|(a) Applicability and scope. This rule applies to gas
utilities, as defined in Texas Utilities Code, §101.003(7) and §121.001,
and to owners, operators, and managers of mobile home parks or apartment
houses who purchase natural gas through a master meter for delivery
to a dwelling unit in a mobile home park or apartment house, pursuant
to Texas Utilities Code, §§124.001-124.002, within the jurisdiction
of the Railroad Commission pursuant to Texas Utilities Code, §102.001.
For purposes of this section, all such gas utilities and owners, operators
and managers of master meter systems shall be referred to as "providers."
Providers shall comply with the following service standards. A gas
distribution utility shall file amended service rules incorporating
these standards with the Railroad Commission in the manner prescribed
(b) Disconnection prohibited. Except where there is
a known dangerous condition or a use of natural gas service in a manner
that is dangerous or unreasonably interferes with service to others,
a provider shall not disconnect natural gas service in the following
(1) A provider shall not disconnect a delinquent residential
customer during an extreme weather emergency. An extreme weather emergency
means a day when the previous day's highest temperature did not exceed
32 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature is predicted to remain at
or below that level for the next 24 hours according to the nearest
National Weather Station for the county where the customer takes service.
(2) A provider shall not disconnect a delinquent residential
customer for a billing period in which the provider receives a written
pledge, letter of intent, purchase order, or other written notification
from an energy assistance provider that it is forwarding sufficient
payment to continue service.
(3) A provider shall not disconnect a delinquent residential
customer on a weekend day, unless personnel or agents of the provider
are available for the purpose of receiving payment or making collections
and reconnecting service.
(c) Payment plans. Providers shall defer collection
of the full payment of bills that are due during an extreme weather
emergency until after the emergency is over, and shall work with customers
to establish a payment schedule for deferred bills as set forth in §7.45
of this title (relating to Quality of Service).
(d) Notice. Beginning in the September or October billing
periods utilities and owners, operators, or managers of master metered
systems shall give notice as follows:
(1) Each utility shall provide a copy of this rule
to the social services agencies that distribute funds from the Low
Income Home Energy Assistance Program within the utility's service
(2) Each utility shall provide a copy of this rule
to any other social service agency of which the provider is aware
that provides financial assistance to low income customers in the
utility's service area.
(3) Each utility shall provide a copy of this rule
to all residential customers of the utility and customers who are
owners, operators, or managers of master metered systems.
(4) Owners, operators, or managers of master metered
systems shall provide a copy of this rule to all of their customers.
(e) In addition to the minimum standards specified
in this section, providers may adopt additional or alternative requirements
if the provider files a tariff with the Commission pursuant to §7.315
of this title (relating to Filing of Tariffs). The Commission shall
review the tariff to ensure that at least the minimum standards of
this section are met.
(f) In accordance with Texas Utilities Code §105.023,
the Office of the Attorney General of Texas on its own initiative
or at the request of the Commission may file suit to recover a civil
penalty for a violation of subsection (b)(1) or (c) of this section.
The table in this subsection contains a classification system to be
used by a court when such a suit is filed.
|Source Note: The provisions of this §7.460 adopted to be effective May 12, 2002, 27 TexReg 3769; amended to be effective May 14, 2018, 43 TexReg 2997; amended to be effective December 5, 2023, 48 TexReg 7044