(1) Notice of Discontinuance.
(a) No utility shall
discontinue service to any consumer for violation of rules or for nonpayment of
bills, without first having tried diligently to induce the consumer to comply
with its rules, or to pay outstanding bills. A record of these efforts must be
maintained by the utility.
(b) A utility may not
terminate service to any consumer unless written notice is sent by first class
mail to the consumer that bills are ten or more days delinquent, or that the
violation of the rules must cease. If no response to the first notice is
received within ten days of mailing, the utility must send a second notice by
first class or certified mail, or personally serve the customer at least ten
days prior to the date of the proposed termination. If no response to the
second notice is received within ten days of mailing or service, the utility
shall leave notice in a place conspicuous to the consumer that service will be
terminated on the next business day unless the delinquent charges have been
paid or the violation of the rules have ceased.
(c) A utility may
terminate water service without advance notice to the consumer when the
utility's regulating or measuring equipment has been tampered with, or where
the fraudulent use of water service by an unauthorized person is detected. The
utility may assess a reconnection charge as provided in ARM 38.5.2505(2) before
service is recontinued.
(d) All disconnections
shall be performed by the utility between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00
noon, and in no case shall the utility discontinue service on Friday, Saturday,
Sunday, or a day prior to holiday except as provided in ARM 38.5.2505(1) (c) .
(2) Charge for Reconnection.
(a) Whenever the supply of water is
discontinued for violation of these general rules or the utility's special
rules, nonpayment of bills, or as provided in ARM 38.5.2505 (1) (c) , the utility
may make a reconnection charge as set forth in its tariff for the
reestablishment of service.
(b) After service has been turned off
because of nonpayment, service shall not be turned on again until all
delinquent water bills and a reconnection charge as set forth in the utility's
tariff have been paid or an agreeable pay arrangement has been made between the
consumer and the utility.
(c) If a consumer requests that water
service be discontinued and then requests service be recontinued any time
within eight months following the discontinuance, the utility may require the
consumer first pay a reconnection charge as set forth in the utility's tariff.
(3) Temporary Service Failure. Any
temporary failure on the part of the utility to supply service by reason of
accident or otherwise for a period in excess of 24 hours shall not render the
utility liable beyond a pro rata abatement of service charges during such
(4) Emergency Service Disruption. Notice
will be given, whenever possible, prior to shutting off water, but consumers
are warned that owing to unavoidable accidents or emergencies their water
service may be shut off at any time. In the event of such accidents or
emergencies, consumers are advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent
damage to their fixtures and premises.