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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 51 Pa.B. 6892 (October 30, 2021).

Pennsylvania Code



Subchapter P. TERMINATION OF SERVICE


GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION

Sec.


56.321.    Authorized termination of service.
56.322.    Timing of termination.
56.323.    Unauthorized termination of service.

NOTICE PROCEDURES PRIOR TO TERMINATION


56.331.    General notice provisions and contents of termination notice.
56.332.    Notice when dispute pending.
56.333.    Personal contact.
56.334.    Procedures immediately prior to termination.
56.335.    Deferred termination when no prior contact.
56.336.    Post-termination notice.
56.337.    Procedures upon customer or occupant contact prior to termination.
56.338.    Exception for terminations based on occurrences harmful to person or property.
56.339.    Use of termination notice solely as collection device prohibited.
56.340.    Winter termination procedures.

EMERGENCY PROVISIONS


56.351.    General provision.
56.352.    Postponement of termination pending receipt of certificate.
56.353.    Medical certifications.
56.354.    Length of postponement; renewals.
56.355.    Restoration of service.
56.356.    Duty of customer to pay bills.
56.357.    Termination upon expiration of medical certification.
56.358.    Right of public utility to petition the Commission.

THIRD-PARTY NOTIFICATION


56.361.    Third-party notification.

Authority

   The provisions of this Subchapter P issued under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  1401—1419, unless otherwise noted.

Source

   The provisions of this Subchapter P adopted October 7, 2011, effective October 8, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 5473, unless otherwise noted.

Cross References

   This subchapter cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.1 (relating to statement of purpose and policy); 52 Pa. Code §  56.251 (relating to statement of purpose and policy); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.252 (relating to definitions).

GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION


§ 56.321. Authorized termination of service.

 Public utility service to a dwelling may be terminated for one or more of the following reasons:

   (1)  Nonpayment of an undisputed delinquent account.

   (2)  Failure to post a deposit, provide a guarantee or establish credit.

   (3)  Unreasonable refusal to permit access to meters, service connections and other property of the public utility for the purpose of maintenance, repair or meter reading.

   (4)  Unauthorized use of the public utility service delivered on or about the affected dwelling.

   (5)  Failure to comply with the material terms of a payment agreement.

   (6)  Fraud or material misrepresentation of identity for the purpose of obtaining public utility service.

   (7)  Tampering with meters or other public utility equipment.

   (8)  Violating tariff provisions on file with the Commission so as to endanger the safety of a person or the integrity of the energy delivery system of the public utility.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.321 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.321 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359043) to (359044).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.288 (relating to payment period for deposits by applicants); 52 Pa. Code §  56.292 (relating to payment period for deposits by customers); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code Chapter 56 Appendix D (relating to definitions (§  56.231(d)).

§ 56.322. Timing of termination.

 Except in emergencies—which include unauthorized use of public utility service—service may not be terminated, for nonpayment of charges or for any other reason, during the following periods:

   (1)  On Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

   (2)  On a bank holiday or on the day preceding a bank holiday.

   (3)  On a holiday observed by the public utility or on the day preceding the holiday. A holiday observed by a public utility means any day on which the business office of the public utility is closed to observe a legal holiday, to attend public utility meetings or functions or for any other reason.

   (4)  On a holiday observed by the Commission or on the day preceding the holiday.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.322 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.322 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359044).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.422 (relating to personnel available to restore service).

§ 56.323. Unauthorized termination of service.

 Unless expressly and specifically authorized by the Commission, service may not be terminated nor will a termination notice be sent for any of the following reasons:

   (1)  Nonpayment for concurrent service of the same class received at a separate dwelling. This does not include concurrent service periods of 90 days or less accrued during the transfer of service from one location to another.

   (2)  Nonpayment for a different class of service received at the same or a different location. Service may be terminated, however, when, under the tariff of the public utility, a change in classification is necessitated upon the completion of construction work previously billed at a different rate applicable during construction.

