Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 515-12-1-.05 - Customer Deposits for Communication Services

Current through Rules and Regulations filed through April 4, 2022

(1) The Commission declares that it is in the public interest for each utility to fairly and indiscriminately administer a reasonable policy reflected by written regulations, in accord with these Rules, which will permit an applicant for service to establish, or an existing customer to reestablish, credit with the utility for the use of its service. The Commission further declares that when it is necessary for an applicant or customer to make a cash deposit to establish or reestablish credit in accordance with these Rules, the making of such deposit is in the public interest because it avoids, to the extent practicable, the creation of a burden arising from uncollectible bills which would have to be borne ultimately by all the utility's ratepayers. The Commission further declares that the essential igredient in each utility's administration of deposit policy in accord with these Rules is its equitable and indiscriminate application to all applicants for service and customers throughout the service area without regard to the economic character of the area or any part thereof, and such deposit policy shall be predicated upon the credit risk of the individual without regard to the collective credit reputation of the area in which he lives.
(2) Each utility may require an applicant for service to satisfactorily establish credit which will be deemed established if:
(a) The applicant demonstrates that he is a satisfactory credit risk by appropriate means including, but not limited to, the production of substantive references which may be quickly and inexpensively checked by the utility; or
(b) The applicant has been a customer of the utility for a similar type of service within a period of twenty-four consecutive billings preceding the date of application and during the last twelve consecutive billings for that prior service has not had service discontinued for nonpayment of bill or had more than one occasion in which a bill was not paid within the period prescribed by the reasonable regulation of the utility on file with the Commission; provided, that the average periodic bill for such previous service was equal to at least fifty per centum of that estimated for the new service; and provided further, that the credit of the applicant is unimpaired; or
(c) The applicant furnishes a satisfactory guarantor to secure payment of bills for the service requested in a specified amount not to exceed the amount of the cash deposit prescribed in Paragraph (4) of this Rule; or
(d) The applicant makes a cash deposit to secure payment of bills for service prescribed in Paragraph (4) of this Rule.
(3) An applicant for service who previously has been a customer of the utility and whose service has been discontinued by the utility during the last twelve billings of that prior service because of nonpayment of bills, may be required to reestablish credit in accordance with Paragraph (2) of this Rule; except, that an applicant for residential service shall not be denied service for failure to pay such bills for classes of nonresidential service.
(a) A customer who fails to pay a bill within a reasonable period after it becomes due and when further fails to pay such bill within the period prescribed by the reasonable regulations of the utility on file with the Commission after presentation of a discontinuance of service notice for nonpayment of bill (regardless of whether or not service was discontinued or such nonpayment), may be required to pay such bill together with a reasonable reconnection charge, if any, and reestablish his credit by depositing the amount prescribed in Paragraph (4) of this Rule.
(b) A customer may be required to reestablish his credit in accordance with Paragraph (2) of this Rule in case the conditions of service or basis on which credit was originally established have materially changed.
(4) Deposit; Amount; Receipt; Interest. No utility shall require a cash deposit to establish or reestablish credit in an amount in excess of two-and-one-half twelfths of the estimated charge for the service for the ensuing twelve months; and, in the case of seasonal service, in an amount in excess of one-half of the estimated charge for the service for the season involved. Each utility, upon request, shall furnish a copy of Paragraphs (2) through (7) of these Rules to the applicant for service or customer from whom a deposit is required and such copy shall contain the name, address and telephone number of the Commission.
(a) Upon receiving a cash deposit and if requested, the utility shall furnish to the applicant for service or customer, a receipt showing: the date thereof; the name of the applicant or customer and the current billing address; the service to be furnished or presently furnished; and the amount of the deposit and the rate of interest to be paid thereon.
(b) Each utility shall pay interest on a deposit at the rate of 7% per annum (effective April 1, 1980). Interest on a deposit shall accrue annually and, if requested, shall be annually credited to the customer by deducting such interest from the amount of the next bill for service following the accrual date. A utility shall not be required to pay interest on a deposit for the period following ninety days after discontinuance of service, if during such period the utility has made a reasonable effort to refund the deposit. Each utility shall comply with the Georgia Unclaimed Property Act for all unclaimed deposits.
(5) Refund of Deposit.
(a) After discontinuance of service and following rendition of final bill, the utility shall promptly and automatically refund the customer's deposit plus accrued interest, or the balance, if any, in excess of the unpaid bills for service furnished by the utility. A transfer of service from one premises to another within the service area of the utility shall not be deemed a discontinuance within the meaning of these Rules.
(b) After the customer has paid bills for service for twelve consecutive bills without having had service discontinued for nonpayment of bill or had more than one occasion in which a bill was not paid within the period prescribed by the regulations of the utility on file with the Commission, and the customer is not then delinquent in the payment of his bills, the utility shall annually and automatically refund the deposit plus accrued interest. Deposits maturing under this section for refund and falling on other than the company's normal annual refund date will be promptly returned to the customer upon request. If the customer has had service discontinued for nonpayment of his bill or had more than one past-due bill for such period, the utility shall thereafter review the account every twelve billings and shall promptly and automatically refund the deposit plus accured interest after the customer has not had service discontinued for nonpayment of bill or had more than one such past-due bill during the twelve billings prior to any review and is not then delinquent in the payment of his bills.
(c) The utility shall promptly return the deposit plus accured interest at any time upon request, if the customer's credit has been otherwise established in accordance with Paragraph (2) of these Rules.
(d) At the option of the utility, a deposit plus accrued interest may be refunded, in whole or in part, at any time earlier than the times hereinabove prescribed.
(e) The customer who believes he has been refused a deposit refund for insufficient reason or the utility which believes the customer is attempting to violate the intent of these Rules, shall have the right to appeal the case to the Commission for analysis and disposition.
(6) Record of Deposit. Each utility holding a cash deposit shall keep a record thereof until the deposit is refunded. The record shall show: the name and current billing address of each depositor; the amount and date of the deposit; an each transaction concerning the deposit.
(7) Appeal by Applicant or Customer. Each utility shall direct its personnel engaged in initial contact with an applicant for service or customer, seeking to establish or reestablish credit under the provisions of these Rules, to inform him, if he expresses dissatisfaction with the decision of such personnel, of his right to have the problem considered and acted upon by supervisory personnel of the utility. Each utility shall further direct such supervisory personnel to inform such an applicant or customer who expresses dissatisfaction with the decision of such supervisory personnel and requests governmental review, of his right to have the problem reviewed by the Commission and shall furnish him the address and telephone number of the Commission.

Notes

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 515-12-1-.05
Ga. L. 1878-79, p. 125; 1970, p. 72; 1922, pp. 143,144; 1964, p. 338; 1965, p. 283; 1973, pp. 677-681; 1975, Sec. 2, p. 406. (Ga. Code Ann. ยง 93-307).
Original Rule entitled "Customer Deposits for Communication Services" was filed on December 29, 1975; effective 1/1/1976, as specified by Ga. L. 1975, P. 411. Amended: Filed February 22, 1980; effective 3/13/1980.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.



State regulations are updated quarterly; we currently have two versions available. Below is a comparison between our most recent version and the prior quarterly release. More comparison features will be added as we have more versions to compare.