WSR 02-21-066

PERMANENT RULES

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[ Docket No. A-020405, General Order No. R-504 -- Filed October 16, 2002, 8:33 a.m. ]

In the matter of amending WAC 480-70-411, 480-90-113, 480-90-118, 480-100-113, 480-100-118 and 480-110-335, relating to interest on deposits and WAC 480-100-148, relating to service responsibility of electric utilities.

1 STATUTORY OR OTHER AUTHORITY: The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission takes this action under Notice No. WSR 02-17-088, filed with the code reviser on August 20, 2002. The commission brings this proceeding pursuant to RCW 80.01.040, 80.04.160, and 81.04.160.

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 the staff memoranda presented at the adoption hearing and at the open meetings where the commission considered whether to begin a rule making and whether to propose adoption of specific language. 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: These rules amend the following sections of the Washington Administrative Code: WAC 480-70-411 Establishing credit and deposits, 480-90-113 Residential deposit requirements, 480-90-118 Nonresidential deposit requirements, 480-100-113 Residential deposit requirements, 480-100-118 Nonresidential deposit requirements and 480-110-335 Establishment of credit and deposits, to replace the fifty-two week treasury bill rate with the rate for the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity; and WAC 480-100-148 Service responsibility, to clarify the question of utility liability if repairs or changes to meters are necessary.

8 PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY: The commission filed a preproposal statement of inquiry (CR-101) on April 25, 2002, at WSR 02-10-055.

9 ADDITIONAL NOTICE AND ACTIVITY PURSUANT TO PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT: The statement advised interested persons that the commission was considering entering a rule making to determine a new standard for calculating the interest rate on customer deposits to replace the discontinued fifty-two week treasury bill standard. The statement also advised interested persons that the commission would consider amendment of WAC 480-100-148 Service responsibility, to clarify the question of utility responsibility if repairs or changes to meters are necessary. 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 solid waste, gas, electric, and water companies. Pursuant to the notice, the commission called for comments. Representatives of Avista Corporation, Puget Sound Energy, and Northwest Natural Gas submitted written comments.

10 Written comments received from the stakeholders proposed alternatives to the fifty-two week treasury bill rate.

11 NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING: The commission filed a notice of proposed rule making (CR-102) on August 20, 2002, at WSR 02-17-088. The commission scheduled this matter for oral comment and adoption under Notice No. WSR 02-17-088 at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 25, 2002, in the Commission's Hearing Room, Second Floor, Chandler Plaza Building, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA. The notice also provided interested persons the opportunity to submit written comments to the commission.

12 COMMENTERS (WRITTEN COMMENTS): Northwest Natural Gas submitted written comments in support of the 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 September 25, 2002, before Chairwoman Marilyn Showalter and Commissioner Patrick Oshie. The commission heard oral comments from Sharyn Bate, representing commission staff. No other interested person made oral comments.

14 COMMISSION ACTION: After considering all of the information regarding this proposal, the commission adopts the proposed rules without change.

15 STATEMENT OF ACTION; STATEMENT OF EFFECTIVE DATE: In reviewing the entire record, the commission determines that WAC 480-70-411, 480-90-113, 480-90-118, 480-100-113, 480-100-118 and 480-110-335 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 January 1, 2003.

16 WAC 480-100-148 should be amended to read as set forth in Appendix A, as a rule 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 0, 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 That:

18 WAC 480-70-411, 480-90-113, 480-90-118, 480-100-113, 480-100-118 and 480-110-335 are 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 January 1, 2003.

19 WAC 480-100-148 is adopted to read as set forth in Appendix A, as a rule of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, to take effect on the thirty-first day after filing with the code reviser pursuant to RCW 34.05.380(2).

20 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 ____ day of October, 2002.

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Marilyn Showalter, Chairwoman

Richard Hemstad, Commissioner

Patrick J. Oshie, Commissioner

OTS-5887.1


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

WAC 480-70-411   Establishing credit and deposits.   Prepayments made to secure temporary drop-box service are not subject to the provisions of this rule. Refer to WAC 480-70-416 for provisions related to prepayments.

(1) Establishing credit - residential service. A company ((must)) may not collect a security deposit if an applicant for residential service can establish satisfactory credit by any one of the following:

(a) The applicant had prior service with the company or another solid waste collection company for at least six of the twelve months before the application date and:

(()) (i) Service was not canceled for nonpayment;

(()) (ii) The customer received no more than one delinquency notice; and

(()) (iii) References with the other company ((may be)) (if applicable) can quickly and easily be checked. ((A)) The company may request that the references from the previous company be in writing.

(b) The applicant had consecutive employment during the prior twelve months with no more than two employers and is currently employed or has a regular source of income.

(c) The applicant owns or has a legal interest in the premises being served.