   (3)  Nonpayment, in whole or in part of nonbasic charges for leased or purchased merchandise, appliances or special services including, but not limited to, merchandise and appliance installation fees, rental and repair costs; meter testing fees; special construction charges; and other nonrecurring or recurring charges that are not essential to delivery or metering of service, except as provided in this chapter.

   (4)  Nonpayment of bills for delinquent accounts of the prior customer at the same address.

   (5)  Nonpayment of a deposit which is based, in whole or in part, on a delinquent account arising out of a make-up bill as defined in §  56.264 (relating to previously unbilled public utility service) and the customer has complied with §  56.291(1)(ii)(A) or (B) (relating to general rule).

   (6)  Noncompliance with a payment agreement prior to the due date of the bill which forms the basis of the agreement.

   (7)  Nonpayment of charges for public utility service for which the public utility ceased billing more than 4 years prior to the date the bill is rendered.

   (8)  Nonpayment for residential service already furnished in the names of persons other than the customer unless a court, district justice or administrative agency has determined that the customer is legally obligated to pay for the service previously furnished. This paragraph does not affect the creditor rights and remedies of a public utility otherwise permitted by law.

   (9)  Nonpayment of charges calculated on the basis of estimated billings, unless the estimated bill was required because public utility personnel were unable to gain access to the affected premises to obtain an actual meter reading on two occasions and have made a reasonable effort to schedule a meter reading at a time convenient to the customer or occupant, or a subsequent actual reading has been obtained as a verification of the estimate prior to the initiation of termination procedures.

   (10)  Nonpayment of delinquent accounts which accrued over two billing periods or more, which remain unpaid in whole or in part for 6 months or less, and which amount to a total delinquency of less than $25.

   (11)  Nonpayment of delinquent accounts when the amount of the deposit presently held by the public utility is within $25 of account balance.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.323 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.323 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359044) to (359045).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.263 (relating to billings for merchandise, appliances and nonrecurring and recurring services); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission).

NOTICE PROCEDURES PRIOR TO TERMINATION


§ 56.331. General notice provisions and contents of termination notice.

 (a)  Prior to a termination of service, the public utility shall mail or deliver written notice to the customer at least 10 days prior to the date of the proposed termination. In the event of a user without contract as defined in §  56.252 (relating to definitions), the public utility shall comply with § §  56.333—56.337, but does not need to provide notice 10 days prior to termination.

 (b)  A notice of termination must include, in conspicuous print, clearly and fully the following information when applicable:

   (1)  The reason for the proposed termination.

   (2)  An itemized statement of amounts currently due, including any required deposit.

   (3)  A statement that a reconnection fee will be required to have service restored after it has been terminated if a reconnection fee is a part of the tariff of the public utility on file with the Commission. The statement must include the maximum possible dollar amount of the reconnection fee that may apply.

   (4)  The date on or after which service will be terminated unless one of the following occurs:

     (i)   Payment in full is received.

     (ii)   The grounds for termination are otherwise eliminated.

     (iii)   A payment agreement is established.

     (iv)   Enrollment is made in a customer assistance program or its equivalent, if the customer is eligible for the program.

     (v)   A dispute is filed with the public utility or the Commission.

     (vi)   Payment in full of amounts past due on the most recent payment agreement is received.

   (5)  A statement that the customer should immediately contact the public utility to attempt to resolve the matter. The statement must include the address and telephone number where questions may be asked, how payment agreements may be negotiated and entered into with the public utility, and where applications can be found and submitted for enrollment into the public utility’s universal service programs, if these programs are offered by the public utility.

   (6)  The following statement: ‘‘If you have questions or need more information, contact us as soon as possible at (public utility phone number). After you talk to us, if you are not satisfied, you may file a complaint with the Public Utility Commission. The Public Utility Commission may delay the shut off if you file the complaint before the shut off date. To contact them, call (800) 692-7380 or write to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-3265.’’

   (7)  A medical certificate notice in compliance with the form in Appendix A (relating to medical emergency notice) except that, for the purpose of §  56.336 (relating to post-termination notice), the notice must comply with the form in Appendix B (relating to medical emergency notice).

