If by the 20th calendar day after payment was due, the utility has neither received payment nor negotiated a new DPA the utility may demand full payment of the total outstanding charges and send a final notice of termination to the customer. The final notice of termination must include:
[ ] the earliest date on which termination or disconnection may occur;
[ ] the reasons for termination, including the total amount required to be paid, and the manner in which termination may be avoided;
[ ] the address and phone number of the office of the utility that the customer may contact in reference to his account;
[ ] the availability of utility procedures for handling complaints;
[ ] a summary, prepared or approved by the commission or its authorized designee, of the protections available together with a notice that any customer eligible for such protections should contact the utility.
[ ] The Final Notice of Termination may include any additional information not inconsistent with the regulations.
[ ] The Final Notice of Termination must state, in a size type capable of attracting immediate attention, language conveying the following: THIS IS A FINAL TERMINATION NOTICE. PLEASE REFER TO THIS NOTICE WHEN PAYING THIS BILL.
[ ]The Final Notice of Termination must inform the customer that suspension of the customer’s distribution service can accompany the ESCO’s commodity termination, even if the customer’s account for distribution service is current.
Special Notification of Social Services
After a utility has sent a final notice of termination to a residential customer who it knows is receiving public assistance, supplemental security income benefits or additional State payments pursuant to the Social Services Law, and for whom the utility has not received a guarantee of future payment from the local social services commissioner, it shall, not more than five days nor less than three days before the intended termination or disconnection, notify an appropriate official of the local social services district that payment for utility services has not been made.
[ ] Such notification shall state that the customer has been sent a final notice of termination, specify the amount of arrears, and state the earliest date on which termination or disconnection may occur.
[ ] In the case of a customer for whom the utility has received a guarantee of future payment from the local social services commissioner, the utility shall send a notice of nonpayment stating that payment has not been made and indicating the amount of the arrears to the recipient and to the local social services commissioner at the time the account would otherwise be subject to a final notice of termination or disconnection.
[ ] If the notification is made orally, the utility shall within one business day mail a written notification to such social services official.
[ ] Each utility shall, after consultation with an appropriate official in the social services district of each county served by the utility in whole or in part, compile and maintain a list of the social services officials who are to receive such notifications.
[ ] A utility may notify an appropriate social services official that a customer it knows is receiving public assistance, supplemental security income benefits or additional State payments has failed to make timely payment for utility service, whenever it believes special circumstances affecting such customer should be brought to the immediate attention of the social services official. Such notification shall describe the special circumstances observed, specify the amount of arrears, and state the scheduled date of termination or disconnection, if one has been set.
Final Notice of Suspension (ESCO accounts ONLY)
The Final Notice of Suspension from, or on behalf of, an ESCO shall inform the customer that suspension of the customer’s distribution service can accompany the ESCO’s commodity termination, even if the customer’s account for distribution service is current, and shall state the amounts which must be paid to
[ ] restore commodity supply and, if different,
[ ] to end suspension of distribution service.
Further, when the ESCO seeks suspension of distribution service, two notices are required:
[ ] a notice to the customer stating that his or her service is subject to suspension after 15 days, the amount to be paid to avoid suspension, the amount to be paid to resume service after suspension and, if different, the amount necessary to end suspension;
[ ] and a notice to the utility requesting suspension of the customer's distribution service and certifying that the HEFPA provisions have been satisfied.
Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA)(§11.10)
A Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) is a written agreement for the payment of outstanding charges over a specific period of time, signed by both the utility and the customer or applicant. A utility must make reasonable efforts to contact eligible customers for the purpose of offering a DPA and negotiating terms tailored to the customer’s financial circumstances, prior to making the written offer of a DPA. A DPA:
[ ] must provide for installments as low as $10 per month and no down payment, when the customer demonstrates financial need for such terms;
[ ] may provide for any size or no down payment, and installments on any schedule over any period of time if mutually agreed to by the parties;
A DPA form shall in clear and understandable language and format contain the following information:
[ ] that the utility is required to offer a DPA that the customer is able to pay, considering his or her financial circumstances, and that the DPA should not be signed if the customer is unable to pay its terms;
[ ] that if the customer demonstrates financial need, alternate terms will be available, a down payment may not be required, and installments may be as low as $10 per month above current bills;
[ ] that assistance to pay utility bills may be available to recipients of public assistance or supplemental security income from a local social services office;
[ ] that if the customer is unable to pay the terms of the DPA, or if for any other reason the customer wishes to discuss the DPA, the customer should call the utility at a specified telephone number, and that if any further assistance is needed, the customer should call the Public Service Commission at a specified telephone number;
[ ] that by signing and returning the form together with any required down payment to the utility within the required time period, the customer will be entering into a DPA, and by doing so, will avoid termination, disconnection or suspension of service;
[ ] the date by which the copy signed by the customer, and any applicable down payment, must be received by the utility in order to avoid termination, disconnection or suspension of service, if applicable, provided, however, that such date may not be less than six business days after the DPA is sent by the utility;
[ ] the utility’s policy if the DPA is not signed and returned as required;
[ ] the total amount due, the required down payment, if any, and the exact dollar amount and due date of each installment;
[ ] that if the customer fails to comply with the terms of the DPA, the utility will take steps to terminate, disconnect or suspend service;
[ ] that the customer has a right to immediate enrollment on a levelized payment plan. This notice must be placed close to the signature line, include a conspicuous check-box option, and give a specified telephone number to call the utility for more information;
[ ] brief explanation of the levelized payment plan;
[ ] and that if the customer later can demonstrate that his or her financial circumstances have changed significantly because of conditions beyond his or her control, the utility must amend the terms of the DPA to reflect such changes.
