File No. 37041
This rule was published in the December 1, 2012, issue (Vol. 2012, No. 23) of the Utah State Bulletin.
Public Service Commission, Administration
Uniform Rules Governing Natural Gas Service
Notice of Proposed Rule
DAR File No.: 37041
Filed: 11/13/2012 01:24:43 PM
Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:
On 09/14/2012, Questar Gas Company petitioned the Public Service Commission of Utah to modify rules applicable to crossed meter conditions so that the time period for calculating backbilled amounts and refunds would be identical. This change would help avoid complications from disparate time periods as currently contained in the rule.
Summary of the rule or change:
Once a crossed meter condition is identified, Rule R746-320 currently limits the period covered by a backbill for which charges were not previously billed for service to 6 months and the period covered by an overbill for which a refund is due to 24 months. The proposed rule provides for 24 months of backbilling and 24 months of overbilling for crossed meter conditions that are not caused by the natural gas utility. The proposed change is to alleviate billing complications. The changes ensure that for crossed meters which are not caused by the natural gas utility, the amount the utility recovers from underbilled customers is in parity with what is refunded to overbilled customers.
State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:
- Section 54-2-1
- Section 54-4-7
- Section 54-4-23
- Section 54-4-1
- Section 54-4-18
Anticipated cost or savings to:
the state budget:
No impact on the state budget has been identified. However if the state were to be affected by a natural gas crossed meter condition, it would be subject to the 24-month limitation for the backbilled or overbilled situation, whichever applies, as opposed to the current 6-month limitation for a backbilled situation and 24-month limitation for an overbilled situation.
No impact on the local government budgets has been identified. However if the local government were to be affected by a natural gas crossed meter condition, it would be subject to the 24-month limitation for the backbilled or overbilled situation, whichever applies, as opposed to the current 6-month limitation for an underbilled situation and 24-month limitation for an overbilled situation.
No impact on small business budgets has been identified. However if a small business were to be affected by a natural gas crossed meter condition, it would be subject to the 24-month limitation for the overbilled or underbilled situation, as opposed to the current 6-month limitation for an underbilled situation and 24-month limitation for an overbilled situation.
persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:
If a person were to be affected by a natural gas crossed meter condition, it would be subject to the 24-month limitation for the overbilled or underbilled situation, as opposed to the current 6-month limitation for an underbilled situation and 24-month limitation for an overbilled situation.
Compliance costs for affected persons:
No compliance costs have been identified.
Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:
While a crossed meter condition may exist for many years, this rule change limits the exposure of businesses to both overbilling and underbilling situations resulting from the identification of a crossed meter condition that is not caused by the natural gas utility to 24 months. In addition, the changes ensure that for crossed meters which are not caused by the natural gas utility, the amount the utility recovers from an underbilled customer is in parity with what is refunded to an overbilled customer.
Ted Boyer, Commission Chairman
The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:Public Service Commission
HEBER M WELLS BLDG
160 E 300 S
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84111-2316
Direct questions regarding this rule to:
- Sheri Bintz at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6714, by FAX at 801-530-6796, or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Clark at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6708, by FAX at 801-530-6796, or by Internet E-mail at email@example.com
Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:
This rule may become effective on:
David Clark, Legal Counsel
R746. Public Service Commission, Administration.
R746-320. Uniform Rules Governing Natural Gas Service.
R746-320-8. Billing Adjustments.
A. Definitions --
1. A "backbill" is that portion of a bill, other than a levelized bill, which represents charges not previously billed for service that was actually delivered to the customer before the current billing cycle.
2. A "catch-up bill" is a bill based on an actual reading provided after one or more bills based on estimated or customer readings. A catch-up bill which exceeds by 50 percent or more the bill that would have been provided under a utility's standard estimation program is presumed to be a backbill.
B. Notice -- The account holder may be notified by mail, by phone, or by a personal visit, of the reason for the backbill. This notification shall be followed by, or include, a written explanation of the reason for the backbill that shall be received by the customer before the due date and be sufficiently detailed to apprise the customer of the circumstances, error or condition that caused the underbilling, and, if the backbill covers more than a 24-month period, a statement setting forth the reasons the utility did not limit the backbill under Subsection R746-320-8(D).
