DAR File No. 40472
This rule was published in the July 1, 2016, issue (Vol. 2016, No. 13) of the Utah State Bulletin.
Public Service Commission, Administration
Termination of Service
Notice of Proposed Rule
DAR File No.: 40472
Filed: 06/08/2016 07:29:57 AM
Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:
The purpose of this amendment is to clarify the requirements that must be met before a public utility may terminate service to a customer.
Summary of the rule or change:
The amendment states that a public utility must provide the Division of Public Utilities (Division) with an electronic copy of a customer termination notice at or before the time the public utility issues the termination notice to the customer. The amendment further requires the Division to provide the customer with specific information and contact information relative to the proposed service termination.
State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:
- Section 54-7-9
- Section 54-4-1
- Section 54-4-7
- Section 54-7-25
Anticipated cost or savings to:
the state budget:
To date, the Division has been using both certified and regular mail to contact a customer who risks losing utility service for non-payment. The rule allows the Division to use regular mail only. As a result, the Division will save approximately $6 per contact.
Because this rule clarifies the process for terminating a customer's utility service, there are no anticipated costs or savings to local government.
The rule allows an affected business to communicate with the Division electronically. Therefore, it is anticipated that an affected business will be able to comply without incurring costs.
persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:
The rule allows an affected person to communicate with the Division electronically. Therefore, it is anticipated that an affected person will be able to comply without incurring costs.
Compliance costs for affected persons:
The rule allows an affected person to communicate with the Division electronically. Therefore, it is anticipated that an affected person will be able to comply without incurring costs.
Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:
This rule results from a year-long test period in which the Division worked with customers and public utilities to develop an efficient and cost-effective method for communicating with customers who risk losing utility service for non-payment. Allowing the public utilities to communicate with the Division electronically will minimize compliance costs for businesses.
Thad LeVar, Commission Chair
The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Office 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 email@example.com
- Jennie Jonsson at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6763, by FAX at , or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
Jennie Jonsson, Administrative Law Judge
R746. Public Service Commission, Administration.
R746-200. Residential Utility Service Rules for Electric, Gas, Water, and Sewer Utilities.
R746-200-7. Termination of Service.
A. Definitions. As used in this section (R746-200-7):
1. "Licensed medical provider" means a medical provider:
a. who holds a current and active medical license under Utah Code Title 58; and
b. whose scope of practice authorizes the medical provider to diagnose the condition described by the medical provider under this rule.
2. "Life-supporting equipment" means life-supporting medical equipment:
a. with normal operation that requires continuation of public utility service; and
b. used by an individual who would require immediate assistance from medical personnel to sustain life if the life supporting equipment ceased normal operations.
3. "Life-supporting equipment statement" means a written statement:
a. signed by the licensed medical provider for the account holder or resident who utilizes life-supporting equipment; and
i. a description of the medical need of the account holder or resident who utilizes life-supporting equipment;
ii. the account holder's name and address;
iii. name of resident using life-supporting equipment and relationship to account holder, if different than account holder;
iv. the health infirmity and expected duration;
v. identification of the life-support equipment that requires the utility's service;
vi. a determination by the licensed medical provider that immediate assistance from medical personnel to sustain life would be required if the life supporting equipment ceased normal operations; and
vii. the name and contact information of the licensed medical provider for the resident who utilizes life-supporting equipment,
4. "Serious illness or infirmity statement" means a written statement:
a. signed by a licensed medical provider;
b. written on:
i. a form obtained from the public utility; or
ii. the licensed medical provider's letterhead stationary;
c. legibly describing:
i. a diagnosed medical condition under which termination of utility service will injure the person's health or aggravate the person's illness; and
ii. the anticipated duration of the diagnosed medical condition.
B. Delinquent Account --
1. A residential utility service bill that has remained unpaid beyond the statement due date is a delinquent account.
2. When an account is a delinquent account, a public utility, before termination of service, shall issue a written late notice to inform the account holder of the delinquent status. A late notice or reminder notice must include the following information:
a. A statement that the account is a delinquent account and should be paid promptly;
b. A statement that the account holder should communicate with the public utility's collection department, by calling the company, if the account holder has a question concerning the account;
c. A statement of the delinquent account balance, using a term such as "delinquent account balance."
3. When the account holder responds to a late notice or reminder notice the public utility's collections personnel shall investigate disputed issues and shall try to resolve the issues by negotiation. During this investigation and negotiation no other action shall be taken to disconnect the residential utility service if the account holder pays the undisputed portion of the account subject to the utility's right to terminate utility service pursuant to R746-200-7(F), Termination of Service Without Notice.
4. A copy of the "Statement of Customer Rights and Responsibilities" referred to in Subsection R746-200-1(G) of these rules shall be issued to the account holder with the first notice of impending service disconnection.
