20.55.04.01-2

.01-2 Denial of Application for Residential Service.

A. Payment of Outstanding Bills.

(1) Except as prohibited by State or federal law, a utility may refuse to provide service for a former customer unless the customer has paid or has made satisfactory arrangements to pay any outstanding bill or undisputed portion of a disputed bill for prior residential service.

(2) A utility may not refuse service to a customer for nonpayment of any outstanding bill that is over 7 years old, unless the:

(a) Customer signed an agreement to pay the outstanding bill before the expiration of this period; or

(b) Outstanding bill is for service obtained by the customer in any manner described in COMAR 20.31.02.03D or COMAR 20.31.02.04A(1)—(4).

B. Refusal to Connect Service. A utility may refuse to connect service if an attempt to secure service is made in any manner described below. If application is made:

(1) In a fictitious name;

(2) In the name of an individual who is not an occupant of the premises, without disclosure of the individual's actual address;

(3) In the name of a third party without disclosing that fact or without bona fide authority from the third party;

(4) Without disclosure of a material fact or by misrepresentation of a material fact;

(5) For connection of service to a residence where there are co-occupants, if a service account for that dwelling unit was previously maintained in a current co-occupant's name during a period of co-occupancy with the applicant and the co-occupant has failed to pay or make satisfactory arrangements to pay an outstanding bill or undisputed portion of a disputed bill for service at the dwelling unit, the collection of which is not barred under applicable State or federal law;

(6) For connection of service to a dwelling unit where there are co-occupants, if the service account of a prior dwelling unit of the applicant was listed in a current co-occupant's name and the co-occupant has failed to pay or to make satisfactory arrangement to pay an outstanding bill or undisputed portion of a disputed bill for service at the prior dwelling unit, the collection of which is not barred under applicable State or federal law; or

(7) By an individual for the purpose of assisting another occupant of a dwelling unit to avoid payment of that occupant's prior outstanding bill.

C. For purposes of §B, "co-occupants" means two or more adults who occupy the same dwelling unit as their primary domicile, or legal residence within the State.

D. For purposes of this regulation, a utility may provide service conditionally for not more than 30 days after the date of application. If, during this time, a utility discovers that an application has been made in one of the manners enumerated in this regulation, it may disconnect service in accordance with §§E and F.

E. If a utility denies or disconnects service pursuant to this regulation, the utility shall notify the individual in writing of the reason for the denial or disconnection including the facts or circumstances upon which the utility bases its determination that service should be denied or disconnected.

F. An individual who disputes the proposed denial or disconnection shall do so in accordance with the provisions of COMAR 20.32.01.

G. The Commission’s Office of External Relations may direct a utility to connect service, if deemed safe, in a customer’s name during the pendency of an investigation if a utility denies an application for service due to an unpaid arrearage for unauthorized use or tampering with equipment furnished and owned by the utility but does not provide the amount necessary to reconnect service within 3 business days of a filed complaint, provided that the applicant makes a payment to the utility:

(1) In an amount that represents 2/12 of the estimated charges for service for the ensuing 12 months; and

(2) Of any outstanding prior bill or in accordance with an alternate payment plan as described in COMAR 20.31.01.08 and agreed to by the utility.