   (8)  If the public utility has universal service programs, information indicating that special assistance programs may be available and how to contact the public utility for information and enrollment, and that enrollment in the program may be a method of avoiding the termination of service.

   (9)  Information indicating that special protections are available for victims under a protection from abuse order or who have a court order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in this Commonwealth which provides clear evidence of domestic violence and how to contact the public utility to obtain more information on these protections.

   (10)  Information indicating that special protections are available for tenants if the landlord is responsible for paying the public utility bill and how to contact the public utility to obtain more information on these protections.

   (11)  Information indicating that if service is shut off, the customer may be required to pay more than the amount listed on the notice to have service turned back on.

   (12)  Information indicating that if service is shut off, the customer shall contact the public utility after payment has been made to arrange reconnection of the service.

   (13)  Information in Spanish directing Spanish-speaking customers to the numbers to call for information and translation assistance. Similar information shall be included in other languages when census data indicates that 5% or more of the residents of the public utility’s service territory are using that language.

   (14)  Contact information for customers with disabilities that need assistance.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.331 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.331 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359045) to (359047).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.336 (relating to post-termination notice); 52 Pa. Code §  56.340 (relating to winter termination procedures); 52 Pa. Code §  56.357 (relating to termination upon expiration of medical certification); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute).

§ 56.332. Notice when dispute pending.

 A public utility may not mail or deliver a notice of termination if a notice of initial inquiry, dispute, informal or formal complaint has been filed and is unresolved and if the subject matter of the dispute forms the grounds for the proposed termination. A notice mailed or delivered in contravention of this section is void.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.332 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.332 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359047).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.340 (relating to winter termination procedures); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute).

§ 56.333. Personal contact.

 (a)  Except when authorized under §  56.311, §  56.312 or §  56.338 (relating to interruption of service; discontinuance of service; and exception for terminations based on occurrences harmful to person or property), a public utility may not interrupt, discontinue or terminate service without personally contacting the customer or a responsible adult occupant in person, by telephone or electronically with the customer’s consent to provide notice of the proposed termination at least 3 days prior to the interruption, discontinuance or termination, in addition to providing other notice as specified by the properly filed tariff of the public utility or as required under this chapter or other Commission directive.

 (b)  For purposes of this section, ‘‘personal contact’’ means:

   (1)  Contacting the customer or responsible adult occupant in person or by telephone. Phone contact shall be deemed complete upon attempted calls on 2 separate days to the residence between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. if the calls were made at various times each day, with the various times of the day being daytime before 5 p.m. and evening after 5 p.m. and at least 2 hours apart. Calls made to contact telephone numbers provided by the customer shall be deemed to be calls to the residence.

   (2)  If contact is attempted in person by a home visit, only one attempt is required. The public utility shall conspicuously post a written termination notice at the residence if it is unsuccessful in attempting to personally contact a responsible adult occupant during the home visit.

   (3)  Contact by e-mail, text message or other electronic messaging format consistent with the Commission’s privacy guidelines and approved by Commission order. The electronic notification option is voluntary and shall only be used if the customer has given prior consent approving the use of a specific electronic message format for the purpose of notification of a pending termination. Electronic contact shall be deemed complete if, after attempted transmittal, no message is received indicating that the transmittal was undeliverable or otherwise not received. If the public utility receives notification that the transmittal was undeliverable or otherwise not received, the public utility shall attempt to contact the customer either in person or by telephone, consistent with the requirements of this section.

   (4)  Contacting another person whom the customer has designated to receive a copy of a notice of termination, other than a member or employee of the Commission.

   (5)  If the customer has not made the designation noted in paragraph (4), contacting a community interest group or other entity, including a local police department, which previously shall have agreed to receive a copy of the notice of termination and to attempt to contact the customer.

   (6)  If the public utility is not successful in establishing personal contact and the customer has not made the designation noted in paragraph (4) and if there is no community interest group or other entity which previously has agreed to receive a copy of the notice of termination, contacting the Commission in writing.

 (c)  The content of the 3-day personal contact notice must include the earliest date at which termination may occur and all of the following information:

   (1)  The date and grounds of the termination.

