Title 26 Public Utilities
2000 Water Regulations
2001 Minimum Standards Governing Service Provided By Public Water Companies (Docket 13 and 15)
1.1 Authorization Of Rules
The Public Service Commission Law of Delaware vests in the Public Service Commission the authority to formulate standards for such water service and facilities as it deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this law. (26 Del.C. §209)
1.2 Application Of Rules
There are herein set forth those regulations which shall apply to any public water utility operating within the State of Delaware, under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission. These regulations shall become effective ninety (90) days after adoption by the Commission, and shall supersede Commission Order No. 101 dated January 10, 1952.
1.2.1 Purpose.These rules are promulgated to promote safe and adequate service to the public, to provide standards for uniform and reasonable practices by water utilities, and to outline the responsibility of the public in requesting and receiving service from the water utilities.
1.2.2 Duties Under Other Statutes. These regulations shall in no way relieve any utility from any of its duties under the laws of this State or regulations promulgated by other State or Federal agencies or authorities.
1.2.3 Exemption. If unreasonable hardship to a utility results from the application of any rule or standard herein prescribed, or if unreasonable difficulty is involved in compliance, application may be made to the Commission for temporary or permanent exemption from its requirements, provided that the utility shall submit with such application a full and complete statement of its reasons for such application for exemption. Any exemptions, or any applications for exemptions, will be entertained by the Commission upon due notice to the customers, and after a hearing.
1.2.4 Modification. The adoption of these regulations shall in no way preclude the Commission, upon complaint, upon its own motion, or upon the application of any utility, from altering or amending them, in whole or in part, or from requiring any other or additional equipment, facility, or standard, or from making such modifications with respect to the utility's application as may be necessary to meet exceptional conditions. Any modification shall be accomplished in accordance with the provisions of 29 Del.C. Ch. 64.
The following words or terms, when used in these regulations, shall have the meaning indicated, unless the context otherwise requires:
1.3.1 Commission: The Public Service Commission of Delaware.
1.3.2 Customer: Any person, partnership, firm, association, corporation, or governmental agency being supplied with water by a water company.
1.3.3 Dwelling Unit: One or more rooms arranged for the use of one or more individuals as a single housekeeping unit, with cooking, living, sanitary and sleeping facilities.
1.3.4 Main: Any water pipe, owned, operated, or maintained by a water company, which is used for the transmission or distribution of water, excluding service pipes.
1.3.5 Meter: Without other qualifications, any device or instrument which is used by the utility in measuring the quantity of water service rendered to a customer for recording or billing purposes.
1.3.6 Premises: A tract of land or real estate, including buildings and other appurtenances thereon.
1.3.7 Service Pipe: The pipe which runs from the main to the customer's premises.
1.3.8 Utility: A water company subject to regulation by the Commission.
1.3.9 Water Plant: Equipment, stations, and property owned or used by a water company, used in its business operations to provide water service to its customers.
1.3.10 Shall: The use of the word "shall" in this regulation expresses a mandatory requirement.
1.3.11 Should: The use of the word "should" in this regulation expresses suggestion or guidance and is not mandatory.
1.3.12 Contribution In-Aid-of Construction ("CIAC") means cash, services, funds, property or other value received from State, municipal, or other governmental agencies, individuals, contractors, or others for the purpose of constructing or aiding in the construction of utility plant and which represent a permanent infusion of capital from sources other than utility bondholders or stockholders.
1.3.13 Advances For Construction Of Services ("Advances") means cash, services, funds, property or other value received by the utility which would be CIAC but for an agreement by the utility to refund in whole or in part the amount received so that the Advances initially represent a temporary infusion of capital from sources other than utility bondholders or stockholders.
1.3.14 Facilities Extension means the extension of the water utility’s Mains and appurtenances (“Facilities”) for the provision of water service. As used in this definition, “appurtenances” include valves, hydrants, pumps, sampling equipment and other miscellaneous items appurtenant to a Main extension.
1.3.15 New Services means the extension of pipe from the water utility’s Mains to the customer’s premises.
2.0 Records And Reports
2.1 Availability Of Records
All books, accounts, papers, records, and memoranda required by these rules or necessary for the administration thereof, shall be open and available for examination by the Commission or its authorized representatives at all times.
2.2 Retention Of Records
All books, accounts, papers, records, and memoranda required by these rules shall be preserved for a minimum period of three (3) years.
All books, accounts, papers, records, and memoranda required by these rules shall be kept in an office within this State, and shall not be removed from this State, except upon such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Commission. This provision shall not apply if the utility is engaged in interstate commerce, whose accounts are kept at its principal office outside this State. However, such utility, when required by the Commission, shall furnish to same, certified copies of its books, accounts, papers, records, and memoranda relating to the business done by such public utility.
2.4 Information To Be Filed With The Commission
Each utility shall file with the Commission, and keep current, a copy of its approved tariff.
2.4.1 Rates.The tariff shall include each schedule of rates for service.
2.4.2 Rules.The tariff shall include the utility's rules and regulations, or terms and conditions describing the utility's policies and practices in rendering service, and in its relations with customers or prospective customers.
2.4.3 Bill Forms.Each utility shall file with the Commission a sample of each type of customer billing statement, which shall include the information normally shown on a customer's bill for service.
2.4.4 System Map(s). Each utility shall file with the Commission a map showing the utility's water system, scale 1" = 1 mile or less, e.g. 1" = 2000 feet. Such map shall be revised annually unless such revision is unnecessary in which event the utility shall notify the Commission that the map on file is current. The map should show:
188.8.131.52 the location of pumping stations, treatment plants, and sources of supply;
184.108.40.206 storage facilities;
220.127.116.11 mains 8 inches or larger;
18.104.22.168 service area.
2.4.5 Persons to Contact. Each utility shall file with the Commission and shall notify its customers upon request, of the name, title, business address, and telephone number of the person(s) who should be contacted in connection with the following areas of operation:
22.214.171.124 customer relations (complaints and billing inquiries);
126.96.36.199 engineering and water quality;
188.8.131.52 meter tests and repairs;
184.108.40.206 emergencies during non-office hours and regular hours; and shall notify the Commission promptly of any changes.
2.4.6 Accident Notification. In the event of a fatal or serious accident, prompt notice shall be given to the Commission by telephone or telegraph, followed by a written report of such accident. A full report is also required when any serious property damage shall have been caused to the utility. These reports shall be treated confidentially per 26 Del.C. §213(b).
