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(a) A utility may disconnect service to a customer without advance written notice under the following conditions:
(1) an immediate hazard exists which threatens the safety or health of the customer or the general population or the utility's personnel or facilities;
(2) the utility has evidence of meter tampering or fraud by the customer; or
(3) a customer has failed to comply with the curtailment procedures imposed by a utility during emergency supply shortages.
(b) A utility may commence disconnection procedures in accordance with the notice requirements of (c) of this section for any of the following reasons:
(1) failure of the customer to pay for utility service within 40 days after initial rendering of the bill unless the customer has entered into a deferred payment agreement;
(2) failure of the customer to meet or maintain the utility's deposit requirements;
(3) knowing and continued failure of the customer to provide the utility with reasonable access to its meter, equipment, or property;
(4) customer breach of a special contract between the utility and customer for utility service; or
(5) necessity of the utility to comply with an order or regulation of any governmental agency with proper jurisdiction.
(c) The following notice requirements apply to service disconnections permissible under (b) of this section:
(1) Except as provided in (2) of this subsection and in (d) of this section, a utility shall, at least 15 days before the scheduled date of disconnection, mail or deliver to the customer a written notice of its intent to disconnect service. A copy of the termination notice must be simultaneously forwarded to any third party designated by the customer on a service application. The notice must contain, at a minimum, the following information:
(A) the name and address of the customer whose service is to be disconnected and the service address, if different;
(B) the date on or after which service will be disconnected unless the customer takes appropriate action;
(C) an explanation of the reason for the proposed disconnection, including, if appropriate, a statement of the amount of the delinquent bill which the customer has failed to pay in accordance with the payment policy of the utility;
(D) if disconnection is premised on payment delinquency,
(i) a statement advising the customer to contact the utility for information regarding deferred payment and other procedures that the utility may offer to avoid disconnection of the customer's service; and
(ii) a list of any governmental or social assistance agencies, of which the utility is aware, that may offer energy assistance to qualified needy customers;
(E) a specific request that if a customer's residence is occupied by a person seriously ill, elderly, handicapped, or dependent on life support systems, the customer should notify the utility immediately of that circumstance for consideration in avoiding disconnection;
(F) a statement advising the customer that the utility's stated reason for the termination of service may be disputed and potentially resolved by contacting the utility at a specific address or telephone number;
(G) a statement that the utility retains the right to terminate service, after allowing a customer who disputes a bill the opportunity for a meeting, if the utility continues to find that the reason for the disconnection is just;
(H) the telephone number and address of the commission and a statement that the customer may file a complaint with the commission under 3 AAC 48.120 or 3 AAC 48.130 if not satisfied with the utility's response or resolution of a contested bill or tariff provision; and
(I) the amount of the utility's tariffed charges for disconnection and reconnection of service.
(2) If a utility has been informed that a residence is occupied by a person seriously ill, elderly, handicapped, or dependent on life support systems, the utility shall provide the notice required by (1) of this subsection at least 30 days before the scheduled date of disconnection. In any case in which a utility is notified after issuance of a termination notice that a customer's residence is occupied by a person seriously ill, elderly, handicapped, or dependent on life support systems, the utility shall extend the disconnection date by 15 days and notify the customer of the extension.
(3) Not less than three working days prior to disconnection, the utility shall attempt personal contact with the customer either by telephone or by visit of an authorized utility representative to the premises. If by telephone, the utility shall attempt to make contact no less than three times at various periods in the day or make other reasonable attempts to contact the customer. A utility shall keep records of all attempted and completed telephone contacts, showing at least the time, the person making the attempt, and the outcome. If by visit to the premises, the utility's authorized representative shall hand-deliver a "Shut-Off Notice" to the customer or, if no personal contact is possible, leave the notice in a prominent place. If the premises is 25 or more miles from the nearest location from which the utility delivers notices and if telephone contact cannot be made, a first class, postage-prepaid letter may serve as an alternative to a hand-delivered "Shut-Off" notice. This notice must be mailed no less than five working days before the date scheduled for disconnection. The "Shut-Off Notice" or completed telephone call must provide the customer with the following information:
(A) the name and address of the customer and the service address, if different;
(B) a concise statement of the reasons for the impending disconnection of service;
(C) the date on or after which service will be disconnected;
(D) the business office telephone number, after-business-hours telephone number if applicable, and the address of the utility where the customer may pay the delinquent bill, enter into a deferred payment agreement, or file a bill dispute complaint; and
(E) the amount of the charges for disconnection and reconnection of service.