   (2)  What is needed to avoid the termination of service.

   (3)  How to contact the public utility and the Commission.

   (4)  The availability of the emergency medical procedures.

 (d)  The public utility shall ask if the customer or occupant has questions about the 10-day written notice the public utility previously sent.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.333 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.333 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359047) to (359048).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.331 (relating to general notice provisions and contents of termination notice); 52 Pa. Code §  56.340 (relating to winter termination procedures); 52 Pa. Code §  56.357 (relating to termination upon expiration of medical certification); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute).

§ 56.334. Procedures immediately prior to termination.

 Immediately preceding the termination of service, a public utility employee, who may be the public utility employee designated to perform the termination, shall attempt to make personal contact with a responsible adult occupant at the residence of the customer.

   (1)  Termination prohibited in certain cases. If evidence is presented which indicates that payment has been made, a serious illness or medical condition exists, or a dispute or complaint is properly pending or if the employee is authorized to receive payment and payment in full is tendered in any reasonable manner, then termination may not occur. However, if the disputing party does not pay all undisputed portions of the bill, termination may occur.

   (2)  Methods of payment. Payment in any reasonable manner includes payment by personal check unless the customer within the past year has tendered a check which has been returned for insufficient funds or for which payment has been stopped.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.334 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.334 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359048) to (359049).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.331 (relating to general notice provisions and contents of termination notice); 52 Pa. Code §  56.335 (relating to deferred termination when no prior contact); 52 Pa. Code §  56.340 (relating to winter termination procedures); 52 Pa. Code §  56.357 (relating to termination upon expiration of medical certification); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute).

§ 56.335. Deferred termination when no prior contact.

 If a prior contact has not been made with a responsible adult occupant either at the residence of the customer, as required under §  56.334 (relating to procedures immediately prior to termination) or at the affected dwelling, the employee may not terminate service but shall conspicuously post a termination notice at the residence of the customer and the affected dwelling, advising that service will be disconnected not less than 48 hours from the time and date of posting.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.331 (relating to general notice provisions and contents of termination notice); 52 Pa. Code §  56.340 (relating to winter termination procedures); 52 Pa. Code §  56.357 (relating to termination upon expiration of medical certification); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute).

§ 56.336. Post-termination notice.

 When service is actually terminated, notice that reflects the requirements in §  56.331 (relating to general notice provisions and contents of termination notice) as well as a medical emergency notice in the form which appears in Appendix B (relating to medical emergency notice) shall be delivered to a responsible adult occupant at the residence of the customer or conspicuously posted at the affected premises.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.331 (relating to general notice provisions and contents of termination notice); 52 Pa. Code §  56.357 (relating to termination upon expiration of medical certification); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute).

§ 56.337. Procedures upon customer or occupant contact prior to termination.

 (a)  If, after the issuance of the initial termination notice and prior to the actual termination of service, a customer or occupant contacts the public utility concerning a proposed termination, a public utility shall fully explain the following:

   (1)  The reasons for the proposed termination.

   (2)  The available methods for avoiding a termination, including the following:

     (i)   Tendering payment in full or otherwise eliminating the grounds for termination.

     (ii)   Entering a payment agreement.

     (iii)   Paying what is past-due on the most recent previous company negotiated or Commission payment agreement.

   (3)  Information about the public utility’s universal service programs, including the customer assistance program. Refer the customer or applicant to the universal service program of the public utility to determine eligibility for a program and to apply for enrollment in a program.

   (4)  The medical emergency procedures.

 (b)  The public utility shall exercise good faith and fair judgment in attempting to enter a reasonable payment agreement or otherwise equitably resolve the matter. Factors to be taken into account when attempting to enter into a reasonable informal dispute settlement agreement or payment agreement include the size of the unpaid balance, the ability of the customer to pay, the payment history of the customer and the length of time over which the bill accumulated. Payment agreements for heating customers shall be based upon budget billing as determined under §  56.262(8) (relating to meter reading; estimated billing; customer readings). If a payment agreement is not established, the company shall further explain the following:

   (1)  The right of the customer to file a dispute with the public utility and, thereafter, an informal complaint with the Commission.

