DCA Web Site Definitions and Reference Page

Utility Services

Lighting our homes at night, time spent watching television, making a simple phone call, or using natural gas to heat our water or cook our food all require the use of services provided by a utility. In addition, receiving drinking water at our homes and the collection of wastewater from our homes also fall under utility services. Even some forms of transportation are included. Depending on the type of service there are varying levels of regulation by different governmental agencies.

Electric Utilities: All companies providing electricity to your home or business are regulated utility companies.

Telecommunications services: Telecommunications include a broad range of services, including wireline phones (such as the phones in your home or business, which connect to a jack in the wall) and wireless phones, calling the neighbor islands, U.S. Mainland, or even foreign countries. Because of the large infrastructures associated with providing such a wide ranging and important service telecommunications are regulated to some degree.

Synthetic Natural Gas: The gas that is delivered to your home through an underground system of pipes is considered a regulated utility, while bottled or tanked gas is not.

Water/Wastewater: The Public Utilities Commission does not regulate water and wastewater services offered by the various counties in the state of Hawaii. However, services offered by private companies are regulated.

Transportation: You may notice that certain vehicles, such as tour buses, vans, or limousines, as well as certain other types of water transportation may display a PUC number. The Commission regulates these operations in an effort to guard against discriminatory practices and to ensure safety.