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R. Public utility records


  • Alabama

    1. Alabama Public Services Commission: The Commission is required to “keep a record of all their proceedings, which shall be open at all times to the inspection of the public.” Ala. Code § 37-1-8.

    2. Alabama Public Utilities Commission: “[A]ll reports, records and accounts in the possession of the [Commission] shall be open to inspection by the public at all times . . . .” Ala. Code§ 37-1-62.

    3. Publicly owned public utilities: The records of these utilities are open. 197 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 24 (Nov. 27, 1984).

    4. Telephone records (ATTNet remote access) for members of the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives: In 1989, a Montgomery County trial court ordered the State Finance Director, the Clerk of the State House, and the Secretary of the State Senate to preserve the “records that reflect, by ATTNet remote access code number, the quantity, duration, and cost of long-distance telephone calls logged per month against each remote access code number assigned to the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives,” as well as the “records that identify, by individual name and ATTNet remote access code number, the members or staff of the Alabama Senate [or Alabama House of Representatives] to whom ATTNet remote access code numbers have been assigned” “for at least one year after any change in the assignment of ATTNet remote access code numbers to the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives.” The court also ordered that those records be made available for inspection and copying. Birmingham News Co. v. Swift, CV 88-1390 G (Cir. Ct. Montgomery Cnty., Ala., Sept. 7, 1988). An amendment to state law thereafter, however, requires the Alabama Telecommunications Division of the Department of Finance to “destroy and discard from its system all records of telephone usage six months following the payment of the billing for that usage period.” Ala. Code § 41-4-284(9) (2000).

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  • Alaska

    1. Cooperative records. The books and records of electric and telephone utility cooperatives, generally open to members, may be withheld when they concern specific matters that were prepared for or during an executive session and not subsequently made public by the cooperative, and the cooperative may also withhold the identity of public information that was referenced during the executive session. AS 10.25.235.
    2. Alaska Public Utilities Regulatory Act. The Alaska Public Utilities Commission Act was established by the Alaska Legislature in 1970 to replace the Alaska Public Service Commission, which existed from 1960 until 1970. In 1999, the Alaska Legislature replaced the APUC with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (“RCA”). The RCA has broad authority to regulate utilities and pipeline carriers throughout the state. AS 42.05.671(a) provides for public access to records in the possession of the commission. The commission may, by regulation, classify records submitted to it by regulated utilities as privileged records, not open to inspection by the public. However, if a record involves an application or tariff filing pending before the commission, the commission shall release the record for the purpose of preparing for or making a presentation to the commission in the proceeding if the record or information derived from the record will be used by the commission in the proceeding. A person objecting to public disclosure of information contained in a record submitted under the Alaska Public Utilities Regulatory Act or of information obtained by the commission under the provisions of the Act must do so in writing and state the grounds for the objection. When an objection is made the commission may not order the information withheld from the public unless the information adversely affects the interest of the person making the written objection and disclosure is not required in the interest of the public. AS 42.05.671(c). Regulations of the RCA governing access to records are found at 3 AAC 48.040 et seq. The Alaska Supreme Court has stated that, while the requirement of the statute that information not be withheld if "required in the interest of the public" will normally prevent a conflict with constitutional due process requirements, if a conflict nevertheless occurs, the privilege of access afforded by the statute must be narrowly construed so that the constitutional due process rights of the utilities control.
    3. Pipeline commission. The Alaska Pipeline Commission was established in 1972 and regulated intrastate pipelines until 1981, at which time the APC was merged into the Alaska Public Utilities Commission. In 1999, the Alaska Legislature replaced the APUC with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (“RCA”). Records in the possession of the RCA are presumptively open to the public. One who objects to the public disclosure of information contained in a record filed pursuant to the pipeline act or to disclosure of information obtained by the commission under the provisions of the act must do so in writing, stating the grounds for the objection. When an objection is made, the commission shall order the information withheld from public disclosure if the information adversely affects the interest of the person making written objection and disclosure is not required in the interest of the public. The commission may, by regulation, classify records submitted to it by regulated pipeline carriers or pipelines as privileged records that are not open to public inspection, provided that records that would be used in proceedings concerning tariffs must be made available. In such a case, the person who filed the otherwise confidential record must be given notice and an opportunity to object before it is released. AS 42.06.445.