2.4.7 Reports of Service Interruption. Each utility shall file with the Commission a monthly report of any interruptions in service within ten (10) days after the end of any month in which an interruption occurred. Negative reports are also required after the end of any month in which no interruptions occurred. Reports shall include:
220.127.116.11 location and time of interruption;
18.104.22.168 time of restoration of service;
22.214.171.124 estimated number of customers affected;
126.96.36.199 when known, the cause for interruption.
188.8.131.52.1 Utilities shall make all possible efforts to re-establish service in the shortest time practicable with due regard to safety.
184.108.40.206.2 When service is interrupted for scheduled repairs or maintenance, such work should be done at a time which will cause the least inconvenience to customers. The customers who would be affected should be notified prior to the scheduled interruption.
220.127.116.11.3 If any interruption affects or would affect the service to any public fire protection device or department, the utility shall immediately notify the official responsible for fire protection.
2.4.8 Annual Reports. Each utility shall file an annual financial statement based upon the accounts set out in the Uniform System of Accounts, or such other requirement as prescribed by the Commission. This report shall be filed with the Commission on or before March 31st of the succeeding year for which the report covers.
2.5.1 Each utility shall keep a record of each complaint received. The complaint record shall contain:
18.104.22.168 complainant's name, address, and telephone number;
22.214.171.124 nature of the complaint;
126.96.36.199 date complaint was received;
188.8.131.52 when, how, and by whom the complaint was handled;
184.108.40.206 disposition and findings of the complaint.
2.5.2 Resolution. All complaints should be handled promptly, courteously, and include a full investigation prior to any conclusion.
2.5.3 Disputes. No customer shall be disconnected when a dispute over a billing statement is under investigation.
220.127.116.11 No water company shall discontinue service because of non-payment while the company is investigating a customer's complaint about a bill, nor shall any customer's service be terminated for non-payment without Commission approval once the company has been notified that a formal complaint concerning a water bill has been filed with the Public Service Commission under the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure.
18.104.22.168 No notice of termination of service for non-payment may be sent to a customer during the investigation of a complaint by either the company or the Commission, and no additional deposit may be required for the continuation of service during the period of such investigation.
22.214.171.124 After the Commission or the company has completed its investigation of a customer's complaint concerning a bill, the customer shall be afforded a reasonable time, not less than twenty (20) days, to pay the bill as finally determined.
2.5.4 Definition. "Complaint" as used in this subsection shall be construed to mean any specific objection to charges or meter readings on the billing statement, facilities, practices, or services of a utility.
2.6 Meter Records
2.6.1 Meter reading sheets, cards, or records from which billing statements are prepared shall contain:
126.96.36.199 customer's name, address, and rate schedule;
188.8.131.52 meter identification number;
184.108.40.206 meter reading and date reading was made;
220.127.116.11 applicable water meter multiplier or constant;
18.104.22.168 estimated or actual reading.
2.6.2 Inventory Records. Each utility shall maintain records of each meter and metering device which will identify each as to its design, capacity, and application. Such identifying information may also include: manufacturer, number, type, size, capacity, multiplier, and/or constants.
2.6.3 History Records. Each utility shall maintain records for each meter and metering device which shall show the date of purchase, date of installation, date of removal from service, together with the location.
2.6.4 Testing Records.Each utility shall maintain test records on each meter, which shall include the following:
22.214.171.124 date of last test, and date and reason for current test;
126.96.36.199 meter reading at time of disconnection from customer's premises prior to any testing;
188.8.131.52 the accuracy before testing and after adjustment;
184.108.40.206 if testing is performed in conjunction with a standard meter, the utility shall retain all data taken to permit checking test methods andcalculations;
220.127.116.11 if a standard meter is used for accuracy calibration of customer meters, it will be checked and adjusted at least semi-annually.
3.1 Authorization For Operation Or Construction
No individual, corporation, firm, partnership, association, company, cooperative, joint stock company or association, or any other form of business enterprise shall commence any construction of a water system for public use without having been granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, and such other permits as may by required by law. System expansion, even within the certificated area, shall not commence without approval of the plans by the State Board of Health.
3.2 Water Plant Operation
The utility's water plant shall be constructed, installed, maintained, and operated in accordance with current engineering practices in the water industry, to assure, as far as reasonably possible, continuity of service, uniformity in the quality of service furnished, and the safety of persons and property. The entire water plant systems shall be free from sanitary defects. Distribution systems must be designed and operated for a continuous positive pressure.
3.2.1 Public Health. Water for domestic use must meet the State Health standards and the Environmental Protection Agency's minimum standards for water quality, as contained in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and its regulations. These standards set limits on the chemical, biological, and radiological nature of water. The utility shall be responsible for water quality up to the customer's facilities, i.e., up to the customer's pipe after the meter.
3.2.2 Sources of Supply.The well casings and vents shall be constructed and maintained to prevent contamination. Unused wells shall be capped and abandoned wells filled. The source of supply shall be:
18.104.22.168 free from pollution, unless subsequently purified by treatment;
22.214.171.124 adequate when considered with available storage to provide a continuous supply of water in sufficient quantity to accommodate system peak-day demand;
126.96.36.199 reasonably protected against contamination and unauthorized use.
3.2.3 Surface-Water. All surface-water supplies shall receive treatment prior to domestic use.
3.2.4 Ground-Water. All ground-water withdrawal points shall be located a "safe distance"* from sources of pollution., e.g., septic tanks, sewage disposal facilities, sewers, farm animals, fertilizers, and pesticides, unless adequate treatment is provided to render the water in compliance with the State Board of Health standards. All ground-water supplies should receive treatment prior to domestic use.
*Safe Distance - under the most adverse conditions no contamination or pollution would occur.
When storage is involved, maintenance must be performed at regularly scheduled intervals to protect against contamination, corrosion, or other deterioration.
3.3.1 Cathodic Protection. Cathodic protection should be used to combat corrosion in all underground steel reservoirs.
3.3.2 Reservoirs. Where fire protection is to be provided, reserve capacity for fire emergencies shall be adequate. The reservoir should be of sufficient size to not only provide for fire emergencies, but also to contain at least a 4-6 hour supply of peak-period water.
3.3.3 Maintenance. Reservoirs shall be drained, cleaned, and disinfected as often as necessary to maintain tank integrity and water quality.
