PSC 134.02 Note
Note: According to Dalton's law, this is equivalent to stating that the partial pressure of the gas is: 30-0.522 = 29.478 inches of mercury column.
"Standard pressure" means the absolute pressure of pure mercury 30 inches in height at 32° Fahrenheit and under standard gravity.
PSC 134.02 Note
Note: Standard gravity is 32.174 feet per second which results in a standard pressure of 14.735 pounds per square inch absolute.
"Standard service pressure" means the gas pressure which a utility undertakes to maintain on the meters of all customers, except the meters of customers utilizing high-pressure service, expressed in pounds per square inch above atmospheric pressure or psig.
"Standard temperature" means 60° Fahrenheit based on the international temperature scale.
"Total calorific value" means the number of British thermal units evolved by the complete combustion, at constant pressure, of one standard cubic foot of gas with air, the temperature of the gas, air, and products of combustion being 60° Fahrenheit and all water formed by the combustion reaction condensed to the liquid state.
"Unmeasured gas" means gas which has not been measured by a meter.
"Voucher agreement" means a payment agreement guaranteed by a third party who has access to or control over the benefits and/or finances of a public assistance recipient. Included without limitation are:
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) restrictive payment arrangements.
PSC 134.02 History
History 1-2-56; r. and recr. Register, February, 1959, No. 38
, eff. 3-1-59; r. and recr. Register, October, 1989, No. 406
, eff. 11-1-89.
Every gas utility shall furnish reasonably adequate service and facilities at the rates filed with the commission and subject to these rules and the rules of the utility filed with this commission which are applicable thereto and not otherwise. The utility shall be operated in such manner as to obviate so far as reasonably practicable, undesirable effects upon the operation of standard services, standard utilization equipment, equipment of the utility, and upon the service and facilities of other utilities and agencies.
PSC 134.03 History
1-2-56; r. and recr. Register, February, 1959, No. 38
, eff. 3-1-59.
Schedules to be filed with commission.
The schedules of rates and rules shall be filed with the commission by the utility and shall be classified, designated, arranged, and submitted so as to conform to the requirements of current tariff or rate schedule circulars and special instructions which have been and may from time to time be issued by the commission. Provisions of the schedules shall be definite and so stated as to minimize ambiguity or the possibility of misinterpretation, and shall include, together with such other information as may be deemed pertinent, the following:
All rates for service with indication for each rate of the type of gas and the class of customers to which each rate applies. There shall also be shown any limitations on loads and type of equipment which may be connected, the prices per unit of service, and the number of units per billing period to which the prices apply, the period of billing, the minimum bill, method of measuring demands and consumptions, including method of calculating or estimating loads or minimums, and any special terms and conditions applicable. The discount for prompt payment or penalty for late payment, if any, and the period during which the net amount may be paid shall be specified.
By municipalities, but without reference required to any particular part thereof, the type of gas supplied and the type of service (firm and/or interruptible).
Forms of standard contracts required of customers for the various types of service available.
If service to other utilities or municipalities for resale is furnished at a standard filed rate, either a copy of each contract or the standard contract form together with a summary of the provisions of each signed contract. The summary shall show the principal provisions of the contract and shall include the name and address of the customer, the points where gas is delivered, rate, term, minimums, load conditions, heating value of gas, pressures, and any special provisions such as rentals.
Copies of special contracts for the purchase, sale, or interchange of gas.
List of villages, cities, and unincorporated communities where urban rates are applicable, and towns in which service is furnished.
Extension rules for extending service to new customers indicating what portion of the extension or cost thereof will be furnished by the utility; and if the rule is based on cost, the items of cost included.
Type of construction required of the customer if different from requirements in ch. PSC 135
Designation of such portion of the service facilities as the utility furnishes, owns, and maintains.
Rules with which prospective customers must comply as a condition of receiving service, and the terms of contracts required.
Rules governing the establishment of credit by customers for payment of service bills.
Rules governing disconnecting and reconnecting service.
Notice required from customer for having service discontinued.
Rules covering temporary, emergency, auxiliary, and standby service.
Rules covering the type of equipment which may or may not be connected.
The list of service areas and the rates shall be filed in such form as to facilitate ready determination of the rates available in each municipality and in such unincorporated communities as have service at urban rates. If the utility has various rural rates, the areas where the same are available shall be indicated.
PSC 134.04 History
1-2-56; r. and recr. Register, February, 1959, No. 38
, eff. 3-1-59; reprinted to restore dropped copy, Register, February, 1985, No. 350
Information available to customers. PSC 134.05(1)(1)
Each utility shall have available in its offices where payments are received, copies of its rates and rules applicable to the locality. The rates and rules shall be available for customer inspection and reasonable notice as to their availability shall be provided to customers.
