Customers (who are referred to in this summary as “you”) have the right to request that an independent hearing officer review certain decisions which have been made by Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County (referred to in this summary as the “District”) and the right to have the District’s action stayed until the hearing officer completes the review. Your rights are conditioned upon meeting the requirements explained below.
Your request for a hearing must:
- be made in writing, signed by you or by someone with legal authority to act on your behalf. A form to request a hearing may be obtained by contacting a Customer Service Representative at the telephone number provided at the end of this summary;
- include a short, plain statement of both the decision to be reviewed and the relief which you are requesting; and
- include an address to which notices, including notice of the hearing date and location, the decision of the hearing officer and any other written communications may be mailed to you.
Your written request for a hearing must be delivered to the District’s Office of General Counsel located in the Central Administrative Office Building at 2320 California Street, Everett, Washington, 98201, or to the Division of the District involved with the appeal. If your appeal involves an electric account, that Division is the Customer Service Division.
District action will not be stayed unless you:
- contacted the District within three (3) business days after receiving notification, whether in writing or orally, of a decision of the District;
- were orally informed that you may have a hearing to review that decision; and
- stated, within one (1) business day after being informed that a hearing is available, that you intended to request a hearing. That stay will expire unless your completed written request is received by the District within six (6) business days after you orally informed the District that you intended to request a hearing.
If the District receives your completed written request for a hearing within the time set out above, all District action which would be taken as a result of the decision on appeal shall continue to be stayed until Noon five (5) business days after the Hearing Officer’s written decision is received by the Office of General Counsel.
The Office of General Counsel will determine the date and time of the hearing, which shall be held at the Central Administrative Office Building within ten (10) business days after the hearing request is received in General Counsel’s office; HOWEVER, a hearing date will not be established if the written hearing request is not signed or if it does not include an address to which notices may be mailed to you.
The Office of General Counsel will mail notice of the hearing or, in the circumstances described in the preceding paragraph, notice that a hearing date will not be established, at the address set forth on the hearing request within three (3) business days after the hearing request is received in General Counsel’s office.
If you fail to appear for a hearing within fifteen (15) minutes after the time set forth in the notice of hearing, you will be in default and the Hearing Officer shall decide the disputed matter in favor of the District and, in addition, shall award the District costs of $70, which may be added to any existing account of yours. If you fail to appear, your request for another hearing will not be granted unless your failure to appear was caused by an emergency or because of the occurrence of an unforeseeable circumstance or event, as determined by the Office of General Counsel, and you pay the $70 fee prior to the subsequent hearing. In such case the subsequent hearing must be held within five (5) business days of the original hearing.
Any request for a continuance shall be made to the Office of General Counsel, which shall grant such a continuance only in the case of an emergency or because of the occurrence of an unforeseeable circumstance or event. Any request for a continuance made by you which is not received at least twenty-four (24) hours (i.e., one complete business day) before the scheduled hearing may result in an award of $70 in costs to the District, which may be added to any existing account of yours.
You may represent yourself or may be represented by an attorney, relative, friend, or any person other than a District employee. The District will not be represented by an attorney unless you are so represented. If you intend to be represented by an attorney you must inform the District of that fact at the time the written request for a hearing is delivered to the District, or if the services of an attorney are procured later, then as soon as such representation is arranged.
The Hearing Officer may consider evidence which will assist the Hearing Officer in reaching a decision and may give effect to the rules of privileged communications (e.g., attorney/client privilege, husband/wife privilege, etc.) under the law. Information that is irrelevant or unduly repetitious may be excluded. Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts. Each party shall have the right to ask questions of persons who make statements at the hearing.
If the dispute involves a question of whether you are indebted to the District, the District must establish your obligation by a preponderance of the evidence. If the dispute involves a question of whether a District decision is inconsistent with the regulations of the District you must establish that the District’s decision is a willful and unreasonable action made without consideration and in disregard of the facts and circumstances.
All obligations which are not the subject of the dispute to be decided by a Hearing Officer shall be performed by the District and/or by you, including, in the case of a dispute over amounts to be paid, the payment of all non-disputed amounts.
The decision of the Hearing Officer shall be final, unless either party elects to challenge the decision in a court of law.
Should you have questions regarding the Dispute Resolution process or wish to obtain a Hearing Request form, please contact our Customer Service Department.