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Your Rights as a Consumer

You may be unaware of the rights you have as a utility consumer. But it's important that you understand these rights before filing a complaint with your utility or the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

Refusal of Electric and Telecommunications Service

PUC rules state that an electric or local telecommunications provider may refuse service for the following reasons:

Utilities may not refuse service for the following reasons:

 

Refusal of Water and Wastewater Service

PUC rules state that an water or wastewater service provider may refuse service for the following reasons:

Utilities may not refuse service for the following reasons:

If an electric, local telecommunications, or water or wastewater service provider refuses to serve you, the utility must tell you why. If you don't agree, you may file a complaint with the PUC.

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Disconnection of Electric Service

Failure to Pay: For consumers who do not pay their electric bill by the due date, their Retail Electric Provider (REP) may request that the TDSP disconnect the electric service after the expiration of a required 10-day notice period.

Disconnection with Notice: Prior to disconnecting your service, your REP must provide you with a written Disconnection Notice. This notice must be mailed to you separately (or hand-delivered) no earlier than the first day after the date your bill is due. The disconnection date must be 10 days from the date the notice is issued and may not fall on a holiday or weekend (or the day preceding) unless the REP's personnel are available on those days to take payments or make payment arrangements and service can be reconnected. The PUC has provided that your REP may be allowed to authorize disconnection of your electric service for any of the reasons listed below:

Disconnection without Prior Notice: Any REP or TDSP may, at any time, authorize disconnection of a consumer's electric service without prior notice for any of the following reasons:

Your REP may not authorize disconnection of your electric service for any of the following reasons:

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Disconnection of Telecommunications Service

PUC rules prohibit local phone companies from disconnecting local phone service for non-payment of long distance charges.

Disconnection notices must advise consumers what portion of their bill must be paid to keep their local phone service. This amount may not include long distance charges.

Disconnection with Notice: Prior to disconnecting your service, your provider must provide a separate written statement in English and Spanish (or electronic statement if customer opted for this) no sooner than one day after the bill due date. The notice must state the date of suspension or disconnection with the words “suspension notice,” or “disconnection notice,” or similar language prominently displayed. The suspension or disconnection date cannot be less than 10 days after the notice is issued. The notice must also indicate the amount due to maintain local landline service and must include a statement notifying customers that if they need assistance paying their bill, or are ill and unable to pay their bill, they may be able to make some alternative payment arrangement or establish a deferred payment plan. The notice shall advise customers to contact the provider for more information.

After proper notice has been provided, your telecommuniations provider can disconnect your local landline service for the reasons listed below:

Disconnection without Prior Notice: A provider may suspend or disconnect local landline service without prior notice for any of the following reasons:

Your local landline service provider may not suspend or disconnect your local landline service for any of the following reasons:

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Disconnection of Water and Wastewater Service

Disconnection with Notice: Prior to disconnecting your service, your water or service utility company must provide you with a separate written statement, in English and Spanish, by mail or hand delivered. The disconnection date must be 10 days from the date the notice is issued unless a shorter time is authorized by the Public Utility Commission. The notice must include the intended date of disconnection, the total past due charges, all reconnect fees, and the company's office work hours and contact information.

If the notice is provided by a service service provider, the notice must state that failure to pay past due sewer charges will result in termination of water service and that water service will not be reconnected until all past due and currently due sewer service charges and the sewer reconnect fee are paid.

After proper notice has been provided, your water or sewer utility company can disconnect your water and wastewater service for the reasons listed below:

  • Payment by check which has been rejected for insufficient funds, closed account, or for which a stop payment order has been issued is not deemed to be payment to the utility.
  • Violation of the utility's rules pertaining to the use of service in a manner which interferes with the service of others.
  • Operation of non-standard equipment, if a reasonable attempt has been made to notify the customer and the customer is provided with a reasonable opportunity to remedy the situation.
  • Failure to comply with deposit or guarantee arrangements where required by PUC Substantive Rule §24.84, relating to Service Applicant and Customer Deposits.
  • Failure to pay charges for sewer service provided by another retail public utility.
  • Failure to pay solid waste disposal fees collected under contract with a county or other public agency.

Disconnection without Prior Notice: A water or wastewater utility may disconnect service without prior written notice for any of the following reasons:

Your water or wastewater utility may not suspend or disconnect your water or wastewater service for any of the following reasons:

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