Telephone Service Disconnection
Are there requirements that must be met before service is disconnected?
Yes. In the event of a proposed disconnection of residential basic telephone service, the following procedures apply:
§ The utility must give the affected consumer a written notice of proposed disconnection at least five (5) days before the date of the proposed disconnection. The notice must include:
§ The final payment date of the amount due.
§ The reason for the disconnection, including the unpaid balance due.
§ A telephone number which the customer may call for information about the proposed disconnection.
§ The procedure for medical emergencies, as described below.
§ If contact with the customer was not made previously and the disconnection notice was sent by mail or leaving it at the premises, the utility must make a good faith effort to make personal contact at least two (2) days before the proposed disconnection.
In the case of
a disputed bill for basic local exchange residential service, the consumer
has the right, after exhausting all remedial measures with the utility, to
request in writing, or orally to be followed by a request in writing, that
the Commission investigate the dispute before residential service is
disconnected. This request must be made within ten (10) days after the date of
the disputed bill.
Exceptions to Disconnection:
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 consumer:
§ Notifies the company of this condition in writing or orally.
§ Within ten (10) days of providing initial notice to the company, the consumer must also furnish to the company a written statement by 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.
A serious illness
may postpone the proposed disconnection for one month or the length of the
illness, whichever is shorter. You may renew this postponement for one
additional time by repeating the aforementioned procedure.
How can I avoid being disconnected if I can’t afford to pay my bill?
Residential telephone service cannot be disconnected if a consumer notifies the utility between the date of receiving the notification and the date of the proposed disconnection and agrees to pay the unpaid balance for service previously provided. The consumer must agree to pay the unpaid balance in equal installments over the next three (3) consecutive billing cycles. In addition to paying the unpaid balance, the consumer must also agree to pay future bills by the due date. The utility still has the right to immediately, and without further notice, disconnect a consumer’s service if at any time prior to the consumer becoming current on the bill for service previously provided:
§ The consumer makes toll calls exceeding $10.00 in any 30-day period.
§ The consumer receives another notice of disconnect.
§ The consumer fails to make any agreed upon payments.