(d) The applicant can furnish a satisfactory guarantor who will be responsible for payment of solid waste bills in the event of cancellation or default by the customer, in a specified amount, not to exceed the amount of the ((required)) cash deposit required.

(e) The applicant personally produces at the company's business office two major credit cards, or other credit references that the company ((may)) can quickly and easily check, that demonstrate a satisfactory payment history.

(2) Establishing credit - commercial service. A company may require an applicant for commercial service ((may be required)) to demonstrate that ((it)) the applicant is a satisfactory credit risk by reasonable means appropriate under the circumstances.

(3) Deposit requirements. A company may require a deposit ((when)) if:

(()) (a) The applicant has failed to establish a satisfactory credit history as outlined in subsections (1) and (2) of this section;

(()) (b) The applicant's service from another solid waste company was canceled for failure to pay amounts owing when due during the twelve months before the application date;

(()) (c) The applicant has an unpaid, overdue balance owing for similar service from the solid waste company to which application is being made or from any other solid waste company;

(()) (d) Two or more delinquency notices have been served on the applicant by any solid waste company during the prior twelve months; ((and)) or

(()) (e) The application is ((to begin or continue)) for beginning or continuing service to a residence where a prior customer still lives and owes a past due bill to the ((solid waste)) company.

(4) ((Amount of)) Deposit amount. Deposits required for a customer or location must not exceed:

((Company billing period: Maximum deposit amount allowed:
Monthly Two-twelfths of the estimated annual billing
Bimonthly Three-twelfths of the estimated annual billing
Trimonthly (quarterly) Four-twelfths of the estimated annual billing.))

(a) Two-twelfths of the estimated annual billings for companies billing monthly;

(b) Three-twelfths of estimated annual billings for companies billing bimonthly;

(c) Four-twelfths of estimated annual billings for companies billing trimonthly.

(5) Transfer of deposit. When a customer moves to a new address ((in)) within the company's service territory, the deposit plus accrued interest, less any outstanding past-due balance owing from the old address, must be transferred to the new address or refunded.

(6) Interest on deposits. ((Interest on deposits collected from applicants or customers must:

(a) Accrue at the rate calculated as a simple average of the effective interest rate for new issues of one-year treasury bills, computed from December 1 of each year, continuing through November 30 of the following year. The commission will annually mail a notice to solid waste collection companies advising them of the specific rate.

(b) Earn the calculated interest rate during January 1 through December 31 of the subsequent year.

(c) Be computed from the time of deposit and compounded annually.)) Companies that collect customer deposits must pay interest on those deposits calculated:

(a) For each calendar year, at the rate for the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity calculated by the U.S. Treasury, as published in the Federal Reserve's Statistical Release H.15 on January 15 of that year. If January 15 falls on a nonbusiness day, the company will use the rate posted on the next following business day; and

(b) From the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account.

(7) ((Extended payment arrangement of deposits. When an applicant or customer is required to pay a deposit but is unable to pay the entire deposit in advance of starting or continuing service, the company must allow the applicant or customer to pay on the following schedule:

Fifty percent of the deposit must be paid before service;

Twenty-five percent must be paid in each of the next two months.)) Deposit payment arrangements. The company must allow an applicant or customer the option of paying fifty percent of the deposit prior to service, and paying the remaining balance in equal amounts over the next two months, on the dates mutually agreed upon between the applicant or customer and the company. The company and applicant or customer may make other mutually acceptable deposit payment arrangements.

(8) Receipt for deposit. A company must furnish a receipt to each applicant or customer for the amount deposited.

(9) When refund of deposits is required. A company must refund deposits plus accrued interest when there has been satisfactory payment, as defined in (a) of this subsection, or when service is terminated.

(a) "Satisfactory payment" means a customer has paid for service for twelve consecutive months in a prompt and satisfactory manner as evidenced by the following:

(()) (i) The company has not started a cancellation process against the customer; and

(()) (ii) The company has ((issued)) sent no more than two delinquency notices ((of delinquency)) to the customer.

(b) Termination of service. When service is ((canceled)) terminated, the company must return to the customer the ((amount then on)) deposit amount plus accrued interest, less any amounts due ((to)) the company by the customer.

(10) ((Refund of deposits, manner)) How deposits are refunded. ((A)) The company must refund any deposit((,)) plus accrued interest, ((in the manner chosen)) as indicated by the customer at the time of deposit, or as modified by the customer on a later date((. The customer must choose)), one of the following methods:

(a) A check issued and mailed to the customer no later than fifteen days following completion of twelve months of satisfactory payment, as described above; or

(b) A credit applied to the customer's account for service beginning in the thirteenth month.

(11) Additional deposit. ((Nothing in this rule prevents the requiring of a larger deposit or a new deposit when conditions warrant. A company requiring a new or larger deposit must specify the reasons in writing to the customer. Any requirement for a new or larger deposit must comply with the standards in this rule.)) If a deposit or additional deposit amount is required after the service is established, the reasons must be specified to the customer in writing. Any request for a deposit or additional deposit amount must comply with the standards outlined in subsections (1) and (2) of this section. If the original deposit was secured by a guarantor and the guarantor does not agree to be responsible for the additional deposit amount, the customer will be held responsible for paying the additional deposit.

