The Electric Service Deposit Policy is found in Member Policy #10.
1. Establishment of Credit for Permanent Residential Applicants
a. Bowie-Cass Electric Cooperative, Inc. may require a residential applicant for service to satisfactorily establish credit, but such establishment of credit shall not relieve the customer from complying with these rules for prompt payment of bills. Credit history shall be applied equally for a reasonable period of time to a spouse or former spouse who shared the service, Credit history maintained by one will be applied equally to the other without modification and without additional qualification not required of the other. Credit history is only applicable if an applicant has had service within the previous 12 months. An applicant is a person who applies for service for the first time, reapplies for service, or re-applied at a new or existing location after discontinuance of service. Customer is defined as someone who is currently receiving service.
b. An online credit check will be run on all persons applying for service via our Online Utility Exchange program. This check serves 2 purposes: 1) credit risk & 2) verification of identity via Social Security Card information.
c. If this credit check results in a green flag, no deposit will be required.
d. If this credit check results in a red flag, the applicant will be quoted a deposit based on normal procedure; i.e. one-sixth of annual billing or for new service $1 per amp or $100 minimum. An adverse credit letter will be provided to the applicant to allow them to contact the credit reporting agency directly.
e. If it is discovered on the credit report that the applicant has unpaid balances with other electric utilities, he/she will be required to pay a deposit. Letter of Guarantee (LOG) is not an option for those seeking to avoid paying a required deposit rather we provide Pre-pay in lieu of conventional billing
f. If the information that the applicant supplies does not come back as a match from the online credit check or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, the applicant will be required to come to our office in person to complete their application. A government-issued photo ID along with a valid Social Security card will be required to verify their identity.
g. If a customer wishes to establish service at a different location from which he/she currently resides, the current 12-month pay history shall determine whether a deposit is required. A pay history indicating 3 or more late payments will require a deposit for the newly requested service.
h. Deceased: No one shall be allowed to continue service under a deceased member’s account, with the exception of a surviving spouse listed jointly on the account. All other persons shall be required to set up service in their own name in a reasonable time frame. They may establish creditworthiness by virtue of verifying payments they have made over the course of the past 12 months or via the online credit check. Such credit-worthy applicants will not be charged the $15 connect fees. Failure to transfer service may result in termination of service
2. Reestablishment of Credit
Every applicant who previously has been a customer of the Cooperative and whose service has been discontinued for non-payment of bills or meter tampering or bypassing of the meter shall be required, before service is rendered, to pay all amounts due the Cooperative or execute a deferred payment agreement, if offered, and reestablish credit as provided in Section 1.
3. Commercial and Industrial Service
If the credit history of an applicant has not been established satisfactorily to the Cooperative within the previous 12 months, the applicant may be required to make a deposit.
a. An online credit check will be run on all applicants applying for service via our Online Utility Exchange Program. This check serves 2 purposes: 1) credit risk & 2) verification of identity via Tax Identification Number.
b. If this credit check results in a green flag, no deposit will be required.
c. If this credit check results in a red flag, the applicant will be quoted a deposit based on the normal procedure; i.e. one-sixth of the annual billing or for new service $2 per amp or $200 minimum.
4. Amount of deposit and interest for permanent Residential, Commercial and Industrial Service and Exemption for Deposit.
a. The required deposit shall not exceed an amount equivalent to one-sixth (1/6) of the estimated annual billings (2 months average) with the exception of members that have had their service disconnected for non-payment and have allowed their accounts to close out such that a new member separator must be created. In place of a 1/6 average billing deposit, these members will be required to pay a deposit equivalent to the two consecutive, highest months billing. Such deposit will be required along with past due amount and any fees prior to reconnecting service. This amount may not be billed to any account.
b. Anyone having their service disconnected for non-pay for the second time within a twelve-month period that has an insufficient deposit on their account (<1/6 estimated annual billing) shall be required to pay an additional deposit sufficient to bring the total deposit on the account equal to 1/6 of the estimated annual billing. Such deposit will be required along with past due amount and any fees prior to reconnecting service. This amount may not be billed to the account.
c. If actual use of a commercial or industrial customer is at least twice the amount of the estimated billings, and a suspension notice has been issued on a bill within the previous 12-month period, a new deposit requirement may be calculated and an additional deposit may be required to be made within fifteen days.
d. If actual billings of a residential customer are at least twice the amount of the estimated billings, after two billing periods a new deposit may be required to be made within fifteen days after issuance of written notice of termination. If such additional deposit is not made, the Cooperative may disconnect service under the standard disconnection procedure.
e. The Cooperative when it requires deposits to be made by its customers shall pay interest on such deposits. The annual rate to be fixed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas for each calendar year. If refund of deposit is made within thirty (30) days of receipt of deposit, no interest payment is required. If the Cooperative retains the deposit more than thirty (30) days, payment of interest shall be made retroactive to the date of deposit.
i. Payment of the interest to the customer shall be annually or at the time the deposit is returned or credited to the customer’s account.
ii. The deposit shall cease to draw interest on the date it is returned or credited to the customer’s account.
5. Deposits for Temporary or Seasonal Service and for Weekend Residences.
The Cooperative may require a deposit sufficient to reasonably protect it against the assumed risk, as outlined in Section 1 of this policy.
6. Records of Deposits
a. The Cooperative shall keep records to show:
i. The name and address of each depositor and
ii. The amount and date of the deposit; and
iii. Each transaction concerning the deposit.
b. A record of each unclaimed deposit must be maintained for at least four years, during which time the Cooperative shall make a reasonable effort to return the deposit.
7. Refund of Deposit
a. If service is not connected, or after disconnection of service, the Cooperative shall promptly and automatically refund the customer’s deposit plus accrued interest or the balance, if any, in excess of the unpaid bills for service furnished. All such refunds shall be processed through normal, weekly A/P. A transfer of service from one premise to another within the service area of the Cooperative shall be deemed as a disconnect, and any deposit will be applied to the final bill. A new deposit may be required at the secondary location.
b. When the customer has paid bills for service for twelve (12) consecutive residential bills or for twenty-four (24) consecutive commercial or industrial billings without any late payments, the Cooperative shall promptly and automatically refund the deposit plus accrued interest to the customer in the form of credit to a customer’s bill or cash.
8. Upon Sale or Transfer of the Cooperative
Upon the sale or transfer of the Cooperative or operating units thereof, the seller shall file with the Texas Public Utility Commission under oath, in addition to other information, a list showing the names and addresses of all customers served by such utility or unit who have their credit a deposit, the date such deposit was made, the amount thereof and the unpaid interest thereon.
9. Complaint by Applicant or Customer
The Cooperative has directed its personnel engaged in initial contact with an applicant or customer for service, seeking to establish or re-establish credit under the provisions of these rules, to inform the customer, if dissatisfaction is expressed with the Cooperative’s decision, of the customer’s right to file a complaint with the Texas Public Utility Commission thereon.