WSR 04-22-040

PERMANENT RULES

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[ General Order No. R-515, Docket No. TG-041349 -- Filed October 27, 2004, 11:17 a.m. , effective November 27, 2004 ]

In the matter of amending WAC 480-70-396 Billing and 480-70-401 Payment options, relating to solid waste and/or refuse collection companies.

1 STATUTORY OR OTHER AUTHORITY: The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission takes this action under Notice No. WSR 04-19-148, filed with the code reviser on September 22, 2004. The commission brings this proceeding pursuant to RCW 81.04.160 and 80.01.040.

2 STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE: This proceeding complies with the Open Public Meetings Act (chapter 42.30 RCW), the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW), the State Register Act (chapter 34.08 RCW), the State Environmental Policy Act of 1971 (chapter 43.21C RCW), and the Regulatory Fairness Act (chapter 19.85 RCW).

3 DATE OF ADOPTION: The commission adopts this rule on the date that this order is entered.

4 CONCISE STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND EFFECT OF THE RULE: RCW 34.05.325 requires that the commission prepare and provide to commenters a concise explanatory statement about an adopted rule. The statement must include the identification of the reasons for adopting the rule, a summary of the comments received regarding the proposed rule, and responses reflecting the commission's consideration of the comments.

5 The commission often includes a discussion of those matters in its rule adoption order. In addition, most rule-making proceedings involve extensive work by commission staff that includes summaries in memoranda of stakeholder comments, commission decisions, and staff recommendations in each of those areas.

6 In this docket, to avoid unnecessary duplication, the commission designates the discussion in this order as its concise explanatory statement, supplemented where not inconsistent by the staff memoranda presented at the open meeting where the commission considered whether to propose specific language for adoption, and file a notice of proposed rule making (CR-102). Together, the documents provide a complete but concise explanation of the agency actions and its reasons for taking those actions.

7 REFERENCE TO AFFECTED RULES: This rule making amends the following sections of the Washington Administrative Code:

WAC 480-70-396 Billing, adds the option for companies to provide regular billings in electronic form upon the customer's request.

WAC 480-70-401 Payment options, provides a minimum level of payment options companies must allow, such as cash, certified funds (e.g., cashier check or money order), and personal checks. The amendment would allow greater flexibility and opportunity to accept payments electronically.

8 PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY AND ACTIONS THEREUNDER: The commission filed a preproposal statement of inquiry (CR-101) on August 4, 2004, at WSR 04-16-120.

9 ADDITIONAL NOTICE AND ACTIVITY PURSUANT TO PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT: The statement advised interested persons that the commission was considering entering a rule making to consider expansion of payment options provided by solid waste/refuse companies and the use of electronic billing to customers on request, by amending WAC 480-70-396 Billing and 480-70-401 Payment options. The commission also informed persons of the inquiry into this matter by providing notice of the subject and the CR-101 to all persons on the commission's list of persons requesting such information pursuant to RCW 34.05.320(3) and by sending notice to all regulated solid waste companies and interested stakeholders such as Washington Refuse and Recycling Association (WRRA). The commission posted the relevant rule-making information on its internet website at http://www.wutc.wa.gov.

10 WRITTEN COMMENTS: Pursuant to the notice, the commission invited written comments and offered to host stakeholder workshops. There were no requests for workshops. The commission received one written comment, a letter from the Washington Refuse and Recycling Association (WRRA), an association of solid waste companies. WRRA's comments supported the proposed amendments to WAC 480-70-396 and 480-70-401.

11 NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING: The commission filed a notice of proposed rule making (CR-102) on September 22, 2004, at WSR 04-19-148. The commission scheduled this matter for oral comment and adoption under Notice No. WSR 04-19-148 at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 27, 2004, in the Commission's Hearing Room, Second Floor, Chandler Plaza Building, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA. The notice provided interested persons the opportunity to submit written comments to the commission.

12 COMMENTERS (WRITTEN COMMENTS): The commission received no written comments on the CR-102 proposal.

13 RULE-MAKING HEARING: The rule proposal was considered for adoption, pursuant to the notice, at a rule-making hearing scheduled during the commission's regularly scheduled open public meeting on October 27, 2004, before Chairwoman Marilyn Showalter and Commissioner Patrick Oshie. No one presented oral comments at the rule-making hearing.

14 COMMISSION ACTION: After considering all of the information regarding this proposal, the commission adopted the proposed rules.

15 CHANGES FROM PROPOSAL: There is one word change to the proposed rules. In WAC 480-70-396 Billing, subsection (4), the last sentence: The first reference to "request" is replaced with "consent."

16 STATEMENT OF ACTION; STATEMENT OF EFFECTIVE DATE: In reviewing the entire record, the commission determines that WAC 480-70-396 Billing and 480-70-401 Payment options, should be amended to read as set forth in Appendix A, as rules of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, to take effect pursuant to RCW 34.05.380(2) on the thirty-first day after filing with the Code Reviser.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

ORDER

17 THE COMMISSION ORDERS:

18 WAC 480-70-396 Billing and 480-70-401 Payment options, are amended to read as set forth in Appendix A, as rules of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, to take effect on the thirty-first day after the date of filing with the code reviser pursuant to RCW 34.05.380(2).

19 This order and the rules set out below, after being recorded in the register of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, shall be forwarded to the code reviser for filing pursuant to chapters 80.01 and 34.05 RCW and chapter 1-21 WAC.

DATED at Olympia, Washington, this 27th day of October, 2004.

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Marilyn Showalter, Chairwoman

Patrick J. Oshie, Commissioner

OTS-7546.2


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 consent, 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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