It is the policy of the Public Utility Commission (Commission) to ensure the free and open examination of its records and to liberally construe the Public Records Act.
The official custodian of the Commission’s records is Judith Whitney, (802) 828-2358.
Requests for Public Records
Requests may be submitted by email, phone, mail and in person.
Public Utility Commission
112 State Street, 4th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-2701
ATTN: Judith C. Whitney, Clerk of the Commission
The offices of the Public Utility Commission are equipped to handle reasonable in-person requests. If you would like to inspect the Commission’s records, please contact the Clerk of the Commission at (802) 828-2358 to set up an appointment to inspect public records on any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, between the hours of 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.
Upon request, the custodian will promptly produce the record for inspection, except that if the record is in active use or in storage, and therefore not available for use at the time the person asks to examine it. The custodian shall so certify this fact in writing to the applicant and set a date and hour within one calendar week of the request when the record will be available for examination.
If the custodian considers the record to be exempt from inspection under the provisions of 1 V.S.A. § 317(c), the custodian shall so certify in writing. Such certification shall identify the records withheld and state the basis for the denial. A record shall be produced for inspection or a certification shall be made that a record is exempt within three business days of receipt of the request, unless there are “unusual circumstances” that require an extension of time, up to ten business days, to respond to the records request.
Examples of “unusual circumstances” include: (1) the need to search for records located off-site (such as records located in the state archives), (2) the need to search through voluminous records, or (3) the need to consult with another state agency that has a substantial interest in the records request. Any such extension of time shall be provided in writing.
If a record does not exist, the custodian shall certify in writing that the record does not exist. If the custodian denies a records request, the custodian shall provide a written certification identifying the records withheld and the statutory basis for the denial.
If you believe you were wrongly denied a request for public records, you may appeal to the Chair of the Public Utility Commission. If email is not an option for you, mail the request to: ATTN: Judith C. Whitney, Clerk of the Public Utility Commission, 112 State Street, 4th floor, Montpelier, VT 05620-2701.
The Chair shall make a determination with respect to any appeal within five business days after the receipt of such appeal. If an appeal of the denial of the request for records is upheld in whole or in part, the Chair shall notify the person making such request of the provisions for judicial review of that determination under 1 V.S.A. § 319.
Records Exempt from Disclosure
Please be aware that certain records are exempt from disclosure, these exemptions are listed in 1 V.S.A. § 317(c). For example, records of, or internal materials prepared for, the deliberations of the Commission are exempt from public disclosure. See 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(24).
In cases where the Commission is authorized to charge fees for the cost of providing access to public records, the Commission will call the requestor to clarify the nature of the request and to ensure that the requestor does not incur unnecessary charges. The Commission will provide an estimate of any charges. The Commission will charge fees for the actual cost of providing a copy of a public record in accordance with the rule adopted by the Secretary of State, as set forth below.
Pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 316(d) and Acts 1996, No. 159 section 1, the following fees are established:*
- Staff time involved in physically duplicating a record, $.33 per minute after the first 30 minutes
- Senior-level staff time, and information technology specialists' time spent extracting data from databases or performing similar tasks necessary to comply with a request to create a new public record, $.57 per minute
- Any other staff time for which cost can be charged and collected under this section, $.45 per minute
- Photocopies, $.05 per single-sided page, $.09 per double-sided page for pages up to 8.5 by 14 inches
- Color photocopies, $1.00 per single-sided page
- Computer-generated paper copies, $.02 per page for pages up to 8.5 by 14 inches
- Computer diskettes, $.28 each for 3.5-inch diskettes
- Compact discs, $.86 each for write-once CD w/case, $2.31 each for rewritable CD w/case
- Audio tapes, $.81 each
- Video tapes, $1.69 each
- DVD's, $2.00 each for write-once DVD w/case, $4.00 each for re-writable DVD w/case
* Note: there are fees for copies of public records that are established by statute that may override the fees established by this schedule.
Public Records Act
The Public Records Act is codified at 1 V.S.A. §§ 315 - 320. Below are links to the Legislature’s webpage for these statutes.
Subchapter 3: Access To Public Records
§ 315 Statement of policy: short title
§ 316 Access to public records and documents
§ 317 Definitions; public agency; public records and documents
§ 317a Disposition of public records
§ 318 Procedure
§ 319 Enforcement
§ 320 Penalties