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RULE §25.483Disconnection of Service

  (4) A REP may request disconnection of service to a customer if payment from the energy assistance provider's pledge is not received within the time frame agreed to by the REP and the energy assistance provider, or if the customer fails to pay any portion of the outstanding balance not covered by the pledge.

(j) Disconnection during extreme weather. A REP having disconnection authority under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall not authorize a disconnection for nonpayment of electric service for any customer in a county in which an extreme weather emergency occurs. A REP shall offer residential customers a deferred payment plan upon request by the customer that complies with the requirements of §25.480 of this title (relating to Bill Payment and Adjustments) for bills that become due during the weather emergency.

  (1) The term "extreme weather emergency" shall mean a day when:

    (A) 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 anywhere in the county, according to the nearest National Weather Service (NWS) reports; or

    (B) the NWS issues a heat advisory for a county, or when such advisory has been issued on any one of the preceding two calendar days in a county.

  (2) A TDU shall notify the commission of an extreme weather emergency in a method prescribed by the commission, on each day that the TDU has determined that an extreme weather emergency has been issued for a county in its service area. The initial notice shall include the county in which the extreme weather emergency occurred and the name and telephone number of the utility contact person.

(k) Disconnection of master-metered apartments. When a bill for electric service is delinquent for a master-metered apartment complex:

  (1) The REP having disconnection authority under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall send a notice to the customer as required by this subsection. At the time such notice is issued, the REP, or its agents, shall also inform the customer that notice of possible disconnection will be provided to the tenants of the apartment complex in six days if payment is not made before that time.

  (2) At least six days after providing notice to the customer and at least four days before disconnecting, the REP shall post a minimum of five notices in English and Spanish in conspicuous areas in the corridors or other public places of the apartment complex. Language in the notice shall be in large type and shall read: "Notice to residents of (name and address of apartment complex): Electric service to this apartment complex is scheduled for disconnection on (date), because (reason for disconnection)."

(l) Disconnection notices. A disconnection notice for nonpayment shall:

  (1) not be issued before the first day after the bill is due;

  (2) be a separate mailing or hand delivered notice with a stated date of disconnection with the words "disconnection notice" or similar language prominently displayed or, if the REP has offered and the customer has agreed to receive disconnection notices from the REP by email, be a separate email with the words "disconnection notice" or similar language in the subject line. The REP may send the disconnection notice concurrently with the request for a deposit;

  (3) have a disconnection date that is not a holiday, weekend day, or day that the REP's personnel are not available to take payments, and is not less than ten days after the notice is issued; and

  (4) include a statement notifying the customer that if the customer needs assistance paying the bill by the due date, or is ill and unable to pay the bill, the customer may be able to make some alternate payment arrangement, establish a deferred payment plan, or possibly secure payment assistance. The notice shall also advise the customer to contact the provider for more information.

(m) Contents of disconnection notice. Any disconnection notice shall include the following information:

  (1) The reason for disconnection;

  (2) The actions, if any, that the customer may take to avoid disconnection of service;

  (3) The amount of all fees or charges which will be assessed against the customer as a result of the default;

  (4) The amount overdue;

  (5) A toll-free telephone number that the customer can use to contact the REP to discuss the notice of disconnection or to file a complaint with the REP, and the following statement: "If you are not satisfied with our response to your inquiry or complaint, you may file a complaint by calling or writing the Public Utility Commission of Texas, P.O. Box 13326, Austin, Texas, 78711-3326; Telephone: (512) 936-7120 or toll-free in Texas at (888) 782-8477. Hearing and speech impaired individuals with text telephones (TTY) may contact the commission at (512) 936-7136. Complaints may also be filed electronically at www.puc.texas.gov/ocp/complaints/complain.cfm;"

  (6) If a deposit is being held by the REP on behalf of the customer, a statement that the deposit will be applied against the final bill (if applicable) and the remaining deposit will be either returned to the customer or transferred to the new REP, at the customer's designation and with the consent of both REPs;

  (7) The availability of deferred payment or other billing arrangements, from the REP, and the availability of any state or federal energy assistance programs and information on how to get further information about those programs; and

  (8) A description of the activities that the REP will use to collect payment, including the use of consumer reporting agencies, debt collection agencies, small claims court, and other remedies allowed by law, if the customer does not pay or make acceptable payment arrangements with the REP.

