[HISTORY: Article I adopted by the Township Committee (now Council) of the Township of Jackson as indicated in article histories. Subsequent articles adopted by the Township Council as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 8-23-1982 by Ord. No. 40-82 (Ch. 73A, Art. I, of the 1972 Code)]
The Township Committee of the Township of Jackson finds and declares that the termination of service to residential customers of unregulated utilities supplying liquefied petroleum (gas) to such customers who require such gas for heating, cooking or other utility purposes imposes a severe burden on such customers and, in certain circumstances, may cause severe health problems to residential customers of such unregulated utilities, and the Township Committee is of the opinion that the adoption of this article is necessary for the preservation of public health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Township of Jackson and is necessary and proper for good government, order and the protection of persons and property.
The provisions of this article shall apply to unregulated utilities and companies supplying liquefied petroleum gas (propane) to residential customers for home heating or cooking purposes.
At least 10 days' time for payment shall be allowed after sending a bill for the providing of liquefied petroleum gas (propane) to a residential customer. An unregulated public utility or company may discontinue service to such customer for nonpayment of bills, provided that it gives to such residential customer at least 10 days' written notice of its intention to discontinue. The notice of discontinuance shall not be served until the expiration of the ten-day period of time for payment as aforesaid. However, in case of fraud, illegal use or when it is clearly indicated that the customer is preparing to vacate the premises, immediate payment of account may be required.
An unregulated utility or company supplying liquefied petroleum gas (propane) to a residential customer shall not discontinue service because of nonpayment of bills in cases where a charge is in dispute, provided that the undisputed portion of any such charges are paid. In such case, the unregulated public utility shall take the appropriate legal action to collect the disputed portion of any such bill. Whenever a residential customer advises the unregulated public utility or company prior to the date of a proposed discontinuance for nonpayment that he wishes to discuss a deferred payment agreement because he is presently unable to pay a total outstanding bill, said utility or company shall make a good faith effort to provide the customer with an opportunity to enter into a reasonable deferred payment agreement.
In no event shall any unregulated public utilities or companies supplying liquefied petroleum gas (propane) be required to accept a deferred payment plan unless it meets the following minimum requirements:
An initial payment of at least 25% of the past due amount subject to the deferred payment plan payable on an immediate basis.
A maximum of three monthly installment payments of at least 25% of the unpaid charges with the first such installment due 30 days after payment of the initial payment.
A monthly surcharge of 1 1/2% of the customer's outstanding balance following payment of the initial payment or any installation payable at the time that each installment is due.
In the event that any residential customer fails to comply with a deferred payment plan, the unregulated public utility or company providing liquefied petroleum gas (propane) service may discontinue such service on an immediate basis with no further notice to the residential customer. In the event that the entire unpaid balance of the utility bill is paid by the residential customer, said unregulated public utility or company shall be required to reinstate utility service to the residential customer.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate a provision of this article or fail to comply therewith shall, for each and every such violation and noncompliance, be subject to a fine not to exceed the sum of $500 or shall be imprisoned for a period of not more than 90 days, or both, in the discretion of the Judge before whom such conviction is had. Each day that such violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.