Section 124D: Shutting off gas or electric service to tenants not customer of record
Section 124D. No gas or electric company shall shut off gas or electric service to any tenant residing in a dwelling unit who, under a rental arrangement, receives the benefit of gas or electricity or heat, hot water, cooking or lighting, or any combination thereof, but who is not the customer of record of the gas or electric company which supplies such gas or electricity, without first complying with the notice provisions of section one hundred and twenty-four and regulations of the department in compliance with such regulations, and has given notice to each tenant affected thereby. Such notice shall contain the following information:
(a) the amount then due and payable for such gas or electric service;
(b) the date on or after which such service will be shut off, such date to be not less than fifteen nor more than thirty days, as determined by the department, after the day on which such notice is first given;
(c) the date on which said notice is given; and
(d) the right of the occupants of such building to pay the amount due or such portion thereof as is prescribed by regulation of the department and thereby avoid a cessation of service, and to recover the amounts so paid from the person to whom they would otherwise pay their rent.
Any officer or servant of such company as provided in section one hundred and sixteen may, at any reasonable time, enter the common hallways of such building for the purpose of complying with the provisions of this section. Any person who removes, interferes, or tampers with such notice or the provision thereof shall be guilty of a violation of this section and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed twenty-five dollars.
At any time after the date such notice is given any persons who are occupants of the dwelling units within such building may pay such company the amount due or such portion thereof as is mutually agreed upon by the occupants and the company, provided that where no such agreement is reached, the department shall make a final determination of the amount of said portion, in order to avoid cessation of service. If such final determination by the department is not made prior to the date on which service otherwise would have been terminated, such service shall be continued for a period not to exceed fifteen days, during which time the department shall render said final determination. If such amount is received after service has been shut off, service shall be restored by the company as soon as practicable. Any such occupant who has paid all or any portion of said amount may subsequently recover the amount paid to the company either by deducting said amount from any rent or payment on account of taxes or operating expenses then or thereafter due from such occupant to the person to whom he would otherwise pay his rent or by obtaining reimbursement from the person to whom he last paid rent. The company shall, upon receiving any such payment, notify the person liable for gas or electric service as stated in said notice of the amount or amounts paid by any occupant pursuant to the provisions of this section.
Any waiver of the provisions of this section in any lease or rental agreement shall be void and unenforceable. The provisions of section eighteen of chapter one hundred and eighty-six and section two A of chapter two hundred and thirty-nine shall apply to any reprisal against any occupant for exercising his rights pursuant to this section.
The department shall establish from time to time such reasonable rules and regulations consistent with this section as may be necessary.