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  • Arizona

    “No information furnished to the [Arizona Corporation Commission] by a public service corporation, except matters specifically required to be open to public inspection, shall be open to public inspection or made public except on order of the commission . . . or by the commission or a commissioner in the course of a hearing or proceeding.”  A.R.S. § 40-204(C).  A plan for constructing a new plant in Arizona “is not open to public inspection and shall not be made public if disclosure of the information in the plan could give a material advantage to competitors.”  A.R.S. § 40-360.02(D).

    Schedules containing rates that are filed with the commission are open for public inspection.  A.R.S. §§ 40-365, 40-367(B).

    A.R.S. § 27-522(B) provides that records of an oil or gas well drilled in unproven territory shall be confidential for one year after completion of the drilling.

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  • Arkansas

    Records relating to the security of a public water system are closed. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(b)(18).

    Records relating to individual customers’ usage from a public utility are open, and personal information contained in those records probably cannot be redacted. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 2009-060. This includes a municipal-utility ratepayer’s home address, which the Arkansas Supreme Court has held cannot be redacted from public records if requested. Hopkins v. City of Brinkley, 2014 Ark. 139, 432 S.W.3d 609 (2014).

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  • California

    The name, credit history, utility usage date, home address, or telephone number of utility customers of local agencies are not required to be disclosed under the CPRA except under certain specified circumstances set out in the statute, such as an authorized request for release by an agent or family member of the person to whom the information pertains, or upon a determination that the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs the public interest in nondisclosure. Cal. Gov’t Code § 7927.410. Also, geological and geophysical data, plant production data, and similar information relating to utility systems development are not required to be disclosed under the CPRA. Cal. Gov’t Code § 7927.300.

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  • Colorado

    Utilities. Records of public utilities may be inspected only by the State Public Utilities Commission or by any person with authorization from the Commissioner. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 40-6-106.

    Public Utilities Commission. Records of the Public Utilities Commission are subject to inspection under the Open Records Act. Copies of records are 20 cents per page under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 40-6-105(1).

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  • Connecticut

    There are no specific provisions or reported court decisions on these records. Therefore, they should be treated as any other record and are presumed open unless a specific exemption applies.

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  • Delaware

    Public utility records are not exempt. Del. Op. Att’y Gen., No. 14-IB04 (July 18, 2014) (finding Delaware Broadband Fund a public body subject to FOIA).


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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed. Depending on the records, could fall within one or more exemptions.

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  • Florida

    Records kept in connection with a publicly owned and operated utility are public records and thus subject to section 119.01.  See Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 74-35 (1974) (addressing the applicability of Chapter 119 to a city owned electrical utility system).  Furthermore, there is no exception to the law in cases where the city is acting in a proprietary capacity.  Id.State ex. rel. Cummer v. Pace, 159 So. 2d 679 (Fla. 1967). However, in light of recent legislation, this rule is now of limited efficacy.  The Public Service Commission now has reasonable access to all public utility records and upon request of the public utility, any records received by the Commission shown to be proprietary confidential business information will be kept confidential and exempt from section 119.07(1). Fla. Stat. § 366.093(1) (2020).

    In addition, in any proceeding before the Public Service Commission, the Commission may issue protective orders protecting a public utility from discovery of proprietary confidential business information, upon a showing that such protection is necessary.  However, if the Commission determines that discovery of proprietary confidential business information is necessary to protect the public interest, the Commission must enter an order limiting such discovery in the manner provided for in Rule 1.280 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and such proprietary confidential business information will be exempt from section 119.07(1). Fla. Stat. § 366.093(2) (2020).

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  • Georgia

    Public utility records on file with the Georgia Public Service Commission are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.

