A residential customer who wishes to dispute a bill or the reason(s) for a service disconnection is responsible for contacting SMECO. The Co-op will immediately conduct the necessary investigation and report the findings to the customer.
Until a resolution is reached on a disputed bill, the customer may be required to pay the undisputed portion of the bill. If this portion is paid, service will not be turned off. If, following investigation into a disputed bill, SMECO determines that the bill was correct, SMECO will inform the customer of this decision and require full payment of the bill or begin termination proceedings.
In a dispute concerning a proposed turn-off for reasons other than nonpayment of the bill, SMECO will permit the customer to dispute or correct the reason(s) for the turn-off. A customer’s service may not be turned off pending the dispute resolution concerning a proposed disconnection, except as provided under Terminations Without Notice. The Co-op will make a decision regarding the dispute and inform the customer of that decision.
Within seven days of being notified of SMECO’s decision, the customer may file a complaint with the Consumer’s Office of External Relations Section of the Maryland Public Service Commission (PDF). The customer may mail in the complaint, which must include the following information:
- the customer’s name, address, telephone number, and account number;
- the utility involved in the dispute;
- the reason for the dispute;
- a summary of the customer’s efforts to resolve the dispute; and
- copies of bills, termination notices, correspondence, or other documentation.
If the PSC determines that the customer has not negotiated in good faith with SMECO or has otherwise failed to comply with the provisions of this dispute procedure, the complaint may be dismissed and SMECO may turn off service.