C. Reasons for Termination of Service --
1. Residential utility service may be terminated for the following reasons:
a. Nonpayment of a delinquent account;
b. Nonpayment of a deposit when required;
c. Failure to comply with the terms of a deferred payment agreement or Commission order;
d. Unauthorized use of, or diversion of, residential utility service or tampering with wires, pipes, meters, or other equipment;
e. Subterfuge or deliberately furnishing false information; or
f. Failure to provide access to meter during the regular route visit to the premises following proper notification and opportunity to make arrangements in accordance with R746-200-4(B), Estimated Billing, Subsection (2).
2. The following shall be insufficient grounds for termination of service:
a. A delinquent account, accrued before a divorce or separate maintenance action in the courts, in the name of a former spouse, cannot be the basis for termination of the current account holder's service;
b. Cohabitation of a current account holder with a delinquent account holder whose utility service was previously terminated for non-payment, unless the current and delinquent account holders also cohabited while the delinquent account holder received the utility's service, whether the service was received at the current account holder's present address or another address;
c. When the delinquent account balance is less than $25.00, unless no payment has been made for two months;
d. Failure to pay an amount in bona fide dispute before the Commission;
e. Payment delinquency for third party services billed by the regulated utility company, unless prior approval is obtained from the Commission.
D. Restrictions upon Termination of Service -- Medical Reasons --
1. Serious Illness or Infirmity. If a public utility receives a serious illness or infirmity statement:
a. the public utility shall continue or restore residential utility service for the period set forth in the statement or one month, whichever is less;
b. the public utility is not required to provide the continuation or restoration described in R746-200-7.D.1.a. more than two times to an individual customer or residence during the same calendar year; and
c. the account holder is liable for the cost of residential utility service during the period of continued or restored service.
2. Life-Supporting Equipment.
a. After receiving a life-supporting equipment statement, the public utility:
i. shall mark and identify applicable meter boxes where the life-supporting equipment is used;
ii. may not terminate service to the residence unless the public utility has complied with this Subsection (R746-200-7.D.2); and
iii. may request annual verification from the licensed medical provider of the life-supporting equipment.
b. A public utility may terminate service on an account where the public utility has received a life-supporting equipment statement and the related medical provider verification, if:
i. the account is in default;
ii. the public utility has:
AA. followed R746-200-5 on offering a deferred payment agreement; or
BB. if R746-200-5 does not apply, allowed the customer one month to enter into a deferred payment agreement that may last up to 12 months;
iii. after complying with R746-200-7.D.2.b.ii, the public utility has provided to the customer a written notice of proposed termination of service that:
AA. clearly and plainly informs the customer of the customer's rights under R746-200-7.D.2 and of the customer's right to an expedited complaint hearing under R746-200-8.E.; and
BB. complies with R746-200-7.G.1;
iv. the public utility has provided to the customer a 48 hour notice of termination of utility service that complies with R746-200-7.G.2; and
v. the public utility has complied with all other applicable provisions of R746-200-7.
c. The account holder is liable for the cost of residential utility service during the period of service, including throughout all proceedings related to life-supporting equipment.
E. Payments from the Home Energy Assistance Target (HEAT) Program -- Suppliers may not discontinue utility service to a low-income household for at least 30 days after receiving utility payment or verification of utility payment from the HEAT Program on behalf of the low-income household.
F. Termination of Service Without Notice -- Any provision contained in these rules notwithstanding, a public utility may terminate residential utility service without notice when, in its judgment, a clear emergency or serious health or safety hazard exists for so long as the conditions exist, or when there is unauthorized use or diversion of residential utility service or tampering with wires, pipes, meters, or other equipment owned by the utility. The utility shall immediately try to notify the customer of the termination of service and the reasons therefor.
G. Notice of Proposed Termination of Service --
1. At least 10 calendar days before a proposed termination of residential utility service, or at least 30 calendar days before a proposed termination if the residential utility service customer has provided to the public utility a life-supporting equipment statement, a public utility shall give written notice of disconnection for nonpayment to the account holder. The 10-day or 30-day time period is computed from the date the notice is postmarked. The notice shall be given by first class mail or delivery to the premises and shall contain a summary of the following information:
a. a Statement of Customer Rights and Responsibilities under existing state law and Commission rules;
b. the Commission-approved policy on termination of service for that utility;
c. the availability of deferred payment agreements and sources of possible financial assistance including but not limited to state and federal energy assistance programs;
d. informal and formal procedures to dispute bills and to appeal adverse decisions, including the Commission's address, website, and telephone number;
e. specific steps, printed in a conspicuous fashion, that may be taken by the consumer to avoid termination of service;
f. the date on which payment arrangements must be made to avoid termination of service; and
g. subject to the provision of Subsection R746-200-1(E), Customer Information, a conspicuous statement, in Spanish, that the notice is a termination of service notice and that the utility has a Spanish edition of its customer information pamphlet and whether it has personnel available during regular business hours to communicate with Spanish-speaking customers.
