CONSUMER UTILITY RATE ADVOCACY DIVISION
The Attorney General’s Consumer Utility Rate Advocacy Division (CURAD) represents the interests of Arkansas’s utility customers in front of the Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. CURAD litigates on behalf of Arkansas ratepayers when utilities petition the Public Service Commission for rate increases, seek approval for sales or mergers, request permission to purchase or construct power and when the Commission initiates cases to establish customer service rules and other policies that affect ratepayers.
CURAD also acts as an advocate for consumers in policy discussions before the General Assembly.
The Consumer Protection Division handles numerous utility inquiries each month from consumers. The Attorney General’s tips below, along with Energy Efficiency Arkansas, can assist ratepayers in navigating utility costs.
CURAD also works to resolve complaints against utilities through an informal mediation process.
A complaint can be filed here.
Avoiding High Bills
- Make your home or business as energy efficient as possible. Your local electric and gas utilities may be able to help. For details, visit Energy Efficiency Arkansas.
- Level or flat billing options allow you to spread the cost of utility bills throughout the year. Instead of high bills during summer and winter months, that usage will be “leveled” so that bills are consistent throughout the year. Be careful to read your plan’s details. During some months, bills will be higher than with standard billing.
- If a resident of your household has a serious medical condition and disconnecting utility service would risk their health, you may be able to temporarily avoid cut-off by submitting a physician’s certificate.
- Electric and gas utilities may not suspend residential service in certain cold weather conditions.
- If you are elderly or handicapped, registering with the utility may restrict the utility’s ability to cut off your service, including during hot weather.
- Contact your utility and discuss a payment plan. However, if you sign up for a payment plan, you must be able to follow it or you may incur additional charges.
- Energy assistance may be available. Visit the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association website or benefits.gov for more details. An Arkansas Home Energy Assistance Program application is available online.
- Utilities are legally allowed to assess a deposit when an existing customer does not pay a utility bill by the close of business on the due date two times in a row or any three times during a year.
- New customers may be assessed a deposit when applying for new service and are unable to provide proof of satisfactory payment history with the same kind of utility for the previous 12 months.
- New customers may be assessed a deposit when applying for service if they have an undisputed past due, unpaid account for previous service with the utility.
- A deposit cannot be more than the total of your two highest bills during the last 12 months.
- If you pay all bills in full by the due date in the next 12 months, then your deposit will be returned.
Rules Governing Utilities
- Public Service Commission General Service Rules are found at APSCServices.info/Rules. However, not all utilities are regulated by the Public Service Commission.