188.8.131.52 Reservoir drains shall be valved and not connected to any sewer lines.
184.108.40.206 Manholes over entry shall be locked at all times except when maintenance is being performed.
3.4 Water Plant Inspection
3.4.1 Each utility must adopt and file with the Commission a program of inspection of its water plant in order to determine the necessity for replacement and repair. The frequency of the various inspections shall be based on the utility's experience and accepted good practice. Each utility shall keep sufficient records to give evidence of compliance with its inspection program.
3.4.2 Each utility shall have water samples obtained at random points within its system examined at regular intervals each year by competent personnel familiar with the sanitary examination procedures of water testing. Sanitary surveys may be made, upon application for same, by the State Board of Health. The system shall be operated in such manner to assure water test results will be in compliance with the State Board of Health's minimum standards on water quality.
3.5 Design And Construction
The design and construction of the system and the components thereof shall conform to the requirements of the State Health Department and the AWWA standards.
3.5.1 Railroad Crossings. Where the line crosses beneath a railroad, the line should be laid inside a culvert pipe or steel casing large enough to provide protection against external vibrations and loading.
3.5.2 Depth. All pipes shall be installed below the normal frost line or be otherwise protected to minimize the possibility of freezing and should have at least three (3) feet of cover.
3.5.3 Common Trenches. No pipe shall be placed in the same trench with a sewer or nonpotable water line.
When crossing, or where in close proximity, water lines shall be placed higher than sewer or nonpotable water lines or measures taken to protect the water supply from possible contamination.
3.5.4 Valves. The distribution system shall have sufficient valving so that areas may be isolated with a minimum number of customer services being affected during times of repairs or maintenance. When feasible, valves should be provided at intervals not to exceed one continuous block or 500 feet, whichever is greater, except where a dead-end run is not intended to serve any intervening customers.
220.127.116.11 Valves shall be partially operated periodically to ensure their performance.
18.104.22.168 Suitable check valves, or a reduced pressure backflow prevention valve should, wherever feasible, be installed between the meter and the customer's line. The utility shall install such backflow prevention devices at the customer's expense.
3.5.5 Dead-Ends. The utility should design its distribution system in a grid or looping manner to avoid dead-ends in its mains. Where dead-ends cannot be avoided, the dead-end line must be flushed as often as necessary to prevent poor quality water and the build-up of silt and sediment, as well as the decomposition of accumulated deposits. A schedule of such flushing of system mains shall be filed with the Commission and revised annually.
3.5.6 Pipe Detection.All underground piping installed subsequent to the effective date of these regulations, should be detectable by means of conductive or inductive testing. Non-conductive pipe or sections should be installed with a tracer wire providing electrical continuity throughout the system, thereby permitting inductive or conductive detection. Whatever method is used, the utility shall make provision to enable it to readily determine the location of all underground facilities which it owns or maintains.
3.5.7 Cross Connections.Any physical connection between the distribution system of a public water supply and that of any other water supply, must comply with the regulations of the Division of Public Health, of the Department of Health and Social Services.
3.5.8 Corrosion. The joining of dissimilar metals breeds a corrosive atmosphere. Where it is impossible to avoid this situation, the joint, flange, valve, sleeve, etc., should be electrically isolated from the system.
3.5.9 Unbalanced Pressure. All tees, bends, caps, plugs, hydrants, or other fittings that change the direction of flow should be blocked or anchored to prevent pipe movement caused by surges, water hammer, or unbalanced pressure which would result in water contamination from disjointed pipe(s).
3.5.10 Minimum Pipe Sizes.The distribution system piping should be at least 6 inches in size, except where good engineering practice, such as the provision of short dead-ends for fire protection and the like, permits the use of smaller diameters.
3.5.11 Pressure. The distribution system and piping shall be designed in such a manner that the pressure at a customer's service connection shall be:
22.214.171.124 not less than 25 psig;
126.96.36.199 not more than 100 psig.
3.5.12 Fire Protection on New Systems. As to any water system installed or extended after January 1, 1988, no utility shall charge for or hold itself out as providing fire protection in an area where it does not provide from each hydrant, operating independently, a flow in excess of five hundred (500) gallons per minute with a minimum of twenty (20) pounds per square inch (PSI) residual pressure remaining for a duration of at least two (2) hours. Such flow must be in addition to average domestic water service demand on the system.
188.8.131.52 Flow tests of all areas in which fire protection is provided, within a water utility's service territory, shall be conducted equally over an initial three (3) year period and updated every five (5) years thereafter with all information on such tests provided to the Public Service Commission. In addition, flow tests will not include every hydrant in such areas but rather provide representative samplings based on sound engineering determination.
184.108.40.206 All hydrants shall be inspected and operated at least every three (3) years and after each use within five (5) working days upon notification to the utility. Particular attention shall be paid to the general condition of the hydrant to include:
220.127.116.11.1 caps present and free turning;
18.104.22.168.2 threads in good condition;
22.214.171.124.3 hydrant operates properly;
126.96.36.199.4 hydrant drains properly;
188.8.131.52.5 outlets facing proper direction.
184.108.40.206 All test records shall be maintained by the utility for at least five (5) years and shall be available for public inspection.
3.5.13 Fire Protection on Existing Systems. As of January 1, 1988, all water systems with five (5) hydrants shall, within one hundred eighty (180) days of that date, file with the Commission:
220.127.116.11 Test results demonstrating that, on the basis of representative sampling based upon sound engineering determination, there is available at each hydrant a flow in excess of five hundred (500) gallons per minute as required by Section 3.5.12 above; or
18.104.22.168 An engineering plan, together with cost estimates, for bringing the flows at all fire hydrants to the level set forth in Section 3.5.12 above within a period of time as the utility may deem feasible; or
22.214.171.124 An application, pursuant to 26 Del.C. §203(c) to abandon the provision of fire protection service.
3.6 Service Pipe
The utility shall furnish, install, and maintain the service line and appurtenances thereto, up to the point where the water enters facilities or pipes owned and maintained by the customer.
The customer shall be responsible for furnishing, installing, and maintaining the service line from the pipe owned and maintained by the utility to the place of consumption on his premises.
3.6.1 Curb Stop. Curb stops are for the exclusive use of the utility in controlling the water supply to individual customers and should not be located on the customer's property.
