YOUR RIGHTS AS A CUSTOMER
(YOUR RIGHTS AS A MEMBER OF NORTH PLAINS ELECTRIC COOP., INC.)
I. RATE AND SERVICE INFORMATION:
You may, either by phone or by personal visit to the Cooperative's business office located at 14585 US Highway 83, Perryton, Texas (806-435-5482 or 1-800-272-5482) request copies of any portion of the Cooperative's rate and service tariffs and rules as filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas. A nominal reproduction charge will be made for each copy and postage will be added if the copies are mailed.
II. METER TESTING:
As provided by the rules of the Public Utility Commission you may request a test of your electric meter if you believe that the meter is not accurately reflecting your actual electric consumption. In the event that you request a test more often than four years and the meter is not defective, you will be required to pay a charge of not more than $25 for the test.
III. OUTSTANDING BILLS:
Under the tariff of this Cooperative, you have twenty-six (26) days from the date of the bill to pay an outstanding bill.
IV. TERMINATION OF SERVICE:
Your electric service may be discontinued after proper notice for the following reasons:
A. Failure to pay an outstanding bill within twenty-six (26) days of issuance.
B. Failure to pay a delinquent account or meet the terms of a deferred payment plan.
C. Violation of the Cooperative's rules for the use of service in such a manner that interferes with the service of others or the operation of non-standard equipment, provided that the Cooperative will make every attempt to notify you of the problem and allow you to remedy the situation.
D. Failure to comply with the Cooperative's deposit and guarantee requirements.
E. The Cooperative may also disconnect service at once and without notice where a dangerous condition exists and such disconnection shall remain in effect so long as the condition exists. Disconnection without notice may also be made when service is connected without authority by a person who has not made application for service or who has reconnected service without authority following termination of service for nonpayment. In instances of tampering with the Cooperative's meter or equipment, bypassing same, or other instances of diversion, service may be terminated immediately.
F. If you are seriously ill or will become more seriously ill as a result of termination of service, you may have your physician call or contact the Cooperative within sixteen (16) days of the issuance of the bill concerning your condition. The physician must provide a confirmation letter to the Cooperative within twenty-six (26) days of the issuance of the bill and the Cooperative will then refrain from termination of service for sixty-three (63) days from the issuance of the bill unless a lesser period is agreed upon. If you make a request to avoid termination under this provision, you must enter into a deferred payment arrangement.
G. On a day when the previous day's highest temperature did not exceed 32°F, and the temperature is predicted to remain at that level for the next 24 hours according to the nearest National Weather Service (NWS) reports, or in zones where an excessive heat alert is in effect as determined by the NWS and reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an electric utility cannot disconnect a customer until the utility ascertains that no life-threatening condition exists in the customer's household, or would exist, because of disconnection during severe weather conditions.
H. The Cooperative will either mail or personally deliver a written notice of termination at least ten (10) days prior to the date of disconnection. Disconnection will only occur on those days when Cooperative personnel are available to receive payment to prevent disconnection.
V. SERVICE AND BILLING DISPUTES:
If you disagree with the Cooperative regarding any aspect of the Cooperative's service you may request a supervisory review. If you make such a request, you have five (5) days to participate in the review before the Cooperative may terminate service if the dispute is one in which the issues may result in such termination, provided that notice has been given under standard disconnection procedures. If the billing dispute is not resolved by such review, the Cooperative will inform the member of the Cooperative's complaint process. During the pendency of such appeal or other resolution of a dispute, you may avoid termination of service by paying the average of your monthly bill for the past twelve (12) months as determined by the Cooperative. In the event the dispute is not resolved within sixty (60) days, you must keep all subsequent bills current.
VI. ALTERNATE PAYMENT PLANS:
As a member of the Cooperative, you have a right to request alternate payment plans.
A. DEFERRED PAYMENT PLAN:
If you have not been delinquent in paying your bill more than two times in the last twelve (12) months and are unable to pay any or all of your bill, you are qualified for a deferred payment plan. Such plan requires that you keep all subsequent bills current and pay monthly an amount not to exceed one-third of the outstanding amount. You may, but are not required to, sign this agreement and if you do not fulfill the terms of the agreement, your service may be terminated under standard termination procedures. Such breech of the agreement voids your right to a deferred payment plan or renegotiation to avoid termination. The Cooperative is not required to offer this arrangement if you have had service for less than three months.
