Chapter 56 Compendium

56.2 Definitions
  • Customer moved, payment arrangement is not appropriate.
  • Utility must require verification, where the non-customer of record is seeking to discontinue service. Utility should inform customer of the fact once service is disconnected that utility bears no responsibility
56.14 Previously unbilled utility service
  • Underbilling for service due to incorrect multiplier used for electric meter on a commercial account
56.21 Payment
  • Electronic Billing Waiver
    • 8/27/09
      Order – Blanket Waiver of 56.21 Relating to Physical Delivery of a Bill – PA PUC Docket No. L-00060182 !FILE NOT FOUND!
56.12 Meter reading; estimated billing; ratepayer readings
56.16 Transfer of accounts
  • Periods of Concurrent Service
  • Access to meter is responsibility of the utility and service may be discontinued with proper notification to the customer.
56.22 Late Payments
56.31 Procedures for New Applicants. Policy Statement.
56.35 Payment of outstanding balance
56.41 Procedures for Existing Ratepayers. General Rule.
56.71 Interruption of Service
56.82 Days termination of service is prohibited
56.83 Unauthorized termination of service
  • Termination Threshold $100 – 60-days
  • Utility cannot terminate service for nonpayment of charges for previous service
56.91 General notice provisions
56.92 Notice When Dispute Pending
56.93 Personal Contact
56.97 Procedures upon ratepayer or occupant contact prior to termination
  • Budget Billing Plans and Special Payment Arrangements
  • Payment Arrangements Negotiations
  • Payment Arrangements
  • Complainant with substantial income must prioritize his expenses and pay gas bill
  • Allowable expenses: housing, food, utilities (excluding cable and $25 for phone). Late payment fees are waived for Level 1 customer.
  • Customer permitted to pay less than current bill under certain circumstances. Will authorize termination of service when complainant has ability to pay and late payment changes will not be waived for Level 4 customers.
  • Food stamp allotment is included as income and must be deducted as an expense. Limited income does not excuse a customer from making payment for electric services.
  • ALJ must provide basis for altering a BCS payment arrangement
  • ALJ needs record evidence to support lowering BCS payment plan since household income is Level 4. Payment arrangement is not appropriate because of complainant’s lack of good faith in pursuing the dispute.
  • Payment Arrangement Procedures
  • Payment Arrangement Reports to BCS
  • A settlement which provides for a 51 year pay back is not appropriate when record does not include income and expenses.
  • Payment arrangement is not appropriate since complainant ignored the Commission-ordered payment arrangement.
  • Commercial account can be afforded the protection of Chapter 56 if it is a hybrid situation where complainant owns building where he conducts his barber business and where he also lives.
  • Payment arrangement is not appropriate for a complainant who has abused the administrative process.
  • Payment arrangements are not appropriate as the complainant refused to provide income and expense data.
  • Complainant’s payment arrangement with the respondent must be followed.
  • The Commission Order which authorizes the utility to suspend or terminate service is not a directive. Decision is at discretion of utility management.
  • BCS decision is not consistent with BCS Guidelines and is inappropriate for Level 3 customers to pay off arrearages in 13 years.
  • BCS Income Level Guidelines
  • Payment Arrangements
    • (1) Utilities have discretion to give more than one payment arrangement and BCS shall offer one payment arrangement unless circumstances have changed
    • (2) Budget billing should be norm for payment arrangement rather than current bills
    • 7/17/03
      Mary Frayne v. PECO Energy Co. Order, PA PUC Docket No. C-20029005
      Motion
  • Payment Plans
  • Payment Arrangements – Catch-Up
    • 11/24/03
      J. Hummel E-Mail (Clarification of 11/7/03 BCS Letter from Mitch Miller)
  • Federal Poverty Guidelines (Effective 2/13/2004)
  • BCS Income Level Guidelines – Splitting Level 3 into 3.a. and 3.b. (Effective 4/1/2004)
  • Summary of Commission-authorized changes to BCS’ intake and payment arrangement procedures
  • Customer refuses to provide household income information
  • HHS 2006 Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • BCS Revised Chart – 2006 Income Level Guidelines
  • BCS Reminder of Impacts of Annual Revision to Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • BCS Document – Factors that can Result in “Justified” Complaint
    • Feb 2006
      BCS Criteria — FILE NOT FOUND
  • BCS Revised Chart – 2007 Income Level Guidelines
    • 1/24/2007
      BCS Chart
      Cover Note
      Explaining that although Chapter 14 requires immediate use by utilities (66 Pa. C.S. §1405), DPW will not use the 2007 guidelines until the 2007-08 program year.
