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Ratepayer and Customer Rights Energy Regulatory Partnership Program Abuja, Nigeria July 14-18, 2008...

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  • Ratepayer and Customer RightsEnergy Regulatory Partnership ProgramAbuja, NigeriaJuly 14-18, 2008

    Presented by Robert W. Kehres

  • The MPSCs activities are open to the publicOpen Meetings ActFreedom of Information ActBilling Rules for Residential CustomersBilling Rules for Non-residential CustomersRules of Practice and ProcedureRule 207 statementsInterventions as a party

  • Residential Billing RulesDefinitionsApplication for serviceDeposits and guaranteesMeter readingBilling and payment standardsVoluntary termination of serviceUtility proceduresShutoffs and service restorationsEnergy assistance and shutoff protectionsDisputes and hearingsCommission appeal procedures

  • Residential Billing Rules HighpointsA person may apply for service at the utilitys office, in writing, by telephone, fax, internet, or other means of communications.The utility may require positive identification, a deposit, payment of a delinquent account.

  • Highpoints Deposits General rule absent justification, the utility may not require a deposit from a customerIf a deposit is required, the utility is required to hold it in the customers mName and to pay interest on the deposit amount

  • DepositsRule 8 Prohibits deposits based on income, home ownership, residence location, race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin, marital status, familiar status, disability, and any status not mentioned in the rules.

  • New Customer DepositsIf the customer has a delinquent accountMisrepresents identity or credit standingFails to provide position identificationNon-residential locationHistory of unauthorized useLiving with a person having a delinquent accountBankruptcy within 6 years

  • Previous Customer or Continued Service DepositsDelinquent accountMisrepresents identity or credit standingFails to provide position identificationHistory of unauthorized useShutoff service for non-payment of an amount that is not in disputeOne or more bad checksLiving with a person having a delinquent accountBankruptcy within 6 years

  • Meter Reading ProceduresGeneral Rule Utilities shall provide residential customers with actual meter readings on a monthly basisEstimated meter reading are appropriate under limited circumstancesCustomers shall be given opportunity to read and report usage on their ownUtility must obtain at least one actual reading per year

  • Meter accuracyInaccurate meters must be repaired or replacedMeters that record outside expected range must be investigatedUtility may assess meter relocation charges under certain circumstances

  • Billing and Payment StandardsGeneral rule monthly billings by mailDifferent periods and payment methods may be agreed to (example on-line billings)Equal monthly billing a/k/a budget billingCustomer has 21 days to payLow-income customer may designate how payment is to be split among services

  • Billing and Payment StandardsUtility may charge for:Energy consumedLate paymentLimited to not more than 2%, not compounded, of the portion of the bill, net of taxes, that is delinquent (but not applicable for WPP customers).

  • Billing informationBeginning and ending meter readings and datesUnits of energy consumed this year and lastThe energy rate, due date, total amount dueAny previous balanceTaxes

  • Billing ErrorsIf a utility overcharges a customer, the overcharge plus interest at 7% must be returned to the customerThree year limitation on repaymentsUndercharges due to unauthorized use may be backbilled by Commission-approved method.Other undercharges are limited to one year.

  • Voluntary Terminations Customer needs to give 10 days notice to utilityAllow the utility access to the premisesProvide an address for the final billingUtility needs to read the meter within 10 daysSchedule a time to read the meter if the utility does not have access to it

  • Utility ProceduresUtilities must establish procedures for investigating complaint and inquiriesA utility must attempt to reach a customer within 2 business days after referral from the Commission and must report back to the Commission within 10 daysUtilities must have toll-free telephone service for customers use

  • More Utility ProceduresUtilities must have trained staff to answer customer inquiries during business hoursUtility assistance must be available in languages other than EnglishAssistance must be available at all hours for shutoff of service and emergenciesUtilities must have pamphlets explaining customer rights and responsibilities summarizing Utilities must provide customers with access to rates and tariffs

  • Shutoff ProceduresEmergency shutoffs permitted at any time for reasons of health or safety or in the case of a state or national emergencyWhen possible, the utility must provide a notice at all affected premises

  • Shutoffs for non-paymentDelinquent accountsFailure to provide a deposit that is requiredUnauthorized service usageFailure to comply with the terms of a settlement agreementRefusal to arrange an inspection, meter reading, maintenance, repair, etc.Customer misidentifies selfSafety violationsPresence of person having a delinquent account

  • Notice of ShutoffUtility cannot shut off service for non-payment without first giving notice to the customerNotice must be delivered by first class mail or personal service at least 10 prior to date of shutoffNotice must contain information about customers rights

  • Time of ShutoffShutoff must take place between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm Shutoff may not take place on a day, or a day immediately preceding a day, when the services of the utility to restore service are not available

  • Manner of ShutoffAt least one day before shutting off service for non-payment, a utility must make not less than two attempts to contact the customer by telephone. If no phone contact is possible, the utility must use an alternative notification processImmediately before shutoff, the company representative must identify himself and accept payment if proffered in lieu of shutting off the service

  • Shutoff ProceduresUtility representative shall have a copy of the delinquent bill and must accept payment in any form tendered, except by check if the customer has given the utility a bad check in the previous 12 monthsIf the customer fails to respond or fails to pay, service may be shutoff, but utility must leave a notice of how to have the service restored in a conspicuous place

  • Shutoffs ProhibitedA utility shall not shut off service for any of these reasons:Non-payment of goods or services that are not regulated by the MPSCService at a different locationA different class of serviceCertain landlord/tenant situationsMilitary service situations

  • Restoration of ServiceA utility shall restore shutoff service promptly when the cause of the shutoff has been cured or satisfactory credit arrangements have been madeThe utility shall attempt to restore service on the day requested by the customerUtility may assess a restoration fee.

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