[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), 480-70-411, filed 3/23/01, effective 4/23/01.]

OTS-5888.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Docket No. UG-990294, General Order No. R-484, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01)

WAC 480-90-113   Residential service deposit requirements.   (1) Deposit criteria for residential customers. A gas utility may collect a deposit from its own customers for residential service only if:

(a) At any time during the prior twelve months, the utility has sent the customer three or more delinquency notices;

(b) The utility has disconnected the customer's residential service for nonpayment; or

(c) There is a prior customer living at the residence who owes a past-due bill to the utility for service at that address.

(2) Deposit criteria for residential applicants. A utility may collect a deposit from an applicant for residential service only if:

(a) The applicant has met any of the conditions described in subsection (1) of this section as a prior customer of the utility or as a customer of another natural gas utility;

(b) The applicant is not able to demonstrate continuous employment during the prior twelve consecutive months and ((is)) neither is currently employed nor has a regular source of income;

(c) The applicant does not own or is not purchasing the premises to be served;

(d) There is a prior customer living at the residence who owes a past-due bill to the utility at that address; or

(e) The applicant has an unpaid, overdue balance owing to any electric or gas utility for residential service.

(3) Deposit amount. ((The utility may require a deposit not to)) Deposits required for a customer or location must not exceed ((the amount of)):

(a) ((For utilities billing monthly, two-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage; or

(b) For utilities billing bimonthly, three-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage.)) Two-twelfths of the estimated annual billings for utilities billing monthly; or

(b) Three-twelfths of estimated annual billings for utilities billing bimonthly.

(4) Deposit payment arrangements. The utility must allow an applicant or customer the option of paying fifty percent of the deposit prior to service, and paying the remaining balance in equal amounts over the next two months, on the dates mutually agreed upon between the applicant or customer and the utility. The utility and applicant or customer may make other mutually acceptable deposit payment arrangements.

(5) Alternative to deposit. The utility must allow any applicant or customer who indicates an inability to pay a deposit:

(a) To prepay any service initiation fees and reasonably estimated regular service charges or budget billings at periods corresponding to the utility's regular billing periods for the length of time during which a deposit would ordinarily be required. The utility must then bill the applicant or customer in a normal fashion; or

(b) To furnish a satisfactory guarantor. A guarantor must be considered satisfactory if the guarantor has at least established credit with the utility as outlined in this section. A utility may, at its discretion, accept a guarantor that does not meet the requirements of this section. If the customer has been disconnected, the guarantor is responsible for the amount stated on the disconnection notice, not to exceed the amount of the deposit as defined in subsection (3) of this section unless the guarantor has agreed to guarantee an additional amount as specified in subsection (7) of this section; or

(c) To notify the utility of the inability to pay a deposit as provided in WAC 480-90-143, Winter low-income payment program; or

(d) The opportunity to provide a reference from a similar utility that can ((be)) quickly and easily be checked if the conditions in subsection (1) of this section cannot be met.

(6) Transfer of deposit. When a customer moves to a new address within the utility's service territory, the deposit((,)) plus accrued interest ((and)), less any outstanding balance owing from the old address, must be transferred to the new address or refunded.

(7) Additional deposit. If a deposit or additional deposit amount is required after the service is established, the reasons must be specified to the customer in writing. Any request for a deposit or additional deposit amount must comply with the standards outlined in subsection (1) of this section. If the original deposit was secured by a guarantor and the guarantor does not agree to be responsible for the additional deposit amount, the customer will be held responsible for paying the additional deposit.

(8) Deposit payment date. Any deposit or additional deposit amount required after service is established is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day after notice if the deposit requirement notice is mailed from within the states of Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, or the ninth business day if mailed from outside the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. If the utility delivers the notice to the customer in person, the deposit or additional deposit amount is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day from the date of delivery.

(9) Interest on deposits. ((Interest on deposits collected from applicants or customers must:

(a) Accrue at the rate calculated as a simple average of the effective interest rate for new issues of one-year treasury bills, computed from December 1st of each year through November 30th of the following year. The commission will advise the utility each year of the specific rate;

(b) Earn the calculated interest rate as determined in (a) of this subsection from January 1st through December 31st of the subsequent year;

(c) Be computed from the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account; and

(d) Be compounded or paid annually.)) Utilities that collect customer deposits must pay interest on those deposits calculated:

(a) For each calendar year, at the rate for the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity calculated by the U.S. Treasury, as published in the Federal Reserve's Statistical Release H.15 on January 15 of that year. If January 15 falls on a nonbusiness day, the utility will use the rate posted on the next following business day; and

(b) From the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account.

