Co-op Rules and Regulations

Rule 1. Definitions

Rule 2. Retention of Records

Rule 3. Records and Reports of Meter Purchases and Tests

Rule 4. Location of Meters; Accessibility

Rule 5. Service Watt Hour Meters; Inspection and Repair; Installation Tests and Adjustments

Rule 6. Meter Testing Equipment and Facilities; Reference and Portable Standards

Rule 7. Average Accuracy of Watt Hour Meters; Tests

Rule 8. Meter Accuracy

Rule 9. Tests of Electric Meters in Service

Rule 10. Meter Tests upon Written Request by Customer

Rule 11. Customer Requests for Tests; Review by the Corporation

Rule 12. Bills

Rule 13. Billing Adjustments

Rule 14. Creditworthiness of Customers; Deposits; Refunds

Rule 15. Disconnection of Electric Service

Rule 16. Home Energy Assistance; Disconnection of Service to Recipients

Rule 17. Customer Complaints

Rule 18. Informational Pamphlets and Rate Schedules

Rule 19. Standard Nominal Frequency

Rule 20. Standard Voltage and Permissible Voltage Variations

Rule 21. Voltage Surveys and Records

Rule 22. Monitoring Instruments

Rule 23. Interruption of Service

Rule 24. Pole Identification

Rule 25. Line Construction

Rule 26. Extension of Distribution of Service Lines

Rule 27. Customer Modification Requests; Liability for Costs

Rule 28. Rate Schedules, Rates, and Regulations

Rule 29. Spraying of Right-of-ways

Rule 30. Vegetation Management

Rule 31. Saving Clause

 

 

Rule 1. Definitions

The definitions set forth below shall be applicable to the Corporation’s service rules and regulations:

(A) The word “Corporation” shall mean Bartholomew County Rural Electric Membership Corporation.

(B) The word “customer” or “member” shall mean any person, firm, corporation, municipality or other government agency which has agreed, orally or otherwise, to pay for electric service received from the Corporation.

(C) The word “disconnection” shall mean the termination or discontinuance of electric service.

(D) The words “late payment charge” shall mean the one time penalty assessed by the Corporation upon all current bills at such time as they become delinquent.

Rule 2. Retention of Records

All records required by these rules will be preserved at least three years except as otherwise provided herein or required by law. Such records shall be kept at the Corporation’s principal place of business or at such other places as the Corporation shall designate.

Rule 3. Records and Reports of Meter Purchases and Tests

(A) Meter Test Record. Whenever any meter in service is tested, a record will be preserved containing the information necessary for identifying the meter, the reason for making the test, the reading of the meter before the test and the result of the test, together with all data taken at the time of the test in sufficiently complete form to permit the convenient checking of the methods employed.

(B) Meter Record. Permanent records shall also be kept giving for each meter owned or used by the Corporation, the year of purchase, its identification and the record of the last test to which it has been subjected, with date and general results of the test. These records apply to all meters insofar as the information is available.

Rule 4. Location of Meters; Accessibility

(A) All meters shall be located outdoors where they are easily accessible for reading, testing, and making necessary adjustments and repairs. When a number of meters are placed on the same meter board, the distance between centers may be specified by the Corporation, but in no case shall such distance be less than 7½ inches. Upon request by a residential customer, the Corporation will provide said member with the number of the meter which serves the individual customer’s premises, to provide the customer with an opportunity to verify the meter readings. On an installation where similar types of meters record different units (kWh and RkVah, for example) the meters shall be tagged or marked to indicate the units recorded. Meters should not be less than 4 feet nor more than 6 feet above the final standing surface, measured from the center of the meter cover, unless authorized by the Corporation.

(B) Meters shall not be placed on any unstable partitions or supports. Unless unavoidable, meters should not be installed in any location where the visits of a meter reader or tester will cause unreasonable annoyance to the customer or undue inconvenience to the Corporation.

 

Rule 5. Service Watt Hour Meters; Inspection and Repair; Installation Tests and Adjustments

(A) Inspection and Repair

(1) Each new watt hour meter, except self-contained AC meters rated 12 KVA or less, shall be inspected and tested and adjusted, if necessary, to detect any possible causes for faulty operation and to verify the accuracy of the meter.

(2) All meters removed from service shall be carefully inspected for any possible causes of faulty operation which may have developed in use, cleaned and repaired, as necessary, before being tested and adjusted to the accuracy conditions prescribed in these service rules and standards, prior to being again placed in service; except self-contained AC meters rated 12 KVA or less may be removed and re-installed without testing if they show no damage or evidence of tampering and are not on a recall or obsolete list.

(B) Installation Tests and Adjustments

(1) All watt hour meters and demand meters, except self-contained AC meters rated 12 KVA or less, shall be tested prior to their installation or within 60 days after installation, and adjusted, as closely as economically practicable, to the condition of zero error, but in all cases within the limits of tolerance prescribed in Rule 8. Such tolerances are to be interpreted as maximum variations from the condition of zero error which are permitted in order to make reasonable though adequate allowance for variations encountered in accepted good meter practice.

(2) All watt hour and demand meters shall be checked for correct connections, proper mechanical conditions and suitability of location in its permanent position at the time of installation. If the meter does not read directly in kWh consumed or demand units, the multiplier for the meter readings shall be checked and, if practical, marked on the meter, or marked on a tag attached to the meter.

 

Rule 6. Meter Testing Equipment and Facilities; Reference and Portable

(A) Equipment and Facilities. The Corporation shall provide or have available such standard meters, instruments and other equipment and facilities as may be necessary to make the tests set forth in these rules.

(B) Reference Standards. The Corporation shall provide or have available suitable indicating electrical instruments, watt meters and watt hour meters (hereinafter called “reference standards”) as may be necessary for testing the accuracy of watt hour meters. The reference standard may be a service type watt hour meter. Reference standards of all kinds shall be tested and adjusted, if necessary, at least once every two years by a recognized standardizing laboratory.

(C) Portable Standards. All portable watt hour meter standards shall be checked against the corresponding reference standards as often as may be necessary to give reasonable assurance that the errors will not change enough between successive calibrations to materially affect the results of measurements involving their use. If such check shows any portable watt hour meter standard to be in error more than one percent (1%) plus or minus, at any load at which the standard will be used, the standard shall be tested, adjusted and certified in an approved laboratory. Each portable watt hour meter standard shall at all times be accompanied by a certificate or calibration card, signed by the proper authority, giving the date when it was last certified.