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  • Hawaii

    Section 92F-12(a)(12) requires disclosure of "[w]ater service consumption data maintained by the boards of water supply." Although it has not explicitly ruled on the issue, the OIP does not appear to consider Hawaii's other public utilities-i.e., telephone, electric, and gas companies-to be government agencies whose records fall under the UIPA. See Proposed HECO Confidentiality Agreement Relating to Geothermal Interisland Transmission Project, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-2 (Jan. 18, 1990) (addressing legality of proposed confidentiality agreement between electric company and state agency without considering UIPA provisions on interagency disclosure). Information regarding usage of such other public utilities' services could conceivably fall under Section 92F-14(b)(6), which defines information in which individuals have significant privacy interests to include information regarding their "financial . . . activities." Disclosure of public utility records secured by government, i.e., in the course of regulating privately owned public utilities, might be precluded by Section 92F-13(3) (protecting from disclosure information whose release would frustrate a legitimate government function, which OIP has interpreted to include confidential financial information). See Workpapers Provided to the Consumer Advocate by Matson Navigation Co., OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-29 (Dec. 23, 1991) (refusing disclosure of records provided to agency during petition for rate increase on grounds that disclosure of financial information would frustrate legitimate government function); see also Haw. Rev. Stat. § 269-8 (2000) (requiring utilities to furnish to Public Utilities Commission upon request "all information that [the Commission] may require respecting any of the matters concerning which it is given power to investigate . . . .").

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  • Idaho

    Public utility records are confidential under general exemptions provided to business entities, unless such records become part of the public record in a utility proceeding before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. Furthermore, reports identifying the electrical or natural or manufactured gas consumption data for the individual customer or account are exempt from disclosure. Idaho Code § 74-107(13).

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  • Illinois

    Consumers’ public utility records are open. See 5 ILCS 140/2.5 (stating that records regarding the receipt and use of public funds are open).  But exempt are (1) maps and other records regarding the location or security of generation, transmission, distribution, storage, gathering, treatment, or switching facilities owned by a utility, by a power generator, or by the Illinois Power Agency; and (2) information contained in or related to proposals, bids, or negotiations related to electric power procurement under Section 1-75 of the Illinois Power Agency Act and Section 16-111.5 of the Public Utilities Act that is determined to be confidential and proprietary by the Illinois Power Agency or by the Illinois Commerce Commission. 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(x), (y).

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  • Indiana

    Under Indiana Code Section 5-14-3-4(b)(20), access to the telephone number, address, and Social Security number of a customer of a municipally owned utility may be provided or denied at the discretion of the municipal utility. Additionally, Indiana Code Section 8-1-2-40 provides that the Utility Regulatory Commission must keep a copy of the rates and charges schedule open to the public as the commission deems necessary. However, Indiana Code Section 8-1-2-49(1) states that anyone who is not a commissioner must produce authority to inspect the books, accounts, papers, records, and memoranda of any public utility, suggesting that the public’s ability to access public utility records is limited.

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  • Iowa

    There is no specific statutory provision covering public utility records, per se, and there are no reported cases.

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  • Kansas

    The records of a utility or other public service pertaining to individually identifiable residential customers are exempt from disclosure. K.S.A. 45-221(a)(26).

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  • Kentucky

    Individual usage records are closed under the personal privacy exception in 61.878(1)(a), but aggregate information is open. See 09-ORD-196 (disclosing aggregate water and sewer usage would not identify usage of specific individuals, and thus does not fall under the personal privacy exception to the Open Records Act).

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  • Louisiana

    Municipal utility billing records are public records and disclosure does not infringe customers' privacy rights. Op. Att'y Gen. 90-549. However, any personally identifiable financial information contained within those records should not be released, in order to protect the privacy interests of individual customers. Op. Att'y Gen. 94-508. Social Security numbers and private telephone numbers also are exempt from disclosure. Op. Att'y Gen. 00-314.

    Records pertaining to a public water works held by a contracted private corporation which managed utility's accounting and billing are public records and must be made available. See Burkett v. UDS Management Corp., 741 So.2d 838 (La. App. 3rd Cir.), writ denied, 748 So.2d 1150 (La. 1999).

    Documents in the possession of a regulated utility that the Louisiana Public Service Commission has access to but never had in its possession are not public records under the Act. CII Carbon v. St. Blanc, 764 So.2d 1229 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2000).