(10) When refund of deposits is required. ((Deposits plus accrued interest must be applied to the customer's account or refunded at the customer's request when there has been satisfactory payment or upon termination of service.)) A utility must apply deposits plus accrued interest to the customer's account, or refund deposits plus accrued interest when there has been satisfactory payment, as defined in (a) of this subsection, or when service is terminated.

(a) "Satisfactory payment"((. Satisfactory payment is established when the)) means a customer has paid for service ((during)) for twelve consecutive months in a prompt and satisfactory manner as evidenced by the following:

(i) The utility has not ((initiated)) started a disconnection ((proceedings)) process against the customer; and

(ii) The utility has sent no more than two delinquency notices to the customer.

(b) Termination of service. ((Upon termination of)) When service is terminated, the utility must return to the customer the deposit amount plus accrued interest, less any amounts due the utility by the customer.

(11) How deposits are refunded. ((Any deposit plus accrued interest must be made available to the customer not later than fifteen calendar days following completion of twelve months of satisfactory payment or the cancellation of service. Refunds must be:

(a) Applied to the customer's account for service beginning in the thirteenth month; or

(b) At the customer's request, paid in the form of a check either delivered by mail or given to the customer in person at the utility's local business office.)) A utility must refund any deposit plus accrued interest as indicated by the customer at the time of deposit, or as modified by the customer on a later date, using one of the following methods:

(a) A check issued and mailed to the customer no later than fifteen days following completion of twelve months of satisfactory payment, as described above; or

(b) A credit applied to the customer's account for service beginning in the thirteenth month.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 80.04.160. 01-11-003 (Docket No. UG-990294, General Order No. R-484), 480-90-113, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Docket No. UG-990294, General Order No. R-484, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01)

WAC 480-90-118   Nonresidential services deposit requirements.   (1) Deposit criteria for nonresidential customers. A utility may require an applicant for nonresidential service ((may be required)) to demonstrate that ((it)) the applicant is a satisfactory credit risk by reasonable means appropriate under the circumstances.

(2) Deposit amount. ((The utility may require a deposit not to)) Deposits required for a customer or location must not exceed ((the amount of)):

(a) ((For utilities billing monthly, two-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage; or

(b) For utilities billing bimonthly, three-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage.)) Two-twelfths of the estimated annual billings for utilities billing monthly; or

(b) Three-twelfths of estimated annual billings for utilities billing bimonthly.

(3) Transfer of deposit. When a customer moves to a new address within the utility's service territory, the deposit((,)) plus accrued interest ((and)), less any outstanding balance owing from the old address, must be transferred to the new address or refunded.

(4) Additional deposit. ((Nothing in this section will prevent the requirement of a larger deposit, a new deposit, or other alternative forms of a deposit when conditions warrant. Should a new, larger, or alternative form of deposit be required, the reason must be specified in writing to the customer.)) If a deposit or additional deposit amount is required after the service is established, the reasons must be specified to the customer in writing. Any request for a deposit or additional deposit amount must comply with the standards outlined in subsection (1) of this section. If the original deposit was secured by a guarantor and the guarantor does not agree to be responsible for the additional deposit amount, the customer will be held responsible for paying the additional deposit.

(5) Deposit payment date. Any deposit or additional deposit amount required after service is established is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day after notice if the deposit requirement notice is mailed from within the states of Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, or the ninth business day if mailed from outside the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. If the utility delivers the notice to the customer in person, the deposit or additional deposit amount is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day from the date of delivery.

(6) Interest on deposits. ((Interest on deposits collected from applicants or customers must:

(a) Accrue at the rate calculated as a simple average of the effective interest rate for new issues of one-year treasury bills, computed from December 1st of each year through November 30th of the following year. The commission will advise the utility each year of the specific rate;

(b) Earn the calculated interest rate as determined in (a) of this subsection during January 1st through December 31st of the subsequent year;

(c) Be computed from the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account; and

(d) Be compounded or paid annually.)) Utilities that collect customer deposits must pay interest on those deposits calculated:

(a) For each calendar year, at the rate for the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity calculated by the U.S. Treasury, as published in the Federal Reserve's Statistical Release H.15 on January 15 of that year. If January 15 falls on a nonbusiness day, the utility will use the rate posted on the next following business day; and

(b) From the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account.

(7) When refund of deposits is required. ((Deposits plus accrued interest must be applied to the customer's account or refunded at the customer's request when there has been satisfactory payment or upon termination of service.)) A utility must apply deposits plus accrued interest to the customer's account, or refund deposits plus accrued interest when there has been satisfactory payment, as defined in (a) of this subsection, or when service is terminated.

(a) "Satisfactory payment"((. Satisfactory payment is established when the)) means a customer has paid for service ((during)) for twelve consecutive months in a prompt and satisfactory manner as evidenced by the following:

(i) The utility has not ((initiated)) started a disconnection ((proceedings)) process against the customer; and

(ii) The utility has sent no more than two delinquency notices to the customer.