(D) Portable Indicating Instruments. All portable indicating electrical testing instruments, such as voltmeters, ammeters and watt meters, when in regular use in testing purposes, shall be checked against suitable reference standards as often as may be necessary to give reasonable assurance that the errors will not change enough between successive calibrations to materially affect the results of measurements involving their use, and if found appreciably in error at zero of more than one percent (1%) of full scale value at commonly used scale deflection shall, unless calibration correction is used, be adjusted and certified in some approved laboratory.

(E) Records of Certification and Calibration. Records of certification and calibration shall be kept on file.

Rule 7. Average Accuracy of Watt Hour Meters; Tests

The accuracy at light load shall be determined at a load of approximately ten percent (10%) of the rated capacity of the meter. The accuracy at heavy load shall be determined at a load of not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the rated capacity of the meter. The rated capacity of the meter shall be the KVA rating as defined in Rule 9.

(A) “As Found” Test. The accuracy at light load shall be determined by taking the average of at least two tests, which tests must agree within one-half of one percent (.5%). The accuracy at heavy load shall be determined in a like manner. The average accuracy of the meter shall be determined by taking an average of the accuracy at light load and of the accuracy at heavy load. However, the average “as found” accuracy of a meter may be determined from one light load test and one heavy load test, if such average accuracy is less than one hundred and three percent (103%) and if such meter is to be adjusted.

(B) “As Left” Test. After any meter has been adjusted, the average “as left” accuracy of the meter will be determined by two tests at each load as outlined in the preceding paragraph, unless the meter has been tested by an automatic device in which case one test at each load will be sufficient.

 

 

 

Rule 8. Meter Accuracy

No watt hour meter which registers at no load (the moving element making more than one complete revolution when at “No Load”), when the applied voltage is less than one hundred and ten percent (110%) of standard service voltage, shall be placed in service or allowed to remain in service in such condition.

No meter shall be placed in service or allowed to remain in service which is in any way mechanically defective, which has incorrect constants, or which has not been tested for accuracy of measurements and adjusted, if necessary, to meet the following requirements:

Watt hour Meters
Average error not over two percent (2%) plus or minus. Error at heavy load not over one percent (1%) plus or minus. Error at light load not over three percent (3%) plus or minus.

Curve Drawing Instruments
Electrical Element:
 Error shall not exceed two percent (2%) plus or minus of full scale indication.

Integrating Demand Meters
Electric Element:
 Errors shall not exceed the limits specified for watt hour meters.

Timing Element: Cumulative error shall not be in excess of plus or minus two percent (2%) for the entire billing period. If the time of day is a factor in the rate schedule, the timing element when operating under normal conditions of service shall not indicate a difference of more than ten (10) minutes from correct time, and any incorrect indication of time caused by the temporary loss of utility service shall be corrected by the Corporation by the end of the following work day.

Lagged Demand Meters
Electromagnetic Type: 
Error shall not exceed two percent (2%) plus or minus of full scale indication.

Thermal Type: Error shall not exceed four percent (4%) plus or minus of full scale indication.

Test for Correct Power Factor Adjustment. Alternating current service watt hour meters, except self-contained AC meters rated 12 KVA or less, which are to be used on circuits supplying inductive load, shall also be tested before installation at one hundred percent (100%) of manufacturer’s rated test current at fifty percent (50%) lagging power factor, and, if necessary, adjusted so that the error under such conditions will not be more than two percent (2%) plus or minus.

Where instrument transformers are used for metering, the ratio of transformation and phase angle error of the transformers must be determined before installation, such information shall be kept on file.

 

 

Rule 9. Tests of Electric Meters in Service

Note: The KVA rating of an alternating-current, single-element meter is the product of the rated voltage and the rated test current. In the case of a polyphase or a multi-element meter, the rating is the sum of such products for each element. The rating of a 2-element meter when it is the split-coil type or when it is associated with 3-current transformers and used to measure energy in a 3-phase, 4-wire Y circuit shall be 3 times the rating of one element. When a meter is connected to instrument transformers, the nominal rating of the transformers shall be used in the determination of the KVA rating of the meter.

Watt Hour Meters, 12 KVA or less. The Corporation has adopted the following method for maintaining the accuracy of self-contained single-phase and three-wire network meters rated 12 KVA or less: periodic testing of watt hour meters shall be performed as deemed appropriate by the Corporation or upon request of a member per Rule 10.

Other Watt Hour Meters. All other single-phase and three-wire network meters shall also be tested as deemed appropriate by the Corporation or upon the request of a member per Rule 10.

Demand Meters. Each demand meter, including thermal types, shall be tested as often as the watt hour meter with which it is associated and, as nearly as practicable, at the same time.

 

 

Rule 10. Meter Tests upon Written Request by Customer

The Corporation will test the accuracy of registration of a meter upon written request by a customer. The customer may be required to bear the full cost of any subsequent tests of this meter if requested at less than thirty-six (36) month intervals if no error be found. A written report giving the results of such tests shall be made to the customer and a complete record of the same shall be kept on file.

 

Rule 11. Customer Requests for Tests; Review by the Corporation

(A) Upon application of any customer to the Corporation, a test may be made of the customer’s watt hour meter by the Corporation under the supervision of a representative of the Corporation’s Member Relations Committee. No fee shall be payable by the customer for such test except as provided by Rule 10.

(B) Upon application of any customer to the Corporation, an electric demand test may be made upon the customer’s electric load by the Corporation under the supervision of a representative of the Corporation’s Member Relations Committee, such test to be made as soon as practicable after receipt of the application and under similar conditions of installation and operation as may be mutually agreed upon, in writing, by the customer and the Corporation. No fee shall be payable by the customer for such test.

 

 

Rule 12. Bills

(A) Bills rendered periodically to customers for electric service will include the following information:

(1) the dates and meter readings of the meter at the beginning and end of the period for which the bill is rendered and the billing date;

(2) the billing rate code;

(3) the number and kind of units of service supplied;

(4) the service or minimum charge, if applicable;

(5) the previous balance, if any;

(6) the amount of the bill;

(7) the sum of the amount of the bill and the late payment charge;

(8) the date when the bill becomes delinquent and the date the late payment charge will be added to the bill;

(9) if an estimated bill, clear and conspicuous coding or other indication identifying the bill as an estimated bill;

(10) printed statements or actual figures, or both, on either side of the bill informing the customer of the seventeen (17) day non penalty period; and

(11) an easily understood explanation of all codes or symbols, or both, shown on the bill.

