As a Residential Customer of
Massena Electric Dept.
As a Massena Electric Dept.
customer, you have rights and responsibilities. This pamphlet summarizes them.
After you read this pamphlet you should keep it for future reference.
These rights and
responsibilities result from New York State Public Service Commission (PSC)
rules and a state law- the Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA), which is
called the "Consumer Bill of Rights."
Contact us as soon as
possible if you have any complaints, questions or problems about your service.
You are entitled to a prompt answer. At our Office, there are representatives to
help you. The address and telephone number of our office appears on your bill,
at the end of this pamphlet, and also in the telephone book. Our office receives
numerous calls every day. If the lines are busy, please call again. Our office
hours are listed at the end of this pamphlet.
Whether you write, visit, or
phone, our Customer Account Representatives will do their best to handle your
inquiry promptly and considerately. If, however, you are not satisfied by our
representative's response, further help is available from a company supervisor
who will review your case.
If you are still not
satisfied, you can write to the Consumer Services Division, Consumer Assistance
at Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, N.Y. 12223, or call the PSC toll free at
1-800-342-3377. The toll free number is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on
business days. PSC consumer representatives will investigate your complaint and
determine whether the utility has acted properly.
The PSC also has a special
emergency HOTLINE for residential customers for matters concerning the
turn-on or turn-off of electric service. The toll free HOTLINE number is
1-800-342-3355. It is staffed every business day from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
If you call either of the
toll free numbers after their regular hours of operation you will be answered by
a recording machine. A staff representative will call you back the following
business day. If your call is answered by a recorder, be sure to give your area
code with your phone number and your account number.
While your complaint is being
considered by the Public Service Commission, we cannot turn off your service for
your failure to pay the amount in question. All other amounts and bills are
payable when due.
We have a responsibility to
supply electricity to our customers in a reliable manner, and you have a
responsibility to pay utility bills promptly. Here are some important points
When to pay
-- Massena Electric Dept.
bills you for electricity after you use it. Customers who use electricity are
billed each month. Bills are due and payable when received. A payment is
considered overdue 23 days after the bill is mailed to you (about 26 days after
the bill date printed on the bill); if you pay after that you may also have to
pay a late payment charge. If you have any questions about your bill, contact
our office right away; the telephone number is (315) 764-0253.
Where to pay
-- The most convenient way to
pay is by mail. Paying by mail also helps us speed the processing of your
payment. You can also pay in person at the office at 71 East Hatfield St.,
Massena, NY. Convenient night payment depositories are located at the Town Hall
and our office entrances for after hours payments.
Balanced Billing --
If you want to spread
your electricity charges evenly over a 12-month period, our Balanced Billing
plan may help. This payment plan does not reduce overall energy expenses, but it
may help you manage your budget. For more information about the plan, contact
our office, and we will send you a statement showing you how your yearly energy
charges would be broken down with Balanced Billing.
Accuracy -- We do everything we can to bill your account accurately.
Under certain circumstances we may issue you an estimated bill, if we cannot
read your meter, or if it appears that the reading may be wrong. Seasonal and
short term customers also may receive estimated bills. The procedure we use to
calculate an estimated bill is approved by the Public Service Commission. All
estimated bills clearly state that it is based on an estimate.
If, by using estimated bills,
we have understated the amount you owe by 50% of the actual usage or $100
(whichever is greater), we must notify you of that fact in writing and you may
make monthly payments on the difference.
You probably do not have to
pay a deposit when you open an account; most customers do not. If we do require
a deposit the amount is based on two times the average monthly bill. If you are
an electric heating customer a deposit is based on two times the average monthly
bill for the period November I to April 15. The Public Service Commission rules
govern deposit policies as follows:
New Customers --
We do not charge a new
customer a deposit. We may charge a seasonal or short-term customer (less than
one year of service requested) a deposit.
-- If you are a
current customer, or a former customer applying for a new account within 60
days of closing a previous account, we will not ask you to pay a deposit unless:
accumulated two consecutive months, of overdue payments, AND have not paid
one-half the amount due,
We have turned
off your service for nonpayment within the last six months.
