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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Electric Bill of Rights

Electric Bill of Rights (PDF)

Bill of Rights
For Residential Customers of Electrical Utilities

The ORS wants customers of electrical utility companies to know their rights and responsibilities and whom to contact for assistance with questions or problems regarding regulated electric service.

Be an informed customer. Know your rights.

  1. As a general rule, you have the right to establish electric service if you meet the following requirements: a) provide satisfactory identification and credit worthiness, b) provide necessary and reasonable access to your property, and c) your utilization of the electric service does not pose a hazardous or dangerous condition. If you have any questions concerning your right to service, you should contact the electrical utility serving your area.

  1. You have the right to establish electric service if you satisfactorily establish your identity and credit and neither you nor any member of your household is indebted to the electrical utility. You may be required to pay a deposit if any one of the following conditions exist: a) you have had two (2) consecutive 30-day arrears in the past twenty-four (24) months or more than two (2) nonconsecutive 30-day arrears in the past twenty-four (24) months; b) you cannot furnish either an acceptable co-signer or guarantor, who is a customer of the same electrical utility with good credit, within the State of South Carolina, to guarantee payment of unpaid bills up to the amount of the maximum deposit; c) your electric service has been terminated for non-payment or fraudulent use; or d) the utility determines, through use of commercially acceptable methods, that your credit and financial condition warrants a deposit. You have the right to have all conditions of obtaining service explained to you by the utility’s personnel.

  1. If you are required to make a deposit, the maximum amount cannot exceed an amount equal to an estimated two (2) months (60 days) billing for a new customer or for an existing customer an amount equal to the total actual bills of the highest two (2) consecutive months based on the experience of the preceding 12 months or for a portion of the year if the service is on a seasonal basis for an existing customer.

  1. If you make a deposit with the utility, you have the right to have the deposit returned after two years unless you have had two (2) consecutive 30-day arrears in the past twenty-four (24) months or more than two (2) non-consecutive 30-day arrears in the past twenty-four (24) months or your service has been terminated for nonpayment or fraudulent use or you discontinue service with the electrical utility. Deposits held longer than six (6) months accrue interest at a rate prescribed by the PSC.

  1. You have the right to avoid late payment fees if you pay your bill within twenty-five (25) days of the billing date shown on your electric bill for current monthly charges. A maximum of one and one-half percent (1½%) may be added to any unpaid balance not paid within twenty-five (25) days of the billing date to cover the cost of collection and carrying accounts in arrears.

  1. You have the right to written notice from your electrical utility before your electric service is disconnected for non-payment. The notice will include information to contact the utility, the total amount owed, the date and amount of the last payment, and the date for payment or satisfactory payment arrangements for payment by installments.

  1. You have the right to designate a third party (such as a friend, relative, or organization) who is willing to receive a copy of your service disconnection notice. This party may be able to help you arrange for payment to prevent having your service disconnected but is not obligated to pay your bill.

  1. You have the right to defer service disconnection during the months of December through March by providing an authorized medical certificate to the electrical utility at least three (3) days prior to service disconnection or to the utility’s disconnection crew at the time of disconnection. The medical certificate application provided by the electrical utility must be signed by a licensed physician stating that disconnection of service would be especially dangerous to your health or the health of a member of your household. The certificate must be signed by you stating that you are unable to pay by installments the amount of the charges due for your electric service. A certificate shall expire on the 31st day from the date of execution by the physician. Such certification may be renewed no more than three (3) times for an additional thirty (30) day period each. (You have the responsibility to make a good faith effort to make payments for electric service rendered during the period of time covered by the medical certificate to prevent possible disconnection when the certificate expires. The medical certificate does not relieve you of your obligation to pay for electric service.)

  1. You have the right, prior to a scheduled disconnection of your service, to arrange with the electrical utility for a deferred payment plan to make payment by installments if you can show that you are unable to pay the amount due. In this deferred payment plan, you must pay, in full, the installment payment and the current month’s charges by the past due date. This deferred payment plan will require installment payments of not less than 1/6 of your arrears balance for a period not to exceed six (6) months. You are not eligible for another deferred payment plan if you currently are under a deferred payment plan. The utility may terminate service if you fail to meet the terms and conditions of such deferred payment plan.

  1. If the electrical utility has overcharged you as a result of a misapplied schedule, an error in reading the meter, a skipped meter reading, or any other human or machine error, you have the right to a credit or refund of the excess amount paid, not to exceed the applicable statute of limitations.

  1. If the electrical utility has undercharged you for any reason other than customer fraud or theft, you have the right to pay in equal installments the deficient amount resulting from the electrical utility undercharging you. Undercharges not resulting from customer fraud or theft could occur as a result of a misapplied schedule, an error in reading the meter, a skipped meter reading, or any other human or machine error. The equal installment amount shall be added to the bill over the same number of billing periods during which you were undercharged.

  1. You have the right to have the electrical utility test the accuracy of the meter serving your residence if you suspect a malfunction. This test will be conducted, without charge, if requested more than twelve (12) months from the date of the meter installation or from the last date the meter was tested for accuracy. You have the right to be present or to appoint a representative to be present when the electrical utility tests the meter. You have the right to be furnished with the results of the meter test. If an overcharge or undercharge occurred as a result of a fast or slow meter with an error in registration of more than two percent (2%), the bills will be increased or decreased accordingly for a period up to sixty (60) days.

  1. You have the right, upon request, to receive assistance from the electrical utility in selecting the most economical rate schedule applicable, information about the method of reading meters, and billing procedures.

  1. You have the right to a statement of your energy usage for the past twelve (12) months provided by the electrical utility upon your request.

  1. You have the right to contact the electrical utility at all hours in case of emergency or unscheduled interruptions in your electric service.

  1. You have the right to have complaints promptly and thoroughly investigated by the electrical utility.

  1. You have the right, upon request, to review the written procedures established by the electrical utility for service termination due to nonpayment for special needs account customers and for all residential customers during extreme hot or cold weather conditions. All electrical utilities shall publish their procedures for termination of service on their websites.

  1. If you need assistance with a complaint against your electrical utility that you cannot resolve by dealing with the utility on your own, you have the right to call the ORS Consumer Services. ORS Consumer Services will work with you and the electrical utility in an effort to resolve your complaint.

  1. If you are unable to resolve your complaint by working with the electrical utility or with ORS Consumer Services, you have the right to file a formal complaint with the PSC and request a hearing. To file a complaint with the PSC, you should complete the PSC complaint form.

The ORS wants to inform you of your rights and responsibilities as a consumer and the responsibilities of your electric utility. This statement provides you a summary of your rights as a customer of a regulated electric utility. Not all services provided by the electrical utility are regulated. More detailed provisions are set out in law, commission rules and regulations, and the tariffs of the electrical utility.