(B) A bill may contain charges for utility services and ancillary services. Payments received shall first be applied to charges for ancillary services, then to past due amounts for utility service including related penalties and then to charges for current utility services.

(C) A bill for services is considered delinquent unless payment is received within seventeen (17) days after the bill is postmarked. If such a bill is not paid within said seventeen (17) days, the delinquent bill may be assessed a late payment charge equal to five percent (5%) of the current bill. If any delinquent balance exists, all payments the Corporation receives shall first be applied to such delinquency.

(D) The Corporation may estimate a customer bill due to:

(1) a customer request to estimate a bill;

(2) inclement weather;

(3) labor or union disputes;

(4) inaccessibility of a customer’s meter, if the Corporation has made a reasonable attempt to read it; or

(5) other circumstances beyond the control of the Corporation, its agents, or employees.

(E) The Corporation shall, upon a customer’s request, and not less than once in a twelve (12) month period, compute and render a bill pursuant to an actual meter reading taken by the Corporation, which reading may be taken by automated meter reading or similar electronic equipment.

(F) The Corporation will offer an alternative billing plan called levelized billing which allows an applicant or customer to contract for billing whereby the Corporation averages the estimated bill over an extended period.

(G) The Corporation has developed a round-up charitable billing plan. This plan allows the Corporation, with a customer’s consent, to round-up to the next even dollar amount the customer’s bill for a billing period. The difference between the customer’s estimated or actual bill for electric service and the rounded up bill shall be contributed, when paid by the customer, to a tax exempt foundation or qualified Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) trust for investment or use for charitable purposes in the Corporation’s service territory. The Bartholomew REMC Membership Community Trust, Inc. shall provide periodic reports to the Corporation members who have made such contributions.

 

Rule 13. Billing Adjustments

(A) Adjustments Due to Meter Errors. If any service meter, after being tested as provided in these rules, is found to have a percentage of error greater than three percent (3%) for watt hour meters and four percent (4%) for demand meters, the bills for service shall be adjusted as follows:

(1) Fast Meters — When a meter is found to have a positive average error, the Corporation shall refund or credit the customer’s account with the amount of any charges in excess of either (i) an average bill for the kilowatt hours and/or demand units incorrectly metered or (ii) separate bills individually adjusted for the percent of error for the period the meter was fast, if such period can be determined, or one year, whichever period is shorter. An average bill shall be calculated on the basis of kilowatt hours and/or demand units registered on the meter over corresponding periods either prior or subsequent to the period for which the meter is determined to be fast. No part of a minimum service charge shall be refunded.

(2) Stopped or Slow Meters — When a meter is stopped or has a negative average error, the Corporation may charge the customer for the kilowatt hours and/or demand units incorrectly registered for one-half of the period since the last previous test or one year, whichever is shorter. The amount of the charge to the customer shall be estimated on the basis of either (i) an average bill as herein below described or (ii) separate bills individually adjusted for the percent of error. An average bill shall be calculated on the basis of kilowatt hours and/or demand units registered on the meter over corresponding periods either prior or subsequent to the period for which the meter is determined to be slow or stopped. The Corporation may charge the customer for such amounts except where the Corporation negligently allows the stopped or slow meter to remain in service.

(B) Other Billing Adjustments. Any and all other billing errors, including incorrect rate or rate schedule applications, shall be adjusted to the known date of error or for a period of one year, whichever period is shorter.

 

 

Rule 14. Creditworthiness of Customers; Deposits; Refunds

(A) General Requirements.  The Corporation shall determine the creditworthiness of an applicant or customer in an equitable and nondiscriminatory method without regard to the economic character of the area (or any part thereof) wherein the applicant or customer resides and shall determine the creditworthiness solely upon the credit risk of the applicant or customer without regard to the collective credit reputation of the area in which he/she lives. A consumer reporting agency (CRA) may be used to determine credit risk. If the Applicant or Member is married, or there are multiple applicants at the same service address, a deposit may be charged based on the credit risk that is highest.

(B) Criteria for Collection of Deposits

(1) Bartholomew County REMC will require from any member or prospective member, a deposit intended to guarantee payment of bills for service, establish, or re-establish electric service, if any of the following conditions exist:

(a) Applicant:

(i) Is an unsatisfactory credit risk.  Credit will be determined based on previous credit with utility and by credit rating returned by credit reporting agency.

(ii) Has been a member of Bartholomew County REMC and had been disconnected for non-payment or has had more than three delinquent payments within the previous 36 months.

(iii) Had been involved in the theft of electric service or meter tampering.

(iv) Is unwilling to provide social security number to REMC for verification by credit reporting agency.
(v) Is unable to be verified by credit reporting agency.

(vi) Is a current member of Bartholomew County REMC and has been disconnected for non-payment.  Maximum deposit plus all monies owed to REMC will be required paid before service will be re-established.

(2) If the applicant has any outstanding delinquency owed the Corporation or fails to establish that he/she is creditworthy pursuant to the above criteria, the applicant will be required to make a cash deposit. Criteria for level of deposit as follows:

(a) Minimum Credit Risk

(i) Applicant received a good credit assessment from credit reporting agency.
(ii) Applicant has no adverse credit history with REMC.
(iii) Deposit will be waived for applicants with minimum credit risk

(b) Medium Credit Risk

(i) Applicant received a medium risk assessment from credit reporting agency.
(ii) Current member has had more than three past due payment with REMC within that last 12 months.
(iii) Applicant shall pay a deposit based on an average one month usage based on previous 12 month usage for location, with a minimum deposit of $50.00. For new homes with no previous usage history, deposit to be $125.00 for home with gas heat, $200.00 for home with electric heat.
(iv) Current member has had four delinquent bills in a twelve month period within the most recent two years.

(c) High Credit Risk

(i) Applicant receives a high risk assessment from credit reporting agency.
(ii) Applicant has had service with REMC and has been disconnected for non-payment, or has had an insufficient funds check, within the last 24 months.
(iii) Applicant has an outstanding past due balance with REMC.
(iv) Applicant shall pay a deposit based on an average two month usage based on previous 12 month usage for location, with a minimum deposit of $100.00. For new homes with no previous usage history, deposit to be $250.00 for home with gas heat, $400.00 for home with electric heat.
(v) Current member is disconnected for non-payment.

