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PSC 134.05(4) (4) 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.
PSC 134.05(5) (5) 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 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.
PSC 134.061 PSC 134.061 Deposits, residential.
PSC 134.061(1) (1)New residential service.
PSC 134.061(1)(a)(a) 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.
PSC 134.061(1)(b) (b) 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.
PSC 134.061(1)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.061(2) (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.
PSC 134.061(3) (3)Guarantee terms and conditions.
PSC 134.061(3)(a)(a) 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.
PSC 134.061(3)(b) (b) 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.
PSC 134.061(3)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.061(4) (4)Existing residential service.
PSC 134.061(4)(a)(a) A utility may require a cash deposit or other guarantee as a condition of residential service if any of the following circumstances apply:
PSC 134.061(4)(a)1. 1. 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.
PSC 134.061(4)(a)2. 2. Subsequent credit information indicates that the initial application for service was falsified.
PSC 134.061(4)(a)3. 3. 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.
PSC 134.061(4)(b) (b) 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.
PSC 134.061(4)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.061(5) (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.
PSC 134.061(6) (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:
PSC 134.061(6)(a) (a) Size of the delinquent account.
PSC 134.061(6)(b) (b) Customer's payment history.
PSC 134.061(6)(c) (c) Time that the debt has been outstanding.
PSC 134.061(6)(d) (d) Reasons why the debt has been outstanding.
PSC 134.061(6)(e) (e) Any other relevant factors concerning the circumstances of the customer, as household size, income and expenses.
PSC 134.061(7) (7)Amount of deposit.
PSC 134.061(7)(a)(a) 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.
PSC 134.061(7)(b) (b) 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.
PSC 134.061(7)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.061(8) (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.
PSC 134.061(9) (9)Interest.
PSC 134.061(9)(a)(a) 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.
PSC 134.061(9)(b) (b) 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.
PSC 134.061(9)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.061(10) (10)Refund. The utility shall refund the deposit of a residential customer after 12 consecutive months of prompt payment.
PSC 134.061(11) (11)Review. 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) or (10).
PSC 134.061(12) (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) applies.
PSC 134.061(13) (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.
PSC 134.061(14) (14)Arrearages. An arrearage owed by a [residential] customer may be deducted from the customer's deposit under the following conditions:
PSC 134.061(14)(a) (a) 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.
PSC 134.061(14)(b) (b) 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.
PSC 134.061(14)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.061(15) (15)Applicability. The provisions in subs. (2) and (3) are not applicable to deposits or guarantees made in connection with the financing of extensions or other equipment.
PSC 134.061 History 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.
PSC 134.0615 PSC 134.0615 Deposits for commercial and farm service.
PSC 134.0615(1)(1)Deposit request. 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.
PSC 134.0615(2) (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:
PSC 134.0615(2)(a) (a) Credit information from credit reporting services.
PSC 134.0615(2)(b) (b) Letter of credit from a financial institution or another utility.
PSC 134.0615(2)(c) (c) Applicant's business characteristics, such as type of business, length of time the applicant has operated, the applicant's business experience and knowledge, and estimated size of the applicant's bills.
PSC 134.0615(2)(d) (d) Assets of the business.
PSC 134.0615(2)(e) (e) The financial condition of the business, as indicated in a financial statement.
PSC 134.0615(3) (3)Installment payment agreement. A commercial or farm customer or applicant for commercial or farm service of which a deposit is requested shall have the right to receive service under an installment payment agreement.
PSC 134.0615(4) (4)Guarantee terms and conditions.
PSC 134.0615(4)(a)(a) The utility may accept, in lieu of a cash deposit for new or existing commercial or farm 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. The term of such contract shall be for no longer than 2 years, but it shall automatically terminate after the commercial or farm customer has closed its account with the utility, or at the guarantor's request on 30 days' written notice to the utility.
PSC 134.0615(4)(b) (b) On termination of a guarantee contract, or whenever the utility deems the amount of surety insufficient, a cash deposit or a new or additional guarantee may be required on 20-day written notice to the customer. The service of a customer who fails to comply with these requirements may be disconnected on 8 days' written notice, subject to the establishment of an installment payment agreement.
