To develop a policy for discontinuance of electric service and to provide standard operating procedures.
II. Policy Content:
Rules and regulations pertaining to the disconnection and reconnection of electric service.
A. Discontinuance of Service by a Member
A member may be required to give up to five (5) days' notice, either in person, by mail or by telephone, excluding legal holidays, Saturdays and Sundays, of intention to discontinue service, and shall be responsible for all charges for service until the expiration thereof. Should the lineman find that another party has moved into a residential unit prior to actual disconnection, a two-day notice shall be given to the new member on the premises and the name of the new member relayed to the Member Service Representative on the disconnect with the reading information and date notice was left.
B. Discontinuance of Service by PEC
PEC may discontinue electric service for any of the following reasons:
- Nonpayment: Nonpayment of all or any portion of undisputed bills.
- Agreements Not Honored: Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a DelayPay Agreement.
- Improper Application: Failure to make application for service or to satisfy the credit requirements for membership.
- False Pretenses: Misrepresentation of identity or facts for the purpose of obtaining service, or use of an alias, trade name, business name, relative's name or another person's name to escape payment of an unpaid obligation for utility service provided to the member, co-occupant or co-tenant of member.
- Previous Bad Debt: Failure to pay past due obligations, bad debts or power diversion charges from the present location or from another account, even where these obligations are discovered by PEC after the member has begun to receive electric service.
- Tampering/Stealing: For unauthorized use of electricity through any method or tampering with PEC equipment such as meters, transformers, wires, pipes or other PEC equipment. PEC may disconnect without notice in these cases.
- Hazardous Conditions: Whenever PEC has reason to believe that continued service will create a condition on the member's premises that is hazardous to persons or property. Prior notice before disconnection is not necessary.
- Access: Where the member refuses to grant access or maintains any obstruction on the premises that would deny access to PEC for the purpose of installation, maintenance, inspection or replacement/reading of meters.
- Causes Adverse Effects to Others: Potential adverse effect to the electric service required by other members, provided the member causing the problem has been notified and given a reasonable opportunity to correct the same.
- Threats to PEC: Causing injury, or threatening to cause injury, to an employee or agent of PEC, the family of an employee or an agent of PEC or the property of PEC for the purpose of preventing an employee from engaging in activities authorized by PEC's policies or in retaliation for such activities. In the case of threats, member will be notified by certified mail and if necessary, local law enforcement will be notified. In the case of actual injury, PEC may discontinue service without notice.
C. Special Provisions on Discontinuance of Residential Service
- PEC shall not disconnect residential service for nonpayment during periods of severe weather where the predicted temperature will drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for any time period during the following twenty-four (24) hours if the electric service is used for heating purposes. PEC must obtain the most recent local forecast for the member’s location from the National Weather Service reports between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the day that the member’s shut-off is scheduled. If the National Weather Service issues an updated forecast on the day of disconnection, then such updated forecast shall be used in place of the earlier obtained forecast.
- PEC also shall not disconnect residential service for nonpayment if the National Weather Service issues a local forecast predicting the heat index will be 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher on the day of disconnection, or if the actual heat index is 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. PEC must obtain the most recent local forecast for the member’s location from the National Weather Service reports between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the day that the member’s shut-off is scheduled. If the National Weather Service issues an updated forecast on the day of disconnection, then such updated forecast shall be used in place of the earlier obtained forecast.
- Life-Threatening Condition: If a member notifies PEC that disconnection of service shall give rise to a life-threatening condition for the member or a permanent resident of the premises, PEC shall suspend disconnection of service or reconnect a disconnected service to allow the member to make arrangements for and make payment of a past due account. The member shall confirm the life-threatening condition by presenting a written certificate on the form prescribed by PEC within ten (10) calendar days of the original notification to PEC. A life-threatening condition certificate is only effective for thirty (30) calendar days from the initial notification. After thirty (30) calendar days, normal collection action will resume. The 30-day period may be extended by PEC at the request of the member for one additional contiguous 30-day period, but only if necessitated by the life-threatening condition as indicated on the written medical form, and only if the request is made by the member prior to the end of the initial 30- day period. PEC is not required to furnish service beyond a total of sixty (60) calendar days for the life-threatening condition without full payment on the account or acceptable payment arrangements. The life-threatening condition certificate shall identify the medical emergency, specify the effect of disconnection of service, and specify the time period during which disconnection of service shall give rise to a life-threatening condition. Continuation or reconnection of service shall not in any way relieve the member of liability incurred for services. Failure to make payment in accordance with arrangements made shall result in immediate disconnection of service. False information given to PEC by a member in order to utilize the life -threatening condition plan shall be grounds for immediate disconnection of service. Additionally, if a member notifies PEC of a life-threatening condition and receives an extension of time as a result, but then does not follow through with providing the appropriate required documentation listed above, a fee of $15.00 may be added to the member’s account.
- Assistance Program: Residential members receiving financial assistance from a federal, state or local social service agency shall not be disconnected if PEC has received written verification from the agency. The confirmation of the amount to be paid must state that full payment will be made directly to PEC.
- DelayPay Agreement: PEC shall not disconnect residential service for nonpayment if a DelayPay Agreement has been accepted in compliance with PEC's policy on such agreements prior to disconnection of service.
D. Notice of Discontinuance of Service
- Service shall be disconnected for nonpayment of all or any portion of an electric bill only after ten (10) calendar days after the date on which a notice is posted in the United States mail addressed to the member's last known address.
