|(a) Disconnection with notice.
(1) Notice requirements. Proper notice shall consist
of a separate written statement which a utility must mail or hand
deliver to a customer before service may be disconnected. The notice
must be provided in English and Spanish if necessary to adequately
inform the customer and must include the following information:
(A) the words "termination notice" or similar language
approved by the commission written in a way to stand out from other
information on the notice;
(B) the action required to avoid disconnection, such
as paying past due service charges;
(C) the date by which the required action must be completed
to avoid disconnection. This date must be at least ten days from the
date the notice is provided unless a shorter time is authorized by
(D) the intended date of disconnection;
(E) the office hours, telephone number, and address
of the utility's local office;
(F) the total past due charges;
(G) all reconnect fees that will be required to restore
water or sewer service if service is disconnected.
(H) if notice is provided by a sewer service provider
under subsection (e) of this section, the notice must also state:
(i) that failure to pay past due sewer charges will
result in termination of water service; and
(ii) that water service will not be reconnected until
all past due and currently due sewer service charges and the sewer
reconnect fee are paid.
(2) Reasons for disconnection. Utility service may
be disconnected after proper notice for any of the following reasons:
(A) failure to pay a delinquent account for utility
service or failure to comply with the terms of a deferred payment
(i) Payment by check which has been rejected for insufficient
funds, closed account, or for which a stop payment order has been
issued is not deemed to be payment to the utility.
(ii) Payment at a utility's office or authorized payment
agency is considered payment to the utility.
(iii) The utility is not obligated to accept payment
of the bill when an employee is at the customer's location to disconnect
(B) violation of the utility's rules pertaining to
the use of service in a manner which interferes with the service of
(C) operation of non-standard equipment, if a reasonable
attempt has been made to notify the customer and the customer is provided
with a reasonable opportunity to remedy the situation;
(D) failure to comply with deposit or guarantee arrangements
where required by §24.159 of this title (relating to Service
Applicant and Customer Deposit);
(E) failure to pay charges for sewer service provided
by another retail public utility in accordance with subsection (e)
of this section; and
(F) failure to pay solid waste disposal fees collected
under contract with a county or other public agency.
(b) Disconnection without notice. Utility service may
be disconnected without prior notice for the following reasons:
(1) where a known and dangerous condition related to
the type of service provided exists. Where reasonable, given the nature
of the reason for disconnection, a written notice of the disconnection,
explaining the reason service was disconnected, shall be posted at
the entrance to the property, the place of common entry or upon the
front door of each affected residential unit as soon as possible after
service has been disconnected;
(2) where service is connected without authority by
a person who has not made application for service;
(3) where service has been reconnected without authority
following termination of service for nonpayment under subsection (a)
of this section;
(4) or in instances of tampering with the utility's
meter or equipment, bypassing the same, or other instances of diversion
as defined in §24.169 of this title (relating to Meters).
(c) Disconnection prohibited. Utility service may not
be disconnected for any of the following reasons:
(1) failure to pay for utility service provided to
a previous occupant of the premises;
(2) failure to pay for merchandise, or charges for
non-utility service provided by the utility;
(3) failure to pay for a different type or class of
utility service unless the fee for such service is included on the
same bill or unless such disconnection is in accordance with subsection
(e) of this section;
(4) failure to pay the account of another customer
as guarantor thereof, unless the utility has in writing the guarantee
as a condition precedent to service;
(5) failure to pay charges arising from an underbilling
due to any faulty metering, unless the meter has been tampered with
or unless such underbilling charges are due under §24.169 of
(6) failure to pay an estimated bill other than a bill
rendered pursuant to an approved meter-reading plan, unless the utility
is unable to read the meter due to circumstances beyond its control;
(7) failure to comply with regulations or rules regarding
anything other than the type of service being provided including failure
to comply with septic tank regulations or sewer hook-up requirements;
(8) refusal of a current customer to sign a service
(9) failure to pay standby fees.
(d) Disconnection due to utility abandonment. No public
utility may abandon a customer or a certificated service area unless
it has complied with the requirements of §24.247 of this title
(relating to Requirement to Provide Continuous and Adequate Service)
and obtained approval from the commission.
(e) Disconnection of water service due to nonpayment
of sewer charges.
(1) Where sewer service is provided by one retail public
utility and water service is provided by another retail public utility,
the retail public utility that provides the water service shall disconnect
water service to a customer who has not paid undisputed sewer charges
if requested by the sewer service provider and if an agreement exists
between the two retail public utilities regarding such disconnection
or if an order has been issued by the commission specifying a process
for such disconnections.
(A) Before water service may be terminated, proper
notice of such termination must be given to the customer and the water
service provider by the sewer service provider. Such notice must be
in conformity with subsection (a) of this section.
(B) Water and sewer service shall be reconnected in
accordance with subsection (h) of this section. The water service
provider may not charge the customer a reconnect fee prior to reconnection
unless it is for nonpayment of water service charges in accordance
with its approved tariff. The water service provider may require the
customer to pay any water service charges which have been billed but
remain unpaid prior to reconnection. The water utility may require
the sewer utility to reimburse it for the cost of disconnecting the
water service in an amount not to exceed $50. The sewer utility may
charge the customer its approved reconnect fee for nonpayment in addition
to any past due charges.
