Suspension of Gas Utility Service Disconnection During an Extreme Weather Emergency
Applicability and scope. This rule applies to gas utilities, as defined in Texas Cod, 101.003(7) and 121.001, and to owners, operators, and managers of mobile home parks or apartment houses who purchase natural gas through a master meter for delivery to a dwelling unit in a mobile home park or apartment house, pursuant to Texas Utilities Code 124.001-124.002 within the jurisdiction of the Railroad Commission pursuant to Texas Utilities Code 102.001. For purposes of this section, all such gas utilities and owners, operators, and managers of master meter systems shall be referred to as “providers”. Providers shall comply with the following service standards. A gas distribution utility shall file amended service rules incorporating these standards with the Railroad Commission in the manner prescribed by law.
Disconnection prohibited, except where there is a known dangerous condition or a use of natural gas service in a manner that is dangerous or unreasonably interferes with service to others, a provider shall not disconnect natural gas service to:
- a delinquent residential customer during an extreme weather emergency. An extreme weather emergency means a day when the previous day’s highest temperature did not exceed 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature is predicted to remain at or below that level for the next 24 hrs, according to the nearest National Weather Station for the county where the customer takes service.
- a delinquent residential customer for a billing period in which the provider receives a written pledge, letter of intent, purchased order, or other notification from an energy assistance provider that is forwarding sufficient payment to continue service: or
- a delinquent residential customer on a weekend day, unless personnel or agents of the provider are available for the purpose of receiving payment or making collection and reconnecting service.
Payment plans. Providers shall defer collection of the full payment of bills that are due during an extreme weather emergency until after the emergency is over, and shall work with customers to establish a payment schedule for deferred bills as set forth in paragraph (2)(D) of 7.45 of this title relating to Quality of Service.
Notice: Beginning in the September or October billing periods, utilities and owners, operators, or master metered systems shall give notice as follows:
- Each utility shall provide a copy of this rule to the social services agencies that distribute funds from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program within the utility’s service area.
- Each utility shall provide a copy of this rule to any social service agency of which the provider is aware that provides financial assistance to low income customers in the utility’s service area.
- Each utility shall provide a copy of this rule to all residential customers of the utility and customers who are owners, operators, or managers of master metered systems.
- Owners, operators, or managers of mastered metered systems shall provide a copy of this rule to all of their customers.
In addition to the minimum standards specified in this section, providers may adopt additional or alternative requirements if the provider files a tariff with the Commission pursuant to 7.44 of this title (relating to Filing of Tariffs). The Commission shall review the tariff to ensure that at least the minimum standards of this section are met.