PSC 134.0615(4)(c) (c) The utility shall mail the guarantor copies of all disconnect notices sent to the customer whose account he or she has guaranteed, unless the guarantor waives such notice in writing.
PSC 134.0615(5) (5)Existing commercial or farm service.
PSC 134.0615(5)(a)(a) The utility may require an existing commercial or farm customer to furnish a deposit if the customer has not made prompt payment of all bills within the last 24 months, or if the customer has 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.
PSC 134.0615(5)(b) (b) When the utility requests a deposit of an existing commercial or farm customer, the customer shall have 30 days to provide the deposit, guarantee, or to establish an installment payment agreement.
PSC 134.0615(6) (6)Written explanation.
PSC 134.0615(6)(a)(a) A utility shall provide a written explanation of why a deposit or guarantee is being required for commercial or farm service. 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.
PSC 134.0615(6)(b) (b) The utility shall inform the customer at the time a deposit is provided that if, after 12 months of utility service, the deposit amount is greater than necessary based on actual consumption, the customer may request refund of the difference between the 2 amounts.
PSC 134.0615(7) (7)Refusal or interruption of service. Commercial or farm service may be refused or disconnected for failure to pay a deposit request, subject to the rules pertaining to disconnection and refusal of service.
PSC 134.0615 Note Note: See s. PSC 134.0622.
PSC 134.0615(8) (8)Amount of deposit.
PSC 134.0615(8)(a)(a) The maximum deposit for a new commercial or farm account shall not exceed the highest estimated gross bill for any 2 consecutive billing periods selected by the utility. If after a 12 month period the deposit amount is shown to be greater than warranted based on actual consumption, the utility shall at the customer's request refund the difference between the 2 amounts, plus interest.
PSC 134.0615(8)(b) (b) Except as provided in par. (c), the maximum deposit for an existing commercial or farm account shall not exceed the highest actual gross bill for any 2 consecutive months within the preceding 12 month review period, as determined by the utility.
PSC 134.0615(8)(c) (c) 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 bill for any 4 consecutive months within the preceding 12 month review period, as determined by the utility.
PSC 134.0615(9) (9)Interest.
PSC 134.0615(9)(a)(a) Deposits for commercial or farm service shall bear interest from the date a deposit is made to the date it is applied to an account balance or refunded.
PSC 134.0615(9)(b) (b) 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 the utilities of the 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.
PSC 134.0615(9)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.0615(10) (10)Time of refund. The deposit of a commercial or farm customer shall be refunded after 24 consecutive months of prompt payment.
PSC 134.0615(11) (11)Method of refund. Any deposit or portion thereof refunded to a commercial or farm customer shall be refunded by check unless both the customer and utility agree to a credit on the regular billing, or unless sub. (13) applies.
PSC 134.0615(12) (12)Refund at termination of service. Upon termination of commercial or farm service, the deposit, with accrued interest, shall be credited to the final bill, and the balance shall be returned within 30 days of issuing the final bill.
PSC 134.0615(13) (13)Arrearages. An arrearage owed by a commercial or farm customer may be deducted from the customer's deposit under the following conditions:
PSC 134.0615(13)(a) (a) 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.
PSC 134.0615(13)(b) (b) 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 a ground for disconnection.
PSC 134.0615(13)(c) (c) 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.
PSC 134.0615(14) (14)Applicability. The provisions of subs. (3) and (4) are not applicable to deposits or guarantees made in connection with the financing of extensions or other equipment.
PSC 134.0615 History History: Cr. Register, October, 1989, No. 406, eff. 11-1-89.
PSC 134.062 PSC 134.062 Disconnections, residential.
PSC 134.062(1) (1) Residential utility service may be disconnected or refused for any of the following reasons:
PSC 134.062(1)(a) (a) Failure to pay a delinquent account or failure to comply with the terms of a deferred payment agreement, as provided in s. PSC 134.063.
PSC 134.062(1)(b) (b) Violation of the utility's rules pertaining to the use of service in a manner which interferes with the service of others or to the operation of nonstandard equipment, if the customer has first been notified and provided with reasonable opportunity to remedy the situation.
PSC 134.062(1)(c) (c) Failure to comply with deposit or guarantee arrangements, as specified in s. PSC 134.061.
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