public utilities in the interest of the public;
- provides reasonable rates and charges for public utility services;
- promotes regulated public utility’s inherent advantage;
- promotes adequate, reliable, and economical utility service;
- promotes minimum cost energy planning;
- promotes energy conservation;
- assures financing of facilities in a reasonable and fair manner;
- encourages and promotes harmony between utility companies and their customers;
- fosters planned growth of public utility services;
- coordinates energy supply facilities with the state’s development;
- cooperates with other states and the federal government to promote interstate and intrastate public utility service and reliability of energy supply; and
- facilitates the construction of facilities and extension of natural gas service to unserved areas.
Further, the State Energy Office of North Carolina ensures a sustainable energy future for the citizens of the state by implementing various programs, services and technical expertise that focuses on advancing energy efficiency in the public sector. The office promotes the use of renewable energy, alternative fuels, and energy efficiency throughout the state.
The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) protect and preserve the natural resources of the state. DENR administers regulatory programs to protect air quality, water quality, and the public’s health in the state. Through its natural resource divisions, DENR works to protect fish, wildlife, and wilderness areas.