B. LEVEL AND AVERAGE PAYMENT PLAN:
An average payment plan allowing eligible residential customers to pay on a monthly basis one-twelfth of the sum of that customer's current month's consumption plus the previous 11 month's consumption (or an estimate thereof, for a new customer) at the appropriate customer class rates, plus a portion of any unbilled balance.
If a customer for the Cooperative's service does not fulfill the terms and obligations of a level payment agreement or an average payment plan, the Cooperative shall have the right to disconnect service to that customer pursuant to the disconnection rules provided elsewhere in these sections.
The Cooperative may collect a customer deposit from all customers entering into level payment plans or average payment plans; the deposit will not exceed an amount equivalent to one-sixth of the estimated annual billing. Notwithstanding any other provision of these sections, the Cooperative may retain said deposit for the duration of the level or average payment plan; however, the Cooperative shall pay such interest on the deposit as is provided elsewhere in these sections.
VII. SERVICE RECONNECTION:
If your service is interrupted for any of the reasons listed under Sec. IV of the information sheet, you may reestablish service when all outstanding and delinquent bills are paid and when a deposit or other evidence of payment guarantee is provided to the Cooperative.
VIII. COOPERATIVE ADDRESS AND BUSINESS HOURS:
North Plains Electric Cooperative, U.S. 14585 US Highway
83, Post Office Box 1008, Perryton, Texas 79070 (806-4355482 or 1-800-272-5482). Business hours are 8-5, MondayFriday with 24 hour service provided for outages and reconnects.
IX. METER READING:
If you would like information regarding the proper method for reading your electric meter, the Cooperative will provide, on request, a pamphlet with full instructions. X. DEPOSIT POLICY:
You will not be required to pay a deposit for residential service unless you have been delinquent in paying your bill for electric service on more than one occasion in the last twelve (12) months or unless the Cooperative has terminated your service for nonpayment. The deposit is limited to one-sixth of your estimated annual electric bill. Deposits accrue interest at the rate of 6.00% per annum and will either be paid to you when the deposit is returned or credited to your account. If the deposit is retained for more than one year, the Cooperative may make a direct payment of the accrued interest to you. In lieu of a cash deposit you may present letters of credit or guarantee. If service is initiated with one of these methods used as security, the letter will be voided and returned after twelve (12) consecutive residential billings if your service has not been disconnected for nonpayment or if you have not been delinquent more than one time. Such voiding is the Cooperative's acknowledgment that you have established satisfactory credit. Similarly, if you have not been disconnected for nonpayment or delinquent more than one (1) time after twelve (12) consecutive residential billings, the Cooperative will automatically refund the deposit plus accrued interest either as cash or credit to your account, providing your account is current.
XI. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:
The following governmental or social service agencies may be able to assist you if you are having trouble making your payment for electric service to the Cooperative:
Texas Department of Human Resources
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
P.O. Box 149030, Mail Code 765-H Austin, Texas 78714-9030
1-800-252-8060 or (512) 929-7330
Texas Department of Community Affairs
8317 Cross Park
Austin, Texas 78754
Texas Panhandle Community Action Corporation
P.O. Box 32150
Amarillo, Texas 79120
Public Utility Commission of Texas
7800 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Suite 400N
Austin, Texas 78757
Your Cooperative provides electric service without discrimination as to a member's race, nationality, color, religion, sex, or marital status.
Credit history shall be applied equally for a reasonable period of time to a spouse or former spouse who shared the service. Credit history maintained by one must be applied equally to the other without modification and without additional qualifications not required of the other.
XIII. SPECIAL SERVICES:
The telephone number for the teletypewriter for the deaf at the Public Utility Commission of Texas is (512) 4580221 TTY - FOR THE DEAF.
XIV. PUBLICATION OF YOUR RIGHTS AS A CUSTOMER:
This pamphlet entitled "Your Rights As A Customer" is available in Spanish, both by mail and at the office of North Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Perryton, Texas.
Copias se los derechos del consumidor en español pueden ser obtenidas en North Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc. de Perryton Texas.