Utility Services Termination Notice In California

Tovar v. Southern Cal. Edison Co. (1988) involved a suit by the residents of a motel against a utility and the owners of the motel. the applicable statute required 10 days notice of intent to terminate utility services when the master account was in arrears. On November 14, the utility left a notice that services would be terminated on November 18 due to arrearages in the master customer's account. ( Tovar v. Southern Cal. Edison Co., supra, 201 Cal. App. 3d at p. 611.) However, the utility actually terminated service on November 15, pursuant to the direction of the landlord. (Id. at p. 610.) The tenants claimed that the termination notice did not comply with the statutory notice requirements applicable when the account is in arrearages. The court concluded that regardless of the acts of the utility, the cause of the termination was the order by the landlord, not the improper notice based on arrearages in the master account. ( Id. at p. 610.) Tovar is a case where the act of the landlord caused the plaintiff's harm independently of any action by the power company. the landlord in Tovar solely and directly caused the termination of service.