Claim for ReliefADMINISTRATIVE RULES
Relating to the Implementation and Enforcement of Josephine County Ordinance 2018-006
Section 1: Definitions
Section 1.1 As used in the Ordinance and these Rules, the following terms have the meanings listed:
A. Economic Hardship means difficulty with paying bills, meeting expenses, or providing basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, water, heat and light. Each claim of economic hardship will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
B. Electric Utility means any person or entity that provides electric power to a residence or business within Josephine County for a fee or charge.
C. Excessive and/or arbitrary fee means a fee or rate that exceeds the rational value of the service for which the fee or rate is imposed; it may also mean a fee or rate that is punitive in nature.
D. Fee or rate means the monetary cost of electric utility services provided by an electric utility provider.
E. Meter means an ordinary analog or digital device to measure the amount of electric power used by a residence or business. Meter does not include any device that transmits radio frequency signals.
F. Smart meter means any meter that transmits a radio frequency signal to a receptor, which receptor receives or records in any manner the amount of electric power measured by the meter.
Section 2: Enforcement Procedures
A. Any consumer of electric utility services in Josephine County who wishes to enter a claim for relief under this ordinance must:
1. File a claim with the County, setting out the relief sought and the basis for the claimed relief, using a claim form
to be provided by the County. The claim may be submitted online, by mail, or in person to the office of the Board of Commissioners of Josephine County.
2. The County will keep all information submitted in the Claim for Relief confidential, and will not disclose any such information, with the following exceptions. The County will disclose to an electric utility the name and address of the person requesting relief, and will disclose any information required to be disclosed by court order.
3. Attest to the accuracy and truthfulness of the information submitted on the claim form. Falsification of information on the claim form will be referred to the office of the District Attorney for prosecution for false swearing or unsworn falsification.
B. Once the County receives a claim form, the claim will be reviewed for completeness by the Board of County Commissioners or a person designated by the Board to do the review. If the form is not complete it will be rejected; if it is complete, it will be reviewed and evaluated on its merits.
C. If the Board of County Commissioners determines that the claim appears to be meritorious, the Board will notify the electric utility that the consumer who filed the Request has requested relief under the Ordinance. The County will notify the utility of the name and address of each consumer who has requested relief. The consumer must also provide to the Board a copy of any response received from the utility.
A. The relief that may be requested under the Ordinance and these rules is limited to the following, upon an acceptable showing of economic hardship:
1. If a consumer has not yet had a smart meter installed, the consumer may demand that the electric utility not install a smart meter on the consumer’s property and that no opt out fee be imposed.
2. If a consumer has had a smart meter installed against the consumer’s wishes, the consumer may demand that the electric utility, within thirty days of the date of the written demand, remove the smart meter and re-install a non-radio frequency, digital broadcasting or non-broadcasting, or non-computerized analog meter that does not transmit radio frequency or electronic signals to any receptor.
3. If a consumer has refused to allow installation of a smart meter, and if the electric utility has billed the consumer for any additional amounts because of or related to that refusal, the consumer may demand that the utility cease billing for additional amounts that are incurred on or after March 1, 2019.
4. The consumer is solely responsible for demanding relief from the electric utility. If the utility refuses to comply with the consumer’s demand, the consumer is solely responsible for reporting to the Board of County Commissioners the fact of the demand and the refusal, and for providing to the Board copies of all demands and refusals.
5. Once the Board or designee receives the report of a refusal, the Board or designee will determine whether the refusal constitutes a violation of the provisions of the Ordinance.
6. If the refusal constitutes a violation of the Ordinance, the County will notify the utility in writing that the utility has violated the Ordinance, stating with specificity the nature and circumstances of the violation, and order that the utility amend its conduct to comply with the Ordinance within thirty days of the date of the notification.
7. Thirty-one days after the date of the notification to the utility, the County may begin the process of enforcement as provided in Section 2.3 herein.
1. Each refusal by the electric utility to comply with a lawful order of the Board of Commissioners is a violation of the Ordinance and of these rules.
2. Each refusal of a Board of Commissioners’ order is a separate violation, and each refusal incurs a separate penalty. If a Board Order requires the electric utility to cease imposing additional charges or fees related to a consumer’s refusal to allow installation of a smart meter, for example, each month the additional fee is billed is a separate violation, incurring a separate penalty.
3. The County has established by Ordinance that the fine for each violation by the electric utility is $2,000.
4. The County may, at its option, prosecute each violation in its own name, or it may make the electric utility the defendant in a civil proceeding seeking court orders requiring payment of the fine, and may seek attorney fees and costs in any such action.
5. In the event that any portion of these rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remainder of these rules shall remain in full force and effect, and the County may enforce such remaining sections of the rules as set forth herein.
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