[ ] A utility must develop written DPA procedures and forms for evaluating the financial need of a customer or applicant, for assuring the confidential handling of such information, for arriving at fair and equitable payment terms and for training its personnel, which procedures shall be filed with the Office of Consumer Services.
Asset Evaluation Form
[ ] A utility may require that a customer complete a form showing assets, income and expenses, and provide reasonable substantiation of the information on that form.
[ ] The form must be handled confidentially.
If a customer fails to make timely payment in accordance with a DPA, the utility must send a reminder notice at least eight calendar days prior to the day when a final notice of termination, disconnection or suspension will be sent, stating in conspicuous, bold type that:
[ ] the customer must meet the terms of the existing DPA by making the necessary payment within 20 calendar days of the date payment was due or a final termination, disconnection or suspension notice may be issued;
[ ] if the customer can demonstrate that he or she is unable to make payment under the terms of the DPA because his or her financial circumstances have changed significantly because of conditions beyond his or her control, the customer should immediately contact the utility at a specified telephone number because a new DPA may be available.
If by the 20th calendar day after payment was due, the utility has neither received payment nor negotiated a new DPA, the utility may demand full payment of the total outstanding charges and send a final termination, disconnection or suspension notice which states:
[ ] that if the customer can demonstrate that he or she is unable to make payment under the terms of the DPA because his or her financial circumstances have changed significantly because of conditions beyond his or her control, the customer should immediately contact the utility at a specified telephone number because a new DPA may be available;
[ ] that assistance to maintain utility service may be available from a local social services office;
[ ] that before the social services office will provide assistance, the customer generally must provide the utility with information showing assets, income and expenses to evaluate whether the customer is entitled to a new DPA; and
[ ] either the address and telephone number of the appropriate social services office, or the local social services information number.
[ ] If the final termination, disconnection or suspension notice is sent because the customer has broken a DPA which required payment over a shorter period than the standard DPA for that customer would allow, the final termination, disconnection or suspension notice must also be accompanied by a written offer of a new DPA to pay the outstanding balance in monthly installments.
Budget/Levelized Payment Plans
[ ] Every utility shall offer residential customers a voluntary budget billing or levelized payment plan for the payment of charges.
[ ] The plan shall be designed to reduce fluctuations in customers' bills due to seasonal patterns of consumption.
[ ] Any such plan shall also be offered to customers who are condominium associations or cooperative housing corporations.
[ ] Unless otherwise authorized by the commission, each such plan shall be based on the customer's recent 12-month experience, adjusted for known changes. If 12 months of billing data are not available for the customer, then 12 months of billing data for the premises shall be used. If 12 months of billing data are not available for the premises, then the utility shall estimate future consumption over the next 12-month period.
[ ] Each such plan shall provide that bills clearly identify consumption and state the amounts that would be due without levelized or budget billing; such information need not be supplied on interim bills for customers billed on a bimonthly basis.
[ ] Each such plan shall provide that bills be subject to regular review for conformity with actual billings.
[ ] Each such plan shall be filed with the commission, and any significant changes in the plan shall be submitted to the commission for review before implementation.
Annual Notification of Rights
Every utility shall, at the time service is initiated to a residential customer and at least annually thereafter, by a notice accompanying a regular bill or in a separate mailing, provide residential customers with a summary of their rights and obligations under the Home Energy Fair Practices Act and the Energy Consumer Protection Act of 2002.
At a minimum, the summary shall include the following:
[ ] a description of the complaint-handling procedures available at the utility and the commission;
[ ] the rights and obligations of residential customers relating to payment of bills, termination, disconnection and suspension of service and reconnection of service;
[ ] a description of special protections afforded the elderly, blind and disabled; persons with medical emergencies; persons receiving public assistance, supplemental security income benefits or additional State payments; and persons in two-family dwellings;
[ ] a request that residential customers who qualify for the protections referred to above voluntarily so inform the utility;
[ ] the right of a customer to designate a third party to receive copies of all notices relating to termination, disconnection and suspension of service or other credit notices;
[ ] appropriate forms that customers claiming the protections identified above may fill out and return;
[ ] a description of the customers' rights in regard to deferred payment plans and the holding and demanding of security deposits by the utility; and
[ ] a description of the utility’s budget or levelized payment plans.
Every utility which is permitted to offer time-of-use rates shall provide the following information, at least twice per year, by a notice accompanying a regular bill or in a separate mailing to its customers billed on such rates:
[ ] a description of the hours for which these rates are available for both standard and daylight savings time;
[ ] if resetting the electric time-of-use meter is necessary to restore the effective hours of the time-of-use rates following an interruption of service, a description of procedures such customers shall follow in order to have their time-of-use electric meter reset; and
[ ] if resetting the electric time-of-use meter is necessary, when the utility has knowledge of an outage, a statement within 60 days of such outage that the time-of-use rate may not be applied at the previously stated times until the time-of-use electric meter is reset.
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This page last modified 01/24/14 10:32:46 AM