3.6.2 Customer Valve. The control of the water supply by the customer shall be by means of a separate valve, located on the downstream side of the meter.
There should also be a suitable valve installed in the customer's system to permit full draining thereof.
3.6.3 Pressure Regulation. Pressure regulating devices or valves shall be used on all service lines to reduce the water pressure to 25-100 psig., for domestic use unless the use of such device is waived by the customer.
3.7 Pressure Requirement Exceptions
3.7.1 Water pressure outside the limits specified will not be considered a noncompliance item when the variations:
126.96.36.199 are infrequent fluctuations not exceeding five (5) minutes in duration;
188.8.131.52 arise from service interruptions;
184.108.40.206 are from causes beyond the control of the utility.
3.7.2 Pressure Gauge. Each distribution system serving 1000 or more customers should have at least one recording pressure gauge in continuous operation (24 hour recording) at some fixed point near the center of the system. These recording charts shall be preserved and available for inspection.
3.7.3 Pressure Surveys. Each utility having more than 100 customers shall have at least one portable pressure recording gauge.
220.127.116.11 Each utility which, due to topography, operates a system with varying pressures shall make periodic pressure measurements at various locations within the system in order to determine that the system is remaining within the limits of 3.5.11.
18.104.22.168 These measurements should be taken at the customer's service connection. If no outlet is available, then the measurement may be made at the nearest available outlet.
3.7.4 Survey Records. Pressure survey records shall be retained and available for inspection. Each pressure record shall include:
22.214.171.124 the maximum and minimum pressure;
126.96.36.199 the location where the survey took place;
188.8.131.52 the time and date of the survey, and by whom the survey was taken.
3.8 Contributions In-aid-of Construction And Advances
A utility shall require CIAC for Facilities Extensions to the extent provided in §§ 3.8.1 and 3.8.2 herein below. Nothing contained herein shall prevent a utility from requiring CIAC, or Advances, or neither, for the provision of New Services. Nothing herein shall prevent any utility from paying for, and including in its rate base, the costs of New Services.
3.8.1 CIAC Requirement For Facilities Extensions
A utility shall require a CIAC when the request for a Facilities Extension will require the installation of pipe and/or associated utility plant. All charges henceforth to contractors, builders, developers, municipalities, homeowners, or other project sponsors, seeking the construction of water Facilities from a water utility company shall be in the form of a CIAC to be paid to the water utility as Category 1A, 1B and Category 2 costs, as computed under §§ 3.8.2 and 3.8.6, subject to true-up under § 3.8.8.
3.8.2 Computation Of CIAC
Category 1A Costs.
All on-site Facilities costs that are directly assignable to a specific project are Category 1A costs and shall be designated by the utility and paid for by the contractor, builder, developer, municipality, homeowner, or other project sponsor, as CIAC, with no refunds. These costs include such items as Mains, hydrants, treatment plants, wells, pump stations, storage facilities, and shall include any other items that are necessary for the provision of utility water service. The cost of a Facilities Extension from the furthest point of the project site up to a point 100 feet beyond the boundary of the project (in the direction of the utility’s existing Main) shall be considered a Category 1A Cost.
Category 1B Costs.
All off-site Facilities costs that are directly assignable to a specific project from such point 100 feet beyond the boundary of the project and continuing to the utility’s existing Main are Category 1B Costs and shall be designated by the utility and funded by the contractor, builder, developer, municipality, homeowner, or other project sponsor, as a CIAC not subject to refund. These costs include such items as Mains, hydrants, treatment plants, wells, pump stations, storage facilities, and shall include any other items that are necessary for the provision of utility water service. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Category 1B Costs shall not include, and the utility shall be entitled to pay for and include in its rate base, any additional Facilities costs elected to be incurred by the utility in connection with the Facilities Extension for company betterment. In determining whether Category 1B Costs are directly assignable to a project, or elected as company betterment, the CIAC shall be calculated based on the cost of installing Mains using a minimum of 8 inch diameter pipe, provided, however, that where Mains of a larger diameter are required by applicable laws, building or fire codes, or engineering standards to provide water service to the project on a stand-alone basis, the CIAC shall be calculated based on the cost of installing Mains using such larger diameter pipe.
Category 2 Costs.
Category 2 Costs refer to transmission, supply, treatment and/or other utility, plant costs that are not directly assignable to a specific project or where the Category 1 costs have not included sufficient direct costs for transmission, supply, treatment, and/or other utility plant costs to supply water to the project. The contractor, builder, developer, municipality, homeowner or other project sponsor shall pay $1,500 per single family residential water meter service for their portion of transmission, supply, treatment and/or other utility plant costs made available by the water utility. These costs will be contributed by the contractor, builder, developer, municipality, homeowner, or other project sponsor, as CIAC, with no refunds. Within one hundred and twenty (120) days following the effective date of these regulations, each water utility shall file with the Commission proposed tariff pages containing the charges it will impose for Category 2 costs for single family residential and other types of metered water service. Such charges shall be determined based on meter size or another objective factor. The utility may account for such amounts by applying such amounts to pay for or offset any capital costs, including new and/or replacement plant, whether incurred in connection with the project or otherwise. The utility shall be entitled to hold amounts received as Category 2 Costs, and defer accounting for them as CIAC, until such amounts are actually used to fund capital improvements, at which time the utility shall be entitled to account for the Category 2 Costs as CIAC to the extent it is able to make offsetting entries to the utility’s plant accounts.
An Advance may consist of the following components:
184.108.40.206 An amount equal to the entire estimated cost (including reasonable overhead costs) of construction; plus
220.127.116.11 Any applicable Federal income taxes, and applicable State taxes, that may be generated to the account of the utility as a result of the Advance.
3.8.4 Refunds Of Advances
By April 30th of each year, the utility will refund a portion of the Advance representing each additional customer connected during the previous calendar year based on a standard formula developed by the utility (the "net refund amount") plus the tax savings, if any, which the utility receives from deducting the Advance refund payment (the sum of which is referred to as the "gross refund amount"). In no event shall the total amount refunded by a utility (the sum of the gross refund amounts) exceed the amount received by such utility as an Advance (as finally determined by the utility after compliance with Rule 3.8.8). At the end of the negotiated refund period, no further refunds or payments will be made. If, at the end of such refund period, an Advance has not been fully refunded, the remaining un-refunded Advance will be considered a CIAC and will be treated for accounting and ratemaking purposes as a CIAC. The utility and the person(s) making the Advance shall determine the period in which the refund of the Advance may occur, but such period shall not exceed five (5) years.