(4) If a utility knows that a landlord/tenant relationship exists, the following additional provisions apply:
(A) For individually metered premises where the landlord is the customer, the utility shall notify the tenant in writing, at least 15 days before the scheduled date for disconnection of the service to the landlord, of the option of subscribing for service in the tenant's own name. However, the utility may not attempt to recover from the tenant or condition service to the tenant on the payment of any outstanding bills or other charges due from the outstanding account of the landlord. If, however, the tenant has a previously outstanding balance at the same service address, the utility may condition service to that tenant on terms acceptable to the utility for repayment of the outstanding balance plus a deposit in compliance with the utility's tariff. If the tenant declines to subscribe for individual service, or arrange for payment of the tenant's outstanding balance, if applicable, the utility may disconnect service without further notice, no earlier than the date scheduled for disconnection.
(B) For master-metered premises where the landlord is the customer, the utility
(i) after the expiration of the notice period provided in (1) - (3) of this subsection, shall additionally provide individual notice of the pending disconnection to each tenant served through the master meter at least 14 days before disconnection or
(ii) at least 15 days before the scheduled date of disconnection of the landlord, shall give each tenant served through the master meter notice of the pending disconnection.
(C) If the tenant is the customer, the utility shall notify the landlord in writing, at least 15 days before the scheduled date of disconnect of the tenant, of the option of subscribing for the service provided at the tenant's premises. However, the utility may not attempt to recover from the landlord or condition service to the landlord on the payment of any outstanding bills or other charges due from the outstanding account of the tenant. If, however, the landlord has a previous outstanding balance at the same service address, the utility may condition service to that landlord on terms acceptable to the utility for repayment of the outstanding balance plus a deposit in compliance with the utility's tariff. If the landlord declines to subscribe for service or arrange for payment of the landlord's outstanding balance, if applicable, the utility may disconnect service without further notice.
(d) At least three working days before disconnection, a utility shall give written or telephone notice of disconnection, in accordance with (c)(3) of this section to a customer who has failed to comply with a deferred payment agreement.
(e) Within 10 days after the date specified on a "Shut-Off Notice", a utility may, without further notice, disconnect service to a customer between the daily business hours of 8:00 a.m. on Monday to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. Service may not be disconnected on a Friday or a day preceding a holiday.
(f) A utility may not disconnect service to a customer for any of the following reasons:
(1) delinquency in payment for services rendered to a prior customer at the premises where service is being provided, except in the instance where the prior customer continues to reside on the premises;
(2) failure of the customer to pay for services or equipment not regulated by the commission;
(3) nonpayment of a bill related to another class of service at a different service location;
(4) the customer disputes the amount due on the delinquent account, complies with the utility's tariffed rules on customer bill disputes, and the dispute remains under investigation by the utility or by the commission; however, a customer shall pay any undisputed amount, and the utility may proceed to disconnect service in accordance with this section for failure to pay any undisputed amounts; or
(5) the customer is unable to pay the full delinquent amount due, qualifies under the utility's tariffed eligibility requirements for deferred payment agreements, and is in compliance with a signed, or is in the process of timely negotiating a, deferred payment agreement.
(g) A utility may remove any or all of its property installed on a customer's premises upon disconnection of service.
(h) A utility shall restore service within three working days after correction of the conditions that resulted in the disconnection. Correction includes execution of a deferred payment agreement. If service is restored during a period other than regular working hours at the customer's request, the utility may impose an after-hours charge for reconnection.
(i) Each utility shall maintain a record of each disconnection of service, including the reason for the disconnection. This record must be maintained for two years and must be available for commission inspection.
History: Eff. 1/1/87, Register 100; am 4/10/92, Register 122
Authority: AS 42.05.141
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Last modified 7/05/2006