VII. Meter Reading, Billing and Payment

VII. Meter Reading, Billing and Payment

A. Meter Readings

The rates in Schedules A-1, A-2, B, and I, including seasonal and temporary service under these rate schedules, are based on the condition that the meter readings shall be furnished to the Cooperative by the Customer. In the event the Customer for two (2) consecutive months shall fail to furnish an accurate meter reading to the Cooperative, the Cooperative shall have its personnel obtain a reading of the Customer's meter. A service charge in accordance with Schedule F - Fees shall be charged for this service. The Cooperative may read any individual group or class of meters at its discretion.

1. Should the Cooperative have to read a meter two times within a twelve-month period under the terms of VII. A, the Cooperative will give the Customer notice that, if within the next 12 months, the Customer fails to provide an accurate reading prior to the penalty date shown on the bill, the Cooperative will read the m eter each month. The Cooperative reserves the right to install an electronic meter which is capable of remote reading, if it is technically possible to do so.

Readings will be taken by the Cooperative monthly and a fee in accordance with Schedule F - Fees shall be charged the Customer. This meter will remain in place for a period of at least one year. At the request of the Customer, the charge will be removed if an agreement with the Customer to provide accurate readings is reached.

2. Monthly meter readings by the Cooperative will be available to all Customers who request this service. A monthly fee in accordance with Schedule F - Fees shall be charged. This service contract shall remain in effect for a period of one (1) year and can be cancelled by the Customer or the Cooperative thereafter with notification.

3. Failure to Read Meters

The Cooperative will endeavor to secure a meter reading every thirty (30) days. When this is impractical and one or more consecutive meter readings are missed, a minimum bill may be issued or the Customer may be billed based on estimated usage. In estimating usage, the average of the preceding twelve (12) bills shall be used, if available. If twelve (12) months are not available, then the available data shall be used.

4. Adjustments

a. Over Reading the Meter

When a meter is over read by an amount that exceeds the following billing period's usage, the correct usage will be ascertained and the bill will be recomputed. The Customer will be credited with any payments made, on the recomputed billing.

b. Inaccurate Meter Readings by Customer

In no case shall the Cooperative adjust bills for more than four (4) months if inaccurate readings were submitted by or on behalf of the Customer.

5. The Customer shall allow the Cooperative to use the Customer's phone line for electric meter reading or other data transfer provided this does not interfere with the Customer's phone service or create any additional expense for the Customer.


B. Billing

Bills will be rendered to the Customer by the Cooperative monthly. Bills will be computed using metered energy and power consumption based on applicable rates and fees on file and approved by the Commission. The Cooperative will prorate the bill when a Customer's service starts or is terminated.


C. Terms of Payment/Collection

Bills will be due when presented. They shall be considered as presented when deposited in the United States mail for delivery or when otherwise delivered by the Cooperative to the last known physical, mailing, or e-mail address of the Customer. It shall be the Customer's responsibility to furnish the Cooperative with a valid address. A bill shall become overdue if unpaid on the 20th day following the day it has been presented. If payment has not been received by the late payment date, a one and one half percent (1 ½%) penalty per month will be applied on the outstanding balance less local government utility taxes. If it remains unpaid at the time the succeeding bill is presented, a notice of intent to disconnect service shall be served upon the Customer, giving at least ten days prior notice. If the bill remains unpaid at the end of such ten-day notice, electric service to the premise of the Customer shall be subject to disconnection without further notice.
The Cooperative reserves the right to apply any payment or payments made in whole or in part to any account due the Cooperative by the Customer unless the Customer has instructed otherwise. However, the Cooperative may apply any payments in excess of the account specified to other accounts due the Cooperative by the Customer.
Whenever the Cooperative sends personnel to the Customer's location of service in an attempt to collect payment for an overdue bill, a fee will be charged in accordance with Schedule F - Fees. This fee, together with all electric bills due the Cooperative, shall be paid to the Cooperative's personnel to avoid disconnection.
If the service is disconnected the Customer must pay all outstanding balances plus all applicable fees and applicable deposit before service will be restored.
Upon disconnection of service for any reason, the Customer shall be sent a final bill at the next regular billing cycle showing the outstanding amount owed after deducting all applicable credits. If Cooperative personnel have to visit an account for the purpose of collecting delinquent bills two times within a twelve-month period, then at the option of the Cooperative and with notice to the Customer an electronic connect/disconnect meter may be installed. This meter will allow the Cooperative to remotely connect and disconnect and obtain meter readings. This meter shall remain in place for at least twelve months and will not be removed until the Customer requests removal. The charge for this service shall be in accordance with the Monthly Meter Reading Fee shown on Schedule F - Fees.
Failure to receive a bill in no way exempts a Customer from the provisions of these rules.
Whenever payment is made by a check and/or other form of payment not honored by the institution upon which the payment is drawn, the member who received benefit of the payment shall remain liable for payment, and in addition to other charges imposed, shall be charged a fee in accordance with Schedule F - Fees. Disconnection shall be made after notification if subject to disconnection otherwise. (An account will be subject to disconnection in regards to a returned payment only if the account is in a delinquent status.) The Cooperative reserves the right to require payment in cash or money order if two or more payments have not been honored by the institution upon which the payment was drawn during the last twelve months.


D. Budget Billing/Levelized Plan

A Budget/Levelized Billing plan is available to residential customers with a good credit history. The Cooperative uses the Customer's established consumption history to determine the monthly budget amount.
Budget amounts are averages based on previous kWh consumption. As such, they are subject to revision to keep them consistent with actual usage.

If the Customer fails to make a regular budget payment by the time of the succeeding bill, a late payment charge will be assessed, collection efforts may be initiated and the account may be removed from the budget billing plan.
With written notice, an account may be removed from the budget plan and restored to a regular billing plan at any time at the discretion of the Cooperative.


E. Billing Errors 

If a Customer served under Schedule A-1, Residential and Church Service or Schedule A-2, Farm, Civic, and Ancillary Residential Service or Schedule TOU-A-1, Residential Time of Use Service ("Residential Customer"), or Schedule B, Commercial and Industrial Service or Schedule TOU-8, Commercial Time of Use Service ("Small Commercial Customer") has been undercharged because of errors other than meter accuracy and such Residential or Small Commercial Customer has not tampered with the meter and neither knew nor reasonably should have known of the undercharge, the Cooperative shall bill the Residential or Small Commercial Customer for the electricity used during the entire period of incorrect billing, up to a maximum of 12 months. The Cooperative shall offer the Residential or Small Commercial Customer reasonable payment arrangements for the amount of the bill, taking into account the period of the undercharge. If the Residential or Small Commercial Customer has tampered with the meter or knew or reasonably should have known of the undercharge, then the Cooperative may bill the Residential or Small Commercial Customer as otherwise allowed by law. If any Customer other than a Residential or Small Commercial Customer has been undercharged, the Customer may be billed as allowed by law or as allowed by the contract for service between the Cooperative and that Customer. For Customers having contracts for service, billing shall be as allowed by such contract.
If any Customer has been overcharged because of errors other than meter accuracy, the Cooperative shall refund or credit the amount of the overcharge for a period not to exceed 36 months, unless the Customer provides appropriate documentation that such error exceeded 36 months in which case the refund shall be for the entire period of overbilling.