3.8.5 Ratemaking Treatment Of Advances
An Advance will be considered as a non-taxable transaction for ratemaking purposes since the income taxes, if required, will be provided by the person(s) making the Advance.
3.8.6 Gross Up Of CIAC
A CIAC will consist of an amount equal to the entire estimated cost, including the utility’s standard overhead costs, of constructing the Facilities Extension. If any portion of property contributed by the contractor, builder, developer, municipality, homeowner, or other project sponsor is deemed taxable income to the utility, the utility shall be permitted to gross up the amount of the CIAC to include such tax liability.
3.8.7 Ratemaking Treatment Of CIAC
The Federal and State income taxes, if required, associated with the CIAC and paid by the utility receiving the CIAC, may be added to rate base, at which time the utility will have an opportunity to earn a fair return on this amount.
3.8.8 True-Up Of Contributions And Advances
Where the estimated amount of the CIAC or Advance exceeds the finally determined cost of the Facilities Extension or New Services, that excess amount shall be returned to the person making the CIAC or Advance.
Where the estimated amount of the CIAC or Advance falls short of the finally determined cost of the Facilities Extension or New Services, that shortage amount shall be paid to the utility by the person making the CIAC or Advance.
3.8.9 Miscellaneous; Class A Water Utilities Affected; Prospective Application; Reopening Of Docket
18.104.22.168 The regulations governing CIAC and Advances shall:
22.214.171.124.1 apply only to Class A Water Utilities, and
126.96.36.199.2 apply prospectively and therefore shall not affect or apply to circumstances where the water utility has already entered into a water service agreement with the contractor, builder, developer, municipality, homeowner, or other person, regarding the construction of water facilities.
188.8.131.52.3 PSC Regulation Docket 15 shall be reopened two years from the effective date of the revised regulations governing CIAC and Advances to review the extension methodology and to assess its effectiveness, and the CIAC computation and costs categories. After such review and assessment, the Commission may, if deemed appropriate, consider further modifications.
3.9 Temporary Water Service
When temporary service is requested, the utility may require that the customer bear all the cost of installation and removal of the service in excess of any salvage to be realized. Any such agreement shall be documented.
The utility shall furnish, install, and maintain all metering devices used for recording or billing purposes. The applicant shall furnish, install, and maintain the required piping, valves, etc., for the meter setting.
Where feasible, all measuring devices used for billing purposes shall be installed to permit readings exterior to the premises to which service is supplied as per Title 26 Del.C. §211(d).
3.10.1 Meter Installation. The meter shall be watertight and positioned in a horizontal plane with upstream and downstream shut-off valves allowing for adequate maintenance or removal. Meters shall be reasonably protected against frost, tampering, and mechanical damage. Meters shall be reasonably accessible for service, inspection, and reading. They should not be installed in such a manner that would pose an obstacle or hazard to customers or interfere with public safety.
184.108.40.206 As regards small meters, such as those utilized for residential service, no meter shall be placed in service if it registers less than ninety percent (90%) of the water passed through it at the minimum test flow, or over-registers or under-registers more than two percent (2%) at the other test flows. As regards large meters, such as compound and propeller types, the accuracy limits for new and repaired meters shall be as provided in AWWA Manual No. M-6, as amended or modified from time to time. When any meter is removed from service it must be repaired, if necessary, so that it conforms to these registration tolerances prior to being sealed and placed back in service. New meters shall be tested and adjusted to these tolerances or certified as to their accuracy by the manufacturer prior to installation.
220.127.116.11 All water sold by a utility shall be on the basis of meter measurement, unless specifically permitted by this Commission. Wherever practicable, the use of water within the utility itself, or by administrative units associated with it, shall be metered.
3.10.2 Meter Condition. No meter shall be installed which is mechanically defective, has an incorrect correction factor, or which does not meet the above registration requirements.
18.104.22.168 The capacity of the meter and its index mechanism should be consistent with the customer's water needs as determined by the utility.
4.0 Inspections And Tests
4.1 Right Of Access
The authorized agents or employees of the utility shall have the right of reasonable access to the premises supplied by their service, at reasonable hours, for the purpose of reading meters, examining fixtures and pipes, observing the manner of water usage, and for any other purpose which is proper and necessary in the conduct of the utility's business.
4.1.1 Employee Identification. Every employee, whose duties require him to enter the customer's premises, should wear a distinguished uniform, or other insignia identifying him as an employee of the utility. The minimum requirement shall be a badge or identification card, carried on his person, certifying him as an employee of the utility authorized to enter the premises to perform necessary inspections or work.
4.1.2 Unreasonable Refusal to Right of Access. Access shall not be unreasonably refused by the customer, and continued unreasonable refusal shall be grounds for termination of service.
4.1.3 Permission for Right of Access. Except in emergency situations, company agents or representatives should not enter the customer's premises without having been freely granted such access, on each occurrence, by the customer or his agent, to include a responsible member of the customer's family.
4.2 Meter Shop
Each meter shop maintained or designated by a utility where meters may be inspected, tested, or repaired, shall be open for inspection by authorized representatives of the Commission at reasonable times.
4.2.1 Accuracy of Test Standards.The accuracy of the testing equipment and each standard shall be such that the overall error will not exceed 0.3%.
4.2.2 Care in Handling. Extreme care should be exercised in the use and handling of standards to assure that their accuracy is not disturbed.
22.214.171.124 Each standard shall be accompanied by a certificate or calibration duly signed and dated, on which are recorded the corrections required to compensate for errors found at the customary test points at the time of the last previous test.
