When Can A Company Disconnect Utility Services?
§ Residential electric services may be disconnected when a bill is not paid within 45 days from the statement date.
§ Upon Customer Request.
§ When service to the customer constitutes an immediate hazard to persons or property.
By order of the Georgia Public Service Commission, a court, or any other authorized
Limitations on Disconnections
No electric utility service shall be disconnected unless the utility has delivered, to the service address, or to the address of any party, who to the knowledge of the utility has undertaken responsibility to pay the bill, written notice of the proposed disconnection. Electric disconnect notices must be delivered at least five (5) days prior to the date of disconnection. The disconnect notice should be conspicuous and distinguishable from the past bill for service and include the following information:
§ The earliest date for the proposed disconnection.
§ The amount due and the reason for the proposed disconnection.
§ A telephone number which the affected consumer may call for information about the proposed disconnection.
§ The procedure for preventing disconnection of service
§ Information known to the utility that may assist the consumer in paying the bill.
At least two (2) days prior to the proposed disconnection, the utility must make a good faith effort to make personal contact by using a telephone, certified mail, certification of mailing, or other methods designed to reasonably notify the customer of proposed disconnection if contact has not been made previously.
The date of the disconnect must be a business day when a representative of the utility is available to receive payment from the customer.
Electric service cannot be disconnected
for three or more months consumption that are the result of previously estimated
bills unless the consumer has been given the same amount of time to pay the bill
equal to the amount of time the bill was estimated.
Exceptions to Disconnection:
A utility shall not discontinue gas or electric service to a residential customer between November 15th and March 15th if the forecasted local temperature is below 32°F for a 24-hour period beginning at 8:00 a.m. on the date of the proposed disconnection. The consumer must agree in writing to pay the past due balance including customer charges in equal installments beginning with the first billing period after March 15th and ending before October 15th. Consumer must also agree in writing to pay all bills for current service by the due date.
A utility shall not discontinue electric service to a residential customer if, prior to 8:00 A.M. on the date of the scheduled disconnection, a National Weather Service Heat Advisory or Excessive Heat Warning is in effect, or is forecasted to be in effect by the National Weather Service, for the county in which the meter scheduled for disconnection is located.
Service shall not be disconnected for nonpayment of a bill to a residential customer who has a serious illness which would be aggravated by the disconnection - provided that the customer:
§ Notifies the company of this condition in writing. You may also notify the company orally, but you must send the company a written notice within 10 days of the oral notification.
Within 10 days of providing initial notice to the company, a written
statement from a physician, county board of health, hospital or clinic identifying
the illness, its expected duration, and certifying that the illness would be aggravated
by such disconnection must be received by the company.
Disconnection for Multi-Family Dwellings
The marketer must provide at least five (5) days written notice prior
to any proposed utility disconnection to tenants of multi-family dwellings where
the landlord is responsible for payment of utility services. The notice shall
be personally served on at least one adult in each dwelling unit or posted conspicuously
on the premises when personal service cannot be made. The utility company
shall accept payments from tenants as their portion of any past due amounts and
shall issue receipts to those tenants indicating that such payments will be credited
to the landlord’s account.
What If I Believe I Have Been Disconnected in Error?
If it is believed that service has been disconnected in error, notify the utility as soon as possible in an effort to rectify the situation. A utility shall use every reasonable means to resolve a consumer complaint regarding a disconnection in error. If all remedial measures with the utility have failed, request that the Georgia Public Service Commission investigate the dispute. This request must be made within 10 days of receiving the disputed bill. Any late charges assessed in the case of a disputed bill shall be refunded if it is determined that the customer does not owe the bill.