   (2)  The procedures for resolving disputes and informal complaints, including the address and telephone number of the Commission: Public Utility Commission, Box 3265, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-3265, (800) 692-7380.

   (3)  The duty of the customer to pay any portion of a bill which the customer does not dispute.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.337 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.337 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359050) to (359051).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.267 (relating to advance payments); 52 Pa. Code §  56.312 (relating to discontinuance of service); 52 Pa. Code §  56.331 (relating to general notice provisions and contents of termination notice); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute).

§ 56.338. Exception for terminations based on occurrences harmful to person or property.

 Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, when a service termination is based on an occurrence which endangers the safety of any person or may prove harmful to the energy delivery system of the public utility, the public utility may terminate service without written notice so long as the public utility reasonably believes grounds to exist. At the time of termination, the public utility shall make a bona fide attempt to deliver a notice of termination to a responsible adult occupant at the affected premises and, in the case of a single meter, multiunit dwelling, shall conspicuously post the notice at the dwelling, including common areas when permissible.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.338 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.338 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359051).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.261 (relating to billing frequency); 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); 52 Pa. Code §  56.333 (relating to personal contact); 52 Pa. Code §  56.340 (relating to winter termination procedures); 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.393 (relating to termination pending resolution of the dispute); and 52 Pa. Code Chapter 56 Appendix D (relating to definitions (§  56.231(d)).

§ 56.339. Use of termination notice solely as collection device prohibited.

 A public utility may not threaten to terminate service when it has no present intent to terminate service or when actual termination is prohibited under this chapter. Notice of the intent to terminate shall be used only as a warning that service will in fact be terminated in accordance with the procedures under this chapter, unless the customer or occupant remedies the situation which gave rise to the enforcement efforts of the public utility.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.339 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.339 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359051).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.266 (relating to transfer of accounts); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission).

§ 56.340. Winter termination procedures.

 Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, during the period of December 1 through March 31, public utilities subject to this subchapter shall conform to the provisions of this section. The covered public utilities may not terminate service between December 1 and March 31 except as provided in this section or §  56.338 (relating to exception for terminations based on occurrences harmful to person or property).

   (1)  Termination notices. The public utility shall comply with § §  56.331—56.335 including personal contact, as defined in §  56.333 (relating to personal contact), at the premises if occupied.

   (2)  Request for permission to terminate service. If at the conclusion of the notification process defined in § §  56.331—56.335, a reasonable agreement cannot be reached between the public utility and the customer, the public utility shall register with the Commission, in writing, a request for permission to terminate service, accompanied by a public utility report as defined in §  56.382 (relating to contents of the public utility company report). At the same time, the public utility shall serve the customer a copy of the written request registered with the Commission.

   (3)  Informal complaints. If the customer has filed an informal complaint or if the Commission has acted upon the public utility’s written request, the matter shall proceed under § §  56.391—56.394 (relating to informal complaint procedures). Nothing in this section may be construed to limit the right of a public utility or customer to appeal a decision by the Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) under 66 Pa.C.S. §  701 (relating to complaints) and § §  56.401—56.403 and 56.441.

   (4)  Survey of premises previously terminated. For premises where heat related service has been terminated prior to December 1 of each year, covered public utilities shall, within 90 days prior to December 1, survey and attempt to make post-termination personal contact with the occupant or a responsible adult at the premises and in good faith attempt to reach an agreement regarding payment of any arrearages and restoration of service.

   (5)  Reporting of survey results. Public utilities subject to this subchapter shall file a brief report outlining their pre-December 1 survey and personal contact results with the BCS on or before December 15 of each year. Each public utility shall update the survey and report the results to the BCS on February 1 of each year to reflect any change in the status of the accounts subsequent to the December 15 filing including any accounts terminated in December. For the purposes of the February 1 update of survey results, the public utility shall attempt to contact by telephone, if available, a responsible adult person or occupant at each residence in a good faith attempt to reach an agreement regarding payment of any arrearages and restoration of service.

