(a) No public utility furnishing light, heat, water, or power may terminate residential service on account of nonpayment of a delinquent account unless the public utility first gives notice of the delinquency and impending termination, at least 10 days prior to the proposed termination, by means of a notice mailed, postage prepaid, to the customer to whom the service is billed, not earlier than 19 days from the date of mailing the public utility’s bill for services, and the 10-day period shall not commence until five days after the mailing of the notice.
(b) Every public utility shall make a reasonable attempt to contact an adult person residing at the premises of the customer by telephone or personal contact, at least 24 hours prior to any termination of service, except that, whenever telephone or personal contact cannot be accomplished, the public utility shall give, by mail, in person, or by posting in a conspicuous location at the premises, a notice of termination of service, at least 48 hours prior to termination.
(c) Every public utility shall make available to its residential customers who are 65 years of age or older, or who are dependent adults as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 15610 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a third-party notification service, whereby the public utility will attempt to notify a person designated by the customer to receive notification when the customer’s account is past due and subject to termination. The notification shall include information on what is required to prevent termination of service. The residential customer shall make a request for third-party notification on a form provided by the public utility, and shall include the written consent of the designated third party. The third-party notification does not obligate the third party to pay the overdue charges, nor shall it prevent or delay termination of service.
(d) Every notice of termination of service pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include all of the following information:
(1) The name and address of the customer whose account is delinquent.
(2) The amount of the delinquency.
(3) The date by which payment or arrangements for payment is required in order to avoid termination.
(4) The procedure by which the customer may initiate a complaint or request an investigation concerning service or charges, except that, if the bill for service contains a description of that procedure, the notice pursuant to subdivision (a) is not required to contain that information.
(5) The procedure by which the customer may request amortization of the unpaid charges.
(6) The procedure for the customer to obtain information on the availability of financial assistance, including private, local, state, or federal sources, if applicable.
(7) The telephone number of a representative of the public utility who can provide additional information or institute arrangements for payment.
Every notice of termination of service pursuant to subdivision (b) shall include the items of information in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (6), and (7).
All written notices shall be in a clear and legible format.
(e) If a residential customer fails to comply with an amortization agreement, the public utility shall not terminate service without giving notice to the customer at least 48 hours prior to termination of the conditions the customer is required to meet to avoid termination, but the notice does not entitle the customer to further investigation by the public utility.
(f) No termination of service may be effected without compliance with this section. Any service wrongfully terminated shall be restored without charge for the restoration of service, and a notation thereof shall be mailed to the customer at his or her billing address.
(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 614, Sec. 2.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018