(b) Termination of service. ((Upon termination of)) When service is terminated, the utility must return to the customer the deposit amount plus accrued interest, less any amounts due the utility by the customer.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.10.040 and 80.04.160. 01-11-003 (Docket No. UG-990294, General Order No. R-484), 480-90-118, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01.]

OTS-5889.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Docket No. UE-990473, General Order No. R-482, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01)

WAC 480-100-113   Residential services deposit requirements.   (1) Deposit criteria for current residential customers. An electric utility may collect a deposit from its own customers for residential service only if:

(a) At any time during the prior twelve months, the utility has sent the customer three or more delinquency notices;

(b) The utility has disconnected the customer's residential service for nonpayment; or

(c) There is a prior customer living at the residence who owes a past-due bill to the utility for service at that address.

(2) Deposit criteria for residential applicants. A utility may collect a deposit from an applicant for residential service only if:

(a) The applicant has met any of the conditions described in subsection (1) of this section as a prior customer of the utility or as a customer of another electric utility;

(b) The applicant is not able to demonstrate continuous employment during the prior twelve consecutive months and neither is currently employed nor has a regular source of income;

(c) The applicant does not own or is not purchasing the premises to be served;

(d) There is a prior customer living at the residence who owes a past-due bill to the utility at that address; or

(e) The applicant has an unpaid, overdue balance owing to any electric or gas utility for residential service.

(3) Deposit amount. ((The utility may require a deposit not to)) Deposits required for a customer or location must not exceed ((the amount of)):

(a) ((For utilities billing monthly, two-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage; or

(b) For utilities billing bimonthly, three-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage.)) Two-twelfths of the estimated annual billings for utilities billing monthly; or

(b) Three-twelfths of estimated annual billings for utilities billing bimonthly.

(4) Deposit payment arrangements. The utility must allow an applicant or customer the option of paying fifty percent of the deposit prior to service, and paying the remaining balance in equal amounts over the next two months, on the dates mutually agreed upon between the applicant or customer and the utility. The utility and applicant or customer may make other mutually acceptable deposit payment arrangements.

(5) Alternative to deposit. The utility must allow any applicant or customer who indicates an inability to pay a deposit:

(a) To prepay any service initiation fees and reasonably estimated regular service charges or budget billings at periods corresponding to the utility's regular billing periods for the length of time during which a deposit would ordinarily be required. The utility must then bill the applicant or customer in a normal fashion; or

(b) To furnish a satisfactory guarantor. A guarantor will be considered satisfactory if the guarantor has at least established credit with the utility as outlined in this section. A utility may, at its discretion, accept a guarantor that does not meet the requirements of this section. If the customer has been disconnected, the guarantor is responsible for the amount stated on the disconnection notice, not to exceed the amount of the deposit as defined in subsection (3) of this section unless the guarantor has agreed to guarantee an additional amount as specified in subsection (7) of this section; or

(c) To notify the utility of the inability to pay a deposit as provided in WAC 480-100-143, Winter low-income payment program; or

(d) The opportunity to provide a reference from a similar utility that can ((be)) quickly and easily be checked if the conditions in subsection (1) of this section cannot be met.

(6) Transfer of deposit. When a customer moves to a new address within the utility's service territory, the deposit((,)) plus accrued interest ((and)), less any outstanding balance owing from the old address, must be transferred to the new address or refunded.

(7) Additional deposit. If a deposit or additional deposit amount is required after the service is established, the reasons must be specified to the customer in writing. Any request for a deposit or additional deposit amount must comply with the standards outlined in subsection (1) of this section. If the original deposit was secured by a guarantor and the guarantor does not agree to be responsible for the additional deposit amount, the customer will be held responsible for paying the additional deposit.

(8) Deposit payment date. Any deposit or additional deposit amount required after service is established is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day after notice, if the deposit requirement notice is mailed from within the states of Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, or the ninth business day if mailed from outside the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. If the utility delivers the notice to the customer in person, the deposit or additional deposit amount is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day from the date of delivery.

(9) Interest on deposits. ((Interest on deposits collected from applicants or customers must:

(a) Accrue at the rate calculated as a simple average of the effective interest rate for new issues of one-year treasury bills, computed from December 1st of each year through November 30th of the following year. The commission will advise the utility each year of the specific rate;

(b) Earn the calculated interest rate as determined in (a) of this subsection during January 1st through December 31st of the subsequent year;

(c) Be computed from the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account; and

(d) Be compounded or paid annually.)) Utilities that collect customer deposits must pay interest on those deposits calculated:

(a) For each calendar year, at the rate for the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity calculated by the U.S. Treasury, as published in the Federal Reserve's Statistical Release H.15 on January 15 of that year. If January 15 falls on a nonbusiness day, the utility will use the rate posted on the next following business day; and

(b) From the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account.

