The Secretary may make grants to States, or otherwise as provided in subsection (c) of this section, under this section to provide for the establishment and operation of offices of consumer services to assist consumers in their presentations before utility regulatory commissions. Any assistance provided under this section shall be provided only for an office of consumer services which is operated independently of any such utility regulatory commission and which is empowered to—
(1) make general factual assessments of the impact of proposed rate changes and other proposed regulatory actions upon all affected consumers;
(2) assist consumers in the presentation of their positions before utility regulatory commissions; and
(3) advocate, on its own behalf, a position which it determines represents the position most advantageous to consumers, taking into account developments in rate design reform.
Grants pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be made only to States which furnish such assurances as the Secretary may require that funds made available under such section will be in addition to, and not in substitution for, funds made available to offices of consumer services from other sources.
Assistance may be provided under this section to an office of consumer services established by the Tennessee Valley Authority, if such office is operated independently of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
(Pub. L. 94–385, title II, §205, Aug. 14, 1976, 90 Stat. 1144; Pub. L. 95–617, title I, §143, Nov. 9, 1978, 92 Stat. 3134.)
1978—Subsecs. (a), (b). Pub. L. 95–617 substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator", meaning Administrator of the Federal Energy Administration.