Introduced Version






HOUSE BILL No. 1115

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DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL



Citations Affected: IC 8-1-2.

Synopsis: Notice to landlords of delinquent utility bills. Requires an electric utility or a gas utility to provide notice of a delinquent residential account and of the opportunity to enter into an amortization agreement to: (1) the customer occupying the dwelling for which the account is delinquent; and (2) the owner of the dwelling, if the dwelling is occupied by someone other than the owner. Requires an electric utility or a gas utility to provide notice of a potential termination of service for nonpayment during the heating season to: (1) the customer occupying the dwelling for which the account is delinquent; and (2) the owner of the dwelling, if the dwelling is occupied by someone other than the owner. Provides that a utility's duty to provide the required notices to the owner of the dwelling applies only if the owner has given the utility written notice of the owner's address to which any notices concerning the dwelling are to be sent.

Effective: July 1, 2011.





Pond




    January 6, 2011, read first time and referred to Committee on Utilities and Energy.







Introduced

First Regular Session 117th General Assembly (2011)


PRINTING CODE. Amendments: Whenever an existing statute (or a section of the Indiana Constitution) is being amended, the text of the existing provision will appear in this style type, additions will appear in this style type, and deletions will appear in this style type.
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HOUSE BILL No. 1115



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning utilities.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 8-1-2-121; (11)IN1115.1.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 8-1-2-121, AS AMENDED BY P.L.181-2006, SECTION 48, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011]: Sec. 121. (a) As used in this section, "dwelling" has the meaning set forth in section 122 of this chapter.
    (a) (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, from December 1 through March 15 of any year, no electric or gas utility, including a municipally owned, privately owned, or cooperatively owned utility, shall terminate residential electric or gas service for persons who are eligible for and have applied for assistance from a heating assistance program administered under IC 4-4-33. The commission shall implement procedures to ensure that electric or gas utility service is continued while eligibility for such persons is being determined.
    (b) (c) Any electric or gas utility, including a municipally owned, privately owned, or cooperatively owned utility, shall provide any residential customer whose account is delinquent an opportunity to enter into a reasonable amortization agreement with such company to pay the delinquent account. Such an amortization agreement must

provide the customer with adequate opportunity to apply for and receive the benefits of any available public assistance program. An amortization agreement is subject to amendment on the customer's request if there is a change in the customer's financial circumstances. In addition, the utility shall send, by United States mail, notice of the delinquency and of the opportunity to enter into an amortization agreement under this subsection to:
        (1) the customer who occupies the dwelling for which the account is delinquent, at:
            (A) the address of the dwelling; or
            (B) the address otherwise listed for the customer in the records of the utility; and
        (2) if the dwelling is occupied by someone other than the owner of the dwelling, the owner of the dwelling, at the address to which the owner has instructed, in writing, the utility to direct any notice under this subsection.
The notice required by this subsection shall be sent to the customer occupying the dwelling and to the owner of the dwelling, if applicable, at the same time and in accordance with the schedule by which the utility normally sends notices of delinquencies under the utility's established billing procedures. However, a utility is required to give notice to an owner under subdivision (2) only if the owner has given the utility written notice of the owner's address to which any notices concerning the dwelling are to be sent.

    (c) (d) The commission may establish a reasonable rate of interest which a utility may charge on the unpaid balance of a customer's delinquent bill that may not exceed the rate established by the commission under section 34.5 of this chapter.
    (d) (e) The commission shall adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 to carry out the provisions of this section.
    (e) (f) This section does not prohibit an electric or gas utility from terminating residential utility service upon a request of a customer or under the following circumstances:
        (1) If a condition dangerous or hazardous to life, physical safety, or property exists.
        (2) Upon order by any court, the commission, or other duly authorized public authority.
        (3) If fraudulent or unauthorized use of electricity or gas is detected and the utility has reasonable grounds to believe the affected customer is responsible for such use.
        (4) If the utility's regulating or measuring equipment has been tampered with and the utility has reasonable grounds to believe

that the affected customer is responsible for such tampering.

SOURCE: IC 8-1-2-122; (11)IN1115.1.2. -->     SECTION 2. IC 8-1-2-122 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011]: Sec. 122. (a) As used in this section:
    "Dwelling" means an individual residence, including a mobile home or trailer, or a room or combination of rooms, with facilities for living for a single household.
    "Heating season" means the period beginning on November 1 of any year and ending on the following April 1.
    (b) A utility, including a municipally owned utility, that provides energy or fuel to an occupied dwelling may not, during the heating season, terminate service to the dwelling because of the failure of the customer to pay his the customer's energy or fuel bills until fourteen (14) days after it serves notice upon the customer of its intent to terminate service.
    (c) A notice served under this section must be in language that is clear, concise, and easily understandable to a layman. It must, in separately numbered paragraphs:
        (1) indicate the date on which service will be terminated;
        (2) state the reason and factual basis for the termination of service;
        (3) list the telephone number of the utility office that the customer may call during regular business hours in order to question the proposed termination of service or to seek information concerning his the customer's rights; and
        (4) state that the customer may refer to the pamphlet furnished to him the customer under 170 IAC 4-1-18 for information as to his the customer's rights.
    (d) Service of a notice under this section must be by: made:
        (1) to the customer who occupies the dwelling for which the account is delinquent:
            (A) by United States
mail addressed to the customer; or
            (2) (B) by personal delivery to the customer or to a responsible member of his the customer's household;
        at the address of the dwelling, or the address otherwise listed for the customer in the records of the utility; and
         (2) if the dwelling is occupied by someone other than the owner of the dwelling, to the owner of the dwelling, by United States mail addressed to the address to which the owner has instructed, in writing, the utility to direct any notice under this section.
The notice required by this section shall be sent to the customer

occupying the dwelling and to the owner of the dwelling, if applicable, at the same time and in accordance with the schedule by which the utility normally sends notices of delinquencies under the utility's established billing procedures. However, a utility is required to give notice to an owner under subdivision (2) only if the owner has given the utility written notice of the owner's address to which any notices concerning the dwelling are to be sent.
    (e) No notice may be served under this section before the date on which the customer's account becomes delinquent.