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Shut Off rules

What is you are faced with a gas or electric shut off in the winter?

PUCO Winter Shut Off Rule?
What is it?

The Winter ReconnectOrder allows electric and gas customers who are facing disconnection or who have already been disconnected to restore or maintain service if they pay a minimum of $175 plus a service reconnection fee of no more than $36. If the reconnection fee is greater than $36, the utility may bill the balance of the reconnection charge. You must sign up for an extended payment plan to cure any remaining account balances.

The winter reconnect program can also be used to establish new service. If you need a new gas or electric service account and you have no outstanding balance with the utility, you may establish new service by paying $175 instead paying the required security deposit. Customers who do so may have the remaining balance of the security deposit added to their next month’s bill.

The program begins on Oct. 17, 2011 and ends on April 13, 2012 and can only be used once between these dates.

Who is eligible?

This program is available to customers of PUCO regulated companies who pay and bill in their own name. There is no income eligibility requirement.  NOTE:  this rule does not apply to Municipal utilities, Rural Cooperatives and Utility Resellers.

How do you sign up?

There is no application process. Simply contact your local utility company and tell them you want to use the winter reconnection option. The representative should walk you through the procedure and provide you with payment plan information.

  Landlord didn't pay the utility bill?

If you live in a multi-family unit OR your utility payments are included inyour rent, there are special procedures utility companies must follow before they can disconnect your utility service. If your landlord fails to pay the utility bills, the company may disconnect your service after completing the following steps:
1. A 14-day disconnection notice has been served to the landlord.
2. If there is no payment or arrangement to pay after 14 days, the company must make a good faith effort by mail, or other form of communication, to provide a separate 10-day notice of pending disconnection to the landlord/agent and to the tenant(s).
(see form letter appended at the bottom of this page)

Utilities cannot be disconnected in multi-family units or units where utilities are included in the rent if the tenants use their legal options in a timely fashion. These options include:
1. Rent escrow
2. Applying to the court for an order to use the rent deposited to remedy the condition or conditions specified in the tenant’s notice to the landlord. This could also include other necessary repairs.

You may need help from an attorney or knowledgeable organizer. Local utility companies and municipal courts may not be familiar with these procedures.

More info on Rent Escrow and Motion to Compel here

Spencer Wells,
Jan 7, 2014, 9:40 AM