Code of the District of Columbia

§ 34–131. General provisions after October 12, 2021.

*NOTE: This section was created by temporary legislation that will expire on June 9, 2022, as an amendment to temporary legislation that will expire on February 4, 2022.*

*NOTE: This section was amended by emergency legislation that will expire on March 13, 2022.*

(a) After October 12, 2021, and except as otherwise prohibited by §§ 34-1271.01 and 34-2002.01, a company shall not disconnect, suspend, or degrade service, for non-payment of a bill, any fees for service or equipment, or any other charges, if:

(1) The company has failed to engage the customer as required under § 34-132;

(2) The customer owes less than $600;

(3) The customer has entered into a payment plan with the company and either is meeting the terms of the payment plan or is less than 2 months behind under the terms of the payment plan;

(4) Prior to October 12, 2021, the customer has requested to enter into a payment plan with the company and fewer than 45 days have elapsed following the customer's initial request; or

(5) The Mayor has certified or the customer has provided documentary evidence that the customer qualifies for utility disconnection relief and not more than 90 days have elapsed since October 12, 2021.

(b) For purposes of subsection (a)(5) of this section, the Mayor shall certify that an individual is qualified for utility disconnection relief if the individual:

(1) Within the prior 6 months, received or was approved for a benefit under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program ("LIHEAP"), Utility Discount Program ("UDP"), DC Water Customer Assistance Program ("CAP"), or STAY DC Program;

(2) Is receiving a benefit under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("SNAP") or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF") program; or

(3) Is 21 years of age or older and receiving a benefit under Medicaid or the DC Healthcare Alliance.

(c)(1) By September 13, 2021, the Mayor shall provide notice to each individual certified as qualified for utility disconnection relief pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(2) By September 27, 2021, and every 4 weeks thereafter until January 1, 2022, the Mayor shall provide companies and the Office of the People's Counsel ("OPC") with a list of each individual certified as qualified for utility disconnection relief, including the individual's home address. The list shall be property of the District and shall only be used to determine that an individual on the list is qualified for relief from utility disconnection and to communicate that to affected households and companies as needed.

(d) A company shall consider a customer as certified as qualified for utility disconnection relief under this section where:

(1) The customer's name is included on the list provided to a company under subsection (c)(2) of this section;

(2) The customer's home address is included on the list provided to a company under subsection (c)(2) of this section, but the name of the individual certified does not match the name of the customer on the account; or

(3) The customer provides the company with a copy of the notice of certification provided by the Mayor under subsection (c)(1) of this section by mail, email, fax, or other reasonable method.

(e) By August 9, 2021, the Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, promulgate emergency rules to implement this section, including guidance on the District's and the companies' responsibilities under this section.