A utility company may deny your application for service if you owe money for the same type of service at the same or different address unless:
- You pay any past-due bill and enter into a payment plan to pay any required deposit; or
- The utility company agrees to offer you a deferred payment arrangement (DPA) to pay off the past due amount.
A DPA is where you make a down payment on the amount you owe, and pay the rest over a period of up to 12 months. If a public utility decides not to offer you a DPA, it must explain why in writing. DPA rules are different depending on the time of year. During the winter months, it is easier to get a DPA, and you may be able to get a winter DPA even if you defaulted on one earlier in the year.
You cannot be denied service for not paying another customer’s bill unless you were married to and living with the other customer at the time covered by the past-due bill.
If you have an unpaid bill
Ask the company to give you a summary of the records showing you owe the past-due bill. The billing information must include:
- Address for where the public utility was being served;
- Meter readings and dates;
- Dates of usage; and
- Bill amounts and dates for any past due bill which occurred after November 2014.
The public utility company need only provide you with minimal records to show past due bills older than November 2014.
A utility cannot deny your application because of an issue that is not related to your service. You cannot be denied service because of charges owing for non-utility service and merchandise. One utility company cannot deny you a service because you did not pay another utility company. For example, if you did not pay for gas that does not mean the water company can deny you service.