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Co-op works with electric customers to maintain service

The author of a recent letter to the editor was upset with what she felt was unfair treatment. We would like to address those concerns.

A cooperative is owned by the members. Members are the many consumers who are served by the electric cooperative. Members do have rights. Members vote on the board of trustees that implement and approve the policies that the employees follow.

Polices are put in place to protect and serve the interest of all the members. Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative’s (BREC) mission is to provide dependable electric service to our member-owners at the most reasonable cost.

The April issue of Country Living, which was referenced, contained information on April and May being “sign-up for budget billing” months. We have a budget plan in place for members who pay their bills promptly each month.

The “PIP” or percentage of payment plan would not benefit all the members. When an electric bill reflecting the actual usage is cut-back to $40 (the writer’s example) who pays the difference? Would the other members be willing to pay a higher bill to pay that difference?

We do not disconnect accounts that are not paid in full or for as little as $15. It would not be cost effective to send an employee and truck with fuel prices what they are today to collect in this manner.

There is a process/timeline in which accounts are disconnected for non-payment. It is as follows:

A) Bill is generated and mailed to homes and businesses

B) Bill is due 21 days later

C) Two days after the due date a delinquent notice is generated and mailed

D) Fourteen days later in the summer months a letter is mailed informing of the possibility of disconnect / 24 days later in the winter between November 15 and April 15, a certified letter is mailed informing of the possibility of disconnect

E) Three to four days later a call is placed with a message that the account has been placed in disconnect status

F) Seven days after the letters/certified letters are mailed an employee is sent to collect on the account or disconnect.

We try in everyway possible to contact and work with the members to give them every opportunity to keep their service from being disconnected.

BREC is doing everything to cut cost of operations to not raise rates. In this time of trying to protect the environment and protect the earth, the message of “green” is everywhere.

Are we as consumers cutting back? Do we insulate our homes, fix broken windows or put plastic over them to protect heat loss? Do we make sure all doors are sealed? Is the ductwork under your home letting the precious flow from either your furnace or air conditioner leak under your home? Are you using portable electric heaters which are not a good source of efficient heat? Can you set your thermostat back a degree or two?

In this time when everyone is tightening their belts and trying to save on energy we should all take a good look at our homes.

DEBRA SWORD

Manager, BREC Member Services