(C) Refunds

(1) Deposits will be held for an initial period of twelve months. After the first twelve months, deposits will be refunded if the accounts meets established payment requirement and has not been disconnected for non-payment. No interest shall be paid on deposits held.

(a) Criteria for return of deposit:

(i) Member account must be paid on time for ten months in a row or eleven of twelve consecutive months.
(ii) Member has had no payment to REMC returned for insufficient funds.

(iii) Member has not been disconnected for non-payment at any time during the twelve month period.

(iv) Deposits will be credited to final bill when member request service to be disconnected.  Any remaining amount will be mailed to member.

 

Rule 15. Disconnection of Electric Service

(A) The customer shall notify the Corporation at least three (3) working days in advance of the day disconnection of electric service is desired. The customer shall remain responsible for all service used and the billings therefor until service is disconnected pursuant to such notice.

Upon request by a customer of the Corporation to disconnect service, the Corporation shall disconnect the service within three (3) working days of the requested disconnection date. The customer shall not be liable for any service rendered to such address or location after the expiration of three (3) such days.

(B) The Corporation may disconnect electric service without request by the customer of the service and without prior notice:

(1) if a condition dangerous or hazardous to life, physical safety or property exists; or

(2) upon order by any court or other duly authorized public authority; or

(3) if fraudulent or unauthorized use of electricity is detected and the Corporation has reasonable grounds to believe the affected customer is responsible for such use; or

      1. if the Corporation’s regulating or measuring equipment has been tampered with and the Corporation has reasonable grounds to believe that the affected customer is responsible for such tampering; or

      2. if the customer has installed generation or fuel cells without proper double throw switches or similar Corporation approved switching mechanisms to isolate the homeowner system and to protect against electric current being back-fed to the Corporation’s distribution system.

In all other instances the Corporation, upon providing the customer with proper notice (as defined in subsection (E) of this rule) may disconnect service subject to the provisions of these service rules and regulations.

In the event the Corporation determines there is evidence that fraudulent or unauthorized use of electricity, meter tampering, or theft has occurred, a service fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100) to investigate the meter tampering/electrical theft must be paid the Corporation before service will be reconnected, plus reconnect fees, and satisfactory payment arrangements must be made with the Corporation for the unmetered electricity usage.

(C) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (A) and (B) of this rule, the Corporation will postpone the disconnection of service for up to ten (10) days if, prior to the disconnect date specified on the Bill statement, the customer provides the Corporation with a medical statement from a licensed physician or public health official which states that disconnection would be a serious and immediate threat to the health or safety of a designated person in the household of the customer and specifies the type or form of life support system being used for which electricity is required. The postponement of disconnection shall be continued for one additional ten (10) day period upon the provision of an additional such medical statement.

The Corporation may not disconnect electric service to the customer:

(1) upon his/her failure to pay for services to a previous unrelated occupant of the premises to be served;

(2) if the customer shows cause for his inability to pay the full amount due (financial hardship shall constitute cause), and the customer:

  1. pays a reasonable portion (not to exceed $50 or one tenth (1/10) of the bill whichever is more unless the customer agrees to a greater portion) of the bill; and

  2. agrees to pay the remainder of the outstanding bill within two weeks; and

  3. agrees to pay all undisputed future bills for service as they become due; and

  4. has not breached any similar agreement with the utility made pursuant to this section within the past twelve (12) months

Provided, however, the Corporation may add to the outstanding bill a late payment charge not to exceed the amount set pursuant to these rules and regulations. Provided further, that the terms of the agreement shall be put in writing by the Corporation and be signed by the customer and by a representative of the Corporation.

(3) If a customer or user is unable to pay a bill, which is unusually large due to a prior incorrect reading of the meter, incorrect application of the rate schedule, incorrect connection or functioning of the meter, prior estimates where no actual reading was taken for over two months, stopped or slow meters, or any human or mechanical error of the Corporation, and the customer:

  1. (a) pays a reasonable portion of the bill, not to exceed an amount equal to the customer’s average bill for the six (6) bills immediately preceding the bill in question;

  2. (b) agrees to pay the remainder within a reasonable period of time; and

  3. (c) agrees to pay all undisputed future bills for service as they become due;

Provided, however, that the Corporation may not add to the outstanding bill any late fee. Provided, further, that the above terms of agreement shall be put in writing by the Corporation and signed by the customer and a representative of the Corporation.

(D) The Corporation will disconnect service during its normal business hours, except that disconnections pursuant to subsections (A) and (B) of this rule are not subject to this limitation.

The Corporation will not disconnect service for nonpayment on any day, or beyond twelve noon (12:00 noon) of the day immediately preceding any day, on which the Corporation’s office is not open to the public.

(E) Except as otherwise provided herein, electric service to any residential customer shall not be disconnected for a violation of any service rule or regulation of the Corporation or for the non-payment of a bill, except after fourteen (14) days prior written notice to such customer by either:

(1) mailing the notice to such residential customer at the address shown on the records of the Corporation, in which case the notice may be included on the customer’s monthly billing; or

(2) personal delivery of the notice to the residential customer or a responsible member of his/her household at the address shown on the records of the Corporation; and

(3) the disconnect notice for nonpayment may be rendered prior to the date on which the account becomes delinquent either by including said notice on a billing rendered to the customer or otherwise providing said notice.

The notice should be in language which is clear, concise, and easily understandable to a layman and shall state:

(4) the date of proposed disconnection;

(5) the basis and/or reason for the proposed disconnection; and

(6) the telephone number of the Corporation’s office which the customer may call during regular business hours in order to question the proposed disconnection or seek information concerning his/her rights;

(F) Immediately preceding the actual disconnection of service, the employee of the Corporation designated to perform such function shall make a reasonable attempt to identify him or herself to the customer or any other responsible person then upon the premises and shall announce the purpose of his/her presence and shall make a record thereof to be maintained for at least thirty (30) days.

The employee shall have in his/her possession information sufficient to enable the employee to inform the customer or other responsible person the reason for disconnection, including the amount of any delinquent bill of the customer, and shall request the customer for any available verification that the outstanding bill has been satisfied or is currently in dispute pursuant to review. Upon the presentation of such credible evidence, service shall not be disconnected.

