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PSC 185.37(11)(f)3. 3. A statement that the customer shall communicate immediately upon receipt of the notice with the utility's designated office, listing a telephone number, if the customer disputes the notice of delinquent account, if the customer wishes to negotiate a deferred payment agreement as an alternative to disconnection, if any resident is seriously ill, or if there are other extenuating circumstances, as the presence of infants or young children in the household, the presence of aged, or persons with disabilities in the household, the presence of residents who use life support systems or equipment or residents who have mental retardation or other developmental or mental disabilities;
PSC 185.37(11)(f)4. 4. A statement that residential utility service shall be continued for up to 21 days during serious illness if the account holder submits a statement or notice pursuant to sub. (10);
PSC 185.37(11)(f)5. 5. A statement that the customer may appeal to the commission staff in the event that the grounds for the proposed disconnection or the amount of any disagreement remains in dispute after the customer has pursued the available remedies with the utility.
PSC 185.37(12) (12) Service shall not be disconnected on a day, or on a day immediately preceding a day, when the business offices of the utility are not available to the public for the purpose of transacting all business matters unless the utility provides personnel which are readily available to the customer 24 hours per day to evaluate, negotiate, or otherwise consider the customer's objection to the disconnection as provided under s. PSC 185.39, and proper service personnel are readily available to restore service 24 hours per day.
PSC 185.37(13) (13) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, utility service may not be refused because of a delinquent account if the customer or applicant provides, as a condition of future service a deposit or guarantee, as governed by s. PSC 185.36, or a voucher agreement. If the guarantor has agreed to be responsible for payment of all future bills, the customer shall be notified of the billing arrangement and of the ability to reject the proposed arrangement.
PSC 185.37 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97; CR 01-033: am. (1) (b), (2) (e) and (L), (8) (h), (9) and (11) (a), cr. (1m), (2) (am) and (8m), Register October 2001 No. 550, eff. 11-1-01.
PSC 185.38 PSC 185.38 Deferred payment agreement.
PSC 185.38(1) (1) A utility is required to offer deferred payment agreements to residential accounts and encouraged to offer such agreements to other customers.
PSC 185.38(2) (2) Every deferred payment agreement entered into due to the customer's inability to pay the outstanding bill in full shall provide that service shall not be discontinued if the customer pays a reasonable amount of the outstanding bill, agrees to pay the remaining outstanding balance in installments, and agrees to pay the current bill by the due date.
PSC 185.38(3) (3) For purposes of determining reasonableness in sub. (2), the parties shall consider the customer's ability to pay, including the following factors:
PSC 185.38(3)(a) (a) Size of the delinquent account;
PSC 185.38(3)(b) (b) Customer's payment history;
PSC 185.38(3)(c) (c) Time that the debt has been outstanding;
PSC 185.38(3)(d) (d) Reasons why the debt has been outstanding;
PSC 185.38(3)(e) (e) Any other relevant factors concerning the circumstances of the customer such as household size, income, and necessary expenses.
PSC 185.38(4) (4) A deferred payment agreement offered by a utility shall state immediately preceding the space provided for the customer's signature and in bold face print at least 2 sizes larger than any other print used, that:
PSC 185.38(4)(a) (a) You have the right to suggest a different payment agreement;
PSC 185.38(4)(b) (b) If you believe the terms of this agreement are unreasonable, DO NOT SIGN IT;
PSC 185.38(4)(c) (c) If you and the utility cannot agree on terms, you may ask the commission to review the disputed issues;
PSC 185.38(4)(d) (d) If you sign this agreement, you agree that you owe the amount due under the agreement;
PSC 185.38(4)(e) (e) Signing this agreement does not affect your responsibility to pay for your current service. Allowing any bill for current service to become delinquent places you in default of this agreement.
PSC 185.38(4m) (4m) A utility that does not require a written deferred payment agreement shall communicate to the customer all points listed in sub. (4) except those pertaining to a signature when making the arrangement with the customer. A utility shall send written confirmation of a deferred payment agreement upon customer request. The commission may require a utility to use written deferred payment agreements if it has evidence that the terms of the agreements are not being effectively communicated to customers.