  • Dept. of Health & Human Services – 2008 Poverty Guidelines
  • BCS Memo and Revised Chart – 2009 Income Level Guidelines
56.98 Exception for terminations based on occurrences harmful to person or property
  • Termination Notice Provisions
    • 11/20/92
      Secretarial Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Termination Unauthorized Use
    • 2/9/93
      BCS Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Meter Tampering/ Theft of Service
56.99 Termination procedures
56.100 Winter Termination Procedures
  • Applicable to Landlord Ratepayer Situations
  • Requests for exemption from winter termination provision for 56.100 shall be received by BCS within 10 days of receipt of data necessary to make a determination on the request
  • Handling of “off” accounts (BCS requests report within 24 hours)
  • Process for requesting modification of temporary Exemption of Winter Termination Procedures
  • Customer refuses to provide household income information
  • BCS Reminder of New Winter Termination Rules and notice of changes from previous rules resulting from Act 201 (1406(e) … no distinction to “heat related service”)
  • BCS Suggest Changes to Cold Weather Survey
56.101 Limited notice upon non-compliance with report or order
56.111-118 General provision. (Emergency Provisions)
  • Under medical emergency procedures, the ratepayer shall retain a duty to equitably arrange to make payments on all bills.
  • Medical Certificates Procedures
  • Medical Certificates Procedures
    • 12/16/05
      BCS Letter
      (Informal opinion – company specific letters noting company-specific concerns after Commission review of medical certificate materials submitted pursuant to second Chapter 14 Implementation Order at M-00041802F0002)
56.131 Third-party notification
56.151 General rule. (Utility Dispute Procedures)
  • Burden of proof is with the party offering the fact. Accuracy of a meter is an important factor in resolving billing disputes, it is not the sole criteria.
  • Oral Utility Reports to Ratepayers
  • Informal Complaint Filing Procedures
    • 11/5/93
      BCS Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Termination – Disputes
  • Informal Complaints – Dismissal and Complaint Resolution – Stay of Terminations
56.161 General rule. (Time for filing)
  • Complainant abused administrative process in which the account is exempt from Winter Termination Procedures.
    • 9/3/98
      Mary L. Ayers v. PPL Order, PA PUC Docket No. C-00971035 — FILE NOT FOUND
56.163 Commission informal complaint procedure
  • Payment arrangement is not appropriate as the complainant ignored the Commission-ordered payment arrangement.
  • Payment arrangement is not appropriate for a complainant who abuses the administrative process.
  • Payment Arrangement Procedures
    • 3/23/99
      BCS Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Electric Choice /Dispute Procedures
  • Referral to Universal Service
  • Payment History for at Least 12 Months
  • CAP Payment Arrangement Procedures
  • Payment Arrangements for CAP Participants
  • It is inappropriate for the utility to shift the scheduling of settlement conference burden to the complainant. Failure to participate in settlement conference does not amount to failure to prosecute warranting the dismissal of a complaint with prejudice.
  • Where a utility does not introduce the meter test results, the meter is deemed to be not functioning accurately.
    • 10/12/01
      Lucille Gittens v. Philadelphia Gas Works Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-00014829 — FILE NOT FOUND
      Motion
  • Complainant has 30 days to respond during informal process. Failure to do so results in the case being terminated.
    • 7/17/03
      Mary Frayne v. PECO Energy Co. Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-20029005 — FILE NOT FOUND
      Motion
56.174 (3) Formal complaint appeals from mediation decisions of Bureau of Consumer Services
  • When a complainant does not appear at a duly noticed hearing, it is not appropriate for the ALJ to waive lump sum payment under BCS decision.
    • 1/10/02
      Donna Spare v. T.W. Phillips Gas & Oil Company Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-00015574 — FILE NOT FOUND
      Motion — FILE NOT FOUND
  • A witness may be qualified to render an expert opinion based on training and experience.
  • Catch up amount limited to consumption
    • + No longer appropriate to waive the stay provision of Section 56.174(c). The Claypool catch-up amount shall be limited to the consumption portion of the payment arrangement.
