Little Rock, AR -- While electrical utilities are responsible for bringing power to the meter, they are not responsible for maintenance of customer-owned equipment, such as meter loops. However, repairs to meter loops damaged by the December ice storms may be covered through federal and state disaster recovery programs operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM).
After calling their insurance agency, Arkansans may call the toll-free application number to register for assistance. That number is 800-462-9029. Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may call 800-462-7585. Phones will be answered 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice.
Arkansans who need repairs to their electrical connections should be wary of contractors asking exorbitant prices for their services. According to the Arkansas Attorney General's office, a contractor is limited to the pre-emergency price on supplies and labor, plus no more than 10 percent. However, if the contractor incurs additional costs (for example, paying overtime to workers) the contractor can pass those additional costs along, so long as the individual has agreed to this in the contract.
If you suspect price gouging or fraud is happening to you, or in your community, contact your local sheriff's office, your local emergency manager, or the Arkansas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Office: 800-482-8982.
Federal disaster recovery assistance is for uninsured losses. It may include grants for temporary housing, minor home repairs and other serious disaster-related needs such as medical and transportation. Also, unemployment benefits may be available for those who are unable to work as a direct result of the disaster. Homeowners, renters and businesses also may apply for low-interest disaster-recovery loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.