As we reported earlier this year, a public inquiry into the death of a Calgary man made a number of recommendations as to the procedures to be followed for utility disconnection. These recommendations included a winter moratorium on disconnections, improved training and communications, and improved procedures for rapid reconnections.
The Alberta Utilities Commission has now introduced new rules around the disconnection process which would protect vulnerable customers.
The changes will include:
- enhanced procedures for customers who are disconnected on the start of the winter moratorium period (November 1 of each year)
- enhanced identification of vulnerable persons, and provision for contact with family, friends and social services agencies where a person is identified as vulnerable
- basic information to be provided to all persons facing disconnection
No change was made to the winter moratorium period. That period, during which utilities may not be disconnected, was extended by the AUC earlier this year, and now runs from November 1 to April 15, instead of from December 1 to April 15.
For further information, see the AUC's news release.