(n) Reconnection of service. Upon a customer's satisfactory correction of the reasons for disconnection, the REP shall request the TDU, municipally owned utility, or electric cooperative to reconnect the customer's electric service as quickly as possible. The REP shall inform the customer when reconnection is expected to occur in accordance with the timelines set forth in this subsection and in §25.214 of this title (relating to Terms and Conditions of Retail Delivery Service Provided by Investor Owned Transmission and Distribution Utilities). For premises without a provisioned advanced meter with remote disconnect/reconnect capabilities, if a REP submits a standard reconnect request and the TDU completes the reconnect the same day, the TDU shall assess a standard reconnect fee. A TDU may assess a same-day reconnect fee only when the REP expressly requests a same-day reconnect and a REP may pass through a same-day reconnect fee to the customer only when the customer expressly requests a same-day reconnect. A REP shall send a reconnection request no later than the timelines in this subsection. The TDU shall complete the reconnection in accordance with the timelines in §25.214 of this title.

  (1) For payments made before 12:00 p.m. on a business day, a REP shall send a reconnection request to the TDU no later than 2:00 p.m. on the same day.

  (2) For payments made after 12:00 p.m. but before 5:00 p.m. on a business day, a REP shall send a reconnection request to the TDU by 7:00 p.m. on the same day.

  (3) For payments made after 5:00 p.m. but before 7:00 p.m. on a business day, a REP shall send a reconnection request to the TDU by 9:00 p.m. on the same day.

  (4) For payments made after 7:00 p.m. on a business day, a REP shall send a reconnection request to the TDU by 2:00 p.m. on the next business day.

  (5) For payments made on a weekend day or a holiday, a REP shall send a reconnection request to the TDU by 2:00 p.m. on the first business day after the payment was made.

  (6) In no event shall a REP fail to send a reconnection notice within 48 hours after the customer's satisfactory correction of the reasons for disconnection as specified in the disconnection notice.

(o) Electric service disconnection of a non-submetered master metered multifamily property.

  (1) In this subsection, "non-submetered master metered multifamily property" means an apartment, a leased or owner-occupied condominium, or one or more buildings containing at least 10 dwellings that receive electric utility service that is master metered but not submetered.

  (2) A REP shall send a written notice of service disconnection to a municipality before authorizing disconnection of service to a non-submetered master metered multifamily property for nonpayment if:

    (A) the property is located in the municipality; and

    (B) the municipality establishes an authorized representative to receive the notice as described by paragraph (3) of this subsection.

  (3) No later than January 1st of every year, a municipality wishing to receive notice of disconnection of electric service to a non-submetered master metered multifamily property shall provide the commission with the contact information for the municipality's authorized representative referenced by paragraph (2) of this subsection by submitting that person's name, title, direct mailing address, telephone number, and email address in a P.U.C. Project Number to be established annually for that purpose. The email address provided by the municipality may be for a general mailbox accessible by the authorized representative established for the purpose of receiving such notices.

  (4) After January 1st, but no later than January 15th of every year, the commission shall post on its public website the contact information received from every municipality pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection. The contact information posted by the commission shall remain in effect during the subsequent 12-month period of February 1 through January 31 for the purpose of the written notice of disconnection required by paragraph (2) of this subsection.

  (5) The retail electric provider shall email the written notice required by this subsection to the municipality's authorized representative not later than the 10th day before the date electric service is scheduled for disconnection. Additional notice may be provided by third-party commercial carrier delivery or certified mail.

  (6) The customer safeguards provided by this subchapter are in addition to safeguards provided by other law or agency rules.

  (7) This subsection does not prohibit a municipality or the commission from adopting customer safeguards that exceed the safeguards provided by this chapter.

Source Note: The provisions of this §25.483 adopted to be effective January 15, 2001, 26 TexReg 125; amended to be effective Spetember 12, 2002, 27 TexReg 8428; amended to be effective June 1, 2004, 29 TexReg 4756; amended to be effective March 8, 2007, 32 TexReg 1286; amended to be effective January 1, 2011, 35 TexReg 9232; amended to be effective December 6, 2012, 37 TexReg 9619; amended to be effective December 11, 2013, 38 TexReg 8819

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