(A) Upon contact by a customer whose account is delinquent or who desires to avoid a delinquency, the utility company shall inform the customer that it will make reasonable extensions or other extended payment plans appropriate for both the customer and the utility company. If the customer proposes payment terms, the utility company may exercise discretion in the acceptance of the payment terms based upon the account balance, the length of time that the balance has been outstanding, the customer's recent payment history, the reasons why payment has not been made, and any other relevant factors concerning the customer including health, age, and family circumstances.
(B) If the customer fails to propose payment terms acceptable to the utility company, the utility company shall then advise the customer of the availability of all of the following extended payment plans and the percentage of income payment plan plus (PIPP plus). If a customer requests additional information about PIPP plus, the utility company shall inform the customer of the eligibility requirements as set forth in paragraphs (B) and (C) of rule 4901:1-18-12 of the Administrative Code (gas PIPP plus) or to Chapter 122:5-3 of the Administrative Code (electric PIPP plus), and provide the customer with a copy of PIPP plus literature and direct the customer to the local community action agency:
(1) One-sixth plan - A plan that requires six equal payments on the past due balances in addition to full payment of the current bill.
(2) One-ninth plan - A plan that requires nine equal monthly payments on the past due balances in addition to a budget payment plan for the projected monthly bills, which will end nine months from the initial payment. The budget portion of the payments may be adjusted periodically during the nine-month period as needed.
(3) Winter heating season plan - In addition to the one-sixth and one-ninth plans in this paragraph, during the winter heating season, the utility company shall offer to any customer not already on a payment plan, the one-third payment plan for any bills that include any usage occurring from November first to April fifteenth of each year. The one-third plan requires payment of one-third of the balance due each month ( past due balances plus the current bill). For any outstanding balance remaining after the last one-third bill has been rendered, the utility company shall remove the customer from the one-third payment plan and shall offer the customer the option to pay the balance, or to enter into one of the other plans in this paragraph, or to enroll in PIPP plus, provided that he/she meets the qualifications for that PIPP plus plan.
(C) A customer who is in default on an agreed-upon extended payment plan in paragraph (A) of this rule shall be offered the payment plans in paragraph (B) of this rule and PIPP plus, provided that he/she meets the qualifications for that plan. A customer who is in default on one of the extended payment plans in paragraph (B) of this rule shall be offered PIPP plus, provided that he/she meets the qualifications for the PIPP plus plan. If a customer is having difficulty complying with any payment plan and requests that the utility company review that payment plan, the utility company may agree to modify the payment plan to meet both the customer's and utility company's needs.
(D) For customers without arrearages, the utility company shall also offer a budget plan (a uniform payment plan).
(E) If a customer informs the utility company of a medical problem, the utility company shall inform the customer of the medical certification program as provided in paragraph (C) of rule 4901:1-18-06 of the Administrative Code.
(F) A customer's failure to make any payment under one of the payment plans in paragraph (B) of this rule or PIPP plus shall entitle the utility company to disconnect service in accordance with the procedures set forth in rule 4901:1-18-06 of the Administrative Code.
(G) The utility company shall advise the customer, who enters into an extended payment plan, that it will provide the customer with the terms of the plan in writing. The utility company shall also advise the customer that failure to make a payment under the extended payment plan may result in the disconnection of service in accordance with the procedures set forth in rule 4901:1-18-06 of the Administrative Code.
(H) No utility company shall charge late payment fees to customers that are current on the payment plans identified in paragraph (A) or (B) of this rule or PIPP plus.
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 11/24/2014 and 11/24/2019
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4905.04
Rule Amplifies: 4905.06, 4905.22, 4905.30, 4933.12, 4933.121, 4933.122
Prior Effective Dates: 3/22/80, 10/6/82, 12/1/83, 1/9/84, 10/10/84 (Emer.), 1/8/85, 12/7/91, 9/1/04. 11/1/10, 2/3/11