PSC 185.38(5) (5) A delinquent amount, including late payment charges covered by a deferred payment agreement, shall not be subject to an additional late payment charge if the customer meets the payment schedule, including the current bill required by the agreement. A deferred payment agreement shall not include a finance charge.
PSC 185.38(6) (6) If an applicant for utility service or current customer has not fulfilled terms of a deferred payment agreement and there has not been a significant change in the customer's ability to pay since the agreement was negotiated, the utility shall have the right to disconnect pursuant to disconnection of service rules (s. PSC 185.37) and under such circumstances, it shall not be required to offer subsequent negotiation of a deferred payment agreement prior to disconnection.
PSC 185.38(7) (7) Any payments made by a customer solely in compliance with a deferred payment agreement, and not as part of a payment for other utility services, shall first be considered as payment toward the deferred payment agreement with any remainder credited to the current bill. Payments made to satisfy a current bill for utility service, which may include a portion for a deferred payment agreement, shall be credited as set forth in s. PSC 185.33 (4).
PSC 185.38(8) (8) If a deferred payment agreement cannot be reached because the customer's offer is unacceptable to the utility, the utility shall inform the customer in writing why the customer's offer was not acceptable.
PSC 185.38 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97; CR 01-033: cr. (4m), Register October 2001 No. 550, eff. 11-1-01.
PSC 185.39 PSC 185.39 Dispute procedures.
PSC 185.39(1)(1) Whenever the customer disputes the utility's request for a deposit or other guarantee, or advises the utility's designated office prior to the disconnection of service that all or any part of any billing as rendered is in dispute, or that any matter related to the disconnection or refusal of service is in dispute, the utility shall:
PSC 185.39(1)(a) (a) Investigate the dispute promptly and completely;
PSC 185.39(1)(b) (b) Advise the customer of the results of the investigation;
PSC 185.39(1)(c) (c) Attempt to resolve the dispute;
PSC 185.39(1)(d) (d) Provide the opportunity for residential customers, nonresidential customers at utility discretion, per s. PSC 185.38 (1) to enter into a deferred payment agreement when reasonable in order to resolve the dispute.
PSC 185.39(2)(a)(a) After the customer has pursued the available remedies with the utility, the customer may request that the commission staff informally review the disputed issue and recommend terms of settlement.
PSC 185.39(2)(b) (b) A request for informal review may be made in any reasonable manner such as by written or telephone request directed to the commission. Either by telephone or written request, the commission staff may request the utility to investigate the dispute.
PSC 185.39(2)(c) (c) The utility shall designate employees for responding to commission complaints who are readily available and have an appropriate and sufficient authority level for investigating and resolving concerns raised by the commission and its staff. Utilities shall provide the names of the designated employees to the commission and shall promptly inform the commission of any changes in these designations. A utility shall respond to the public service commission staff's request for an investigation by attempting to contact the complainant within 48 hours for most circumstances, or 4 hours in an emergency situation, and by providing a response to the commission within 10 business days. Staff may extend this time period if the utility requests more time to complete its investigation. Based on information provided by the utility and the customer, the commission staff shall make an informal determination for settlement of the dispute and communicate that determination to both parties. Either party to the dispute may request and receive the commission staff determination, and the basis for it, in writing. Commission staff shall inform any customer disputing an informal determination of the right to pursue a formal review.
PSC 185.39(2)(d) (d) There shall be at least 7 calendar days between the date the commission staff telephones or mails written notice of terms of settlement after informal review and any subsequent disconnection.
PSC 185.39(3)(a)(a) After informal review, any party to the dispute may make a written request for a formal review by the commission. To avoid disconnection pending a formal review, the customer shall request a formal review by the commission, in writing, within 7 calendar days of the issue of the informal determination. All other requests for formal review shall be made within 30 calendar days of the date the commission staff telephones or provides written notice of terms of the settlement after informal review. If written confirmation is requested, the 30-day period begins from the date of that mailing.