The employee shall not be required to accept payment from the customer, user, or other responsible person in order to prevent the service from being disconnected. The Corporation shall notify its customers pursuant to Rule 18 of its policy with regard to the acceptance or non-acceptance of payment by such employee and shall follow such policy without discrimination. If said employee accepts payment, a collection fee shall also be paid, as approved by the Corporation’s Board from time to time.

When the employee has disconnected the service, the employee shall give to a responsible person at the user’s premises or, if no one is at home, shall leave at a conspicuous place on the premises, a notice stating that service has been disconnected and stating the address and telephone number of the Corporation where the user may arrange to have service reconnected.

(G) The Corporation will charge a reconnection fee, as approved by the Corporation’s Board from time to time.

If the Corporation disconnects service in violation of these service rules and regulations, service shall promptly be restored at no charge to the customer.

The Corporation will reconnect the service to the customer or user as soon as reasonably possible but at least within one (1) working day after it is requested to do so if the customer has satisfied the requirements of these service rules and regulations.

 

 

 

Rule 16. Home Energy Assistance; Disconnection of Service to Recipients

(A) Consistent with Ind. Code § 8-1-2-121, without customer request, the Corporation will not, during the applicable moratorium period, disconnect electric residential service to a customer who either is receiving or who is eligible for and has applied for assistance under Ind. Code § 12-14-11.

(B) During the moratorium period, the Corporation may not disconnect service to such customer if:

(1) The customer’s eligibility to receive benefits pursuant to Ind. Code § 12-14-11 is being determined by the department on aging and community services or its designee after the submission of a complete application for benefits by the customer.

 (2) The customer has furnished to the Corporation proof of his/her application to receive such benefits or the Corporation has been so notified in writing by the department of aging and community services or its authorized representatives.

(C) This rule does not prohibit the Corporation from terminating residential electric service upon the request of a customer or under the following circumstances:

(1) If a condition dangerous or hazardous to life, physical safety, or property exists.

(2) Upon order by any court or other duly authorized public authority.

(3) If fraudulent or unauthorized use of electricity is detected, and the Corporation has reasonable grounds to believe the affected customer is responsible for such use.

(4) If the Corporation’s regulating or measuring equipment has been tampered with and the Corporation has reasonable grounds to believe that the affected customer is responsible for such tampering.

(D) This rule does not relieve the customer from the responsibility of making payments on his or her electric bill. The customer should establish a payment agreement for any balance due amounts on the bill. The Corporation may continue to seek collection of delinquent bills by normal means, including but not limited to letter, notices, telephone calls and in-person visits to the home

 

 

 

Rule 17. Customer Complaints

(A) Complaint Procedure.

(1) A customer may complain at any time to the Corporation about any bill which is not delinquent at that time, security deposit, disconnection notice, or any other matter relating to service. Any customer with a complaint which is not satisfactorily resolved by staff may submit his/her complaint in writing to the Member Relations Committee. Such complaints should be made by completing the form available from the Corporation at its business offices. The completed complaint form will be reviewed by the Committee and a response thereto provided to the consumer. If the customer filing the complaint is not satisfied with the Committee’s response, he/she may then ask to meet with the Committee to discuss the complaint, which meeting will be conducted consistent with the Committee’s practices and/or policies. A complaint will be considered filed upon receipt by the Chairperson of the Member Relations Committee, except mailed complaints shall be considered filed as of the postmark date.

(2) Upon receiving a complaint, the Corporation’s employees will promptly investigate such complaint, confer with the customer when requested, and notify the customer of the proposed disposition of the complaint. The customer may then pursue additional review of said matter by the Member Relations Committee, consistent with (A)(1) above and applicable policies or procedures adopted by the Board.

 

 

Rule 18. Informational Pamphlets and Rate Schedules

(A) The Corporation will supply to all applicants for service and to all current customers, a pamphlet or other informational material containing a summary of these service rules and regulations. A complete copy of the current rules and regulations are accessible on the Corporation web site.

(B) The Corporation will supply free of charge a copy of the Corporation By-laws upon request by the applicant or customer. A complete copy of the current by-laws is accessible on the Corporation web site.

(C) The Corporation will supply free of charge a copy of the rate schedules applicable to the types of service available to new applicants and for existing customers of residential service, upon request by the applicant or customer.

(D) Whenever the Corporation changes its residential or other base rate schedules, the Corporation will provide its members with notice of this change at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date via the monthly newsletter, a bill stuffer, or another publication generally disseminated to customers.

 

 

Rule 19. Standard Nominal Frequency

In supplying alternating current, the Corporation will adopt a standard nominal frequency of 60 HZ. Momentary variations of frequency of more than five percent (5%), which are not due to lack of proper equipment or reasonable care by the Corporation, shall not be considered a violation of this rule.

 

 

Rule 20. Standard Voltage and Permissible Voltage Variation

(A) The Corporation shall adopt 120 volts as the standard nominal service voltage, as may be required by the Corporation’s distribution system for its entire constant voltage service. The voltage maintained at the customer’s main service terminals shall be reasonably constant as follows:

(1) For residential service, the voltage shall be within ten percent (10%), plus or minus, of the standard adopted.

(2) A greater variation of voltage than specified above may be allowed when service is supplied to a limited or extended area where customers are widely scattered or when the loads served to not justify close voltage regulation. In such cases, the best voltage regulation practicable under the circumstances will be provided.

(B) Variations in voltage in excess of those specified, caused by the following, shall not be considered a violation of this rule:

(1) the operation of power apparatus on the customer’s premises which necessarily requires large starting current;

(2) the action of the elements; or

(3) infrequent and unavoidable fluctuations of short duration due to system operation.

 

 

Rule 21. Voltage Surveys and Records

The Corporation shall have available suitable voltage measuring equipment to conduct voltage surveys in sufficient number and diversity to satisfy the Corporation’s compliance with the voltage requirements of these rules.

 

 

 

Rule 22. Monitoring Instruments

The Corporation will install such instruments as may be necessary for the Corporation to obtain complete information as to its monthly electrical energy purchases, unless such instruments are furnished by the public utility from whom the energy is purchased.

