20.31.01.08

.08 Alternate Payment Plans.

A. Except as provided under §D of this regulation, if a low income customer is unable to pay the charges for service, the utility shall in good faith attempt to negotiate a reasonable alternate payment plan.

B. Except as provided under §§A and D of this regulation, if a customer is unable to pay the charges for service, the utility may in good faith attempt to negotiate a reasonable alternate payment plan.

C. For purposes of this regulation, "alternate payment plan" means a payment plan provided to avoid termination of service and retire all outstanding charges to the utility.

D. A utility may refuse to negotiate or offer an alternate payment plan to a customer receiving service, if the customer:

(1) Failed to meet the terms and conditions of any alternate payment plan during the past 18 months including:

(a) A USPP alternate payment plan; or

(b) A plan arranged under the EUSP;

(2) Committed fraud against a utility;

(3) Committed theft of utility service; or

(4) Denied the utility access to its equipment located on the customer's property or premises.

E. When devising alternate payment plans, the utility shall consider the circumstances and financial condition of the customer including:

(1) The size of the delinquent account;

(2) The customer's ability to pay;

(3) The customer's payment history;

(4) The anticipated energy assistance benefits for which the customer may be eligible;

(5) The length of time that the debt has been outstanding;

(6) The circumstances which resulted in the past due bills;

(7) Hardships which may result from the lack of utility service to the customer; and

(8) Any other relevant factors related to the circumstances of the customer.

F. If an alternate payment plan cannot be arranged, the utility shall promptly notify the customer.

G. If a customer fails to adhere to the alternate payment plan, the utility shall notify the customer that termination procedures may be begun pursuant to this subtitle.