What should the notice say?
The notice you receive must have the following information:
- The date on or after which the utility proposes to terminate service, which cannot be earlier than 30 days after the date of the notice
- The amount of the most recent bill for service for the 30-day period before the notice
- Instructions on how you can pay the 30-day bill and assurance that you are not responsible for your landlord’s back bill
- An explanation of your legal rights under
state law, which include:
- The right to deduct your payments for utility service from rent, and
- The right to be protected from retaliation by your landlord for exercising your right to pay to continue utility service
What should I do if I did not receive the notice described above?
- You should contact the utility provider immediately if you did not receive the notice of your utility rights as a tenant
- Inform the utility provider that you are a tenant and that your landlord is responsible for the utility service
- Demand a notice stating your state law rights under the following statutes:
- For Philadelphia Water – “Utility Service Tenants Rights Act”
- For PECO and PGW – “Discontinuance of Service to Leased Premises Act”
- If the utility does not agree to give you the legally-required notice, you should file a dispute:
- For Philadelphia Water – Contact the Water Revenue Bureau directly at 215-685-6300 and demand an informal hearing request form
- For PECO and PGW – Contact the Public Utility Commission and file an Informal Complaint at 1-800-692-7380
- If you did not receive the legally-required notice and your service was shut off, or if you have questions about your rights, you should seek legal help.
Do I have to provide a copy of my lease to the utility?
The utility provider is required by law to give the tenant notice to each home or apartment “reasonably likely” to be occupied by a tenant who would be affected by a utility shut off. You have no legal obligation to provide your lease or information to the utility to be entitled to receive notice. Failure to deliver a notice to a home or apartment reasonably likely to be occupied by a tenant is a violation of state law.
Once you receive a notice, you may need to provide identifying information and show that you are a tenant in order to continue service.
Can I become a customer of the utility instead of my landlord?
Under state law, any tenant who may be affected by a shut off of service in the landlord’s name has the right to agree to have future utility service provided in the tenant’s name if the utility can provide that service (typically, if the tenant’s dwelling is individually metered). Inquire directly with the utility for information on how to apply for service in your name.
Can my landlord call the utility and have the service shut off?
No. The same rules that apply to the utility when the landlord doesn’t pay apply if the landlord wants to have the service turned off. The utility must still provide the 30 day notice and information about the tenant’s rights to continue service.