    • + The obligation of the complainant to continue to pay the consumption portion of the payment arrangement remains in place.
    • + The utility company is authorized to terminate complainant for failure to pay the consumption portion even during the appeal process
    • 5/1/03
      Charles Stammel v. PG Energy Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-20027994
      Motion — FILE NOT FOUND
56.181 Duties of Parties
  • Commercial account with residential apartments must be in landlord’s name.
  • Payment of bills pending resolution of complaint – Customer must pay current bills and/or all undisputed amounts during the pending of a complaint
  • Food stamp allotment is included as income and must be deducted as an expense. Limited income does not excuse a customer from making payments for electric service.
  • Employment status does not excuse lump sum payment and it is the obligation of the customer to apply for assistance programs.
    • 7/18/96
      Karen Burton v. PPL Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-00957258 — FILE NOT FOUND
  • ALJ needs record of evidence to support lowering BCS payment plan as household is income Level 4
    • 8/8/96
      Rev. John W. Gay v. Duquesne Light Co. Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. Z-00302293 — FILE NOT FOUND
  • The Commission will support a limited lump sum obligation when a customer has made regular partial payments and has applied for energy assistance grants.
  • The company was directed to inform the customer about assistance programs and to apply for the company’s universal assistance program. If complainant cooperates, payment arrangement will be lowered.
56.191 General rule. Rules to condition reconnections
56.192 Personnel available to Restore Services
  • PA PUC Survey – Utility Collection Activity – Hours of Operation (See also Chapter 14 Compendium, §1407)
    • 1/15/08
      Secretarial Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
      Survey — FILE NOT FOUND
56.231 Monthly Utility Reporting Requirements.
  • BCS Clarification (56.231 Reporting, How to Treat CAP in report))
    • May 2005
      BCS Clarification — FILE NOT FOUND
  • BCS Clarification (56.231 Reporting, Lines 29 and 30)
    • 2/2/2006
      E-Mail Notice from BCS (as revised) — FILE NOT FOUND
  • BCS Clarifications (56.231 Reporting – three areas)
    • 2/8/2006
      E-Mail Notice from BCS (Reconnection Categories) — FILE NOT FOUND
    • 2/8/2006
      E-Mail Notice from BCS (Lines 31-65 Equal Line 29) — FILE NOT FOUND
    • 2/8/2006
      E-Mail Notice from BCS (Terminations by Zip Code on Line 30) — FILE NOT FOUND
Landlord – Tenant C.S. 66§ 1521
  • Landlord-Tenant Termination Procedures
    • 1/25/94
      BCS Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Landlord-Tenant Issues
    • 3/7/95
      BCS Interpretation — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Utility need not refund amounts already paid by tenant. Utility must place the account in the landlord’s name upon discovery of foreign load.
    • 7/10/97
      Elizabeth Santos v. Metropolitan Edison Company Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-00967757 — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Utility service to a residential account that contains one or more dwelling units, not individually metered, must be listed in the name of the landlord.
    • 2/11/99
      Allen L. Jones v. PPL Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-00971013 — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Landlord Ratepayer Issues – Condominium Associations Acting as Ratepayer of Record
    • 9/21/99
      BCS Letter
  • Payment arrangement for a commercial account is appropriate since underlying usage is residential (rental units).
    • 3/14/02
      Deann Eisenhauer v. PG Energy, A Div. Of Southern Union Co. Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. F-00970251 — FILE NOT FOUND
      Motion — FILE NOT FOUND
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • PUC encouraging utilities to secure LIHEAP grants for customers
    • 11/30/92
      Secretarial Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Inability to pay – complainant required to make payments equal to average bill plus arrearage amount.
    • 7/20/95
      Leslie A. Smith v. Columbia Gas of PA, Inc.
      Order, PA PUC Docket No. C-00946118 — FILE NOT FOUND
Commercial & Industrial Accounts
  • C&I Customers – Stay 5 Billing Day
    • 8/31/77
      Order S.O.D. 76-8, 76-803 — FILE NOT FOUND
  • The utility has discretion according to its tariff to determine the due date for non-residential bills.
    • 10/25/01
      James B. Post, t/a Lubeco v. UGI Utilities, Inc. – Electric Division Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. C-00014845 — FILE NOT FOUND
Customer Assistance Programs
  • Inability to pay – complainant required to make payments equal to average bill plus arrearage amount.
