Qualifying OECC residential customers who are 65 or older or handicapped will be given special attention and consideration in regard to their electric service. A "Handicapped person" is any residential customer who is certified to the Cooperative as having a severe physical or mental impairment that substantially limits his ability to pay for electric service. Certification shall be provided by a physician, licensed psychologist, the United States Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Arkansas State Hospital, or a licensed mental heath center. Special efforts on behalf of qualifying customers include:
- Being placed on a priority list for special contact in person or by phone before service is suspended for any reason. At least 72 hours before suspending service, OECC will make 2 attempts at different times of day to contact the consumer, an adult at the premises, or someone previously designated by the consumer, either in person or by telephone. If the attempt is successful, OECC shall:
- offer to explain what can be done to avoid suspension; and,
- offer to explain the payment and assistance options which follow:
- arrange delayed payment agreement, or arrange for levelized billing;
- explain the right to third party notice before suspension of service; and
- provide the names of federal, state, and local bill payment assistance agencies.
- Service will not be suspended on a day when the National Weather service forecasts that a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will occur at any time during the following 24-hour period.
- If OECC is unable to personally contact the consumer, it will give 24 hours written notice explaining what can be done to avoid suspension before suspending service. If OECC delivers the notice to the customer's premises, OECC will leave the notice in a conspicuous place where the notice is easy to see. If OECC mails the notice, the 24 hours will begin 3 calendar days after the date the notice is postmarked by first class mail.
To receive the special attention and treatment outlined above, qualified customers 65 or older or handicapped must identify themselves and register with OECC.