Shut-Off Policy � Cold Weather Rule by f4rLOOw

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									                         Shut-Off Policy
                        Cold Weather Rule
                        Oct. 15 to April 15
                                         10-2-06

All residential customers must be notified between August 15 and October 15 of each
year of the provisions of the Cold Weather Rule

Section 1 Definitions

       a. Bill Due Date – 5th day of the month or the first business day following the 5th

       of the month

       b. Winter Shut Off Date – 20 days following the day after the Bill Due Date,

       unless a Friday, or the first business day following the 20 day Winter Shut-Off

       Date.


Section 2 Shut Off of Utility Services


       Subd. 1 Procedure For Shut Off of Non Residential Utility Services.

       The procedure for the shut off of non residential utility services shall remain the

       same as the Shut off Policy for the time period April 15 through October 15.


       Subd. 2 Provisions For Shut Off of Residential Utility Services.

       Except as otherwise provided by Minnesota Statutes Section 216B.097 (as that

       section may from time to time be amended) and any other state of federal law of

       regulation controlling shut off procedures for municipal utilities, the following

       procedures shall apply. All municipal utilities on a customer account may be shut




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       off or discontinued according to Mountain Lake City Code, Section 3.05, when

       proposed shut off is the result of non-payment of a utility account.

       Mountain Lake Municipal Utilities will not disconnect the utility service of a

       residential customer during the period between October 15 and April 15 if the

       disconnect affects the primary heat source for the residential unit when the

       following conditions are met:

          (1) the customer has declared an inability to pay on forms provided by the

              utility (a customer receiving any form of public assistance, including

              energy assistance, has demonstrated an inability to pay);

          (2) the household income of the customer is less than 50 percent of the state

              median income level, as documented by the customers to the utility; and

          (3) the customer’s account is current for the billing period immediately prior

              to October 15 or the customer has entered into a payment schedule and is

              reasonably current with payments under the schedule, and

          (4) the customer receives referrals to energy assistance programs,

              weatherization, conservation, or other programs likely to reduce the

              customer’s energy bills.



       Subd. 3. Procedures For Shut Off of Residential Utility Services.

       a. A written notice shall be mailed to the customer one day after the Bill Due

       Date. In the event that someone other than the owner thereof occupies the

       property served by the utilities, notices shall be sent to the owner and the

       occupant of the property. The notice to the owner shall state that the bill is



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       overdue and the Winter Shut-Off Date. The notice to the occupant shall state the

       total amount due and the date by which the account must be paid to avoid shut-

       off. This date is one day before the Winter Shut Off Date. The notice shall also

       notify the occupant of the procedure for administrative appeal of the proposed

       shut-off. Notices required by this regulation shall be sent by first class mail to the

       last known address of each recipient.

       b. If the account remains unpaid as of noon on the day before the Winter Shut

       Off Date designated in the notices, the utilities shall be shut-off, unless the

       customer has filed a timely appeal, which is pending or which has resulted in a

       ruling in favor of the customers. Shut –off for non-payment shall take place only

       during business hours on Mondays – Thursdays. A notice informing the customer

       that the utilities will be shut off will be hung at the property where the shut –off

       will occur by the close of business on the day before the Winter Shut-Off Date.

       The notice shall containing the same information as notice mailed the day after

       the Bill Due Date except that this notice shall not contain information on the

       appeal procedures. The following information will be provided with the notice of

       proposed disconnection posted on the property:

                      (1) a statement explaining the customer’s rights and

                           responsibilities

                      (2) a list of local energy assistance providers

                      (3) a form on which to declare inability to pay;

                      (4) a statement explaining available time payments plans and other

                           opportunities to secure continued utility service.



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       If the customer does not respond to the disconnection notice, the customer must

       not be disconnected until the utility investigates whether the residential unit is

       actually occupied. If the unit is found to be occupied, the utility must

       immediately inform the occupant of the provisions of this section. If the Unit is

       unoccupied, the utility shall provide seven days written notice by first class mail

       of the proposed disconnection to the local energy assistance provider before

       making a disconnection.


       Subd. 4 Payment prior to shut-off
       If a customer makes a payment of the delinquent amounts after the date
       designated in the notice, but before the utilities have actually been shut-off the
       customer shall pay a processing fee as set forth by the PUC. To avoid shut-off,
       this fee must be paid at the same time that the delinquent amounts are paid.


       Subd. 5. Reconnection
       After a shut-off has occurred in accordance with this regulation the customer may
       request reconnection of utility services by making payment at the City Offices of
       all delinquent amounts owed by the customer on all utility accounts (account and
       late payment penalties) the processing fee, the shut-off fee and the re-connection
       fee. The customer shall also complete an application for utility services if
       required by the City Administrator Clerk/Treasurer’s office. The utility services
       shall be reconnected as soon as practicable after receipt of such payment and
       application. Reconnection shall take place only during business hours.


Section 3 Procedures for Appeals of Proposed Utility Shut-offs

       Subdivision 1 Authority of Utilities Office Manager and City

       Administrator/Clerk



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       The Utilities Office Manager and City Administrator shall be authorized to make
       adjustments for errors in bills. The Utilities Office Manager and City
       Administrator do not have the authority to arrange an alternative payment method.


       Subd. 2 Frequency of Appeals
       The following limitations apply to the filing of appeals.
       a. No more than three appeals will be granted in a 12 month period.
       b. Only one appeal per billing cycle will be granted.
       c. No additional appeals will be granted until the utility bill for which an appeal
           was granted has been paid in full.


       Subd. 3 Appeals Board
       The Utility Commission shall serve as the Appeals Board. The Utilities Office
       Manager and City Administrator/Clerk are ex-officio members of the Appeals
       Board. A utility customer who disputes the amount of a utility bill, or who is
       unable to pay all or part of the bill, may appeal the shut off of utilities by
       delivering a written notice of appeal to the Utilities Office Manager no later noon
       the day before the Winter Shut Off Date. The notice of appeal must be made on a
       form provided by the City, and shall be dated and signed by the customer or
       authorizing agent, and shall contain the following information:
       a. Name, address and phone number (during business hours) of customer
       b. Utility account number
       c. Date of bill
       d. Date of proposed attachment of the current limiter
       e. Amount of bill
       f. If amount of bill is in dispute, reasons for the customer’s belief that the bill is
           in error and proposed adjustment
       g. If customer is unable to pay part of all of bill by Attachment Date, reason for
           inability to pay and proposed payment arrangements




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       Subd. 4 Hearing of Appeal
       Upon receipt of notice of appeal the Utilities Office Manager shall schedule a
       hearing before the Appeals Board at the next Utility Commission meeting. The
       customer’s utilities shall not be shut off pending the appeal hearing. The
       customer shall be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing. At the
       hearing the customer may present any testimony and evidence relevant to the
       appeal, and the members of the Appeals Board may question the customer or
       other persons about any matter relevant to the appeal. The Appeals Board shall
       inform the customer of its decision prior to the conclusion of the hearing.


       Subd. 5 Certification to the County Auditor.
       Each utility account is a lien upon the premises served. Past due accounts, may
       by Council resolution, be certified to the County Auditor/Treasurer by request of
       the Utilities Commission as authorized by MN Statute 444.075 Subd 3e and Mt.
       Lake Ordinance 3.05. Certification must be completed in early December.




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