4.2.3 Calibrated Tank. At least one calibrated tank for volumetric measurement or a tank mounted upon scales for weight measurement of sufficient capacity to insure an acceptable determination of the utility's meter accuracy should be used. The testing of the tank and scales, used as a working standard for measuring meter accuracy, should be performed at a minimum as follows:
126.96.36.199 Volumetric tank.........Once every 5 years
188.8.131.52 Scales..................Once in every 12 mos.
4.2.4 Each utility shall have in place, and implement, a program for the testing of its meters to ensure their accuracy. Such program shall consist of either:
184.108.40.206 The periodic testing of meters at intervals no longer than provided in the following schedule:
220.127.116.11.1 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch:
Once every 15 years
18.104.22.168.2 1 inch and 1-1/2 inch:
Once every 10 years
22.214.171.124.3 2 inch, 3 inch, and 4 inch:
Once every 3 years
126.96.36.199.4 6 inches and larger:
Once every year
188.8.131.52 The periodic testing of a random sampling of particularly-grouped meters under a meter testing plan submitted by the utility and specifically approved by the Commission. Such a plan may apply to the testing of all sizes of meters or meters of a particular size. The sampling procedures in any such plan shall be sufficient to ensure confidence in the accuracy of the meters included in the group represented by the sample. With such plan, the utility shall submit sufficient information and data to establish the ability of the sampling procedure to establish the accuracy of the utility's meters. The results of testing under any such approved plans shall be available to the Commission.
4.2.5 Testing in General. The test of any unit of metering equipment shall consist of a comparison of its accuracy with the accuracy of a standard. All meters and/or associated devices tested shall be adjusted as closely as practicable to the condition of zero error.
All prescribed tolerances are to be interpreted as maximum permissible variations from the condition of zero error and no advantage of them shall be taken when making adjustments.
4.2.6 Tests to Determine Registration Error. For determination of minimum test flow and other normal test flows including the maximum, the utilities should adopt as their guide the appropriate standard specifications of the American Water Works Association for the various types and sizes of meters.
184.108.40.206 Meters shall be tested at the following three flow rates:
220.127.116.11.1 Minimum test flow;
18.104.22.168.2 Approximately 10% of the maximum normal flow;
22.214.171.124.3 Approximately 50% of the maximum normal flow, or at the maximum flow available at normal system pressure.
126.96.36.199 The formula used to determine the percentage error in registration is:
(Vol. by meter) - (Vol. by standard)
% error = 100 x (Vol. by standard)
where a positive percentage indicates a fast meter, while a negative indicates a slow meter.
4.2.7 Registration Error vs. Billing Adjustments. The error registration of a meter for billing adjustments shall be the arithmetic average of the error in registration at the following two rates of flow:
188.8.131.52 Approximately 10% of the maximum normal flow;
184.108.40.206 Approximately 50% of the maximum normal flow, or at maximum flow available at normal system pressure.
220.127.116.11.1 The derived meter error shall be used to calculate the correct consumption of water by applying the derived meter error to the volume of water consumption indicated by the meter. If the meter is fast or slow, then the volume of water indicated by the meter registration shall be reduced or increased by applying the calculated error in registration. Errors in registration shall be corrected as promptly as conveniently practicable.
4.2.8 Request for Meter Test.Upon the request by the customer, the utility shall make a test of the accuracy of the registration of the meter serving his premises.
18.104.22.168 If the meter is found to be within two percent (2%) of zero error, the customer may be billed for the testing, the actual costs not to exceed $25.00. If the meter is found to be greater than two percent (2%) of zero error, the customer shall not be charged for testing, unless the utility is authorized to charge different amounts by virtue of an approved tariff revision directed to meter testing rates.
22.214.171.124 The customer, or his representative, may be present when the meter is tested. In either case, a written report of the results of the test shall be made to the customer within a reasonable time after the completion of the test. A record of the report, along with the complete record of the test, shall be kept on file at the utility's office for at least three (3) years.
5.1 System Safety Program
Each utility shall exercise reasonable care to reduce the hazards to which its employees, customers, and the general public may be subjected. A safety program should be adopted by each utility, fitted to the size and type of its operations.
5.1.1 "Miss Utility". It would be in the best interest of all water distribution operators to belong to and participate in the "Miss Utility" program. Such participation should result in lowering third-party damage to other utilities as well as their own.
5.1.2 Promote Safe Work Methods. Each utility should require its employees to use suitable tools and equipment in order that they may perform their work in a safe manner. The utility's employees who are subject to the hazards of asphyxiation, chemical handling, electrical shock, or drowning in the course of performing their work should be properly instructed in the accepted methods of artificial respiration, including CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) if available.
6.0 Customer Relations
6.1 Application For Service
All applications for service should be made, in writing, for the protection of the utility and the customer. It is the position of the Commission that, to the maximum extent possible, the customer should be the individual or entity responsible for payment for such service, therefore, service shall not be refused on the basis that the applicant is not the owner of the premises.
6.1.1 Termination of Service. When a customer desires to have his service terminated or suspended, he shall notify the utility and such notification should be in writing.
6.1.2 Rate Schedules. Each utility shall assist the customer or applicant in selecting the most economical rate schedule.
6.1.3 Customer Notification. Customers affected by a change in rates or service schedule classification shall be notified by the utility, as provided by 26 Del.C. §304.
6.1.4 Tariff Notice. Each utility shall keep in each office of the utility where applications are received, a copy of its currently approved tariff available for public inspection at any reasonable time.
6.1.5 Meter Reading. Every customer served by a water utility shall be informed of the method of meter reading.
6.1.6 Maps/Records. Each utility shall maintain up-to-date maps, plans, or records of its transmission and/or distribution systems, with such other information as may be necessary to advise its customers, or applicants, and others entitled to the information, as to the facilities available for serving customers within its service area.
6.1.7 Deposits.Each utility may require from any applicant or customer a reasonable deposit which will be applied against any unpaid balance due the utility for service at the time service is terminated.
126.96.36.199 If the utility has a deposit at the time service is terminated, then the deposit, plus accrued interest if applicable, less any amount owed by the customer for service, must be returned to that customer, whenever possible.
188.8.131.52 The deposit required by the utility shall not be more than the estimated service charge for two (2) consecutive billing periods.
184.108.40.206 If requested by the applicant or customer, the utility shall provide means whereby a required deposit of $35.00 or more may be paid through installments over at least two (2) billing periods.
220.127.116.11 Each utility shall issue a receipt of deposit to each customer from whom a deposit is received, and shall provide means whereby a depositor may acquire his deposit if the receipt is lost.
18.104.22.168 The utility shall keep a record of all such deposits to include the depositor's name and address, the date and amount of deposit, and other information pertinent to each transaction involving the deposit.
22.214.171.124 A record of each unclaimed deposit must be maintained for at least seven (7) years, during which time the utility shall make reasonable efforts to return the deposit. After seven (7) years, all unclaimed deposits, together with any accrued interest, shall be credited to an appropriate account to include where appropriate, the State of Delaware (under applicable Escheat Law).