(C) If the retail public utilities providing water
and sewer service cannot reach an agreement regarding disconnection
of water service for nonpayment of sewer charges, the commission may
issue an order requiring disconnections under specified conditions.
(D) The commission will issue an order requiring termination
of service by the retail public utility providing water service if
(i) the retail public utility providing sewer service
has obtained funding through the State or Federal government for the
provision, expansion or upgrading of such sewer service; or,
(ii) the commission finds that an order is necessary
to effectuate the purposes of the Texas Water Code.
(2) A utility providing water service to customers
who are provided sewer service by another retail public utility may
enter into an agreement to provide billing services for the sewer
service provider. In this instance, the customer may only be charged
the tariffed reconnect fee for nonpayment of a bill on the water service
(3) This section outlines the duties of a water service
provider to an area served by a sewer service provider of certain
(A) This section applies only to an area:
(i) that is located in a county that has a population
of more than 1.3 million; and
(ii) in which a customer's sewer service is provided
by a municipality or conservation and reclamation district that also
provides water service to other customers and the same customer's
water service is provided by another entity.
(B) For each person the water service provider serves
in an area to which this section applies, the water service provider
shall provide the municipality or district with any relevant customer
information so that the municipality or district may bill users of
the sewer service directly and verify the water consumption of users.
Relevant customer information provided under this section includes
the name, address, and telephone number of the customer of the water
service provider, the monthly meter readings of the customer, monthly
consumption information, including any billing adjustments, and certain
meter information, such as brand, model, age, and location.
(C) The municipality or district shall reimburse the
water service provider for its reasonable and actual incremental costs
for providing services to the municipality or district under this
section. Incremental costs are limited to only those costs that are
in addition to the water service provider's costs in providing its
services to its customers, and those costs must be consistent with
the costs incurred by other water utility providers. Only if requested
by the wastewater provider, the water service provider must provide
the municipality or district with documentation certified by a certified
public accountant of the reasonable and actual incremental costs for
providing services to the municipality or district under this section.
(D) A municipality or conservation and reclamation
district may provide written notice to a person to whom the municipality's
or district's sewer service system provides service if the person
has failed to pay for the service for more than 90 days. The notice
must state the past due amount owed and the deadline by which the
past due amount must be paid or the person will lose water service.
The notice may be sent by First Class mail or hand-delivered to the
location at which the sewer service is provided.
(E) The municipality or district may notify the water
service provider of a person who fails to make timely payment after
the person receives notice under subparagraph (D) of this paragraph.
The notice must indicate the number of days the person has failed
to pay for sewer service and the total amount past due. On receipt
of the notice, the water service provider shall discontinue water
service to the person.
(F) This subsection does not apply to a nonprofit water
supply or sewer service corporation created under Texas Water Code,
Chapter 67, or a district created under Texas Water Code, Chapter
(f) Disconnection for ill customers. No utility may
discontinue service to a delinquent residential customer when that
customer establishes that some person residing at that residence will
become seriously ill or more seriously ill if service is discontinued.
To avoid disconnection under these circumstances, the customer must
provide a written statement from a physician to the utility prior
to the stated date of disconnection. Service may be disconnected in
accordance with subsection (a) of this section if the next month's
bill and the past due bill are not paid by the due date of the next
month's bill, unless the customer enters into a deferred payment plan
with the utility.
(g) Disconnection upon customer request. A utility
shall disconnect service no later than the end of the next working
day after receiving a written request from the customer.
(h) Service restoration.
(1) Utility personnel must be available during normal
business hours to accept payment on the day service is disconnected
and the day after service is disconnected, unless the disconnection
is at the customer's request or due to the existence of a dangerous
condition related to the type of service provided. Once the past due
service charges and applicable reconnect fees are paid or other circumstances
which resulted in disconnection are corrected, the utility must restore
service within 36 hours.
(2) Reconnect Fees.
(A) A reconnect fee, or seasonal reconnect fee as appropriate,
may be charged for restoring service if listed on the utility's approved
(B) A reconnect fee may not be charged where service
was not disconnected, except in circumstances where a utility representative
arrives at a customer's service location with the intent to disconnect
service because of a delinquent bill, and the customer prevents the
utility from disconnecting the service.
(C) Except as provided under §24.169(c) of this
title when a customer prevents disconnection at the water meter or
connecting point between the utility and customer sewer lines, a reconnect
fee charged for restoring water or sewer service after disconnection
for nonpayment of monthly charges shall not exceed $25 provided the
customer pays the delinquent charges and requests to have service
restored within 45 days. If a request to have service reconnected
is not made within 45 days of the date of disconnection, the utility
may charge its approved reconnect fee or seasonal reconnect fee.
(D) A reconnect fee cannot be charged for reconnecting
service after disconnection for failure to pay solid waste disposal
fees collected under a contract with a county or other public agency.