    • 7/20/95
      Leslie A. Smith v. Columbia Gas of PA, Inc.
      Order, PA PUC Docket No. C-00946118 — FILE NOT FOUND
  • It is inappropriate for the ALJ to direct the utility complainant to be re-enrolled in CAP but rather the utility should consider it.
    • 8/21/97
      Cheryl Robinson v. PECO Energy Company
      Order, PA PUC Docket No. Z-00345708 — FILE NOT FOUND
  • CAP Final Policy Statement
    • 3/31/99
      Statement of Policy — FILE NOT FOUND
      Customer Assistance Program — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Payment arrangement for commercial account is appropriate since underlying usage is residential (rental units).
    • 3/14/02
      Deann Eisenhauer v. PG Energy, A Div. of Southern Union Co. Order,
      PA PUC Docket No. F-00970251 — FILE NOT FOUND
      Motion — FILE NOT FOUND
  • CAP customer non-payment and utility non-timely collection procedure
    • 4/2/02
      BCS Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • CAP Related Payment Plans
    • 3/18/03
      BCS E-Mail Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • CAP Budget & Catch-Up Amount Issue
    • 3/19/03
      BCS E-Mail Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • CAP Ratepayer Income Issue
    • 3/29/03
      BCS E-Mail Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Clarification regarding CAP customers’ timely collections
    • 10/14/03
      BCS E-Mail Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
  • Checklist for CAP Full Report (revised from 5/12/06)
    • 7/12/06
      BCS Letter (received via e-mail) — FILE NOT FOUND
Bureau of Consumer Services – Other Issues
  • Deposit Credit Screening
  • Hardship Fuel Fund – Encourage Support
  • Budget Billing Payment Plans
  • Guidelines for Tracking and Referral of Payment-Troubled Customers
  • Bankruptcy Assistance Grant Applied
  • Hardship Fund Guidelines
  • CARES Program Requirements & Guidelines
  • Budget Counseling
  • Evaluating Your Customer Service Program
  • Heat Waves – Recommended Protection
  • Collections Collaborative Highlights
  • BCS Interview Procedures – PARS
  • BCS Guidelines – Justified Complaints
  • Closing of Payment Offices
  • It is inappropriate for the utility to shift the scheduling of settlement conference burden to the complainant. Failure to participate in settlement conference does not amount to failure to prosecute warranting the dismissal of a complaint with prejudice.
  • CDS Program do not permit a customer to reverse the option to participate.
  • Informal Complaint Procedures Regarding Services Outages
  • Informal Complaints – Companies to Report within 5 Days
  • Change in Circumstance
  • Medical Certificates Procedures (Also located at 56.111-1118)
    • 12/16/05
      BCS Letter — FILE NOT FOUND
      (Informal opinion – company specific letters noting company-specific concerns after Commission review of medical certificate materials submitted pursuant to second Chapter 14 Implementation Order at M-00041802F0002)
  • BCS Reminder of Impacts of Annual Revision to Federal Poverty Guidelines (Also located at 56.97)
  • BCS Document – Factors that can Result in “Justified” Complaint (Also located at 56.97)
    • Feb 2006
      BCS Criteria — FILE NOT FOUND
  • BCS Reminder of New Winter Termination Rules and notice of changes from previous rules resulting from Act 201 (1406(e) … no distinction to “heat related service”) (Also located at 56.100)
    • 1/24/2006
      BCS Letter
    • 5/2/2006
      BCS E-Notice Re:
      Electronic notice to company advising of case dismissal v. letter-notification to customer from BCS – BCS requests companies to delay action (issuance and/or notices threatening termination) for 3-5 days after receiving electronic notification of case dismissal to allow customers time to receive dismissal letters.
    • 1/9/2008
      BCS Staff Reminder
      (54.71 or 62.1-62.8) Reminder of utility’s obligation to report complete or accurate data in Universal Service reporting … petitions to correct problems must be filed by April 1.
      (58.15) Reminder of utility’s obligation to report complete and accurate LIURP data … petitions to correct problems must be filed by April 30.
    • 1/16/2009
      Secretarial Letter
      M-2009-2084013 – Interim Reporting Requirements for Regulated Electric & Gas Utilities to File Reports Regarding Any Incidents Involving Death at Locations where Residential Utility Service has Been Terminated

Questions

Please direct any questions or requests for more information to Debra Kitner by email or phone at (717) 901-0607.