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The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate was established by the General Assembly in 1976 to represent the consumers of Pennsylvania in matters involving their utility service.

What is the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate?

The Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) is a state agency that represents the interests of Pennsylvania utility consumers before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), federal regulatory agencies, and state and federal courts. The OCA was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1976 and is an independent office within the Office of Attorney General.

The OCA is led by a Consumer Advocate and has a staff of Attorneys and Regulatory Analysts who represent consumer interests in cases and proceedings before the PUC.  In addition, OCA’s Consumer Service Representatives and Consumer Liaisons offer assistance and consumer education to the public. Administrative and Clerical Support Staff support the work of all members of the office in fulfilling the OCA’s mission.

Our office is available to help consumers who have questions or problems with their electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water or wastewater service.

Meet the Consumer Advocate

Patrick M. Cicero, Esq.

Under Pennsylvania law, the Consumer Advocate is nominated by the Attorney General and must be confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate. Patrick M. Cicero, Esquire was appointed the Acting Consumer Advocate by Attorney General Josh Shapiro on December 13, 2021 and nominated for the position on March 30, 2022. Patrick was confirmed as Consumer Advocate by the Senate on June 7, 2022. Patrick has spent his legal career representing the interests of consumers in Pennsylvania in the areas of utility, consumer, and housing law. Immediately prior to his tenure as Consumer Advocate, Patrick served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc., where he provided strategic leadership and oversaw the advocacy, fundraising, and management of Pennsylvania’s coordinated network of legal aid organizations serving low income households and victims of domestic violence. You can learn more about Patrick’s professional experience by viewing his resume. Patrick is a life-long Pennsylvanian.  He attended college and law school in the state and currently lives in Mechanicsburg with his family.

To view OCA’s Leadership History, click here.

Mailing Address:

PA Office of Consumer Advocate
555 Walnut Street
5th Floor Forum Place
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1923

Contact Information:

Toll Free: (800) 684-6560 or
(717) 783-5048
Email: consumer@paoca.org

Hours of Operation:

Monday- Friday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm *Eastern Standard Time*
Saturday- Sunday: CLOSED

Parking:

Visitors to our office may park in either the 5th Street garage or the garage at Harrisburg University (entrance off of 4th Street).

The Consumer’s Voice in Utility Regulation

The OCA represents the interests of consumers in cases before the PUC involving a wide range of utility issues. These include rate increase cases, energy supply and purchased gas cost cases, retail competition issues, mergers, and alternative regulation plans. The OCA is involved in rulemakings, policy statements, and state and federal cases concerning either the price consumers pay for vital utility service or the quality of service they receive. The OCA generally stresses the interests of residential consumers.

The OCA works to keep utilities from charging more than they need to provide safe, reliable, and adequate service to consumers. The OCA also works to ensure that rates remain affordable and that programs exist to help low income and vulnerable households remain connected to essential utility service. The OCA can appeal a PUC final decision if it believes the decision is in error and is harmful to consumers. The OCA has filed many appeals from PUC decisions. Some have gone as far as the Pennsylvania and United States Supreme Courts.

The Consumer’s Voice in Utility Competition and Policy Changes

Laws and policies concerning utility service to consumers are changing rapidly. In the past, most consumers could only choose one company for their electric, telephone or natural gas service. In recent years, both state and federal lawmakers and policymakers have opened many areas of the utility industry to competition. The OCA is the consumer’s voice in these policy debates and in the cases resulting from these policy changes. The OCA’s goal is to have all Pennsylvania consumers benefit from these changes and to make sure that consumers are protected as these changes occur. The office has actively participated in the legislative and policy debates surrounding utility competition and has been involved in cases regarding competition in the electric, natural gas and telecommunications industries in Pennsylvania.

Help Consumers with Utility Complaints

The OCA can help a consumer or a group of consumers with utility questions or concerns. Consumers may have problems with their utility bills, their quality of service or they may need help in getting utility service provided to their homes. Consumers may be facing loss of their utility service or have questions about a competitive energy supplier.

The OCA responds to all consumer contacts, answers questions and attempts to resolve consumer disputes with utility companies.

Pennsylvania consumers can email us at consumer@paoca.org or call the OCA’s toll-free call center at 800-684-6560. Members of OCA staff respond to all customer contacts by providing information or by otherwise helping consumers resolve their complaints and concerns with their utility provider.

Consumer Education

The OCA educates consumers and the public on utility issues through its participation in many forums, seminars, community meetings and through the use of social and other media. The office’s website at www.oca.pa.gov has tips, testimony and other educational information. The OCA also publishes Residential Electric and Natural Gas Shopping Guides. They provide “apples-to-apples” price comparisons for alternative suppliers in each utility’s service area.

If you are a community group, community leader, or government official and would like an OCA staff member to give a presentation or speak at a community meeting please contact us through our Contact Us page or by email at consumer@paoca.org.

Job Openings

The OCA is seeking two full-time Regulatory Analysts. Click here for more information.

Office News

Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate to Investigate Unusually Large Weather Normalization Adjustment Charges Assessed to Customers of Philadelphia Gas Works

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 29, 2022 The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) announced that it will investigate the unusually large charge assessed by the Philadelphia Gas Works to many […]

Patrick Cicero Confirmed As Pennsylvania’s Consumer Advocate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Wednesday, June 8, 2022  HARRISBURG — Today, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that the Pennsylvania Senate has confirmed Patrick Cicero, Esq., as Pennsylvania’s Consumer Advocate. Cicero has been […]

Office of Consumer Advocate urges Consumers to Know their Options in face of Rising Energy Prices

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 9, 2022 HARRISBURG- Recently, there has been a lot of news about increases in home energy prices both for electric and natural gas supply.  Many companies […]

Consumer Alert: PA Attorney General and Consumer Advocate Call on State to Extend Deadline to Apply for LIHEAP Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday, March 9, 2022 HARRISBURG – Today, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Acting Consumer Advocate Patrick Cicero urged Pennsylvanians struggling to pay their utility bills to […]

Attorney General Josh Shapiro Nominates New Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate, Patrick M. Cicero, Esq.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE– Monday, December 13, 2021 HARRISBURG — Today, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the nomination of Patrick Cicero, Esq., a lawyer with extensive experience in utility matters impacting […]

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Quick Links

Residential Electric Shopping Guide

Learn how to shop for electricity and compare prices for generation suppliers in each major electric utility service territory.

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Residential Natural Gas Shopping Guide

Learn how to shop for natural gas and compare prices for gas suppliers in each major natural gas utility service territory.

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