C. Limitations on Providing a Backbill -- A utility shall not provide a backbill more than three months after the utility actually became aware of the circumstance, error, or condition that caused the underbilling and the correct calculation to be used in the backbill has been determined. This limitation does not apply to fraud, theft of service, and denial of access to meter situations.
D. Limitations of the Period for Backbilling --
1. A utility shall not bill a customer for
service provided more than 24 months before the utility actually
became aware of the circumstance, error, or condition that caused
the underbilling or that the original billing was incorrect.[
In the case of a crossed meter condition, the period
covered by the backbill may not exceed six months.]
2. When there is customer fraud, theft of service, or denial of access to the meter, the utility shall estimate a bill for the period over which the fraud or theft was perpetrated or that denial of access occurred. The time limitations of Subsection R746-320-8(D)(1) do not apply to customer fraud or theft situations.
3. In the case of a backbill for Utah sales taxes not previously billed, the period covered by the backbill shall not exceed the period for which the utility is assessed a sales tax deficiency.
E. Payment Period and Interest -- A utility shall permit the customer to make arrangements to pay a backbill without interest over a time period at least equal in length to the time period over which the backbill was assessed. However, interest will be assessed at the rate applied to past due accounts on amounts not timely paid in accordance with the established arrangements. If the utility has demonstrated that the customer knew or reasonably should have known that the original billing was incorrect or in the case where there has been fraud or theft, interest will be assessed from the time the original payment was due.
A. Standards and Criteria for Overbilling -- Billing under the following conditions constitutes overbilling:
1. a meter registering more than three percent fast, or a defective meter;
2. use of an incorrect heat value multiplier;
3. incorrect service classification, if the information supplied by the customer was not erroneous or deficient;
4. billing based on a crossed meter condition where the customer is billed on the incorrect meter;
5. meter turnover, or billing for a complete revolution of a meter which did not occur;
6. a delay in refunding payment to a customer pursuant to rules providing for refunds for line extensions;
7. incorrect meter reading or recording by the utility; and
8. incorrect estimated demand billings by the utility.
B. Interest Rate --
1. A utility shall provide interest on customer payments for overbilling. The interest rate shall be the greater of the interest rate paid by a utility on customer deposits, or the interest rate charged by a utility for late payments.
2. Interest shall be paid from the date when the customer overpayment is made, until the date when the overpayment is refunded. Interest shall be compounded during the overpayment period.
C. Limitations --
1. A utility shall not be required to pay interest on overpayments if offsetting billing adjustments are made during the next full billing cycle after the receipt of the overpayment.
2. The utility shall be required to offer refunds, in lieu of credit, only when the amount of the overpayment exceeds $50 or the sum of two average month's bills, whichever is less. However, the utility shall not be required to offer a refund to a customer having a balance owing to the utility, unless the refund would result in a credit balance in favor of the customer.
3. If a customer is given a credit for an overpayment, interest will accrue only up to the time at which the first credit is made, when credits are applied over two or more bills.
4. A utility shall not be required to make
a refund of, or give a credit for, overpayments which occurred more
than 24 months before the customer submitted a complaint to the
utility or the Commission, or the utility actually became aware of
an incorrect billing which resulted in an overpayment.
A]n exception to the 24 month limitation period applies when
the overbilling can be shown to be due to some cause, the date of
which can be fixed. In this instance the overcharge shall be
computed back to that date and the entire overcharge shall be
5. When a utility can demonstrate before the Commission that a customer knew or reasonably should have known about an overpayment, a utility shall not be required to pay interest on the overpayment.
6. Utilities shall not be required to pay interest on overpayment credits or refunds which were made before the effective date of this rule provision.
7. Disputes regarding the level or terms of the refund or credit are subject to the informal and formal review procedures of the Utah Public Service Commission.
KEY: rules and procedures, public utilities, utility service shutoff
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [
November 1, 2000]
Notice of Continuation: December 5, 2007
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 54-2-1; 54-4-1; 54-4-7; 54-4-18; 54-4-23
The Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the Bulletin is the official version. The PDF version of this issue is available at https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/bull-pdf/2012/b20121201.pdf. The HTML edition of the Bulletin is a convenience copy. Any discrepancy between the PDF version and HTML version is resolved in favor of the PDF version.
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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Sheri Bintz at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6714, by FAX at 801-530-6796, or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; David Clark at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6708, by FAX at 801-530-6796, or by Internet E-mail at email@example.com.