GETTING NEW SERVICE -
(PARA OBTENER SERVICIO NUEVO)
Applications for Service and Deposits
There are established rules that utility companies must follow when an
individual applies for service. The following information will explain the
rules for applying for service and deposit requirements.
Applications for Service
Many utility companies require written applications for service.
However, there are many companies that allow applications for service to
be placed over the telephone. Whether application is made in writing or
over the telephone, the company can require the individual requesting the
service to provide acceptable evidence of his identity. If the company has
reason to suspect that the evidence offered is unreliable, it may refuse
to accept it and request additional evidence of identity.
New applications for service must be processed in the order in which
the applications are received by the company. Priority will be given to
applications involving medical emergencies and public health and safety.
The company may require written evidence that such a situation exists.
When you apply for service, the company must give you an approximate
date that service will be provided to you. If the company later finds that
service cannot be provided on that date, it must promptly notify you of
the delay and provide you with a new expected service date.
In some cases, the company receives applications for service in areas
where no facilities to provide the service are available. In such cases,
the company must notify you in writing of the conditions under which
service will be provided and give you an approximate date that the service
will be available. Most of these cases will require the company to build
the facilities needed to serve you and you may be required to pay all or a
portion of these construction costs. Each of the companies have policies
that have been approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission for
extending facilities. These policies include how the cost to construct the
facilities will be determined and what portion the applicant will be
required to pay.
There are times when a utility is allowed to refuse to provide service.
Those situations are limited and include the following reasons:
- failure to pay a bill in your name;
- failure to pay a bill in someone else's name when you were also a
user of the service or occupant of the premises;
- failure to pay a required deposit;
- fraud or misrepresentation of facts relevant to obtaining the
- using the service in an unauthorized manner;
- violations of state or municipal laws governing the service;
- threatening utility employees or their families
- threatening to damage utility property;
- inadequate facilities; or,
- hazardous conditions.
If a utility refuses to serve you, it must give you a written
explanation of the reason for refusal within seven business days. The
explanation must include the reason service is being refused and what you
must do to correct the situation.
Utility companies may require new customers to pay a deposit to
guarantee payment for service. The deposit guarantees payment in the event
that a customer becomes delinquent and service must be discontinued.
Utility companies must set a uniform cost that will be assessed to all
applicants in a non-discriminatory manner.
New Service. Deposits for new service may be paid at
the rate of one-half before service begins and one-half with the first
bill. The deposit will be refunded with interest if you pay your bills by
the due date for 12 consecutive months.
The amount of a deposit cannot exceed the estimated bill for two
average billing periods if payment for service is due after service is
rendered. If payment for service is due before service is rendered (as in
the case of local telephone companies), the amount of deposit cannot
exceed the estimated bill for one billing period.
In certain circumstances, the utility may waive the deposit requirement
for new service. Examples of what a utility may accept in place of a
deposit are letters of credit from previous utilities with which the
applicant has had service for at least twelve months, or a written
guarantee of a responsible third party. The guarantee made by a third
party only covers the amount of a deposit. Most utilities require that a
third-party guarantor be a customer of the utility whose account is in
Existing Customers. A utility may
require a new deposit or an increase in the amount of a deposit from an
existing customer. This can happen if your usage was underestimated when
your original deposit was calculated, if you don't pay your bill, or pay
with insufficient funds checks twice in a twelve-month period.
Misrepresenting identity, fraud, and tampering with utility equipment are
other reasons an additional deposit can be charged.
The total of all deposits should not exceed the sum of two maximum
billings. The only exceptions to that rule are deposits involving
bankruptcy, fraud, or tampering.
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Revised: Sunday, May 19, 2013