(a) No public utility furnishing light, water, power, or heat may terminate residential service for nonpayment of a delinquent account unless the public utility first gives notice of the delinquency and impending termination, as provided in Section 10010.1.
(b) No public utility shall terminate residential service for nonpayment in any of the following situations:
(1) During the pendency of an investigation by the public utility of a customer dispute or complaint.
(2) When a customer has been granted an extension of the period for payment of a bill.
(3) On the certification of a licensed physician and surgeon that to do so will be life threatening to the customer and the customer is financially unable to pay for service within the normal payment period and is willing to enter into an amortization agreement with the public utility pursuant to subdivision (e) with respect to all charges that the customer is unable to pay prior to delinquency.
(c) Any residential customer who has initiated a complaint or requested an investigation within five days of receiving the disputed bill, or who has, within 13 days of mailing of the notice required by subdivision (a), made a request for extension of the payment period of a bill asserted to be beyond the means of the customer to pay in full during the normal period for payment, shall be given an opportunity for review of the complaint, investigation, or request by a review manager of the public utility. The review shall include consideration of whether the customer shall be permitted to amortize the unpaid balance of the account over a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 12 months. No termination of service shall be effected for any customer complying with the amortization agreement, if the customer also keeps the account current as charges accrue in each subsequent billing period.
(d) Any customer whose complaint or request for an investigation pursuant to subdivision (c) has resulted in an adverse determination by the public utility may appeal the determination to the governing body of the municipal corporation. Any subsequent appeal of the dispute or complaint to the governing body is not subject to this section.
(e) Any customer meeting the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) shall, upon request, be permitted to amortize, over a period not to exceed 12 months, the unpaid balance of any bill asserted to be beyond the means of the customer to pay within the normal period for payment.
(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 888, Sec. 7.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018