- PEC shall not send reminders to residential members who have not been delinquent for the last twelve (12) months. Only after the second late payment will a notice be generated for residential members with excellent pay records.
- Form and Content of Notice:
The notice shall be entitled "IMPORTANT NOTICE" in bold letters, and shall contain in non-technical language the following information:
- Payment was not received by the due date.
- The date on or after which service will be disconnected unless the
member takes appropriate action.
- The amount owed for past due service.
- The charges and hours for reconnection service.
E. Notice of Dishonored Payment
Payments received via physical or electronic check and/or credit card which are returned to PEC as unable to be processed are considered “Dishonored Payments.”
- First Dishonored Payment: If it is the first payment returned in the past twelve (12) months for this member, a letter should be sent to the member at the address on record requesting payment made within ten (10) business days. The customary returned check fee will be assessed to the account.
- Second Dishonored Payment: If the payment is dishonored a second time the following shall apply:
- If returned due to insufficient funds, closed account, or credit card charge back/dispute, a 48-hour notice shall be left at the location, allowing the member to pay cash or money order for the dishonored payment. A special trip charge shall apply, and the account shall be disconnected if there is no response to the notice.
- If returned due to invalid account number or similar “user-error” reason, a letter should be sent to the member at the address on record requesting payment made within ten (10) business days. The customary returned check fee will be assessed to the account at the discretion of the Director of Member Services.
- Subsequent Dishonored Payments: A 48-hour notice shall be left at the location, allowing the member to pay cash or money order for the dishonored payment. A special trip charge shall apply, and the account shall be disconnected if there is no response to the notice. After two (2) Dishonored Payments in a twelve (12) month period, PEC may notify the member via letter or electronic mail that PEC will no longer accept checks or credit card, whichever applicable, as payment on the account for at least twelve (12) months.
- Dishonored Payments for Collection Trips:
- Accounts with payments given on collection or in order to avoid disconnection of service which are returned "account closed,” “charge back/disputed” or "not sufficient funds," may be disconnected due to Dishonored Payment between the hours of 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Thursday. PEC will not disconnect on any day preceding a holiday observed by PEC or the day before or day of banks or other financial institutions will be closed.
- Accounts with payments given on collection or in order to avoid disconnection of service which are returned due to invalid account number or similar “user-error” reason shall receive a 48-hour notice at the location, allowing the member to pay cash or money order for the dishonored payment. A special trip charge shall apply, and the account shall be disconnected if there is no response to the notice.
- Security Deposits: Payments given as security deposits and returned unpaid for any reason will require a two (2) day notice left at the location prior to service being disconnected for nonpayment. A collection trip fee will be charged to the account.
F. Manner of Discontinuance of Service and/or Reconnection
PEC may discontinue service on the date specified in the notice or within thirty (30) days thereafter during regular business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. PEC will not disconnect for reasons of nonpayment and/or NSF checks on any day preceding a holiday observed by PEC or the day before or day of banks or other financial institutions will be closed.
- Accounts to be Disconnected by a PEC Employee or Representative:
- PEC's employee or representative sent to disconnect the service will make a reasonable effort to make personal contact with the member at the residence and shall be authorized to receive payment of past due bills; and, upon the receipt thereof, cancel the disconnection order.
- If payment is offered by check, the employee or representative may notify an authorized office employee to contact the bank involved for verification of sufficient funds in the account to cover the check prior to the field employee leaving the location. If the account does not have sufficient funds, the field employee may reject the check for payment of past due bills.
- If the member is not at the premises or does not respond, the employee may disconnect the service.
- The employee will leave a written statement at the premises that the service has been disconnected, the reason for the disconnection, and the telephone number and address where the member may arrange to have the service reconnected.
- Members may arrange for connection by either paying the amount on the notice at the PEC office or by telephone or electronically no later than 5:00 p.m. the day of disconnection. No employee will be dispatched to collection funds on accounts with an electronic disconnect device installed. Reconnects requested after 5:00 p.m. will require an additional $50.00 after-hours fee.
- PEC will make a reasonable effort to reconnect the service in the normal course of its reconnection workload, as soon as possible, but no later than twenty-four (24) hours after the member eliminates the reason for disconnection and requests reconnection.
- On accounts which have an electronic disconnect device installed, the member will be made aware that the service may be disconnected without an employee or representative actually coming to the premises. Members with an electronic disconnect device installed may arrange for reconnection by paying the past due amount no later than 5:00 pm on the day service is disconnected. PEC will then take the steps necessary to initiate an electronic service restoration. In the event of equipment failure, PEC will dispatch an employee to reconnect service.
- Members presenting a valid hardship also may request an employee or representative be dispatched to reconnect the service and collect the full amount of the bill. The Director of Member Services, Senior Vice President of Administrative Services, or Senior Engineer will approve all hardship requests. All service reconnects made under a hardship request will result in an after-hours reconnect charge being assessed.
It will be the responsibility of the Director of Member Services and Senior Vice President of Administrative Services to properly administer these provisions.
Approved by the Board of Trustees
- Effective Date: January 1, 1994
- First Revision: January 28, 1994
- Second Revision: April 23, 1999
- Third Revision: February 22, 2002
- Fourth Revision: June 30, 2009
- Fith Revision: February 28, 2014
- Sixth Revision: June 25, 2015
- Seventh Revision: July 25, 2019
- Eighth Revision: November 26, 2019