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Propane Regulations in Vermont

In Vermont, the business activities of propane dealers are regulated by Vermont Consumer Protection Rule (CP) 111, which is enforced by the Attorney General's Office. Under CP111, propane consumers have certain rights and responsibilities with respect to their propane service, and propane dealers have some specific rules to follow with regard to billing, supply and service.  Following is additional information about your rights as a Vermont propane consumer under CPF111.   This list covers many, but not all of the requirements of dealers and consumers in CPF111.  If you have questions about your rights under CP111, contact us for more information.

When and how can my propane service be disconnected?

A disconnection is a deliberate termination of gas service, including a deliberate failure to deliver fuel.  Under Vermont regulations, dealers must generally provide notice prior to disconnecting propane service, as well as notice when gas has been actually disconnected.  For a first notice of disconnection, the dealer must send a notice at least 14 days,  but not more than 20 days before the disconnection will occur. During the heating season, the dealer must also try to reach the consumer by phone or make an in-person visit to the location to inform the consumer of the impending disconnection.

Disconnections can only occur during a time when the dealer has staff available for the consumer to contact to stop the disconnection.  If you feel that a dealer has disconnected service in violation of the regulation, contact us or file a complaint for assistance.

Disconnections for safety issues do not require advance notice.

How can I get service restored after a disconnection?

If service has been disconnected, you will need to contact the dealer to make arrangements to resolve the issue that led to the disconnection.  If the disconnection was due to a delinquency, the dealer must accept a reasonable repayment plan, or if you are a COD customer, may only apply up to 25% of your cash payment for a fuel delivery to the back balance.  For example, if you have a past due balance, but have $400 to pay for a fuel delivery, the dealer can only apply up to $100 of your payment to the balance, and must deliver the remaining $300 worth of fuel, provided that this amount meets the dealer's minimum delivery requirements, if any.

If you are having difficulty negotiating a reasonable repayment plan or a dealer is requiring payment of a back balance beyond 25% of your available cash payment to deliver fuel, contact us for assistance at 800-649-2424.

I am having trouble getting propane service.  How can I get fuel?

Under Vermont regulations, a dealer must provide service to a consumer in their service area who is prepared to pay cash up front for a delivery, subject to the dealer's standard contractual terms.  A dealer may not require that you meet their credit requirements to provide service.  If you are having difficulty getting gas service, contact us for assistance at 800-649-2424.

I am a tenant and the propane is in my landlord's name, what are my rights under this rule?

If you are a tenant and the propane account is in your landlord's name, you must still be notified if the gas is about to be disconnected just as any consumer would be.  In the event of a disconnection, the dealer must provide you with an opportunity to restore gas service under your own name, and may not bill you for any balance due on the landlord's account.  If you are a tenant in need of assistance with propane service under your landlord's name, contact us for assistance at 800-649-2424.

My dealer says they won't deliver less than a certain amount of fuel.  Can they do that?

Dealers may require a minimum delivery, subject to certain guidelines.  The rule requires dealers to set their minimum delivery amounts at NO MORE THAN the following:
100 gallons or the maximum capacity of the tank if less than 100 gallons; or:
250 gallon tank- 125 gallon minimum
325 gallon tank- 175 gallon minimum
500 gallon tank- 225 gallon minimum
1000 gallon tank- 300 gallon minimum

Dealers may only require a minimum delivery if they offer reasonable budget or payment plans.

I am being asked to pay a security deposit.  How much can I be charged for a deposit?

A dealer may not charge more than 2/12ths of your estimated annual usage for a security deposit, and may only charge a security deposit if you are a credit customer.

Can I be charged a special delivery charge if my delivery was not on a normal delivery day?

Special delivery charges, if applicable, must generally be disclosed in your service agreement, on a disclosure form or as otherwise required by the regulation in order to be valid.  If you believe you are being charged fees that were not disclosed to you previously, you may contact us for assistance.

How do I know what other charges my dealer can charge me?

For more information on charge disclosure, and the disclosure of charges form that dealers are required to provide new customers, please visit our Advice on Purchasing Propane page.

Dealers must generally disclose any charge they intend to bill to you, either in their contract or in a disclosure form (see page on Advice on Purchasing Propane).  Review the disclosure, as well as your contract to familiarize yourself with the kinds of charges and amounts you may be billed by your dealer.

My dealer recently said they were changing my account from credit to COD.  What are my rights?

Prior to changing your status from a credit customer to COD, the dealer must notify you of their intent to do so in writing.  You have 15 days to respond to their notice, and they must respond to you prior to making the change effective.  

I am changing service providers, what happens with my tank?

Unless you have purchased your own tank, propane tanks are generally owned and maintained by the dealer.  Only the tank owner (or their designee) is permitted to put fuel in the tank.  If you change dealers, your old dealer may remove the tank from your property, or exchange it for another tank from your new dealer.

Dealers are required to disclose any fees associated with tank removal.  Especially if you have an underground tank, review your contract to be sure you understand what charges you may be liable for if you switch providers.  Unless your current contract lists specific termination fees, dealers are no longer permitted to charge any fees related to termination of service if a tank has been on your premises for more than 12 months.  Dealers are also required to cooperate reasonably with a new provider if there is a change.

If you have canceled service with a dealer and requested that they remove your tank, the dealer must generally remove the tank within 20 days, unless the tank is underground or weather or access do not allow them to get to the tank in that time.

I changed dealers and my old dealer came and took my tank back.  Will I be reimbursed for the fuel that was in the tank?

Dealers must credit you for any fuel remaining in you tank that you have paid for within 20 days of their disconnection of service or their receipt of written notice that the tank is no longer connected to your dwelling. Failure to refund you for fuel remaining within that 20 day period subjects the dealer to a penalty payable to you that accrues daily until the refund and penalty have been paid.

Last modified April 06 2017 01:56 PM

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