(10) When refund of deposits is required. ((Deposits plus accrued interest must be applied to the customer's account or refunded at the customer's request when there has been satisfactory payment or upon termination of service.)) A utility must apply deposits plus accrued interest to the customer's account, or refund deposits plus accrued interest when there has been satisfactory payment, as defined in (a) of this subsection, or when service is terminated.

(a) "Satisfactory payment"((. Satisfactory payment is established when the)) means a customer has paid for service ((during)) for twelve consecutive months in a prompt and satisfactory manner as evidenced by the following:

(i) The utility has not ((initiated)) started a disconnection ((proceedings)) process against the customer; and

(ii) The utility has sent no more than two delinquency notices to the customer.

(b) Termination of service. ((Upon termination of)) When service is terminated, the utility must return to the customer the deposit amount plus accrued interest, less any amounts due the utility by the customer.

(11) How deposits are refunded. ((Any deposit plus accrued interest must be made available to the customer no later than fifteen calendar days following completion of twelve months of satisfactory payment or the cancellation of service. Refunds must be:

(a) Applied to the customer's account for service beginning in the thirteenth month; or

(b) At the customer's request, paid in the form of a check either delivered by mail or given to the customer in person at the utility's local business office.)) A utility must refund any deposit plus accrued interest as indicated by the customer at the time of deposit, or as modified by the customer on a later date, using one of the following methods:

(a) A check issued and mailed to the customer no later than fifteen days following completion of twelve months of satisfactory payment, as described above; or

(b) A credit applied to the customer's account for service beginning in the thirteenth month.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 80.04.160. 01-11-004 (Docket No. UE-990473, General Order No. R-482), 480-100-113, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Docket No. UE-990473, General Order No. R-482, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01)

WAC 480-100-118   Nonresidential service deposit requirements.   (1) Deposit criteria for nonresidential customers. A utility may require an applicant for nonresidential service ((may be required)) to demonstrate that ((it)) the applicant is a satisfactory credit risk by reasonable means appropriate under the circumstances.

(2) Deposit amount. ((The electric utility may require a deposit not to)) Deposits required for a customer or location must not exceed ((the amount of)):

(a) ((For utilities billing monthly, two-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage; or

(b) For utilities billing bimonthly, three-twelfths of the service location's estimated annual usage.)) Two-twelfths of the estimated annual billings for utilities billing monthly; or

(b) Three-twelfths of estimated annual billings for utilities billing bimonthly.

(3) Transfer of deposit. When a customer moves to a new address within the utility's service territory, the deposit((,)) plus accrued interest ((and)), less any outstanding balance owing from the old address, must be transferred to the new address or refunded.

(4) Additional deposit. ((Nothing in this section will prevent the requirement of a larger deposit, a new deposit, or other alternative forms of a deposit when conditions warrant. Should a new, larger, or alternative form of deposit be required, the reason must be specified in writing to the customer.)) If a deposit or additional deposit amount is required after the service is established, the reasons must be specified to the customer in writing. Any request for a deposit or additional deposit amount must comply with the standards outlined in subsection (1) of this section. If the original deposit was secured by a guarantor and the guarantor does not agree to be responsible for the additional deposit amount, the customer will be held responsible for paying the additional deposit.

(5) Deposit payment date. Any deposit or additional deposit amount required after service is established is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day after notice, if the deposit requirement notice is mailed from within the states of Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, or the ninth business day if mailed from outside the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. If the utility delivers the notice to the customer in person, the deposit or additional deposit amount is due and payable not earlier than 5:00 p.m. of the sixth business day from the date of delivery.

(6) Interest on deposits. ((Interest on deposits collected from applicants or customers must:

(a) Accrue at the rate calculated as a simple average of the effective interest rate for new issues of one-year treasury bills, computed from December 1st of each year through November 30th of the following year. The commission will advise the utility each year of the specific rate;

(b) Earn the calculated interest rate as determined in (a) of this subsection during January 1st through December 31st of the subsequent year;

(c) Be computed from the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account; and

(d) Be compounded or paid annually.)) Utilities that collect customer deposits must pay interest on those deposits calculated:

(a) For each calendar year, at the rate for the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity calculated by the U.S. Treasury, as published in the Federal Reserve's Statistical Release H.15 on January 15 of that year. If January 15 falls on a nonbusiness day, the utility will use the rate posted on the next following business day; and

(b) From the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account.

(7) When refund of deposits is required. ((Deposits plus accrued interest must be applied to the customer's account or refunded at the customer's request when there has been satisfactory payment or upon termination of service.)) A utility must apply deposits plus accrued interest to the customer's account, or refund deposits plus accrued interest when there has been satisfactory payment, as defined in (a) of this subsection, or when service is terminated.