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  • Maine

    Available to the extent duplicated in the records of adjudicatory proceedings of the Public Utilities Commission. Information that identifies individual utility customers is confidential. 35-A M.R.S.A. § 704(5). Utility personnel records are confidential. 35-A M.R.S.A. § 114. Utilities may also obtain protective orders for proprietary information such as future marketing plans. 35-A M.R.S.A. § 1311.

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  • Maryland

    Records of buildings, structures, or facilities that would reveal a particular "building's, structure's, or facility's life, safety, and support systems, surveillance techniques, alarm or security systems or technologies, operational and evacuation plans or protocols, or personnel deployments" and would likely encompass public utilities may be permissibly withheld. § 4-352.

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  • Massachusetts

    Names and addresses of customers of a municipally owned utility would be public.  Guide to Mass. Pub. Recs. Law at 13 (Sec’y of State, rev. March 2009),  So are records revealing the names and addresses of all state residents who arranged to receive rebates, through the state’s energy efficiency program, for their purchase of certain energy-saving appliances.  The Supervisor of Public Records rejected the state agency’s claim that the names and addresses, along with rebate amounts, were an unwarranted invasion of privacy, adding that any possible privacy right was outweighed by the public interest in how program funds were distributed.  (C. Herman, “Rebate records withheld by state,” CommonWealth, Feb. 8, 2011.)

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Minnesota

    Utilities and public services data are private to the extent that they identify: (1) individual or prospective customers; or (2) telephone company or public utility employees or customers who provide information about the possible violation of federal or state law. Minn. Stat. §§ 13.679; 13.685.

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  • Mississippi

    A city’s utility records are not exempt except to the extent they contain confidential commercial or financial information, Att’y Gen. No. 2008-107, April 18, 2008 to Dye, or social security numbers, Att’y Gen. No. 2006-291, July 10, 2006 to Baker.

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  • Missouri

    Only if a public utility constitutes a “public governmental body” as defined in Mo.Rev.Stat. § 610.010(2) are its records subject to disclosure.

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  • Montana

    All open unless containing trade secrets clearly identified as such. See Great Falls Tribune v. Montana Public Service Commission, 2003 MT 359, 319 Mont. 38, 82 P.3d 876 (disclosure of utility company records).

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  • Nebraska

    Personally identified private citizen account payment and customer use information, credit information on others supplied in confidence, and customer lists are not public.  Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(10).

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  • Nevada

    See NRS 703.296.

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  • New Hampshire

    Records relied on by the Public Utilities Commission in rulemaking are public. See Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests v. Water Supply and Pollution Control Commission, 115 N.H. 192 (1975). The names and addresses of residential customers filing voltage complaints are exempt, while the records of business customers are public. Lamy v. N.H. Public Utilities Commission, 152 N.H. 106 (2005).

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  • New Jersey

    Records filed with the Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) are “government records” under OPRA.  Certain records, however, may be exempt from access under one of the specific exemptions contained in OPRA.  Moreover, the BPU regulations (N.J.A.C. 14:3-6.1-6.8) may exempt certain records from access.

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  • New Mexico

    No exemption exists for public utility records, so they are presumably available to the public.  However, any records under the Public Utility Act determined to contain confidential or proprietary information are not subject to the Public Records Act.  NMSA 1978 §62-6-17(c).

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  • New York

    The Committee on Open Government has expressed the opinion that public utilities are not governmental entities or “agencies” under FOIL.  While a public utility might be regulated by the government, it is not a governmental entity performing a government function and, therefore, public utility records would not be subject to disclosure. Comm. Open Gov’t, FOIL-AO-3019 (1983); FCIL-AO-l 049 (1979).

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  • North Carolina

    Records of public utilities generally are public, though specific billing records are not. G.S. § 132-1.1(c).

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  • North Dakota

    Generally open, unless a specific exception applies. See, e.g., N.D.C.C. § 49-19-02 (Public Service Commission reports of the stock of crude petroleum of any particular pipeline are not public).

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  • Ohio

    All proceedings of the public utilities commission and all documents and records in its possession are public records.  Ohio Rev. Code § 4901.12.

