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Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

HF 3368

as introduced - 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to utilities; setting filing deadline for certain reports; regulating
customer payment arrangements during cold weather period; regulating payment
agreements for certain utility services; prohibiting disconnections of services if
certain medical conditions exist; amending Minnesota Statutes 2006, section
216B.098, subdivisions 3, 5, by adding a subdivision; Minnesota Statutes 2007
Supplement, sections 216B.091; 216B.096, subdivisions 5, 10.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, section 216B.091, is amended to read:


216B.091 MONTHLY REPORTS.

(a) Each public utility must report the following data on residential customers to the
commission monthly, in a format determined by the commission:

(1) number of customers;

(2) number and total amount of accounts past due;

(3) average customer past due amount;

(4) total revenue received from the low-income home energy assistance program and
other sources contributing to the bills of low-income persons;

(5) average monthly bill;

(6) total sales revenue;

(7) total write-offs due to uncollectible bills;

(8) number of disconnection notices mailed;

(9) number of accounts disconnected for nonpayment;

(10) number of accounts reconnected to service; and

(11) number of accounts that remain disconnected, grouped by the duration of
disconnection, as follows:

(i) 1-30 days;

(ii) 31-60 days; and

(iii) more than 60 days.

(b) Monthly reports for October through April must also include the following data:

(1) number of cold weather protection requests;

(2) number of payment arrangement requests received and granted;

(3) number of right to appeal notices mailed to customers;

(4) number of reconnect request appeals withdrawn;

(5) number of occupied heat-affected accounts disconnected for 24 hours or more
for electric and natural gas service separately;

(6) number of occupied non-heat-affected accounts disconnected for 24 hours or
more for electric and gas service separately;

(7) number of customers granted cold weather rule protection;

(8) number of customers disconnected who did not request cold weather rule
protection; and

(9) number of customers disconnected who requested cold weather rule protection.

(c) The data reported under paragraphs (a) and (b) is presumed to be accurate upon
submission and must be made available through the commission's electronic filing system.new text begin
A monthly report must be filed with the commission no later than 45 days after the last
day of the month for which data is reported.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, section 216B.096, subdivision 5, is
amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Cold weather rule.

(a) During the cold weather period, a utility may not
disconnect and must reconnect utility heating service of a customer whose household
income is at or below 50 percent of the state median income if the customer enters into
and makes reasonably timely payments under a mutually acceptable payment agreement
with the utility that is based on the financial resources and circumstances of the household;
provided that, a utility may not require a customer to pay more than ten percent of the
household income toward current and past utility bills for utility heating service.

(b) A utility may accept more than ten percent of the household income as the
payment arrangement amount if agreed to by the customer.

(c) The customer or a designated third party may request a modification of the terms
of a payment agreement previously entered into if the customer's financial circumstances
have changed or the customer is unable to make reasonably timely payments.

(d) The payment agreement terminates at the expiration of the cold weather period
unless a longer period is mutually agreed to by the customer and the utility.

new text begin (e) Each utility shall use reasonable efforts to restore service within 24 hours of
an accepted payment agreement.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective September 1, 2008.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, section 216B.096, subdivision 10,
is amended to read:


Subd. 10.

Customers above 50 percent of state median income.

During the
cold weather period, a customer whose household income is above 50 percent of state
median income:

(1) has the right to a payment agreement that takes into consideration new text beginthe customer's
financial circumstances and
new text endany new text beginother new text endextenuating circumstances of the household; and

(2) may not be disconnected and must be reconnected if the customer makes timely
payments under a payment agreement accepted by a utility.

Subdivision 7, paragraph (b), does not apply to customers whose household income is
above 50 percent of state median income.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective September 1, 2008.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 216B.098, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Payment agreements.

A utility shall offer a payment agreement for
the payment of arrears.new text begin Payment agreements must consider a customer's financial
circumstances and any extenuating circumstances of the household. No additional service
deposit may be charged as a consideration to continue service to a customer who has
entered and is reasonably on time under an accepted payment agreement.
new text end

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 216B.098, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

deleted text beginMedically necessarydeleted text end new text beginLife support new text endequipment.

A utility shall reconnect
or continue service to a customer's residence where a medical deleted text beginemergency exists or wheredeleted text end
new text begin doctor certifies that a customer or resident of the customer's household needs and uses
electrical
new text endmedical equipment deleted text beginrequiring electricity necessarydeleted text end new text beginrequired new text endto sustain life deleted text beginis
in use, provided that the utility receives from a medical doctor written certification, or
initial certification by telephone and written certification within five business days, that
failure to reconnect or continue service will impair or threaten the health or safety of a
resident of the customer's household
deleted text end. The customer deleted text beginmust enter into a payment agreementdeleted text endnew text begin
remains liable for all utility charges
new text end.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 216B.098, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


new text begin Subd. 5a. new text end

new text begin Medical emergencies. new text end

new text begin (a) A utility shall reconnect or continue service
to a customer's residence where a medical condition exists such that failure to reconnect
or continue service will impair or threaten the health of the customer or a resident of
the customer's household; provided that, the utility receives written certification from
a medical doctor that the medical condition requires the restoration or continuance of
service. Service must be restored or maintained under this subdivision whether or not
service is required to operate life-sustaining or medically necessary equipment.
new text end

new text begin (b) The certification is valid for 14 days, within which time the customer must enter
into a monthly payment agreement. If the customer is more than 60 days past due, the
utility may require a down payment. Both the payment agreement and any down payment
must be reasonable, based upon the financial resources and circumstances of the household.
new text end

new text begin (c) A customer may be disconnected if the customer fails to make two consecutive
scheduled payments, provided other requirements for disconnection are satisfied.
new text end