This time last year, the phrase “Covid-19” or “Corona” was just wording we heard on the news or read in the papers. It was a far-off term, reserved for other portions of the world—not here, not home. Little did we know, less than a month later, the news would hit home and continue to ravage our communities throughout the remainder of 2020. Continuing its course in the new year, phrases like “a new normal,” “don’t forget your mask,” and “social distancing” are now ingrained in our vocabularies.
Some families fared better than others, but there’s not one person, young or old, who have been unchanged during this unprecedented period of history.
In April of last year, the Arkansas Public Service Commission published a statement dictating that no utility company could issue disconnects of electricity, water, or heat. The report also encouraged utility companies to “offer reasonable payment arrangements once the prohibition on disconnections is lifted.”
Luckily, Arkansas Valley Electric has three payment options available for members to choose from — a payment arrangement, deferred payment arrangement, and PrePay.
A payment arrangement means a member may arrange to pay their bill approximately ten days after its original due date. A deferred payment arrangement is designed for members willing to pay a percentage of their bill plus their current bill (typically over four months) until the deficit is extinguished.
Unfortunately, some AVECC members have been affected by the myriad of adverse Coronavirus effects and subsequently cannot regularly pay their monthly electric bill. AVECC believes PrePay is the best solution for the current situation.
PrePay allows members to pay for electricity when and how they choose. Members may purchase electricity before they use it. This freedom allows for members to control their budget and pay a comfortable amount each month. Additionally, with PrePay, there are no security deposits or late fees. Instead of a monthly statement, usage and balance are calculated daily.
How does it work?
· You purchase electricity before you use it.
· Make payments (a minimum of $10 is required) when you want to, online, over the phone, or in-person at an office location or kiosk.
· When your account runs low, you will get an alert by phone, text, or email, letting you know it is time to recharge your account. If funds in your account run out, electrical service will be automatically disconnected.
· AVECC will notify you by phone, text, or email that your service has been cut off.
· You can recharge your account at any time, day or night, online, by phone, or at a kiosk, and AVECC will automatically restore service within thirty minutes.
· There are no disconnection or reconnection fees.
Who can participate?
· All residential and farm non-demand, 200 AMP accounts qualify.
· Members cannot use levelized billing with PrePay.
How do I get started?
· New customers will pay a $25 membership fee, $10 connect fee and purchase a minimum of $20 of energy.
· No deposits are required.
Additionally, existing members with a traditional account may convert to PrePay at any time. There are no fees, but members will need a minimum of $20 of energy. Any deposits on an existing account will be credited toward account balances or to your PrePay account. Existing members with account balances may use the debt-management program. Each time a member makes a payment, a portion will go toward the outstanding balance.
During a time of uncertainty, paying your electric bill should not be a top-tier stressor. Arkansas Valley Electric is dedicated to ensuring every member’s lights continue to shine this year. We encourage our members to visit our website at www.avecc.com/waystopay/prepay/ to learn more or sign-up. Members may also call 1-800-468-2176 to talk to one of our Member Services Representatives to find a payment method that works best for them.