PSC 185.39(3)(b) (b) Within 7 calendar days of receiving a request for formal review in a dispute involving a pending disconnection of service, the commission shall make a determination whether to grant the request for formal review. The commission shall base its determination on the request for formal review and commission staff's informal complaint file. Within 35 calendar days from the time that all other requests for formal review are made, commission staff shall provide the commission with a memorandum based on the information it has received from the utility and the customer. A copy of the commission staff memorandum shall be provided to the parties 15 calendar days prior to consideration by the commission. Either party to the complaint may file a response to the commission staff's memorandum. These comments shall be filed with the commission 2 working days prior to the date scheduled for consideration by the commission. The commission shall inform both parties of its decision.
PSC 185.39(4) (4) Either party to the complaint may request that the commission reconsider its formal determination under this section. Such requests shall comply with s. 227.49, Stats., and shall be received by the commission within 20 days of mailing of the commission's determination. A request for reconsideration shall include any additional information or arguments that the party believes were not considered in the original complaint. The commission may review and reaffirm its original decision, issue a new decision, or decide to hold hearing on the matter for the gathering of additional information.
PSC 185.39(5)(a)(a) If the commission decides to conduct a formal hearing under sub. (4) on the dispute, the commission may condition the terms of its granting a formal hearing. Failure to meet these conditions before hearing shall constitute waiver of the dispute by the customer.
PSC 185.39(5)(b) (b) The hearing shall conform to the procedures of ss. 196.26 to 196.34, Stats.
PSC 185.39(5)(c) (c) Any such hearing shall be held not less than 10 days following a notice of hearing and a decision thereon shall be rendered following the conclusion of the hearing.
PSC 185.39(6) (6) Utility service shall not be disconnected or refused because of any disputed matter while the disputed matter is being pursued in accordance with the provisions of this section. The utility shall inform the customer that pursuing a disputed matter does not relieve the customer of the obligation of paying charges which are not in dispute, prevent disconnection of service for nonpayment of undisputed charges, or prevent the application of the late payment charge to amounts in dispute and later determined to be correct.
PSC 185.39 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97; CR 01-033: am. (2) (c), Register October 2001 No. 550, eff. 11-1-01.
subch. IV of ch. PSC 185 Subchapter IV — Records
PSC 185.41 PSC 185.41 Employees authorized to enter a customer's premises. The utility shall keep a record of its employees authorized pursuant to s. 196.171, Stats., to enter a customer's premises.
PSC 185.41 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
PSC 185.42 PSC 185.42 Customer complaints. Each utility shall investigate and keep a record of complaints from its customers in regard to safety, service, or rates, and the operation of its system. The record shall show complainant's name and address, the date the complaint is filed, the nature of the complaint, its resolution, and the date resolved.
PSC 185.42 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
PSC 185.43 PSC 185.43 Construction records.
PSC 185.43(1) (1) Every utility shall prepare and maintain a record of its utility plant. The records shall include a description of the unit of property, the year of its construction, and its location. They shall be in the form of a map or descriptive table.
PSC 185.43(2) (2) Class AB utilities are required by the uniform system of accounts to institute a perpetual inventory of their assets known as continuing property records. A continuing property record system shall contain the following criteria and detail:
PSC 185.43(2)(a) (a) The system shall be arranged by plant accounts as prescribed by the Uniform System of Accounts;
PSC 185.43(2)(b) (b) All property units shall be described in sufficient detail to permit their identification and shall have location information to allow verification of their physical existence;
PSC 185.43(2)(c) (c) All property units shall be identified with construction costs to establish their original cost for capitalization and retirement accounting;
PSC 185.43(2)(d) (d) The age and service life of property units shall be calculable for depreciation studies. The original cost, description, and age of the property unit at retirement shall be converted into mortality records and permanently retained. (See s. PSC 185.19);
PSC 185.43(2)(e) (e) Source documents supporting the original cost and quantities of property units shall be preserved for a period of 6 years after the plant is retired. (See s. PSC 185.19.) An exception is when a utility maintains approved continuing property records and permanent mortality records, then supporting documents need only be preserved for a period of 6 years after construction is completed. This provision meets commission requirements but may not satisfy other record-keeping needs;
PSC 185.43(2)(f) (f) Maps may be part of the continuing property records if they contain the description of the unit, its location, and the year of its construction. For maps to become the Continuing Property Record, the units shall be referenced to their original cost.
