Energy Service Disconnections 

Background 

In November 2009, ORA issued a report on the Status of Energy Utility Service Disconnections in California.  In 2010, the CPUC put in place temporary protections for energy service disconnections as a response to the economic downturn in California.  Subsequently, the CPUC approved utility best practice strategies to keep energy service disconnections low. In 2010 the CPUC issued a Decision approving a voluntary Settlement among SDG&E, SoCalGas, ORA, TURN, The Greenlining Institute, the National Consumer Law Center, and the Center for Accessible Technology that set best practices to keep energy service disconnections low. In 2012 the CPUC issued another Decision extending best practice protections to customers of PG&E and Edison. These protections are a combination of limits on the overall number of disconnections, waivers for deposit requirements to restore service, and extensions to pay past-due bills. 

  • See Summary of CPUC-approved utility energy service disconnection practices. 

ORA Position 

ORA supports Disconnection policy, practices, and rules that require the utilities to make reasonable attempts to collect payment for service, and that disconnect service only as a last resort. ORA successfully advocated for:  

  • Adequate customer notice of remote (and automatic) disconnection of electric service.
  • In-person premise visits prior to disconnection for customers for whom electric service disconnection could be life-threatening.

ORA also asserts that the consistently higher rate of disconnections of low-income customers is a symptom of unaffordable bills, and urges the CPUC to better tailor utility assistance programs to improve bill affordability. 

See ORA’s May 31, 2011 Reply Comments on billing improvements, remote disconnection protections, and disconnection benchmarks for PG&E and SCE.

See ORA’s May 20, 2011 Comments on billing improvements, remote disconnection protections, and disconnection benchmarks for PG&E and SCE.

See ORA’s September 24, 2010 Comments on predictable bills, and disconnection benchmarks. 

See ORA’s September 15, 2010 Reply Comments on predictable bills, and disconnection benchmarks.

See ORA’s September 9, 2010 Joint Petition for Modification to Adopt Disconnection Settlement. 

 

Proceeding Status 

The proceeding is closed.

See Proceeding docket.  

 

Other Resources 

ORA REPORT:  Status of Energy Utility Service Disconnections in California Report (Mar 2011)  

ORA REPORT: Status of Energy Utility Service Disconnections in California Report (Nov 2009) 

ORA PRESENTATION:  Low-Income Briefing, April 27, 2011