Connecticut Seal

House Bill No. 5402

Public Act No. 18-116

AN ACT CONCERNING THE REPORTING OF RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS' NONPAYMENT FOR CERTAIN UTILITY AND TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 16-262d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) No electric distribution, gas, telephone or water company, no electric supplier and no municipal utility furnishing electric, gas or water service may terminate such service to a residential dwelling on account of nonpayment of a delinquent account unless such company, electric supplier or municipal utility first gives notice of such delinquency and impending termination by first class mail addressed to the customer to which such service is billed, at least thirteen calendar days prior to the proposed termination, except that if an electric distribution or gas company, electric supplier or municipal utility furnishing electric or gas service has issued a notice under this subsection but has not terminated service prior to issuing a new bill to the customer, such company, electric supplier or municipal utility may terminate such service only after mailing the customer an additional notice of the impending termination, addressed to the customer to which such service is billed either (1) by first class mail at least thirteen calendar days prior to the proposed termination, or (2) by certified mail, at least seven calendar days prior to the proposed termination. In the event that multiple dates of proposed termination are provided to a customer, no such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall terminate service prior to the latest of such dates. For purposes of this subsection, the thirteen-day periods and seven-day period shall commence on the date such notice is mailed. If such company, electric supplier or municipal utility does not terminate service within one hundred twenty days after mailing the initial notice of termination, such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall give the customer a new notice at least thirteen days prior to termination. Every termination notice issued by a public service company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall contain or be accompanied by an explanation of the rights of the customer provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(b) No such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall effect termination of service for nonpayment during such time as any resident of a dwelling to which such service is furnished is seriously ill, if the fact of such serious illness is certified to such company, electric supplier or municipal utility by a registered physician or an advanced practice registered nurse within such period of time after the mailing of a termination notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may by regulation establish, provided the customer agrees to amortize the unpaid balance of his account over a reasonable period of time and keeps current his account for utility service as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.

(c) No such company, electric supplier or municipal utility shall effect termination of service to a residential dwelling for nonpayment during the pendency of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal, initiated by a customer within such period of time after the mailing of a termination notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may by regulation establish; provided, any telephone company during the pendency of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal may terminate telephone service if the amount of charges accruing and outstanding subsequent to the initiation of any complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal exceeds on a monthly basis the average monthly bill for the previous three months or if the customer fails to keep current his telephone account for all undisputed charges or fails to comply with any amortization agreement as hereafter provided.

(d) Any customer who has initiated a complaint or investigation under subsection (c) of this section shall be given an opportunity for review of such complaint or investigation by a review officer of the company, electric supplier or municipal utility other than a member of such company's, electric supplier's or municipal utility's credit authority, provided the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may waive this requirement for any company, electric supplier or municipal utility employing fewer than twenty-five full-time employees, which review shall include consideration of whether the customer should be permitted to amortize the unpaid balance of his account over a reasonable period of time. No termination shall be effected for any customer complying with any such amortization agreement, provided such customer also keeps current his account for utility service as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.

(e) Any customer whose complaint or request for an investigation has resulted in a determination by a company, electric supplier or municipal utility which is adverse to him may appeal such determination to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or a hearing officer appointed by the authority.

(f) If, following the receipt of a termination notice or the entering into of an amortization agreement, the customer makes a payment or payments amounting to twenty per cent of the balance due, the public service company or electric supplier shall not terminate service without giving notice to the customer, in accordance with the provisions of this section, of the conditions the customer must meet to avoid termination, but such subsequent notice shall not entitle such customer to further investigation, review or appeal by the company, electric supplier, municipal utility or authority.

(g) No electric distribution, gas [, telephone] or water company, [certified telecommunications provider,] gas registrant or municipal utility furnishing electric, gas or water service shall submit to a credit rating agency, as defined in section 36a-695, any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for electric, gas [, telephone, telecommunications] or water service unless the customer is more than [sixty] one hundred twenty days delinquent in paying for such service. In no event shall such a company, [certified telecommunications provider,] gas registrant or municipal utility submit to a credit rating agency any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for such service if the customer has initiated a complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal with regard to such service under subsection (c) of this section that is pending before the authority. If such a company, [certified telecommunications provider,] gas registrant or municipal utility intends to submit to a credit rating agency information about a customer's nonpayment for service, it shall, at least thirty days before submitting such information, send the customer by first class mail notification that includes the statement, "AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, FOR RESIDENTIAL ACCOUNTS, WE SUPPLY PAYMENT INFORMATION TO CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. IF YOUR ACCOUNT IS MORE THAN [SIXTY] ONE HUNDRED TWENTY DAYS DELINQUENT, THE DELINQUENCY REPORT COULD HARM YOUR CREDIT RATING".

(h) No telephone company or certified telecommunications provider shall submit to a credit rating agency, as defined in section 36a-695, any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for telephone or telecommunications service, unless the customer is more than sixty days delinquent in paying for such service. In no event shall a telephone company or certified telecommunications provider submit to a credit rating agency any information about a residential customer's nonpayment for such service if the customer has initiated a complaint, investigation, hearing or appeal with regard to such service under subsection (c) of this section that is pending before the authority. If a telephone company or certified telecommunications provider intends to submit to a credit rating agency information about a customer's nonpayment for service, it shall, at least thirty days before submitting such information, send the customer, by first class mail, notification that includes the statement, "AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, FOR RESIDENTIAL ACCOUNTS, WE SUPPLY PAYMENT INFORMATION TO CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. IF YOUR ACCOUNT IS MORE THAN SIXTY DAYS DELINQUENT, THE DELINQUENCY REPORT COULD HARM YOUR CREDIT RATING".

Approved June 6, 2018