A. An electric, gas, or electric and gas utility may not terminate gas or electric service to occupants of residential buildings for nonpayment of bills during the period November 1 through and including March 31 of the immediately succeeding calendar year unless the utility first certifies to the Commission by an affidavit filed at least 24 hours before the termination, that the termination does not constitute a threat to the life or health of the residential occupants.
B. The affidavit shall state in addition to the requirements of §A of this regulation.
(1) The name of the customer whose service is to be terminated and the address of the premises involved;
(2) That the customer has been notified both in writing and by personal contact, if made, of his rights and remedies as stated in COMAR 20.31.02.06G and has been informed of possible sources of financial assistance and the availability of alternate payment plans and the Utility Service Protection Program offered by the utility;
(3) The dates on which personal contact with the customer or an adult member of the household was made or attempted;
(4) The reason for the termination;
(5) Whether the customer is a participant in the Utility Service Protection Program or the Electric Universal Service Program;
(6) Whether the customer claims an occupant of the dwelling unit is elderly, handicapped, seriously ill, or dependent upon the use of life-support equipment and, if so, that the utility has complied with the provisions of COMAR 20.31.03.01 and .02;
(7) That the amount of the arrearage for which termination is sought is greater than $200 for a single service utility or $300 for a dual service utility and the total amount due is greater than the amount of the customer's deposit with the utility; and
(8) That a copy of the affidavit has been forwarded to the Department of Human Services, Office of Home Energy Programs and the local administering agency, if the customer has been certified to the utility as eligible for MEAP or EUSP Assistance.
C. Affidavits are valid for 12 days after the most recent personal contact with the customer was made or attempted.
D. Personal Contact with Customer.
(1) In addition to the requirements of §A of this regulation, for any termination occurring within the above wintertime period, the utility shall, at a minimum, attempt to make personal contact with the customer twice between the date the notice of termination is mailed to the customer and the date on or after which service is to be terminated.
(2) The utility's attempt to make personal contact under this section shall occur on two separate days.
(3) The utility's attempt to make personal contact with a customer shall be by either:
(a) Telephoning the customer during business hours, or, if no one is home, during the evening after 6 p.m.; or
(b) Visiting the premises and leaving a copy of the notice of termination and either a Customer's Rights Pamphlet or a pamphlet which explains the customer winter termination rights, including the Utility Service Protection Program with the customer or a responsible person 18 years old or older at the premises, or if no one is home, leaving a copy of the notice and pamphlets at the premises.
(4) The utility shall document each attempt to make personal contact under this section.
(5) Financial Assistance. If personal contact is made, the utility shall inform the customer of possible sources of financial assistance and of the availability of alternate payment plans and the Utility Service Protection Program offered by the utility.
E. Temporary Restriction. In addition to the provisions of §A of this regulation, a utility may not terminate service because of nonpayment to any customer in a utility's designated weather station area for that customer in which the forecast temperature made at 6 a.m. is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below in that weather station area during an extreme weather period.