(A) Service provided by a gas or natural gas company shall be metered, except where it is impractical to meter the gas usage, such as in street lighting and temporary or special installations. The usage in such exceptions may be calculated or billed in accordance with an approved tariff on file with the commission.
(B) A customer's usage shall be metered by commercially acceptable measuring devices. Meter accuracy shall also comply with the standards found in section 4933.09 of the Revised Code. No metering device shall be placed in service or knowingly allowed to remain in service if it violates these standards.
(C) Gas or natural gas company employees or authorized agents of a gas or natural gas company shall have the right of access to metering equipment for the purpose of reading, replacing, repairing, or testing the meter, or determining that the installation of the metering equipment is in compliance with the company's requirements.
(D) Meter test at customer's request. Metering accuracy shall be the responsibility of the gas or natural gas company.
(2) The customer or the customer's representative has the right to be present when the meter test is performed at the customer's request. The customer shall be informed by the company of the customer's right to be present at the meter test during the time that such meter test is being scheduled.
(3) A written explanation of the test results shall be provided to the customer within ten business days of the completed test.
(4) Each company shall notify the customer of applicable charges prior to the test. Such charges must be set forth in the company's tariff.
(5) If the accuracy of the meter is found to be outside the tolerances specified in this rule, the gas or natural gas company shall do all of the following:
(a) Not charge a fee or recover any testing expenses from the customer.
(b) Provide a properly functioning meter without charge to the customer.
(c) Within thirty days, pay or credit, at the customer's discretion, any overpayment to the customer, in accordance with one of the following billing adjustments:
(i) When the company or customer has reasonably established the approximate period of meter inaccuracy, the overcharge shall be computed on the basis of a customer's metered usage prior and/or subsequent to such period consistent with the rates in effect during that period.
(ii) When the company and customer cannot reasonably establish the approximate period of meter inaccuracy, the overcharge period shall be determined to be the most recent twelve months, or the period since the date of the most recent meter test performed, whichever is less. The rates applicable shall be those in effect during the period of inaccuracy in order to determine the appropriate credit or refund.
Paragraph (D)(5) of this rule shall not apply in the event there has been either tampering with or unauthorized reconnection of the meter, metering equipment, or other property of the gas or natural gas company during the involved period of time, where such activity causes meter or metering inaccuracies or no measurement of service.
(E) Each gas or natural gas company shall identify each customer meter that it owns, operates, or maintains, by serial or assigned meter numbers and/or letters, placed in a conspicuous position on the meter.
(1) Maintain all of the following meter test records for two years or until the next superseding test, whichever is longer:
(a) Date of customer's request for each test.
(b) Date and reason for each test.
(c) Test results.
(d) Meter reading(s) before and after each test.
(e) Accuracy "as found" and "as left."
(2) Keep all of the following records for the life of the meter :
(a) Identification and location of the meter.
(b) Date of installation and removal from service.
(c) Serial or assigned meter number.
(G) Meter reading.
(1) Each gas or natural gas company shall obtain actual readings of its customer meters at least once every twelve months. At a minimum, each company shall make reasonable attempts to obtain actual readings of its customer meters every other month, except where the customer and the company have agreed to other arrangements. Meter readings taken by electronic means (i.e., automated meter reading equipment) shall be considered actual readings. While remote meter index equipment readings may be used by a company, they do not qualify as actual meter readings. When billing customers based on estimated usage, the gas or natural gas company shall calculate the amount due using the applicable rate(s) in effect during each period of estimated usage. Once operationally feasible, actual meter reads shall be performed by the company on a monthly basis when automatic meter reading equipment is installed in a specific geographic area of the company.
(a) Each gas or natural gas company shall submit a plan to the director of the commission's service monitoring and enforcement department to read all customer meters at least once every twelve months. Plans should include the steps, notices, and measures the company intends to take in order to read each customer's meter at least once every twelve months. Each gas or natural gas company shall submit any revisions of its plan to the director of the service monitoring and enforcement department or the director's designee for review .
