PA 09-31—sHB 5694
Energy and Technology Committee
AN ACT CONCERNING UTILITY SERVICE TERMINATION
SUMMARY: This act requires owners of residential buildings to give utilities and heating fuel dealers access to meters and other facilities located on their premises. It subjects owners to sanctions if they do not, including being held responsible for their tenants' utility bills.
The act also establishes verification requirements for the termination of residential utility service. These requirements apply to services provided by utility companies, municipal utilities, and competitive electric suppliers.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009
ACCESS TO METERS AND OTHER UTILITY EQUIPMENT
The act requires the owner, lessor, manager, or agent of any residential building to give a utility or heating fuel dealer access to its meters or other facilities located on the premises during reasonable hours, upon written request. Any such party that fails to provide this access upon a reasonable request is liable for the utility's or dealer's cost in gaining access to the facilities, including collection costs and attorney fees. Under prior law, owners and related parties were not liable for services provided to their tenants that are individually metered or billed.
If the failure to provide access delays the utility's or dealer's ability to terminate service to an individually metered or billed portion of the dwelling, the owner, lessor, manager, or agent is also liable for the amount billed by the utility or dealer for that part of the building, starting 10 days after the utility or dealer requested access and until access is provided. These provisions apply to access to equipment owned by investor-owned and municipal utilities, competitive electric suppliers, and heating fuel dealers.
The act requires anyone who seeks to terminate electric, gas, telecommunications, or water service to a dwelling to provide the utility with identification sufficient to demonstrate that he or she is the customer of record, i. e. , the person responsible for the utility bill, or the customer's authorized representative. The customer or the customer's representative can do this by providing a driver's license or certain other documents that can, by law, be used to establish an account, the password previously provided by the customer, the customer code provided by the utility, or other reasonable identifications established by the utility. The utility must not terminate service if the person does not provide reasonable identification showing that he or she is the customer of record.
If a person other than the customer of record or his or her authorized representative seeks to terminate service, the utility cannot do so unless it has notified the customer at his or her last known address at least nine days before the termination date.
However, a utility can terminate service at any time (1) at the request of a state or local fire or police authority, (2) if it determines that failure to terminate service may harm safety of public health, or (3) if the utility has complied with all applicable laws or Department of Public Utility Control regulations on terminations not requested by the customer.
OLR Tracking: KM: JK: SS: DF