If you are over 62, we will
not ask you for a deposit unless your service was turned off for nonpayment
within the last six months.
Public Assistance --
If you receive public
assistance, we cannot require you to pay a deposit.
Deposit Requested --
If we require you to post
a deposit, we will give you 20 days' notice before the deposit becomes due. If
you pay one-half of your bill, you will avoid a deposit.
If a deposit is required, you
may pay it in 12 monthly payments.
FINAL TERMINATION NOTICE,
SERVICE TURN-OFF & TURN-ON PROCEDURES, SPECIAL PROTECTIONS
If you fail to pay overdue
bills, we may turn off your service only after we have given the required notice
and offered you a deferred payment arrangement for your overdue bills.
Final Termination Notice --
Before we can turn
off service for an overdue bill or deposit, we must send you a Final Termination
Notice. We do not send a Final Termination Notice until you have failed to pay a
bill more than 23 days after it was mailed to you. Once you receive a Final
Termination Notice you have 15 more days in which to pay the bill, arrange for
payment, or contact us about it before service can be turned off. If you think
we have made a mistake in your account, call us. We will check it and postpone
turning off your service while we look into the matter.
We will offer you a deferred
payment agreement at least seven days (ten days if mailed) before turn-off
unless we contact the PSC and inform them that you do not have a financial
problem. If you sign a deferred payment agreement, we cannot turn off service.
The PSC staff will help you in making such an agreement. See below.
Your service will be turned
fail to pay the amount due as shown on the Final Termination Notice,
do not work out a deferred payment agreement,
UNLESS you qualify for the
special protections described in the section on "Hardship Procedures" in this
Time of Termination --
We are allowed to turn
off utility service for nonpayment only between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.,
Mondays through Thursdays. We cannot turn off service on a holiday, the
day before a holiday, the day before, or the day our business office is closed,
or for a two-week period during the Christmas-New Year's season. We can turn off
service any time there are serious safety problems and we will restore service
as soon as the problem is corrected.
Massena Electric Dept. has a
responsibility to provide its customers with safe, reliable and uninterrupted
service. Since you may be entitled to certain protections from turn-offs, it is
important for us to have the information requested below.
Please fill in the blanks and
check the appropriate box(es). Then sign and date the form, and return it with
your Massena Electric Dept. bill payment. Thank you for helping us serve you
__________________ Zip Code
Account Number (as shown on
I am 62 years of age
I live in an apartment
building or a two-family home, but ldo not have my own Massena Electric Dept.
Supplemental Security Income
(Kind of Assistance)
My identification number is:
I have the following hardship
__________________________ Date ____________
If you live in an
apartment building or a two-family house AND your landlord fails to pay the
electric bills for the building, you may be able to have the service kept on by
joining with the other tenants to pay the bill. You only have to pay current
charges and can deduct the utility payment from your rent. We will notify you by
posting notices on the building and give you a separate notice at least 15 days
before termination if the landlord has failed to pay. We also will tell you whom
to call to work out the problem.
Reconnection of Service --
If we turn off
your service, we will reconnect it within 24 hours:
Once you have
either paid the amount due, or signed a deferred payment agreement and made the
the PSC directs us to reconnect service;
you face a serious threat to health or safety.
If we fail to reconnect your
service within 24 hours - except for circumstances beyond our control - we must
pay you $25 or $50 for each additional day you are without service.
If you receive public
assistance, we will turn your service back on as soon as we receive a commitment
of payment from the social service agency helping you.
We have the right to charge a
fee of $10.00 to turn service back on during normal work hours (8 a.m. to 4
p.m., Monday to Friday); or $35.00 outside these hours and days.
Deferred Payment Agreement-
If you have a
financial problem that prevents you from paying your bills, we will work with
you to establish a deferred payment agreement. The agreement must be fair and
take account of your financial circumstances. We may ask you to make a down
payment of 15 percent of the amount you owe, or one-half your average monthly
bill (whichever is greater). If you have a financial need you may not have to
pay a down payment and your monthly payments may be as low as $10 per month. The
agreement can be changed if you can show us that there are significant changes
in your financial condition beyond your control.