PSC 185.43(3) (3) A utility may apply for a waiver from any portion of subs. (1) and (2). Such application shall state the paragraphs to which a waiver is requested. Also, the utility shall provide the reasons it cannot or shall not have to comply with subs. (1) through (2) (f) and the impacts such a waiver would have on the utility's ability to maintain usable continuing property records, if any.
PSC 185.43 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
PSC 185.44 PSC 185.44 Records and reports of service interruptions.
PSC 185.44(1)(1) Each utility shall notify the commission as soon as possible of any unusual occurrence which has caused or is expected to cause an interruption of service for one hour or longer to all of the customers or 500 (or more) customers, whichever number is the smaller. (This supplement does not preempt the requirements of ch. PSC 104.)
PSC 185.44 Note Note: See also s. PSC 185.88, Interruptions of service.
PSC 185.44(2) (2) Each utility shall maintain a record of each interruption (as defined in sub. (1)) showing the date and time it began, the duration, the cause, and the approximate number of customers affected.
PSC 185.44 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
PSC 185.45 PSC 185.45 Pumpage records. A record shall be kept of the amount of water pumped into the distribution system each day from each station. The daily pumpage shall be summarized by months and such daily records and monthly summaries kept on file.
PSC 185.45 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
PSC 185.46 PSC 185.46 Metering equipment records.
PSC 185.46(1) (1) A record of a meter test shall be made whenever a meter is tested. If a meter is tested again, the previous test record need not be retained. A test record shall identify the meter, its location, the date of the test, a statement of "As Found" and "As Left" accuracies, and the person making the test. The As Left test need not be performed on meters being retired.
PSC 185.46(2) (2) Each utility shall keep a history record for each meter sufficient to fulfill the requirements of s. PSC 185.19.
PSC 185.46 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
PSC 185.47 PSC 185.47 Other records. Other required records which are referred to elsewhere in this chapter include records of adjustment of customer bills (s. PSC 185.35 (8)), main flushing (s. PSC 185.86), valve and hydrant operations, pumpage and metered consumption (s. PSC 185.85 (2)), and service interruptions (s. PSC 185.88).
PSC 185.47 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
subch. V of ch. PSC 185 Subchapter V — Engineering
PSC 185.51 PSC 185.51 Requirement for good engineering practice. The design and construction of the utility's water plant shall conform to good standard engineering practice and shall conform to the requirements of this chapter and the requirements of appropriate federal, state, and local regulatory authorities.
PSC 185.51 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97.
PSC 185.52 PSC 185.52 General construction requirements.
PSC 185.52(1)(1) MAINS.
PSC 185.52(1)(a)(a) Installed depth. Mains shall be placed at such depth or otherwise protected as shall prevent freezing.
PSC 185.52(1)(b) (b) Dead-ends. Where practical the utility shall design its distribution system to avoid dead-end mains. Where dead-ends are necessary, hydrants or other flushing devices shall be installed to permit flushing. (See s. PSC 185.86.)
PSC 185.52(1)(c) (c) Networked systems. Where practical the distribution system shall be laid out to maximize service reliability.
PSC 185.52(1)(d) (d) Segmentation of system. Valves shall be provided at reasonable intervals and at appropriate locations so that repairs to or maintenance of the mains shall minimize service interruptions.
PSC 185.52(1)(e) (e) Location of mains. Utility-owned mains shall be located either in public right-of-way, or in a readily accessible easement. As much as possible, easements shall be free of pavement, expensive landscaping, mobile home pads, etc.
PSC 185.52(1)(f) (f) Main ownership conditions. A utility may choose whether or not it shall accept for ownership the mains within a mobile home park. Mains may only be accepted if they meet the utility's construction standards and the requirements of ss. PSC 185.51 and 185.52.
PSC 185.52(2) (2)SERVICE LATERALS.
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