6.1.8 Interest on Deposits. When a utility's tariff requires or permits the collection of a deposit from customers, the utility shall pay interest on all such deposits at the rate of six percent (6%) annual simple interest. Interest shall be computed from the date of receipt of the deposit by the utility.
126.96.36.199 Interest on deposits shall be credited to the account of the depositor annually, at the time the deposit is returned, or when service is terminated, whichever is sooner.
188.8.131.52 Deposits shall cease to draw interest on the date service is terminated, on the date the deposit is returned, or on the date that notice is sent to the depositor's last known address that the deposit is no longer required.
6.2 Billing Statements
Any billing statement shall include: the previous meter reading, as well as the current meter reading covering the period for which the billing is rendered; the date on which the meter was read; the amount of consumption for the billing period; the gross and/or net cash amount of the bill; the date by which the customer must pay the bill in order to benefit from any applicable discount or to avoid any penalty.
6.2.1 Rate Schedule. The applicable rate schedule or identification of the applicable rate schedule shall be reflected on the billing statement. If the actual rates are not shown, the bill shall carry a statement to the effect that, upon request, the applicable rate schedule will be made available for examination.
6.2.2 Additional Information. Any conversions from meter reading units to billing units, any calculations to determine billing units from any other recording devices, or other factors used in determining the bill, must also be presented on or along with the billing statement.
6.2.3 Estimated Bills.No more than two (2) consecutive billing statements may be estimated. Estimated bills shall be made by averaging the amount of water registered over corresponding periods in previous years, and adjusting for any known changes in the customer's usage.
6.3 Billing Statement Adjustment
Billing adjustments due to fast or slow meters shall be calculated on the premise that the meter should be 100% accurate. For the purpose of a billing adjustment, the error in registration of the meter shall be calculated and applied as specified in 4.2.6 and 4.2.7.
6.3.1 Fast Meters. Whenever a meter is tested and found to over-register more than two percent (2%), or such different percentage as prescribed in 184.108.40.206, the utility shall recalculate the bills for service for the last customer of record receiving service through the meter, and shall make an appropriate refund. The refund shall be for the period that the customer received service through the meter, but no longer than the periods established below:
220.127.116.11 If the date of error is known, or can be developed, the adjustment shall start from that time;
18.104.22.168 If the date of error is not known or cannot be developed, it shall be assumed that the over-registration existed for at least three (3) years or a period equal to one-half of the time since the meter was last tested, whichever is less.
6.3.2 Slow Meters. Whenever a meter is tested and found to under-register more than two percent (2%), or such different percentage as described in 22.214.171.124, the utility may bill the customer the unbilled error for a period of not more than twelve (12) months, unless the meter has been tested within that twelve (12) month period, in which event the utility may bill the customer the unbilled error for the period since the meter was last tested. If the amount of under-registration is less than $5.00, the utility shall not adjust the bill.
6.3.3 Stopped Meters. Whenever a meter is stopped and is unable to be tested, an estimated bill shall be made according to 6.2.3.
6.3.4 Overcharge Adjustment. When a customer has been overcharged as the result of an incorrect estimated meter reading, incorrect rate schedule application, incorrect meter connection, or other similar reasons, the amount of overcharge shall either be refunded or credited to the customer's account. Refunds less than $1.00 shall be credited to the customer's account. When the overcharge resulted from an incorrect meter reading, the amount of overcharge will automatically be reflected in a subsequent billing based on a correct meter reading.
6.3.5 Undercharge Adjustment. When a customer has been undercharged as a result of an incorrect meter reading, incorrect rate schedule application, incorrect meter connection, stopped meter, or other similar reasons, the amount of the undercharge may be billed to the customer. The utility, however, may deny service for non-payment for only that portion of such undercharge applicable to the twelve (12) months immediately prior to the discovery of such undercharge, unless otherwise authorized by the Commission.
6.4 Denial Of Service Without Notice
The utility may discontinue service without notice for any of the reasons cited below, and service may not be restored until the cause for disconnection has been corrected.
A reasonable charge may be required by the utility, if allowed by tariff, for restoring service and also from customers who have been disconnected for unauthorized use of water. A customer whose service was disconnected or interrupted as the result of damage caused by that customer, or his agents, to the utility's equipment, may be charged the actual cost for repairs necessitated to reconnect the service.
6.4.1 Hazardous Condition. Service may be discontinued without notice for a condition on the customer's premises reasonably determined by the utility to be hazardous.
6.4.2 Adverse Effect on Service. Service may be discontinued without notice when the customer's use of equipment is in such a manner as to adversely affect the utility's equipment, or its service to other customers.
6.4.3 Unauthorized Use of Service. Service may be discontinued without notice for any unauthorized use of the utility's service by any method, including diversion of service to bypass a meter, as well as unauthorized resale of water by a customer.
6.5 Denial Of Service Requiring Notice
The utility may deny service for any of the following reasons listed below, provided the utility has notified the customer of its intent to deny service and has allowed the customer a reasonable period of time in which to correct or remove the cause for service denial. When service has been disconnected for any of the following reasons, a charge may be made for restoring service. Such reconnection charge shall not exceed five dollars ($5.00), unless the utility's tariff on file with the Commission indicates otherwise.
6.5.1 Non-Compliance With Rules. Service may be discontinued with notice for a violation of or for non-compliance with the Commission's Minimum Standards Governing Service Provided by Public Water Companies, or for a violation of or non-compliance with the utility's tariffs on file with the Commission, or state, county, and municipal ordinances.
6.5.2 Contractual Obligations.Service may be discontinued with notice for failure of the customer to fulfill his contractual obligations for service or facilities.
6.5.3 Access Refusal. Service may be discontinued with notice for failure on the part of the customer to permit the utility's agents or representatives to have reasonable access to its equipment, to include unreasonable refusal of entry for meter reading purposes.
6.5.4 Non-Payment of Bill. Service may be discontinued with notice for non-payment of bill for service provided that:
126.96.36.199 the utility has made a reasonable attempt to effect collection;
188.8.131.52 non-payment resulted and no bona fide dispute exists under Section 2.5.2.
184.108.40.206.1 In the event of termination for non-payment, the utility shall send the customer written notice that he has at least five (5) working dates in which to make settlement or have his service disconnected. Service shall not be discontinued on any day preceding a holiday, or other non-working day, or in violation of 26 Del.C. §117.