2. At least 48 hours before termination of service is scheduled, the utility shall make good faith efforts to notify the account holder or an adult member of the household, by mail, by telephone or by a personal visit to the residence. If personal notification has not been made either directly by the utility or by the customer in response to a mailed notice, the utility shall leave a written termination of service notice at the residence. Personal notification, such as a visit to the residence or telephone conversation with the customer, is required only during the winter months, October 1 through March 31. Other months of the year, the mailed 48-hour notice can be the final notice before the termination of service.
If termination of service is not accomplished within 15 business days following the 48-hour notice, the utility company will follow the same procedures for another 48-hour notice.
A public utility shall send duplicate copies of 10-day or 30-day termination of service notices to a third party designated by the account holder and shall make reasonable efforts to personally contact the third party designated by the account holder before termination of service occurs, if the third party resides within its service area. A utility shall inform its account holders of the third-party notification procedure at the time of application for service and at least once each year.
4. In rental property situations where the tenant is not the account holder and that fact is known to the utility, the utility shall post a notice of proposed termination of service on the premises in a conspicuous place and shall make reasonable efforts to give actual notice to the occupants by personal visits or other appropriate means at least five calendar days before the proposed termination of service. The posted notice shall contain the information listed in Subsection R746-200-7(G)(1). This notice provision applies to residential premises when the account holder has requested termination of service or the account holder has a delinquent bill. If nonpayment is the basis for the termination of service, the utility shall also advise the tenants that they may continue to receive utility service for an additional 30 days by paying the charges due for the 30-day period just past.
H. Termination of Service -- Upon expiration of the notice of proposed termination of service, the public utility may terminate residential utility service. Except for service diversion or for safety considerations, utility service shall not be disconnected between Thursday at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 9:00 a.m. or on legal holidays recognized by Utah, or other times the utility's business offices are not open for business. Service may be disconnected only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
I. Customer-Requested Termination of Service --
1. A customer shall advise a public utility at least three days in advance of the day on which the customer wants service disconnected to the customer's residence. The public utility shall disconnect the service within four working days of the requested disconnect date. The customer shall not be liable for the services rendered to or at the address or location after the four days, unless access to the meter has been delayed by the customer.
2. A customer who is not an occupant at the residence for which termination of service is requested shall advise the public utility at least 10 days in advance of the day on which the customer wants service disconnected and sign an affidavit that the customer is not requesting termination of service as a means of evicting the customer's tenants. Alternatively, the customer may sign an affidavit that there are no occupants at the residence for which termination of service is requested and thereupon the disconnection may occur within four days of the requested disconnection date.
J. Restrictions Upon Termination of Service Practices -- A public utility shall not use termination of service practices other than those set forth in these rules. A utility shall have the right to use or pursue legal methods to ensure collections of obligations due it.
K. Policy Statement Regarding Elderly and Disabled -- The state recognizes that the elderly and disabled may be seriously affected by termination of utility service. In addition, the risk of inappropriate termination of service may be greater for the elderly and disabled due to communication barriers that may exist by reason of age or infirmity. Therefore, this section is specifically intended to prevent inappropriate terminations of service which may be hazardous to these individuals. In particular, Subsection R746-200-7(G), requiring adequate notice of impending terminations of service, including notification to third parties upon the request of the account holder, Subsection R746-200-7(D)(1), restricting termination of service when the termination of service will cause or aggravate a serious illness or infirmity of a person living in the residence, and Subsection R746-200-7(D)(2), restricting terminations of service to residences when life-supporting equipment is in use, are intended to meet the special needs of elderly and disabled persons, as well as those of the public in general.
L. Load Limiter as a Substitute for Termination of Service, Electric Utilities --
1. An electric utility may, but only with the customer's consent, install a load limiter as an alternative to terminating electric service for non-payment of a delinquent account or for failure to comply with the terms of a deferred payment agreement or Commission order. Conditions precedent to the termination of electric service must be met before the installation of a load limiter.
2. Disputes about the level of load limitation are subject to the informal review procedure of Subsection R746-200-8.
3. Electric utilities shall submit load limiter policies and procedures to the Commission for their review before the implementation and use of those policies.
KEY: public utilities, rules, utility service shutoff
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [
May 27, 2015]
Notice of Continuation: November 28, 2012
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 54-4-1; 54-4-7; 54-7-9; 54-7-25
More information about a Notice of Proposed Rule is available online.
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/2016/b20160701.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 email@example.com; Jennie Jonsson at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6763, by FAX at , or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Office of Administrative Rules.