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Consumer Protection: Metering, Terminations, Prepaid Service & Payment Plans

Consumer Protection: Metering, Terminations, Prepaid Service & Payment Plans

Low-income households need stronger consumer protections and regulatory policies to prevent service terminations and other threats to affordable and continuous utility services. NCLC's legal and policy work includes advocating for basic protections against disconnection and making sure emerging ideas, such as smart meters and prepaid service, do not undermine the rights of consumers.

Administrative & Regulatory Outcomes

2013 DPH memo on Submetering of Electric and Gas, Sept. 5, 2013

Model Program Helps Older Adults Avoid Utility Liens on Their Homes, December 2012

California Adopts Order to Reduce Utility Disconnections of Vulnerable Households, April 2012

Order: Vermont Public Service Board Approval of a New Low Income Electric Bill Assistance Program under the Administrative and Regulatory Outcomes, July 22, 2011

Model Settlement
Protects Vulnerable Consumers from Utility Disconnections, Dec. 27, 2010

Policy Briefs, Reports & Press Releases

Report: Helping Low-Income Utility Customers Manage Overdue Bills through Arrearage Management Programs (AMP), September 2013

Report: Rethinking Prepaid Utility Service: Customers at Risk, June 2012

Full Utility Credit Reporting

-Issue Brief Full Utility Credit Reporting: Risks to Low Income Consumers, July 2012
-Presentation to National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions, June 2010
-Report: Full Utility Credit Reporting: Risks to Low Income Consumers, Dec. 2009

Resource Guide for Financial Help w. Utility Bills in MA

Report: Guide to Intervening in State Public Utility Proceedings, May 2003

Report: Tracking the Home Energy Needs of Low-Income Households Through Trend Data on Arrearages and Disconnections, May 2004

Press Release: Increased Utility Debt Threatens Universal Access to Utility

Policy Analysis

Group letter to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of the nomination of Ron Binz as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, July 9, 2013

Press Release and Advocates' Letter to the FCC in support of The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates' Recommendation for FCC to Reject Industry's ABC Plan, September 15, 2011

Comments and Reply Comments of the Iowa Bureau of Energy Assistance regarding Prepaid Meters, August 2011

Using Nontraditional Credit Information: Boon or Bane? Do Alternative Credit Scores and Credit Reports Really Help Low-Income Consumers?, June 2009

Comments of Massachusetts Energy Directors Association and Low-Income Weatherization and Fuel Assistance Network - Investigation into Expanding Low-income Consumer Protections and Assistance, March 28, 2008

Additional Resources

"Prepaid Utility Service and Revenue Decoupling" by National Resource Defense Council Energy Program Co-director Ralph Cavanagh and NCLC Senior Energy Policy Analyst John Howat published in the Electricity Policy Journal, May 2, 2012

NCLC's Energy and Utility Publications and Resources

Research Resources Regarding Needs and Impacts Relating to Low Income Utility and Energy Consumers