WSR 04-19-148

PROPOSED RULES

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[ Docket No. TG-041349 -- Filed September 22, 2004, 10:09 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 04-16-120.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 480-70-401 Payment options and 480-70-396 Billing, for solid waste/refuse companies. Amendments to these WACs would expand customer payment options, and allow solid waste/refuse companies to issue electronic billing to customers on request.

Hearing Location(s): Commission Hearing Room 206, Second Floor, Chandler Plaza Building, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98504, on October 27, 2004, at 9:30 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: October 27, 2004.

Submit Written Comments to: Carole J. Washburn, Secretary, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504, e-mail Records@wutc.wa.gov, fax (360) 586-1150 (please include Docket No. TG-041349 in your communication) by October 13, 2004.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Ms. Mary DeYoung by October 20, 2004, TTY (360) 586-8203 or (360) 664-1133.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: At the July 28, 2004, open meeting, the commission granted exemptions from WAC 480-70-401 Payment options, to five solid waste companies to allow electronic fund transfers as an accepted method of payment. Other companies want to offer similar payment options, however, the current rule is to restrictive. WAC 480-70-396, Billing would be amended to allow companies to issue electronic billing to customers on request.

The proposed rules would (a) establish a minimum level of payment options companies must allow such as cash, certified funds (e.g., cashier check or money order) and personal checks; and (b) allow companies, upon request by the customer, to offer electronic billing.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Allows more flexibility for companies and customers by allowing additional methods of payment and electronic billing, and may offer opportunity for cost savings.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 80.01.040, 81.04.160.

Statute Being Implemented: Not applicable.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Ms. Penny Hansen, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive, Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 664-1242; Implementation and Enforcement: Carole J. Washburn, Secretary, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive, Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 664-1174.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed corrections and changes to rules will not result in or impose an increase in costs. Because there will not be any increase in costs resulting from the proposed rule changes, a small business economic impact statement is not required under RCW 19.85.030(1).

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. The commission is not an agency to which RCW 34.05.328 applies. The proposed rule is not a significant legislative rule of the sort referenced in RCW 34.05.328(5).

September 22, 2004

Carole J. Washburn

Executive Secretary

OTS-7546.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Docket No. TG-990161, General Order No. R-479, filed 3/23/01, effective 4/23/01)

WAC 480-70-396   Billing.   (1) Billing period. A company may bill its customers for one, two, or three months of service.

(2) Advance billing and payment delinquency dates. The following chart defines the maximum period allowed for advance billing and the date when a bill may be considered delinquent:


Billing period Maximum advance billing

period allowed

Delinquency date
One month's service (monthly) No advance billing allowed May not be less than twenty-one days after the date the bill is mailed
Two months' service One month advanced billing allowed May not be until the last day of the second month
Three months' service Two months' advance billing allowed May not be until the last day of the third month

(3) Bills issued to customers must clearly show the company's name and applicable registered trade name, business address, and toll-free telephone number where a customer may contact the company. Bills must also show:

(a) Account information, including:

(i) The customer's name, service address, and billing address;

(ii) Company customer identification number, if any;

(iii) The billing period;

(iv) The date the bill was mailed;

(v) The date payment is due; and

(vi) The date the bill becomes delinquent;

(b) Rate information, including:

(i) The percentage amount or minimum charge for late payments (may not exceed one percent of the unpaid balance or one dollar, whichever is greater);

(ii) All rates or charges billed to the customer, shown as separate line items on the bill (for example: Service and size of container; yardwaste service and size of container; recycling service and recycling commodity adjustment);

(iii) Other tariffed services (for example: Drive-in charges, carry-out charges, and occasional extras); and

(iv) The percentage rate and dollar amount of any government tax or fee imposed on the company and passed on directly to customers;

(c) Other information as may be directed by the commission.

(4) With the consent of the customer, a company may provide regular billings in electronic form if the bill meets all the requirements of this rule. The company must maintain a record of the customer's request, and the customer may change from electronic to printed billing upon request.

(5) If a customer initiates or terminates solid waste service within a month, monthly rates and charges must be prorated based on the number of pick-ups actually provided.

(((5))) (6) The commission may allow consolidated billing for regulated and nonregulated activities.

(a) A consolidated billing must:

(i) Disclose nonregulated activity as a separate line item; and

(ii) Include a telephone number where the customer may contact the company providing the nonregulated activity.

(b) If a customer makes partial payment, a company must apply the payment to the regulated solid waste charges first.

(c) A company may not discontinue solid waste service if the customer does not pay for nonregulated services, but has paid in full for regulated solid waste service.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 81.04.160, 81.77.030 and 80.01.040. 01-08-012 (Docket No. TG-990161, General Order No. R-479), 480-70-396, filed 3/23/01, effective 4/23/01.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Docket No. TG-990161, General Order No. R-479, filed 3/23/01, effective 4/23/01)

WAC 480-70-401   Payment options.   ((A company may accept payment by cash, money order, personal check, certified check, debit card, or credit card.)) Companies must, at a minimum, allow the following methods of payment: Cash, certified funds (e.g., cashier check or money order), and personal checks.

Upon written notice to a customer, companies may refuse to accept personal checks when that customer has tendered two or more nonsufficient-funds checks within the last twelve months.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 81.04.160, 81.77.030 and 80.01.040. 01-08-012 (Docket No. TG-990161, General Order No. R-479), 480-70-401, filed 3/23/01, effective 4/23/01.]

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