Oregon Bulletin

September 1, 2013

Public Utility Commission, Chapter 860

Rule Caption: Revision to OAR 860-021-0015(1) to Clarify Utilities’ Retention Period for Dispute Records.

Adm. Order No.: PUC 6-2013

Filed with Sec. of State: 8-7-2013

Certified to be Effective: 8-7-13

Notice Publication Date: 6-1-2013

Rules Amended: 860-021-0015

Subject: The rule previously contained an incorrect rule reference and that intended reference did not specifically address the retention for utility-consumer or utility-customer dispute records. This amendment to the rule eliminates the incorrect reference and clarifies that the utility must retain records of the consumer or customer dispute for 36 months.

Rules Coordinator: Diane Davis—(503) 378-4372


Dispute Resolution

(1) When a dispute occurs between a customer or applicant and a utility about any bill, charge, or service, the utility must thoroughly investigate the matter and promptly report the results of its investigation to the customer or applicant. Each utility must prepare a written record showing the name and address of the customer or applicant involved, the date and character of the dispute, and the disposition of the matter. The utility must retain records of the dispute for 36 months.

(2) The utility shall inform the customer or applicant of the right to supervisory review of any dispute, including but not limited to, establishment of credit and termination of service. If a dispute is not resolved, the utility shall notify the customer or applicant of the Commission’s dispute resolution procedure and its toll-free telephone number.

(3) A customer or applicant may request the Commission’s assistance in resolving the dispute by contacting the Commission’s Consumer Services Division. The Commission shall notify the utility upon receipt of such a request.

(4) The Commission’s Consumer Services Division shall assist the complainant and the utility in an effort to reach an informal resolution of the dispute.

(5) If a registered dispute cannot be resolved informally, the Commission’s Consumer Services Division shall advise the complainant of the right to file a formal written complaint with the Commission. The complaint shall state the facts of the dispute and the relief requested. The utility shall answer the complaint within 15 days of service of the complaint. The matter shall then be set for expedited hearing. A hearing may be held on less than ten days’ notice when good cause is shown.

(6) Pending resolution of the dispute, the complainant’s obligation to pay undisputed amounts continues.

(7) A customer or applicant who has a registered dispute or formal complaint pending with the Commission shall be entitled to continued or restored service provided:

(a) Service was not terminated for theft of service or failure to establish credit;

(b) A bona fide dispute exists in which the facts asserted by the customer or applicant entitle the customer or applicant to service;

(c) When termination is based on nonpayment, the customer or applicant makes adequate arrangement to avoid future loss to the utility, such as prepaying estimated monthly utility charges; and

(d) The customer or applicant diligently pursues conflict resolution under the Commission’s rules.

(8) If the conditions in section (7) of this rule are not satisfied, the utility has no obligation to provide continued service. A utility discontinuing service because of a failure to meet the conditions of subsections (7)(c) or (7)(d) of this rule shall give the customer five-day notice served in the same manner as provided by OAR 860-021-0405 or 860-021-0505, whichever applies, except the notice need only describe the defect in performance, the date and time when utility service will terminate, and the toll-free number of the Commission’s Consumer Services Division. In deciding whether the conditions are met, the utility shall consult with the Commission’s Consumer Services Division. A customer or applicant who has filed a formal complaint, the utility, or the Commission’s Consumer Services Division may ask the Commission for a hearing to decide if the conditions are met. Unless extraordinary circumstances exist, the hearing will be conducted by telephone conference within three business days from the date requested. Notice of hearing will be given to the customer, the utility, and the Commission’s Consumer Services Division at least 12 hours before the date and time of the hearing. Notice is effective when given in person, by telephone, or in writing delivered to the party’s last known address. Mailed notice is effective two days after deposit in the U.S. mail, excluding Sundays and holidays.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 183, 756, 757 & 759

Stats. Implemented: ORS 756.040, 756.500 & 756.512

Hist.: PUC 164, f. 4-18-74. ef. 5-11-74 (Order No. 74-307); PUC 5-1983, f. 5-31-83, ef. 6-1-83 (Order No. 83-284); PUC 12-1983, f. & ef. 10-7-83 (Order No. 83-623); PUC 1-1985, f. & ef. 2-1-85 (Order No. 85-075); PUC 4-1985, f. & ef, 4-22-85 (Order No. 85-350); PUC 5-1987, f. & ef. 7-2-87 (Order No. 87-723); PUC 16-1990, f. 9-28-90, cert. ef. 10-1-90 (Order No. 90-1105); PUC 11-1998, f. & ef. 5-7-98 (Order No. 98-188); PUC 8-1999, f. & cert. ef. 10-18-99; PUC 19-2001, f. & cert. ef. 6-21-01; PUC 11-2003, f. & cert. ef. 7-3-03; PUC 6-2013, f. & cert. ef. 8-7-13

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