(a) "Satisfactory payment"((. Satisfactory payment is established when the)) means a customer has paid for service ((during)) for twelve consecutive months in a prompt and satisfactory manner as evidenced by the following:

(i) The utility has not ((initiated)) started a disconnection ((proceedings)) process against the customer; and

(ii) The utility has sent no more than two delinquency notices to the customer.

(b) Termination of service. ((Upon termination of)) When service is terminated, the utility must return to the customer the deposit amount plus accrued interest, less any amounts due the utility by the customer.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 80.04.160. 01-11-004 (Docket No. UE-990473, General Order No. R-482), 480-100-118, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Docket No. UE-990473, General Order No. R-482, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01)

WAC 480-100-148   Service responsibility.   (1) Customer responsibility. The customer must notify the electric utility, in writing, prior to all changes to the customer's equipment or usage that will materially affect the service to be rendered. The customer must give such notice within a reasonable time so the utility can provide the necessary facilities and acquire additional power supply, if needed. The charge for such necessary facilities, if any, must be in accordance with the utility's filed tariff.

(2) Electric utility responsibility. Each electric utility:

(a) Must install and maintain monitoring equipment at appropriate locations within its system in order to determine the operating characteristics of the system. The commission may require the utility to provide additional equipment in connection with performing special investigations, if economically feasible;

(b) Must promptly notify all affected customers of any substantial change to the service that would affect the efficiency of operation or the adjustment of the customer's equipment. If an adjustment to the customer's equipment is necessary, the cost may be recovered in accordance with the utility's tariff, except that, when the customer has been notified of a change in service prior to receiving service or when such change is required by law, the customer must bear all costs in connection with making changes to the customer's own equipment.

(c) Must maintain its plant in such a condition that will enable it to furnish safe, adequate, and efficient service.

(d) Must make those efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to avoid interruptions of service and, when such interruptions occur, to reestablish service with a minimum of delay. Interruptions as used in this subsection do not refer to the discontinuance of service to those customers receiving service under an interruptible service schedule.

When it is necessary for an electric utility to make repairs to or to change its facilities ((other than meters)), the utility may, without incurring any liability, suspend service for such periods as may be reasonably necessary and in such a manner as to minimize the inconvenience to customers. When practicable, such interruption will be during the working hours regularly maintained by the utility. The utility must individually notify police and fire departments affected by such a suspension. All customers affected by a scheduled interruption associated with facilities other than meters, will be given notification through newspapers, radio announcements, or other means at least one day in advance.

(e) Must keep a record of all interruptions of service affecting a substantial number of customers, including in such record the location, the date and time, the duration, and, as accurately as possible, the cause of each interruption. Utilities must submit copies of such records to the commission upon request.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 80.04.160. 01-11-004 (Docket No. UE-990473, General Order No. R-482), 480-100-148, filed 5/3/01, effective 6/3/01.]

OTS-5890.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order R-467, Docket No. UW-980082, filed 11/30/99, effective 12/31/99)

WAC 480-110-335   ((Establishment of)) Establishing credit and deposits.   (1) ((Establishment of)) Establishing credit - residential. A company ((must)) may not collect a security deposit if an applicant for residential ((water)) service can establish satisfactory credit by any one of the following ((factors)):

(a) The applicant had prior service with the ((water)) company ((within the prior)) or another water company for twelve months before the application date and:

(i) ((At least twelve consecutive months with no more than one delinquency notice; and

(ii) The)) Service was not disconnected for nonpayment((.

(b) Prior residential water service));

(ii) The customer received no more than one delinquency notice; and

(iii) References with ((another water)) the other company((, as demonstrated in (a) of this subsection, for which references may be)) (if applicable) can quickly and easily be checked. The ((water)) company may request that the references ((be in writing)) from the previous ((water)) company((;)) be in writing.

(((c) Full-time)) (b) The applicant had consecutive employment during the prior twelve months with no more than two employers((,)) and ((the applicant)) is currently employed or has a regular source of income((;)).

(((d) Ownership of)) (c) The applicant owns or has a legal interest in the premises being served((;)).

(((e) Furnishing)) (d) The applicant can furnish a satisfactory guarantor who will be responsible for payment of water service bills in the event of disconnection or default by the customer, in a specified amount, not to exceed the amount of the cash deposit required((;)).

(((f) Producing, in person)) (e) The applicant personally produces at the ((water)) company's business office((,)) two major credit cards, or other credit references((,)) that the company can quickly and easily check, that demonstrate a satisfactory payment history.

(2) ((Establishment of)) Establishing credit - nonresidential. A company may require an applicant for nonresidential water service ((may be required)) to demonstrate that ((it)) the applicant is a satisfactory credit risk by reasonable means appropriate under the circumstances.