220.127.116.11.2 While water companies are not precluded from terminating service for non-payment of water bills, it is the policy of the Public Service Commission that such termination of essential services, such as water service, should be avoided whenever possible and, to this end, each regulated water utility is encouraged to permit customers to make installment payments on delinquent bills when the cash flow position of the company will not be seriously injured thereby.
18.104.22.168.3 Prior to termination of service for non-payment to a multi-dwelling or non-residential unit, such as an apartment house, condominium or shopping plaza, where service is provided through a master meter or where the billing address is other than the dwelling to which service is being provided, such as a rental unit where the water bill is paid by the owner or his agent rather than by the occupant, the company shall make a good faith effort to notify the occupant(s) of the impending termination in sufficient time to permit the occupant(s) to avoid termination by making payment or arrangements for payment in a manner satisfactory to the company. The company shall keep, for a period of one year from actual termination, a record of its attempts to notify the occupant(s) of such dwelling or non-residential unit(s) prior to termination for non-payment.
6.5.5 Failure to Provide Required Deposit. Service may be discontinued with notice for failure on the part of the customer to provide the utility with a deposit, when required, under tariffs filed with the Commission.
6.5.6 Non-Compliance with Service Conditions. Service may be discontinued with notice for failure on the part of the customer to furnish such service equipment, permits, certificates, or rights-of-way as shall have been specified by the utility and agreed to by the applicant or customer as a condition to obtaining service, or in the event such equipment or permissions are withdrawn or terminated.
6.5.7 Waste of Water. Service may be discontinued with notice for the willful waste of water by the customer which includes the unnecessary or excessive use of water.
22.214.171.124 The customer is responsible for maintaining his portion of the service pipe and all piping and fixtures on his premises, in such a manner that any leakage would be considered negligible. If the leakage becomes excessive and repairs are not made promptly, then this leakage may be treated as a willful waste of water.
6.6 Insufficient Reasons For Denial Of Service
The following examples shall not constitute sufficient cause to refuse service or discontinue service to an applicant or customer:
6.6.1 For failure on the part of a prior customer to pay for service rendered to him at the premises requested to be served;
6.6.2 For failure to pay for merchandise purchased from the utility;
6.6.3 For failure to pay for any other public utility service, excepting jobbing or repair work done on the customer's premises for his account.
6.6.4 For failure to pay for a different class of service. Used here, there shall be considered two (2) classes of service; residential and non-residential;
6.6.5 For failure to pay the bill of another party as guarantor thereof.
6.7 Responsibility Of Utility Regarding Disconnection Of Service
The utility shall not be liable for any property damage or inconvenience suffered by the customer as the result of the discontinuance of service where such discontinuance is permitted by these rules or tariffs filed with this Commission.
6.7.1 Second Party Notification. Each water utility shall maintain a second party termination notice list. Each customer shall be offered the opportunity to designate a second party to be notified by the utility prior to termination of service for non-payment of a bill. No water utility shall be required to give notice to any second party, unless and until the second party has notified the utility, in writing, of willingness to accept such notice. By accepting second party status, the person to be so notified shall not incur any obligation whatsoever to the utility.
126.96.36.199 When a customer has designated a second party to be notified and the second party has indicated to the company willingness to accept such notice, the utility shall not, unless otherwise ordered by the Commission, terminate service to the customer for non-payment until a period of not less than five (5) days after giving oral or written notice to the second party of intent to terminate the customer's service.
188.8.131.52 The customer designating a second party to receive notification of intent to terminate service for non-payment, assumes the responsibility for providing the utility with current and accurate information as to the name, address, and telephone number of the designated second party. The utility shall incur no liability whatsoever for inaccurate or non-current information provided by the customer designating such second party to be notified.
184.108.40.206 Notification of the availability of such second party notice shall be given to each customer.
6.8 Restrictions/Curtailments On Water Usage
6.8.1 If a utility finds that it is necessary to curtail the use of water, it shall notify its customers and give the Commission written notice prior to effecting such restriction. Such notifications shall include:
220.127.116.11 The reason for the restriction;
18.104.22.168 The nature and extent of such restriction, i.e., outdoor water usage, class(es) affected, etc.;
22.214.171.124 The date such restriction will take effect;
126.96.36.199 The probable date such restriction may be terminated.
If the customer fails to comply with such curtailment on the use of water, service may be denied to that customer provided that he has been given notice, and a copy of such notice has been sent to the Commission.
6.8.2 Restrictions on Outdoor Use. The utility may impose reasonable curtailments on the outdoor use of water during periods of supply shortage, excessive demand, or other difficulty which jeopardizes the supply of water to any group of customers.
6.8.3 Restrictions on Large-Use Customers. The utility may impose curtailments on the use of water by customers who use large quantities of water and, thereby, create conditions which would hinder the utility's providing adequate service to that customer or other customers.
1. Sections 6.1.8 and 6.1.8(a) by Order No. 2818, dated June 1, 1987 (Regulation Docket No. 13).
2. Sections 3.5.12 and 3.5.13 were revised and added, respectively, by Order No. 2888, dated October 27, 1987 (Regulation Docket No. 18), effective January 1, 1988.
3. Sections 1.3.12; 1.3.13; 3.8.1; 3.8.2; 3.8.3; 3.8.4; 3.8.5; 3.8.6; 3.8.7 and 3.8.8 added and 3.8 amended by Order No. 2928, dated March 15, 1988 (Regulation Docket No. 15), effective April 15, 1988.
4. Sections 1.2.12, 1.3.13, 3.8, 3.8.1, 3.8.2, 3.8.3, 3.8.4, 3.8.5, 3.8.6, 3.8.7, 3.8.8 by Order No. 4465, dated April 8, 1997 (Regulation Docket No. 15), effective March 8, 1997.
5. Section 4.2.4 by Order No. 5847, dated December 11, 2001 (Regulation Docket No. 13), effective January 10, 2002.
6. Sections 1.3.12, 1.3.13, 1.3.14, 1.3.15, 3.8, 3.8.1, 3.8.2, 3.8.3, 3.8.4, 3.8.5, 3.8.6, 3.8.7, 3.8.8, 3.8.9 by Order No. 6873, dated March 14, 2006 (Regulation Docket No. 15), effective April 10, 2006.
5 DE Reg. 1414 (01/01/02)