   (6)  Landlord ratepayer accounts. During the period of December 1 through March 31, a public utility subject to this subchapter may not terminate service to a premises when the account is in the name of a landlord ratepayer as defined at 66 Pa.C.S. §  1521 (related to definitions) except for the grounds in §  56.338.

   (7)  Reporting of deaths at locations where public utility service was previously terminated. Throughout the year, public utilities subject to this subchapter shall report to the Commission when, in the normal course of business, they become aware of a household fire, incident of hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning or another event that resulted in a death and that the public utility service was off at the time of the incident. Within 1 working day of becoming aware of an incident, the public utility shall submit a telephone or electronic report to the Director of the BCS including, if available, the name, address and account number of the last customer of record, the date of the incident, a brief statement of the circumstances involved and, if available from an official source or the media, the initial findings as to the cause of the incident and the source of that information. The BCS or Commission may request additional information on the incident and the customer’s account. Information submitted to the Commission in accordance with this paragraph shall be treated in accordance with 66 Pa.C.S. §  1508 (relating to reports of accidents) and may not be open for public inspection except by order of the Commission, and may not be admitted into evidence for any purpose in any suit or action for damages growing out of any matter or thing mentioned in the report.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.340 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.340 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359051) to (359053).

EMERGENCY PROVISIONS


§ 56.351. General provision.

 A public utility may not terminate service, or refuse to restore service, to a premises when a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant has certified that the customer or an applicant seeking reconnection of previously terminated service under §  56.421 (relating to payment and timing) or a member of the customer’s or applicant’s household is seriously ill or afflicted with a medical condition that will be aggravated by cessation of service. The customer or applicant shall obtain a letter from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant verifying the condition and promptly forward it to the public utility. The determination of whether a medical condition qualifies for the purposes of this section resides entirely with the physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant and not with the public utility. A public utility may not impose any qualification standards for medical certificates other than those listed in this section.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.351 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.351 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359053).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.355 (relating to restoration of service).

§ 56.352. Postponement of termination pending receipt of certificate.

 If, prior to termination of service, the public utility employee is informed that an occupant is seriously ill or is affected with a medical condition which will be aggravated by a cessation of service and that a medical certification will be procured, termination may not occur for at least 3 days. If a certification is not produced within that 3-day period, the public utility may resume the termination process at the point when it was suspended.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.352 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.352 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359053).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.354 (relating to length of postponement; renewals).

§ 56.353. Medical certifications.

 Certifications initially may be written or oral, subject to the right of the public utility to verify the certification by calling the physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant, or to require written verification within 7 days. Public utilities may develop a medical certificate form but may not make its use mandatory. A medical certificate form developed by the public utility shall be made readily available. Medical certificates may be electronically transmitted and electronic signatures are valid. Certifications, whether written or oral, must include all of the following:

   (1)  The name and address of the customer or applicant in whose name the account is registered.

   (2)  The name and address of the afflicted person and the relationship to the customer or applicant.

   (3)  The anticipated length of the affliction.

   (4)  The name, office address and telephone number of the certifying physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

   (5)  If a written certificate is provided, the signature of the certifying physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.353 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.353 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359054).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.354 (relating to length of postponement; renewals).

§ 56.354. Length of postponement; renewals.

 Service may not be terminated for the time period specified in a medical certification. The maximum length of the certification shall be 30 days.

   (1)  Time period not specified. If no length of time is specified or if the time period is not readily ascertainable, service may not be terminated for at least 30 days.

   (2)  Renewals. Certifications may be renewed in the same manner and for the same time period as provided in § §  56.352 and 56.353 (relating to postponement of termination pending receipt of certificate; and medical certifications) and this section if the customer has met the obligation under §  56.356 (relating to duty of customer to pay bills). In instances when a customer has not met the obligation in §  56.356 to equitably make payments on all bills, the number of renewals for the customer’s household is limited to two 30-day certifications filed for the same set of arrearages. In these instances, the public utility is not required to honor a third renewal of a medical certificate and is not required to follow §  56.358(3) (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission). The public utility shall apply the dispute procedures in § §  56.381 and 56.382 (relating to public utility company dispute procedures). When the customer eliminates these arrearages, the customer is eligible to file new medical certificates.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.354 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.354 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359054).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.355 (relating to restoration of service).