Each gas utility, for every municipality in which it serves, shall provide in the respective telephone directories a telephone listing by which the utility can be notified during a 24-hour day of any utility service deficiency or emergency which may exist.
Where a second language is common in a particular area served by the utility and so identified by the commission, all rules pertaining to billing and credit shall be available upon customer request for distribution in English and that second language in every business office of the utility in that area accessible to the public and where customer payments are received.
Each utility shall provide written notice to its residential customers annually, and a written notice to all new residential customers, at a minimum, of the rules on deposits, payment options including deferred payment agreements and budget billing, disconnection and dispute procedures; of the availability of information on energy conservation practices, of the advisability of setting water heater thermostats no higher than 125° Fahrenheit, of the availability of the customer's actual gas consumption (or actual degree-day gas consumption) for each billing period during the prior 12 months or the actual number of months that the customer has lived at that location if less than 12 months, and of the availability of agencies or programs which may provide financial aid assistance or counseling. Such notice shall contain a reply procedure to allow customers an opportunity to advise the utility of any special circumstances, such as the presence of infants or elderly persons or the use of human life-sustaining equipment, and to advise the utility to contact a specific third-party agency or individual prior to any disconnection action being taken.
A utility shall provide on request to current or prospective customers, tenants or property owners residential energy consumption information. This information shall include either the average consumption for the prior 12 month period or figures reflecting the highest and lowest consumption amounts for the previous 12 months. Provision of this information is neither a breach of customer confidentiality nor a guarantee or contract by the utility as to future consumption levels for the premises in question.
PSC 134.05 History
1-2-56; r. and recr. Register, February, 1959, No. 38
, eff. 3-1-59; renum. PSC 134.05 to be PSC 134.05 (1); cr. (2), Register, January, 1965, No. 109
, eff. 2-1-65; am. (1), renum. (2) to be (3) and cr. (2) and (4), Register, January, 1975, No. 229
, eff. 2-1-75; am. Register, March, 1979, No. 279
, eff. 4-1-79; am. (4), Register, October, 1980, No. 298
, eff. 11-1-80; am. (4) and cr. (5), Register, October, 1989, No. 406
, eff. 11-1-89.
A utility shall not require a cash deposit or other guarantee as a condition of new residential service unless a customer has an outstanding account balance with any Wisconsin gas utility which accrued within the last 6 years and for which there is no agreement or arrangement for payment being honored by the customer, and which at the time of the request for new service remains outstanding and not in dispute, as defined in s. PSC 134.064
A deposit under this section shall not be required if the customer provides the utility with information showing that his or her gross quarterly income is at or below 200% of federal income poverty guidelines.
A utility shall inform the customer of his or her right to enter into a deferred payment agreement for payment of the deposit amount and of his or her right to appeal any deposit request or amount required under this section to the public service commission.
(2) Deferred payment.
In lieu of cash deposit or guarantee, an applicant for new residential service who has an outstanding account balance accrued within the last 6 years with the same utility shall have the right to receive service from that utility under a deferred payment agreement, as defined in s. PSC 134.063
, for the outstanding account. A customer who defaults on the deferred payment agreement may be required by the utility to furnish a deposit.
A utility may accept, in lieu of a cash deposit for new or existing residential service, a contract signed by a guarantor satisfactory to the utility whereby payment of a specified sum not exceeding the cash deposit requirement is guaranteed, or whereby the guarantor accepts responsibility for payment of all future bills. If the guarantor accepts responsibility for payment of future bills, the utility shall notify the customer in writing of the agreement, and of the customer's right to refuse such an agreement. The term of the contract shall be for no longer than one year, but it shall automatically terminate after the residential customer has closed his or her account with the utility, or on the guarantor's request upon 30 days' written notice to the utility.
Upon termination of a guarantee contract, or whenever the utility deems the guarantee insufficient as to amount of surety, a cash deposit or a new or additional guarantee may be required upon 20-day written notice to the customer. The service of any customer who fails to comply with these requirements may be disconnected upon 8 days' written notice.
The utility shall mail the guarantor copies of all disconnect notices sent to the customer whose account has been guaranteed, unless the guarantor waives such notice in writing.
A utility may require a cash deposit or other guarantee as a condition of residential service if any of the following circumstances apply:
The utility has disconnected the customer's service within the last 12-month period for violation of the utility's filed rules or for nonpayment of a delinquent service account not currently in dispute.
Subsequent credit information indicates that the initial application for service was falsified.
The customer had the ability to pay for the utility service but, during the cold weather disconnection rules period, had an arrears amount incurred during that period, that was 80 days or more past due. The utility may request a deposit under this section even if the customer's service has not been disconnected.
A deposit under this section shall not be required if the customer provides the utility with information showing that his or her gross quarterly income is at or below 200% of the federal income poverty guidelines.
