Most of the grounds for preventing termination of service are also grounds for getting service restored once it has been shut off.
1. If You Qualify for a Special Protection
If your utility service has already been terminated, you have the right to get it restored if you are eligible for any of the protections discussed in the Special Protections Against Shut-offs section in this chapter. Note, however, that this right to get service restored is not indefinite.
While the DPU has never defined how long after a termination a customer can ask to have service restored based on a Special Protection, companies may refuse to restore service if the customer has been terminated for 90 days or more. If you are trying to get service restored, but the company refuses because it claims you are no longer a customer or have been terminated too long, contact the DPU Consumer Division.
Putting aside the question about how long a customer retains the right to restore terminated service, the utility company must restore your service if you can show financial hardship and one of the following:
- For Electricity, Gas, Private WaterCompany and Wireline Telephone: A household member is seriously ill. This can include an adult, child, or other household members who has any physical, mental, or emotional condition or health problem that a doctor believes is a serious illness.
- For Electricity, Gas, Private WaterCompany, and Wireline Telephone: Every adult in the household is over age 65 and the company has not gotten permission from DPU to terminate service.
- For Electricity, Gas, and Private Water: A child under one year of age is living in the home, whether or not the child was born before the service was terminated for non-payment.
- For Electricity and Gas: It is between November 15 and March 15 and the utility provides heat or is needed to run the furnace or heating system.
- For Telephone: You have a personal emergency requiring access to a phone.
If your household is eligible for one of these protections, you should notify the company immediately. To do this, follow the steps outlined in the Special Protections Against Shut-offs section in this chapter. If the company refuses to restore your service, call DPU (or DTC, in the case of telephone service) for assistance.
2. If the Company Did Not Follow Proper Procedures
If the company did not follow the procedures listed in the next section in this chapter, called Your Rights During the Termination Process, before shutting off your service, it should restore your service and go through the proper procedures. You should call the company immediately; explain which procedures were not followed, and ask that your service be restored until the proper procedures are followed and you are given a chance to respond to them. If the company refuses, call the DPU.
3. If You Are Trying to Set Up an Account at a New Address
If you are trying to set up an electricity or gas account at a new address and you owe the company money, you may have to sign a "Cromwell Waiver," which states that you are still responsible for the prior bills and that your new service can be terminated if you fail to pay them. You must then set up a payment plan for paying off the old arrearage. The company will often require that you pay half of the arrearage up-front. If you cannot do this and cannot get the company to agree to a different arrangement, call the DPU for assistance. For more information, see the section in this chapter called Your Right to Obtain Service.