(3) Deposit requirements. A ((deposit may be required when)) company may require a deposit if:

(a) The applicant has failed to establish a satisfactory credit history as outlined in subsections (1) or (2) of this section;

(b) ((During the prior twelve months, the applicant's service from another water company has been disconnected for failure to pay amounts owing when due;)) The applicant's service from another water company was disconnected for failure to pay amounts owing when due during the twelve months before the application date;

(c) ((There is)) The applicant has an unpaid, overdue balance owing for similar service from the water company to which application is being made or from any other water company;

(d) Two or more delinquency notices have been served ((upon)) on the applicant by any water company during the prior twelve months; or

(e) The application is for ((the initiation or continuation of)) beginning or continuing service to a residence where a prior customer still lives and owes a past due bill to the ((water)) company.

(4) ((Amount of)) Deposit amount. ((Required)) Deposits required for a customer or location must not exceed:

(a) Two-twelfths of the estimated annual billings ((for that customer or location)) for companies billing monthly;

(b) Three-twelfths of estimated annual billings for companies billing bimonthly;

(c) Four-twelfths of estimated annual billings for companies billing trimonthly.

(5) Transfer of deposit. When a customer moves to a new address within the ((water)) company's service territory, the deposit ((must be transferable)) plus accrued interest, less any outstanding past-due balance owing from the old address, must be transferred to the new address or refunded.

(6) Interest on deposits. ((Interest on deposits collected from applicants or customers must:

(a) Accrue at the rate calculated as a simple average of the effective interest rate for new issues of one-year treasury bills, computed from December 1 of each year, continuing through November 30 of the following year. The commission will advise the water company each year of the specific rate by mail.

(b) Earn the calculated interest rate during January 1 through December 31 of the subsequent year.

(c) Be computed from the time of deposit to the time of refund or total application of the deposit and must be compounded annually.

(7) Extended payment arrangement of deposits. When an applicant or customer is required to pay a deposit but is unable to pay the entire deposit in advance of connection or continuation of service, the applicant or customer must be allowed to pay fifty percent of the deposit prior to service, with the remaining balance payable in equal amounts over the next two months.

(8) Cash payments. When payment is made in person and in cash, a receipt must be furnished to each applicant or customer for the amount paid.)) Companies that collect customer deposits must pay interest on those deposits calculated:

(a) For each calendar year, at the rate for the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity calculated by the U.S. Treasury, as published in the Federal Reserve's Statistical Release H.15 on January 15 of that year. If January 15 falls on a nonbusiness day, the company will use the rate posted on the next following business day; and

(b) From the date of deposit to the date of refund or when applied directly to the customer's account.

(7) Deposit payment arrangements. The company must allow an applicant or customer the option of paying fifty percent of the deposit prior to service, and paying the remaining balance in equal amounts over the next two months, on the dates mutually agreed upon between the applicant or customer and the company. The company and applicant or customer may make other mutually acceptable deposit payment arrangements.

(8) Receipt for deposit. A company must furnish a receipt to each applicant or customer for the amount deposited.

(9) When refund of deposits ((when)) is required. A company must refund deposits plus accrued interest ((must be refunded)) when there has been satisfactory payment, as defined in (a) of this subsection, or ((upon termination of service)) when service is terminated.

(a) "Satisfactory payment"(( - when)) means a customer has paid for service for twelve consecutive months in a prompt and satisfactory manner as evidenced by the following:

(i) The ((water)) company has not ((initiated)) started a disconnection ((proceedings)) process against the customer; and

(ii) The company has sent no more than two delinquency notices ((of delinquency have been made)) to the customer ((by the water company)).

(b) Termination of service(( - upon termination of)). When service is terminated, the ((utility)) company must return to the customer the deposit amount ((then on deposit)) plus accrued interest, less any amounts due the ((utility)) company by the customer.

(10) ((Refund of deposits method.)) How deposits are refunded. The company must refund any deposit((,)) plus accrued interest, ((must be refunded to the customer in accordance with the preference)) as indicated by the customer at the time of deposit, or as modified by the customer on a later date, using one of the following methods:

(a) ((In the form of)) A check issued and mailed to the customer no later than fifteen days following completion of twelve months of satisfactory payment, as described above; or

(b) A credit applied to the customer's account for service beginning in the ((13th)) thirteenth month.

(11) Additional deposit. ((Nothing in this rule prevents the requirement of a larger deposit or a new deposit when conditions warrant. Should a larger or new deposit be required, the reasons must be specified in writing to the customer. Any requirement for a new or larger deposit must comply with the standards set forth in this rule.)) If a deposit or additional deposit amount is required after the service is established, the reasons must be specified to the customer in writing. Any request for a deposit or additional deposit amount must comply with the standards outlined in subsections (1) and (2) of this section. If the original deposit was secured by a guarantor and the guarantor does not agree to be responsible for the additional deposit amount, the customer will be held responsible for paying the additional deposit.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040. 99-24-100 (Order R-467, Docket No. UW-980082), 480-110-335, filed 11/30/99, effective 12/31/99.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office