When the utility requests a deposit of an existing residential customer, the customer shall be informed of his or her right to provide the deposit, guarantee, or to establish a deferred payment agreement. The customer shall be given 30 days to provide the deposit, guarantee, or enter into a deferred payment agreement for payment of the deposit amount.
(5) Written explanation.
A utility shall provide a written explanation of why a deposit or guarantee is being required for a residential account. The explanation shall include notice of the customer's right to appeal any deposit request or amount required under this section to the public service commission.
(6) Reasonableness of deposit.
When requesting a deposit from a residential customer, the utility shall consider the customer's ability to pay, including the following factors, in determining the reasonableness of its request:
Any other relevant factors concerning the circumstances of the customer, as household size, income and expenses.
The maximum deposit for a new residential account shall not exceed the highest estimated gross bills for any 2 consecutive billing periods selected by the utility.
Except as provided in par. (c)
, the maximum deposit for an existing residential account shall not exceed the highest actual gross bills for any 2 consecutive months within the preceding 12 month review period, as determined by the utility.
If, during the cold weather disconnection rules period, a customer had an arrears amount incurred during this period that was 80 days or more past due and had the ability to pay for utility service, the deposit may not exceed the highest actual gross bills for any 4 consecutive months within the preceding 12 month review period, as determined by the utility.
(8) Refusal or disconnection of service.
Residential service may be refused or disconnected for failure to pay a deposit request subject to the rules pertaining to disconnection and refusal of service, as provided in s. PSC 134.062
Deposits for residential accounts shall bear interest payable from the date a deposit is made to the date it is applied to an account balance or is refunded.
The interest rate to be paid shall be subject to change annually on a calendar year basis. The commission shall determine the rate of interest to be paid on deposits held during the following calendar year and notify utilities of that rate by December 15 of each year. The rate shall be equal to the weekly average yield of one-year United States treasury securities adjusted for constant maturity for the week ending on or after December 1 made available by the federal reserve board, rounded to the nearest tenth of one per cent.
The rate of interest set by the commission shall be payable on all deposits. Utilities shall calculate the interest earned on each deposit at the time of refund and at the end of each calendar year. The interest rate in a calendar year shall apply to the amount of the deposit and to all interest accrued during the previous year(s), for the fraction of the calendar year that the deposit was held by the utility.
The utility shall refund the deposit of a residential customer after 12 consecutive months of prompt payment.
The utility shall not continue to require a cash deposit for a residential account unless a deposit is permitted under the provisions of sub. (4)
(12) Method of refund.
Any deposit or portion thereof refunded to a residential customer shall be refunded by check unless both the customer and the utility agree to a credit on the regular billing, or unless sub. (14)
(13) Refund at termination of service.
On termination of residential service, the utility shall credit the deposit, with accrued interest, to the customer's final bill and return the balance within 30 days of issuing the final bill.
An arrearage owed by a [residential] customer may be deducted from the customer's deposit under the following conditions:
Except as provided in par. (c)
, a deposit may be used by the utility only to satisfy an arrearage occurring after the deposit was made.
If the utility deducts an arrearage from a customer deposit, it may require the customer to bring the deposit up to its original amount. Failure of the customer to do so within 20 days of mailing a written request for payment is ground for disconnection.
When a deposit is refunded to the customer, the utility may first deduct any arrearage owed by the customer, whether the arrearage arose prior to or after the date of the deposit.
The provisions in subs. (2)
are not applicable to deposits or guarantees made in connection with the financing of extensions or other equipment.
PSC 134.061 History
Cr. Register, January, 1975, No. 229
, eff. 2-1-75; am. Register, November, 1980, No. 299
, eff. 12-1-80; renum. (7) to (14) to be (8) to (15), cr. (7), Register, April, 1985, No. 352
, eff. 5-1-85; emerg. cr. (2) (c), am. (4) (a) and (5), eff. 10-25-88; r. and recr. Register, October, 1989, No. 406
, eff. 11-1-89.
Deposits for commercial and farm service. PSC 134.0615(1)(1)
If the credit of an applicant for commercial or farm service has not been established satisfactorily to the utility, the utility may require the applicant to post a deposit. The utility shall notify the applicant within 30 days of the request for service as to whether a deposit will be required. The 30-day period shall begin from the date the applicant provides all requested relevant information to the utility. If no request for a deposit is made within this period, no deposit shall be required, except under the provisions of sub. (5)
. If a request for a deposit is made, the applicant must be given at least 30 days to provide payment, or guarantee, or to establish an installment payment agreement.
(2) Considerations for deposit.
In determining whether an applicant for commercial or farm service has satisfactorily established its credit, the utility shall inform the customer that it will consider any or all of the following factors, if provided by the customer, before requiring a security deposit: