20.31.03.06

.06 Occupants of a Master-Metered Building.

A. This regulation applies to terminations of service in master-metered buildings.

B. A utility shall notify occupants in a master-metered building of an impending termination of service by all of the following. A utility shall:

(1) Individually notify all occupants by:

(a) First-class mail, postmarked not less than 14 days prior to the proposed date of disconnection and addressed to the “occupant” of each dwelling unit subject to the loss of service if the postal address is readily available to the utility; or

(b) Flyers or “door stuffers”, of a proposed termination at least 14 days before the scheduled termination date; and

(2) Notify occupants by posting termination notices in conspicuous locations in the building, such as near mailboxes, entrances, and exits at least 14 days before the scheduled termination date.

C. In a situation where the utility is unable to comply with §B(1) and/or (2) of this regulation despite reasonable, documented efforts to do so, the utility may seek a waiver from the Commission of its obligations under §B(1) and/or (2) of this regulation pursuant to COMAR 20.07.01.01-1. If a waiver from §B(1) and/or (2) of this regulation is requested, the utility shall not terminate service to the master-metered building until the Commission rules on the utility’s requested waiver or the utility shall have complied with §B(1) and (2) of this regulation, provided that the waiver request shall be deemed approved if the Commission has not acted upon it within 30 days of filing.

D. If the utility seeks a waiver under §C of this regulation, the utility shall also, no later than 1 business day after its waiver request, notify, via electronic mail and first class mail, the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division and the People’s Counsel of:

(1) The utility’s waiver request; and

(2) All the utility’s efforts to fully comply with §B(1) and (2) of this regulation and why complete compliance was not feasible.

E. The notices provided pursuant to §B(1) and (2) of this regulation shall, at a minimum, include the following:

(1) A statement that the utility intends to terminate utility service to the master-metered building;

(2) The name of the utility customer in whose name the account is maintained and the customer’s mailing address, email address, phone number as reflected in the records of the utility not including the account number or other confidential information without the consent of the customer of record;

(3) The address of the master-metered building where service is to be terminated not including the amount owed or other billing, payment, credit or similar information without the consent of the customer of record;

(4) The date on or after which the proposed termination will occur;

(5) The office address of the utility and the utility’s customer service phone number;

(6) A statement that the occupant has applicable rights with respect to the potential service termination subject to the provisions of COMAR 20.31.03.01, including:

(a) The right to delay termination for an initial period of up to 30 days beyond the scheduled date of service termination when the termination will aggravate an existing serious illness or prevent the use of life-support equipment of any occupant of the master-metered building;

(b) How occupants can notify the utility in such circumstances including providing the required certification to the utility; and

(c) That after the initial delay, certification may be renewed once to request an additional delay by providing another certificate to the utility;

(7) A statement that it is the responsibility of the customer to notify the utility if the customer is unable to pay for service in accordance with the requirements of the utility’s billing practices;

(8) A statement that limited-income occupants may qualify for assistance including for:

(a) Financial and/or relocation assistance through 2-1-1 Maryland, and the current contact details, including phone number and website, for 2-1-1 Maryland; and

(b) Financial assistance towards utility bill payments through the Maryland Energy Assistance Program may be available, but only to limited income individuals, upon relocation and establishment of a utility account in their own name, and the current contact details, including phone number and website, for the Maryland Department of Human Services, Office of Home Energy Programs, which administers the Maryland Home Energy Assistance Program; and

(9) A statement that for further information the occupant can contact:

(a) The Maryland Public Service Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division and the current phone number for the Maryland Public Service Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division;

(b) The Maryland Office of People’s Counsel and the current phone number for the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel;

(c) The utility’s customer service division and the current phone number for the utility’s customer service division; and

(d) The Maryland Office of Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division and the current phone number for the Maryland Office of Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division.

F. The notices posted pursuant to §B(2) of this regulation may also include the information required as necessary to satisfy Public Utilities Article, §7-307.2, Annotated Code of Maryland.

G. If a utility does not terminate service within 60 days of the date of the proposed termination in the notice posted pursuant to §B(2) of this regulation, the utility shall provide additional notices pursuant to §B(2) of this regulation.

H. In addition to the notices prescribed in §B of this regulation, a utility shall, not less than 14 days prior to termination of service to a master-metered building, provide written and electronic notice of its intention to terminate to the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division, Maryland Office ofPeople’s Counsel, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, and any director of the social services for the political subdivision or subdivisions in which the master-metered building is located as well as a brief description of the notice provided.

I. Each utility shall identify and maintain on its records those accounts for service to master-metered buildings to ensure that service to such premises is not terminated prior to compliance with the provisions of this section.It shall be the responsibility of the customer to inform the utility that service is being provided to a master-metered building.The utility shall ask the customer at the time a new service application is submitted whether service is requested at a master-metered building and publish information about how to notify the utility that service is being provided to a master-metered building in its annual consumer publication and on its website.