§ 56.355. Restoration of service.

 When service is required to be restored under this section and § §  56.351, 56.354, 56.356—56.358 and 56.421, the public utility shall make a diligent effort to have service restored on the day of receipt of the medical certification. In any case, service shall be reconnected within 24 hours. Each public utility shall have employees available or on call to restore service in emergencies.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.355 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.355 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359054).

§ 56.356. Duty of customer to pay bills.

 Whenever service is restored or termination postponed under the medical emergency procedures, the customer shall retain a duty to make payment on all current undisputed bills or budget billing amount as determined under §  56.262(8) (relating to meter reading; estimated billing; customer readings).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.356 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.356 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359055).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.354 (relating to length of postponement; renewals); 52 Pa. Code §  56.355 (relating to restoration of service); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.358 (relating to right of public utility to petition the Commission).

§ 56.357. Termination upon expiration of medical certification.

 When the initial and renewal certifications have expired, the original ground for termination shall be revived and the public utility may terminate service without additional written notice, if notice previously has been mailed or delivered within the past 60 days under §  56.331 (relating to general notice provisions and contents of termination notice). The public utility shall comply with § §  56.333—56.336.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.357 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.357 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359055).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.355 (relating to restoration of service).

§ 56.358. Right of public utility to petition the Commission.

 (a)  A public utility may petition the Commission for waiver from the medical certification procedures for the following purposes:

   (1)  Contest the validity of a certification. To request an investigation and hearing by the Commission or its designee when the public utility wishes to contest the validity of the certification.

   (2)  Terminate service prior to expiration of certification. To request permission to terminate service for the failure of the customer to make payments on current undisputed bills.

   (3)  Contest the renewal of a certification. To request permission to terminate service, under this section and § §  56.321—56.323 and 56.331—56.339 when customer has not met the duty under §  56.356 (relating to duty of customer to pay bills), provided that the public utility has informed the customer of that duty under §  56.356.

 (b)  A public utility shall continue to provide service while a final Commission adjudication on the petition is pending. A petition under this section shall be accompanied by a public utility report described in §  56.382 (relating to contents of the public utility company report) and shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commission with a copy served to the customer.

 (c)  Upon the filing of a petition for waiver of medical certification, Commission staff will review the facts and issue an informal written decision.

 (d)  A party to the proceeding may, within 20 days of mailing of the informal decision, and not thereafter except for good cause shown, appeal by filing with the Secretary of the Commission a letter stating the basis for appeal. An appeal from the informal decision will be assigned to the Office of Administrative Law Judge for hearing and decision.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.358 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.358 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (359055) to (359056).

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  56.354 (relating to length of postponement; renewals); and 52 Pa. Code §  56.355 (relating to restoration of service).

THIRD-PARTY NOTIFICATION


§ 56.361. Third-party notification.

 Each public utility shall permit its customers to designate a consenting individual or agency which is to be sent, by the public utility, a duplicate copy of reminder notices, past due notices, delinquent account notices or termination notices of whatever kind issued by that public utility. When contact with a third party is made, the public utility shall advise the third party of the pending action and the efforts which shall be taken to avoid termination. A public utility shall institute and maintain a program:

   (1)  To allow customers to designate third parties to receive copies of a customer’s or group of customers’ notices of termination of service.

   (2)  To advise customers at least annually of the availability of a third-party notification program and to encourage its use thereof. The public utility shall emphasize that the third party is not responsible for the payment of the customer’s bills.

   (3)  To solicit community groups to accept third-party notices to assist in preventing unnecessary terminations and protecting the public health and safety.

   (4)  To make available a standard enrollment form in compliance with the form as set forth in Appendix E (relating to third-party notification).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  56.361 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 1301, 1401—1419, 1501 and 1509.

Source

   The provisions of this §  56.361 amended May 31, 2019, effective June 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 2815. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (359056).



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