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  • Oklahoma

    The amount of money spent by a public service corporation to secure rights-of-way, to engage in construction or to reconstruct existing facilities is a matter of public record. Okla. Const. Art. 9, § 29. Although they must provide public access to their records, including records of the name, address, rate paid for services, charges, and payment for each customer, public bodies that provide utility services to the public may keep confidential credit information, credit card numbers, telephone numbers, and bank account information for individual customers. 51 O.S. § 24A.9(D). The Corporation Commission shall keep confidential those records of a public utility, its affiliates, suppliers and customers which the Commission determines are confidential books, records, or trade secrets. 51 O.S. § 24A.22. A public body that performs billing or collection services for a utility regulated by the Corporation Commission may keep confidential any customer or individual payment data obtained or created by the public body. 51 O.S. § 24A.10(D).

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  • Oregon

    ORS 192.355(28) (formerly 192.502(28)) exempts personally identifiable information about customers of a municipal electric utility or a people’s utility district, as well as certain personal information concerning customers who receive water, sewer, or storm drain services from certain public bodies.

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  • Pennsylvania

    The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is an agency subject to the Law. See 65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.708(b)(3)(iii).

    However, the Law contains an exemption for a “record, the disclosure of which creates a reasonable likelihood of endangering the safety or the physical security of a building, public utility, resource, infrastructure, facility or information storage system.” Id. That exemption includes “building plans or infrastructure records that expose or create vulnerability through disclosure of the location, configuration or security of critical systems, including public utility systems, structural elements, technology, communication, electrical, fire suppression, ventilation, water, wastewater, sewage and gas systems.” Id.

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  • Rhode Island

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • South Carolina

    Records of accounts with utilities that are public bodies, e.g., a municipal water service, are public records.  S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-50(A)(6).

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  • South Dakota

    Commission records open. SDCL §49-1-12. Utility companies’ records generally open only to stockholders. SDCL §49-33-18.

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  • Tennessee

    Generally open.

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  • Texas

    Section 552.022(3) specifically provides for disclosure of "information in an account, voucher, or contract relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds by a governmental body," unless otherwise made confidential by law. The Attorney General has interpreted this section to apply to a public utility's bill ledgers, even where these records would show which customers are delinquent in payment. Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-443 (1986). In so advising, the Attorney General explained that citizens may have privacy rights concerning private debts, but the public has a legitimate interest in knowing who owes money to governmental bodies. Id. The tax status of municipal utility customers likewise is public. Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-520 (1989). In addition, the Attorney General concluded that the Public Utility Commission may publicly disclose a report regarding the scope of competition in the telecommunication market without implicating the proprietary interests of the entities that were required to provide the information on which the report was based, as long as the commission avoided the identification, either explicitly or implicitly, of any of the responding utilities. Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. 95-043 (1995).

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  • Utah

    1. Records of well logs, etc. are generally public, unless the well owner or operator requests confidentiality in writing. Such confidentiality, however, cannot exceed five years. See Utah Code § 73-22-6(1)(c).

    2. Information provided to a geological survey, by any source, is to remain at the level of confidentiality assigned by the source. See id. § 79-3-202(2)(c).

    3. Information obtained for state energy reports is confidential if the information provider so designates. See id. § 53-2a-1005(1).

    4. The Board of Oil, Gas and Mining shall not disclose data obtained from mining companies, except in some specified circumstances. See id. § 40-8-8(2).

    5. Information provided in the notice of intent by a mining operator relating to a mineral deposit shall, with limited exceptions, be kept confidential, if the operator designates the information as such. See id. § 40-8-13(3).

    6. Information submitted to the Division by a coal mine operator in a notice of intention to explore for coal, and designated as “confidential concerning trade secrets or privileged commercial or financial information which relates to the competitive rights” of the coal company, shall not be available for public inspection. Id. § 40-10-8(2).

    7. Oil well logs marked “confidential” shall be kept confidential for one year after the date on which the log is required to be filed with the Board, unless the well operator consents to earlier disclosure. Id. § 40-6-5(2)(b).