The PSC will help you in
reaching an agreement with us. You may reach one of its representatives at
Hardship Procedures --
In accordance with Public
Service Commission rules, we will continue electric heat-related service if a
person's health or safety is threatened by the lack of heat. We also will refer
health or safety problems to the Department of Social Services. In the
following hardship cases, we will NOT turn off services:
If you or a family member
is ill, has a medical condition or uses a life support device, we can help you.
If you file a medical certificate with us from your doctor or local board of
health, we will continue your service for 30 days. We will tell you how the
certificate can be renewed. Briefly, to renew the certificate your doctor or
board of health must explain the medical emergency or why service is needed AND
you must explain why you are unable to pay your utility bills. We will not shut
off your service during the emergency, but you are still responsible for your
If you need utility
service to operate a life-supporting device, the certificate will remain in
effect as long as the device is needed, but you must tell us every three months
that you are unable to pay. We will also code your account to assure your added
protection from turn-offs.
Elderly (62 or older), Blind
or Disabled -- If
you are 62 years of age or older, blind or disabled, and all those living with
you are too, (or not over 18 years old), we will make special attempts to
maintain your utility service. We will contact you by phone or in person at
least 72 hours before turn-off is scheduled to try to work out a fair payment
If arrangements cannot be
made, we will notify the Department of Social Services of the possible turn-off
and will continue service for 15 days. If we ultimately turn-off service,
we must, within 10 days after that, attempt to reach you and devise a plan for
restoring service. If you qualify for protection under this section you should
immediately notify us by using the attached card.
Weather Protection -- November 1 to the following April 15.
A. If you pay the
utility directly for your heat. If you are a direct heating customer, we
cannot turn-off your service until we have tried to determine if a serious
problem with health or safety would result because of the service turn-off. We
will try to contact you by telephone or in person-at least 72 hours before
service turn-off is scheduled. We will try to contact you during business hours,
and again at the time of turn-off. If we find that service turn-off might cause
serious harm to your health or safety, we must ask the Department of Social
Service to investigate AND we must continue service for at least 15 business
IMPORTANT: For the cold weather protections, we consider "heating" to include
utility services we consider needed to provide heat.
If you pay
for your heat in your rent.
-- If you pay for your
utility services in your rent, we cannot turn off heat-related electric service
to your dwelling without giving a written 10-day notice to each tenant to
determine whether any tenant has a medical or other problem which would be
worsened by a heat turn-off. If we find a tenant with such a problem, we must
refer him or her to the Department of Social Services and continue to provide
utility service until the hardship is removed.
All residential customers are
permitted to choose a third party to receive all notifications relating to
termination of electric service. Just fill out and return the form at the end
of this pamphlet. A third party notice may keep your service from being turned
off by mistake.
You may choose a relative, a
friend, a member of the clergy, or an agency (such as the Department of Social
Services) to be a "third party" for you. A third party will receive copies of
any Final Disconnect Notices we send to you because of overdue electric bills.
The third party can contact us on your behalf and help you work out payment
terms with us. But the third party is NOT responsible for paying your bills.
DIVERSION OF SERVICE
If you rent an apartment and
pay your own utility bills, you pay only for the energy you use in your
dwelling. We cannot charge you for electricity used elsewhere in the apartment
building; nor can we turn off your service for failing to pay for service
outside your apartment - unless you have agreed with your landlord to pay for
such other service.
If you believe you are being
wrongly charged for energy that others are using, call our office and we will
investigate the matter.
ACCESS TO YOUR METER
We read your meter so that we
can send you an accurate bill based on the amount of electricity you use. If we
are unable to read a meter for four months in a row, we will send you a notice
requesting that you either provide us with a reading or make an appointment for
a special reading. You can phone your meter reading to us or you can mail it in
on a meter reading card we will provide at your request. We can arrange to read
a meter both during and after normal working hours. If you do not control access
to your meter, please arrange with the building owner or manager to let our
meter reader in.
If, after eight straight
months, you haven't made an appointment or provided us with a meter reading, you
or the individual who controls access to the meter may be subject to a charge of
For your protection, our
Meter Readers carry a photo identification card which you can inspect before
they enter your home. If you have any doubts, please insist on seeing the