An effort to have Utah Power & Light Co. voluntarily suspend its newly adopted deposit policy is being backed by the Utah Committee of Consumer Services.
Joe Duke-Rosati of the Salt Lake Community Action Program told board members the new policy has not been approved by the Utah Public Service Commission as required by commission rules. He asked the committee to authorize its legal counsel to file a petition with the commission seeking to have the deposit policy suspended until it can be formally reviewed and approved by the commission.The committee represents the interests of residential, small business and agricultural utility customers in proceedings before the commission.
Kent Walgren, the committee's attorney, said he would contact UP&L and request the policy be voluntarily suspended while the matter is under review. If the company re-fuses to take action by Nov. 9, the committee will file a formal petition.
Duke-Rosati said the new policy, which is similar to one now used by Mountain Fuel Supply Co., requires new customers to supply a letter of credit from their previous electric supplier to avoid paying a $120 security deposit. The deposit is billed in three equal installments on the customer's electric billing. Existing customers who receive a shut-off notice are also required to pay the deposit.
If the customer exhibits a satisfactory payment record, the deposit is returned at the end of 12 months along with interest at 9 percent.
Duke-Rosati said his agency has received more than 20 complaints from low income people experiencing hardships since the policy went into effect Oct. 15.