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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 25, 2019 02:05 PM
From: Representative Dan Moul
To: All House members
Subject: Foreign Load Package
Soon I plan to introduce two pieces of legislation to change the responsibilities of landlord and tenant when foreign load is present in rental property.

This is the second bill in the package which will amend the Public Utility Code (Title 66) to allow a landlord, following execution of a contractual agreement with the tenant, to notify the applicable public utility of the agreement and that if service to the account is discontinued, for any reason, the account shall be placed in the landlord’s name. The landlord will be responsible only for usage registering on the meter after the date of transfer. My bill maintains necessary protections for tenants from unscrupulous landlords and minimizes a public utility’s involvement in a private contractual agreement between a landlord and tenant. This legislation was previously introduced as HB 1031 (2017-18.)

Utility service usage registered on one tenant’s meter but used by another tenant or common area of a rental unit is called foreign load. Title 66 (Public Utilities) currently requires that any time a tenant’s utility meter registers usage outside of the tenant’s unit, even if it is only a single light bulb, the utility account is transferred into the landlord’s name until such time as the appliance is removed from the meter. Upon transfer of the account, the landlord becomes responsible not only for all the tenant’s usage going forward but also for any outstanding balance on the account at the time of transfer.

This is unreasonable and produces an unduly harsh result to landlord’s who provide lighting or appliances in common areas for the convenience or safety of tenants. This legislation will allow a allow a public utility to bill a tenant for foreign load, upon execution of an agreement between the landlord and tenant and notification to the utility. The other bill in this package authorizes a landlord and tenant to enter into an agreement whereby the tenant agrees to be responsible for payment of utility usage related foreign load registering on the tenant’s utility meter.

Introduced as HB648