 

 

 

Rule 23. Interruptions of Service

The Corporation will keep a record of any interruption of service affecting its entire system or a major division thereof, including a statement of time, duration, extent and cause of the interruption.

Rule 24. Pole Identification

(A) The Corporation will generally mark poles, posts, or other structures used for supporting electrical conductors with (1) the initials of its name, abbreviation of its name, corporate symbol, or other distinguishing mark by which the owner of each such structure may be readily and definitely determined, and (2) a number by which the location of each such structure may be described.

(B) The identification marks shall be made with paint, stamps, brands or other means as the Corporation may elect to use, and the characters of the marks shall be of such size and so spaced and hereafter maintained as to be easily read by one standing on the ground.

(C) In the event another public utility jointly owns any such structure with the Corporation, the distinguishing mark of each public utility may be placed thereon.

Rule 25. Line Construction

In all cases not covered by specific statutes in effect, Part 2, “Safety Rules for the Installation and Maintenance of Overhead Electric Supply and Communication Lines”, and Part 3, “Safety Rules for the Installation and Maintenance of Underground Electric Supply and Communication Lines”, of the 1993 edition of the National Electrical Safety Code as approved by the American National Standards Institute July 10, 1992, as ANSI Standard C2, are prescribed for overhead and underground construction practice commenced after the date of promulgation of this rule; provided, however, that if the NESC is revised and the Commission adopts such revised edition for purposes of 170 IAC 4-1-26, such revised edition shall thereafter also be applicable for purposes of this rule or if the Commission has not yet adopted such revised edition but the Corporation determines it should comply therewith, the Corporation may do so.

Rule 26. Extension of Distribution of Service Lines

    1. Corporation’s Responsibility.
      In addition to its existing statutory responsibilities, the Corporation will, upon proper application for service, have the authority and obligation subject to the provisions of (D)(2) below to construct, own, operate and maintain the necessary electrical facilities for rendering service to the customer’s meter in the case of underground services, or weatherhead in the case of overhead services. For overhead installations, the customer must provide the weatherhead, meter base, conduit and wire that run from the meter base to the weatherhead. For underground installations, the Corporation will provide enough cable to reach the meter base. However, the customer must provide the meter base and the conduit from the meter base to the bottom of the trench.
    2. Extensions.
      The Corporation shall, upon proper application for service from overhead and/or underground distribution facilities, provide necessary facilities for rendering adequate service with the following conditions:

      1. Electric line extensions of single phase service to permanent residences will be made at a cost to the Cooperative not to exceed set amount. A contribution in aid of construction (“CIAC”) will be charged to the Member for the cost of providing service in excess of set amount. A permanent residence is a dwelling that satisfies the following:
        1. Must have permanent water and sewer facilities (water piped in and sewage piped out) approved by local authorities and must have passed appropriate electrical inspection as required by appropriate authorities.
        2. Facilities to be served must be the principal place of residence of the applicant for at least nine (9) months of the year.
        3. The applicant or applicants (all property owners) must sign a statement certifying that the above conditions have or will be met such that the premises being served will be the permanent resident of the applicant or applicants.
        4. If the dwelling is a trailer or mobile home, in addition to the above, the dwelling must be set on a permanent foundation before the Cooperative makes any investment or otherwise commits to extend service.
      2. Non-permanent residential applicants will pay the corporation the full cost of the line extension up front. A refund of the cost up to set amount will be refunded after 30 months of service at the location the line extension was constructed.
      3. Non-residential applicants will receive a credit of the estimated 3.5 times net revenue towards the amount owed to the Corporation before construction begins. After 42 months of service where the line extension was constructed, the actual net revenue will be calculated and used in the true-up between the Corporation and applicant (where credit to the applicant from the Corporation or payment to the Corporation from the applicant will take place).
      4. Real Estate Developer applicants will pay the Corporation the entire cost of the line extension of the development upfront. The Corporation will then refund set amount to the applicant when service is permanently connected to each surveyed lot of the development. The total of all refunds to any such applicant shall in no event exceed the aforesaid contribution of set amount per lot agreed upon by the Corporation before construction of the line extension began.
        1. For each real estate development where line extension has been constructed, the applicant must complete construction of surveyed lots during the period of six (6) years from the completion of such extension. After (6) years, no further credit will be made to the applicant.
      5. Set amount in above paragraphs refers to $2,200 for an all-electric home and $1,550 for a home with gas.
      6. Set amount for other residential structures such as external barns or garages will be calculated by the net revenue by REMC on a case by case basis.
      7. Set amount for commercial or small power service will be calculated by the net revenue by REMC on a case by case basis.
      8. Any project that qualifies for IPS (Industrial Power Service) rate structure, refer to tariff distribution facilities charge.
      9. Any other non-residential projects where the investment in facilities is more than $10,000 will be reviewed on a case by case basis for contribution in aid of construction.
    3. Procedure.
      Upon proper applications for such extension and adequate provision for payment to the Corporation by such applicants which would have qualified as provided in Extensions above, the Corporation shall proceed with such extension.
    4. Information.
      1. All estimates of costs as required in Extensions above shall be determined by the Corporation from actual experience.
      2. In the event that the applicant is required by Extensions above to make any payment, the Corporation will upon request make available to the applicant the information used to establish the basis for the applicable amount.
    5. Service Lines.
      1. The applicants in relation to Extensions above shall agree to pay their portion of such estimated costs for primary facilities.
      2. For service (defined as the conductors and equipment for delivering energy, not to exceed 600 volts, from the electrical supply system to the wiring system of the premises served) the applicant shall have the right to install same subject to such reasonable specifications and inspections as might be prescribed by the Corporation. The Corporation may require the applicant to submit to the Corporation sufficient designs and/or plans for the service lines before proceeding. If the Corporation provides the designs and/or plans the Corporation may require the applicant to reimburse the Corporation. The Corporation shall have no responsibility for service lines installed by the applicant.
    6. Contract for Service.
      The Corporation shall not be required to make an extension as provided in this rule unless the customers to be initially served by such extension upon its installation have entered into an agreement with the Corporation setting forth the obligations and commitments of the parties, which may require the customer to provide a satisfactory guaranty to the Corporation of the performance of the customer’s obligations thereunder.
    7. Variations from Rule.
      This rule shall not be construed as prohibiting the Corporation from making extensions without charge where the cost of the same is greater than provided in Extensions above.

