April 1 marked the end of the winter moratorium period for gas and electric disconnects. What that means is that regulated utility companies no longer have to receive PSC approval to proceed with non-pay disconnects, and customers who were protected from a disconnect due to meeting the winter moratorium criteria will no longer be protected from disconnection of service.
Although Commission approval is not needed outside of the winter moratorium period, proper procedure still needs to be followed. Two written notices will be provided unless the termination of service is due to a condition dangerous or hazardous to life or property, if a court, the commission, or any other duly authorized public authority ordered the disconnection of service, or if the services were obtained fraudulently.
After written notices and prior to termination of service, the utility will attempt to contact the customer, either in person or by telephone, to warn of the pending disconnect. If contact is not made a door-hanger will be left on the premises. If a customer has made payment to the company with an insufficient funds check or if the customer breaks a payment agreement, just one five-day notice is required rather than the notices described above.
Customers with past due balances on their utility bill are advised to contact the company soon to discuss payment plan options. If getting the bill caught up may be a hardship, call 211 to find out about local assistance agencies. 211 call centers provide referrals and information regarding local resources.
For more information contact the Consumer Assistance Division at (800) 646-6150.