    8. Information supplied to the Board about coal seams, test bearings, core sampling, or soil samples shall be made available to any person with an interest which is or may be adversely affected; but information that pertains only to the analysis of the chemical and physical properties of the coal (excepting information about hazards to the environment) shall be kept confidential and shall not be made a matter of public record. See id. § 40-10-10(4).

    9. Copies of coal mining and reclamation inspection records and reports “shall be made immediately available to the public.” Id. § 40-10-19(6).

    10. State Engineer’s records, maps, or papers shall be open to the public during business hours. See id. § 73-2-11.

    11. Records, reports, or information obtained by the Water Quality Board from a waste disposal permit holder are public, unless otherwise provided by GRAMA. See id. § 19-5-113(2)(b).

    12. Records of all hearings before the Public Service Commission are public, but information furnished to the PSC by a public utility may be withheld from the public “whenever and during such time as the [PSC] may determine that it is for the best interests of the public to withhold such information.” Id. § 54-3-21(4).

    13. The Public Service Commission has the right to inspect a public utility’s accounts, books, papers, and documents. Persons other than a PSC official may inspect such records only if the PSC authorizes them to do so. See id. § 54-7-7.

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  • Vermont

    Public Utility Commission records related to self-managed energy efficiency programs are public records, unless a participant in the self-managed program requests confidentiality and the data disclosed by the requesting participant would qualify for exemption from disclosure under 1 V.S.A. § 317. 30 V.S.A. § 209(j)(4)(K). “If such confidentiality is requested, the Commission shall disclose the data only in accordance with a protective agreement approved by the Commission and signed by the recipient of the data, unless a court orders otherwise.” 30 V.S.A. § 209(j)(4)(J).

    The Vermont General Assembly created the Telecommunications and Connectivity Advisory Board for the purpose of making recommendations to the Commissioner of Public Service regarding his or her telecommunications responsibilities and duties. 30 V.S.A. § 202f(a). Information provided to the Telecommunications and Connectivity Advisory Board by private companies is exempt from public inspection and copying under the Public Records Act. 30 V.S.A. § 202f(k).

    Annually, each commercial broadcasting station doing business with a Vermont cable company must report to the Attorney General any fees charged for program content retransmitted on the cable network under a retransmission consent agreement entered into pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 325, for the prior calendar year. 30 V.S.A. § 518(b). Any information transmitted pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 518(b) is exempt from public inspection and copying under the Public Records Act, unless otherwise ordered by a court. 30 V.S.A. § 518(d).

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  • Virginia

    Customer account information is subject to an exclusion for name, service address, and account information, but not including amounts billed and paid for service. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3705.7.7.

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  • Washington

    Public utility records are generally available. See In Re Rosier, 105 Wn.2d 606, 717 P.2d 1353 (1986); 1983 Op. Atty. Gen. No. 9. However, residential addresses and telephone numbers of customers of a public utility may be withheld from public disclosure. RCW 42.56. 330(2). Also, the state Supreme Court has found a constitutional privacy interest in electric usage records, thus allowing disclosure by a public utility district only under authority of law. Matter of Maxfield, 133 Wn.2d 332, 344, 945 P.2d 196 (1997); see also RCW 42.17.314 (2000).

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  • West Virginia

    Public utility records in the possession of any public body such as the Public Service Commission would be subject to disclosure unless the particular information sought is one of the sixteen exempt categories discussed in the previous section.  As discussed above, the Supreme Court has ruled that information contained in the annual reports submitted by public utilities to the Public Service Commission are public, unless the utility establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the information constitutes a trade secret or comes within one of the other exemptions. AT&T Communications v. Public Service Comm’n, 188 W. Va. 250, 423 S.E.2d 859 (1992).

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  • Wisconsin

    The Public Service Commission may “withhold from public inspection any information which would aid a competitor or a public utility in competition with the public utility.” Wis. Stat. § 196.14. In addition, administrative hearings, which include Public Service Commission hearings, may take steps to “protect the trade secrets.” Wis. Stat. § 227.46(7).

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  • Wyoming

    Open except as otherwise provided in Title 37, Public Utilities. Wyo. Stat. § 37-2-124(1977).

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