 

Rule 27. Customer Modification Requests; Liability for Costs

If a customer requests for his/her convenience or by his/her actions requires that utility facilities be redesigned, reengineered, relocated, removed, modified or reinstalled, the Corporation may require the customer to make payment to it of the full cost of performing such service.

 

 

 

 

Rule 28. Rate Schedules, Rules, and Regulation

Copies of all schedules of rates for service, forms of contracts, charges for service connections and extensions, and of all rules and regulations covering the relationship between the customer and the Corporation shall be maintained in the local office of the Corporation and shall be made available to customers affected thereby.

Rule 29. Spraying of Right-of-ways

Trees, weeds and brush in the right of way create obstacles for the linemen, and if allowed to grow large, create power outages and threaten reliability of service to our members. Spraying weeds and brush with herbicides is by far the most efficient manner of controlling the growth of noxious weeds, brush and unwanted trees within utility rights of way. Vegetation management is crucial to provide reliable power to our members. The areas targeted are non-maintained fence rows and rural area road sides in our easements that have not been mowed or maintained. Areas within subdivisions will not be sprayed, however the path leading to the subdivision may be sprayed at the discretion of the REMC. Lake areas contained in the Bartholomew County REMC territory will be exempt from the spraying program. These areas include Grandview Lake, Harrison Lake, Tipton Lakes, Lutheran Lake, Schafer Lake and Lake Columbine.

Spraying for Bartholomew County REMC will be conducted between July 1 and September 30 by hired contractors. The contractors used are fully licensed and certified to do this work by the Indiana State Chemist. The herbicides used have been approved by the Environment Protection agency (EPA) and are registered with both State and Federal agencies. The herbicides used are for woody plant control under power lines. It may cause grass to temporarily turn yellow, established grasses are tolerant but newly seeded grasses may be injured. Evergreen trees such as pine and cedar trees are not sprayed.

Some members desire to have REMC not spray certain areas of its right of way has led to the creation of a no spray program.

This policy addresses the permitting of no spray areas and sets up requirements for landowners who choose not to allow Bartholomew County REMC to spray trees, weeds and brush in its rights of way on their land.

Landowners may request that rights of way not be sprayed. To join this program, landowners must fill out a no spray agreement. Upon approval of the no spray permit, Bartholomew County REMC will issue no spray tags on the internal map.

Bartholomew County REMC will annually place an article in the Electric Consumer (newsletter of the cooperative) opening applications for no spray areas. Permits will be approved immediately upon application and must be received 30 days prior to the spray start date of July 1st. Applications will remain on file until homeowner chooses to relinquish their application.

By enrolling in this program, the landowner will agree to take responsibility for the maintenance of the no spray areas. If the landowner does not control trees, weeds and brush within no spray areas that threaten power lines, Bartholomew County REMC will send the landowner notice to destroy the brush, trees or weeds within a stated 30 day period for destruction. If the landowner fails to destroy the brush or weeds within the notice period, Bartholomew County REMC will maintain the area by spraying or any other method that Bartholomew County REMC deems efficient.

No Spray Agreement

Spraying-More Information

Rule 30. Vegetation Management

The Board of Directors of the Cooperative, desiring to create uniform standards for vegetation management performed by the Cooperative hereby establishes the following procedure for notice of vegetation management, emergency or public safety trimming, standards for vegetation management, dispute resolution, member education, tree replacement, and identification of Cooperative representatives.