(b) If the director of the service monitoring and enforcement department or the director's designee rejects the plan or does not approve the company's plan within one hundred twenty days of submittal, the gas or natural gas company may file a request with the commission for a hearing seeking approval of its plan. In such event, the gas or natural gas company shall file a written report and provide documentation supporting its plan.
(c) Adherence to the procedures of a gas or natural gas company's plan, accepted under the terms of this rule, shall place that gas or natural gas company in compliance with the requirement to read each customer meter at least once every twelve months. In the event that a complaint proceeding is brought under section 4905.26 of the Revised Code, alleging that a gas or natural gas company failed to read the customer meter at least once in the twelve-month period, adherence to the company's accepted plan will also create a rebuttable presumption that the company's failure to read the customer meter at least once in the twelve-month period was a matter beyond its control.
(2) Billing adjustments for residential customers shall comply with section 4933.28 of the Revised Code. When a gas or natural gas company has undercharged any residential customer as the result of a meter or metering inaccuracy, billing problem, or other continuing problem under the gas or natural gas compan's control, the company may only bill the customer for the amount of the unmetered gas rendered in the three hundred sixty-five days immediately prior to the date the company remedies the meter inaccuracy. Customers shall be notified by the gas or natural gas company of their right to have twelve months to pay, in equal installments, any undercharge for unmetered gas service.
(3) When a gas or natural gas company has undercharged any small commercial customer as the result of a meter or metering inaccuracy, billing problem, or other continuing problem under the gas or natural gas company's control, unless the customer and the company agree otherwise, the maximum portion of the undercharge that may be billed to the small commercial customer in any billing month, based upon the appropriate rates, shall be determined by dividing the amount of the undercharge by the number of months of undercharged service. The company may only bill the customer for the amount of the unmetered gas rendered in the thirty-six month period immediately prior to the date the company remedies the meter inaccuracy. Each gas or natural gas company shall state the total amount to be collected in the first bill under this rule. This paragraph shall not affect the gas or natural gas company's recovery of regular monthly charges.
(4) This rule shall not apply in the event there has been either the tampering with or the unauthorized reconnection of the meter, metering equipment, or other property of the gas or natural gas company during the involved period of time, where such activity causes meter or metering inaccuracies or no measurement of service.
(5) Upon the customer's request, and in addition to the requirements of paragraph (G)(1) of this rule, the gas or natural gas company shall provide two actual meter readings, without charge, per calendar year. The customer may only request an actual meter reading, without charge, if the customer's usage has been estimated for more than two of the immediately preceding billing cycles consecutively or if the customer has reasonable grounds to believe that the meter is malfunctioning. Nothing in the preceding sentence is intended to limit a customer's ability to obtain a meter reading prior to transferring service to a new retail natural gas supplier or governmental aggregator as provided by paragraph (J) of rule 4901:1-29-06 of the Administrative Code.
(6) Each gas or natural gas company is required to do an actual meter reading at the initiation and/or the termination of service if the meter has not been read within the immediately preceding seventy days and access to the meter is provided.
(7) If a gas or natural gas company has read the meter within the immediately preceding seventy days, it shall inform the customer, when the customer contacts the company to initiate or terminate service, of the customer's right to have an actual meter read at no charge to the customer.
(8) When a meter reading is scheduled through a menu-driven, automated, interactive answering system that allows the customer to interact electronically rather than through a live person, the gas or natural gas company shall provide confirmation ( e.g., order confirmation number, written letter) to the customer by the following business day, verifying the nature of the interaction and any appointment made.
(9) Where there is a landlord/tenant relationship and neither the gas or natural gas company nor the customer has access to the meter, the gas or natural gas company shall render notice by mail to both the landlord, when the address is available, and the tenant, summarizing its inability to obtain access to the meter for any of the provisions of this rule.
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 01/21/2015 and 01/21/2020
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4905.04, 4905.06 , 4905.22, 4905.28
Rule Amplifies: 4933.09, 4933.10, 4933.28
Prior Effective Dates: 12/7/2006, 1/6/2011