PROCEDURE

  1. Definitions
    1. Brush means a perennial woody stem less than four inches in diameter at breast height in an unmaintained or natural area.
    2. Business day means days other than Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday observed by the State of Indiana.
    3. Emergency storm event means (i) a condition, danger or hazard to health, life, physical safety, or property that exists or is eminent; (ii) an interruption of utility service; or (iii) the need to immediately repair or clear Cooperative facilities. This phrase includes (i) circumstances that exist that make it impractical or impossible for the Cooperative to comply with the provisions of this Vegetation Management Policy, including, but not limited to (i) floods, ice, snow, storms, tornadoes, winds, and other acts of God; (ii) falling trees; (iii) trees causing outages; and (iv) trees showing evidence of burning or otherwise having been in direct contact with electric conductors.
    4. Implied consent means the property owner or member has not contacted the Cooperative to deny consent within two weeks after receiving notice that tree trimming will occur.
    5. In person means person to person delivery of verbal or written notice by an authorized Cooperative representative to a member or hand delivery of a door hanger or similar document accompanied by an attempt by the authorized Cooperative representative to speak with the resident through actions including knocking on the door or ringing the door bell with delivery documented in writing or computerized entry by the authorized Cooperative representative making the hand delivery.
    6. Member means a member of the Cooperative as set forth in the Bylaws of the Cooperative.
    7. Power line compatible vegetation means a plant that at maturity will not reach a height greater than twelve feet.
    8. Public safety situation means
      1. The existence of a vegetation condition that could reasonably be expected to cause eminent physical harm to electrical equipment necessary for the provision of electric service, including:
        1. Trees that are unstable to the point of representing a danger to Cooperative equipment, facilities, or personnel in the course of repairs to said equipment or facilities due to disease, damage, or soil erosion. Personnel may include, but are not limited to, safety workers, such as fire, police, emergency medical personnel, utility line crews and repair crews.
        2. Trees that lean to a degree that they can touch power lines.
        3. Trees that have burn marks or other indicators that they have previously touched a power line.
      2. A condition in vegetation unrelated to normal growth that would result in contact with power lines or high voltage equipment and cause imminent physical harm to the public if not immediately mitigated.
    9. Telephone call means making an attempt to contact the member via the telephone number the Cooperative has on file and either making oral telephone contact or leaving a message on voicemail, an answering machine, or an answering service if available. If an attempt is unsuccessful in either making oral telephone contact with the member or leaving a telephonic message as described in herein, a second attempt should be made.
    10. Vegetation management means the cutting or removal of vegetation or the prevention of vegetative growth to accomplish one of the following: the maintenance of safe conditions around Cooperative facilities, ensuring reliable electric service, or preventing hazards caused by the encroachment of vegetation on Cooperative facilities and to provide Cooperative access to facilities.
    11. Written notice means notice sent from the Cooperative or its designee to the member by electronic mail, U.S. mail or another mail delivery system including information included inside a utility bill, or in-person delivery of written notice to the member’s premises
  2. Notice of Vegetation Management
    1. At least two calendar weeks prior to engaging in routine vegetation management, the Cooperative or its designee must provide notice to members whose vegetation will be subject to the vegetation management except under the following circumstances:
      1. There is no residence on a particular property.
      2. The Cooperative has a written easement, governmental permit, contractual agreement, or court order that expressly gives the Cooperative the right to conduct vegetation management activities.
      3. An emergency or storm event occurs.
    2. The Cooperative or its designee shall provide notice to a member in the following manner:
      1. At least one attempt to contact must be in person or via telephone call.
      2. If in-person or telephone contact is not made or not attempted, at least one attempt to contact must include written notice.
    3. Written and in-person notice shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
      1. A heading stating “TREE TRIMMING NOTICE”.
      2. The date the written notice was hand delivered or mailed.
      3. The fact that vegetation management is scheduled to occur.
      4. An explanation of what vegetation management is and why it is necessary for safe and reliable electric service.
      5. The fact that non-property owners living or working on the property who receive the notice are strongly encouraged to notify the property owner as soon as possible that vegetation management is scheduled to occur.
      6. The fact that receipt of this notice by the occupant initiates the two week window for calculating implied consent by the property owner or member, providing, however, that consent is not required in certain instances.
      7. The estimated range of dates between which the vegetation management is scheduled to occur.
      8. Contact information, including a telephone number, for an authorized Cooperative representative who is able to answer member inquiries related to vegetation management and who can provide the name of the contractor, if applicable, that will deliver the in person notice or conduct vegetation management.
      9. The Cooperative’s website address.
      10. A reference to an educational resource for planting around electrical facilities, like the Arbor Day Foundation’s right tree, right place program and the website address, if applicable.
      11. A statement that the Cooperative’s representative or contractor shall carry identification when delivering the in person notice or conducting vegetation management.
    4. Where the Cooperative is changing a distribution or transmission line to a higher voltage level, the Cooperative must give notice at least sixty days prior to the change if the change in the line will change the area in which vegetation management will be necessary as a result of increased safe clearance requirements. Such notice shall otherwise comply with the requirements of this Section B but shall contain the following information:
      1. The fact that line upgrades are scheduled to occur.
      2. An explanation of what line upgrades are.
      3. An explanation as to why line upgrades are necessary for safe and reliable electric service.
      4. The fact that non-property owners living or working on the property and receiving the notice are strongly encouraged to notify the property owner as soon as possible that line upgrades are scheduled to occur.
      5. The estimated range of dates within which the line upgrades are expected to occur.
      6. The estimated length of time construction is expected to continue.
      7. New vegetation restrictions on the property as a result of the line upgrades.
      8. Changes to the property owner’s easement or right of way as a result of the line upgrades.
      9. Contract information, including a telephone number for an authorized Cooperative representative who is able to answer member inquiries related to line upgrades
  3. Emergency or Public Safety Tree Trimming
    1. In cases of emergency or public safety, the Cooperative may, without member consent, remove more than twenty-five percent of a tree or trim beyond existing easement or right-of-way boundaries in order to remedy the emergency or public safety situation.
  4. Standards for Vegetation Management
    1. The Cooperative and its contractor shall perform all work in conformance with Cooperative’s work specifications, OSHA and IOSHA regulations, American National Standards Institute Z133.1 and A300, National Electric Safety Code, Shigo Guide, and the International Society of Arboriculture Standards A300.
    2. Line clearances should take into consideration the characteristics of the locality, the electrical facility, and the health of the tree.
    3. Except in situations of emergency or public safety, if a tree would have more than twenty-five percent of the canopy removed, the Cooperative or its contractor shall do one of the following actions:
      1. If the property owner and Cooperative or its contractor cannot mutually agree on how the tree can be trimmed to provide sufficient clearance in order to maintain reliable electric service, the Cooperative or contractor shall take one of the following actions:
        1. Remove the tree, at the Cooperative’s expense.
        2. Inform the member that the Cooperative will need to make non-ANSI standard cuts in order to provide clearance.
    4. Brush that is under or near the Cooperative’s electrical facilities may be removed by the Cooperative without consent of the member only when its removal is necessary for safe and reliable service.
    5. Debris associated with routine maintenance, in a maintained area, absent intervening inclement weather that may pull crews from maintenance activities, shall be removed within three calendar days or left on the property if agreed to in writing by the owner or member.
    6. The Cooperative and its contractor shall not be required to clear debris caused by storms and other natural occurrences like tree failures.
  5. Dispute Resolution
    Member disputes regarding vegetation management shall first be addressed by the on-site supervisor. If that does not resolve the matter, the dispute shall be addressed by the Bartholomew County REMC Operations and Engineering Manager. If that step fails to resolve the matter, the dispute shall be addressed by the Cooperative’s CEO.
  6. Member Education
    The Cooperative shall develop and implement an education plan to inform and educate members on the following:

      1. Tree and vegetation selection and placement around electrical facilities.
      2. The public importance of vegetation management to avoid:
        1. electric interruptions,
        2. injuries, and
        3. fatalities.
      3. The need for, and benefit of, preventing tree contact with power lines.
      4. The importance of cooperation between members and the cooperative in accomplishing the essential public task of power line maintenance.
      5. The critical importance of the public service of vegetation management to:
        1. protect electric service reliability, and
        2. avoid injuries and fatalities from electrocution.
      6. Trimming cycles the Cooperative chooses to implement, including how the chosen trim cycle impacts a clearance distance and the extent to which a tree’s appearance will be impacted based upon the chosen cycle.
  7. Tree Replacement
    Where a tree will be removed, the Cooperative may offer to provide the member with a power line compatible vegetation, other replacement plant, or monetary compensation or credit at an amount agreed to by the parties, provided that the member agrees not to plant a tree that will encroach into the Cooperative’s facilities at a future date and consents to the removal by the Cooperative if that kind of a tree is planted.
  8. Identification of Cooperative Representatives
    1. Employees or contractors performing vegetation management or in person notification of vegetation management on behalf of the Cooperative shall carry identification and provide it for inspection by the member upon request.

 

 

Rule 31. Saving Clause

The adoption of these service rules and regulations shall in no way preclude the Corporation from altering or amending the same, in whole or in part, as deemed appropriate from time to time.