Effective Friday, June 26, Berkeley Electric Cooperative will temporarily close all district offices to walk-in service due to the increase in COVID-19 cases statewide. Drive-thru services will remain open.
“We are not taking this step lightly. The state of the pandemic was much different a month ago when the decision was made to bring employees back into the office and reopen,” said Dwayne Cartwright, president and CEO of Berkeley Electric. “Once again, we need to change our operations to protect the health of our members and employees.”
Berkeley Electric crews will continue to work in the field with increased health precautions. The cooperative asks members to maintain proper social distancing with crews to help ensure their safety and ability to provide reliable power.
DISCONNECTS ARE SUSPENDED
Additionally, Berkeley Electric will not be disconnecting members for non-payment until further notice. This applies to all account types, including pre-paid billing. Members should be alert for phone scams and remember that member service representatives will not take live payments over the phone. When in doubt, hang up the phone and contact the cooperative directly. Do not use a provided call back number.
$5 MILLION IN COVID-19 RELIEF
The Berkeley Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees unanimously approved returning $5 million in capital credits to its members at its May 26 meeting.
The cooperative normally distributes capital credits at the end of the calendar year. The board is returning the funds now to help members who are experiencing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A majority of the capital credits will go to cooperative members who had service in 2019.
- BEC is issuing $5 million in Capital Credit refunds early this year to help with COVID-19.
- Refunds apply to both residential and commercial accounts.
- Amounts under $30 will be credited to the bill. Amounts over $30 will be issued a check.
- Members with past-due account balances of more than 60 days will have the refund automatically applied to their account.
- Pre-paid members with a past-due balance will also have the refund automatically applied to their account.
- Credits for under $30 are being distributed June 15-July 15th. Checks for amounts over $30 will be mailed June 29th.
- BEC has refunded a total of $9.8 million to its members to help with financial hardships caused by COVID-19.
ADDITIONAL HELP IS AVAILABLE
We certainly understand the unusually tough circumstances that many of you are facing because of this pandemic, and as your member-owned electric cooperative, we are here to help. Regardless of your account type, if you are unable to pay your bill, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss making a payment plan. You can reach us Monday through Friday from 8 am- 5 pm at 1-800-327-9615. Members will still be responsible for paying for the energy they use so please pay on your account balance as you are able.
If you feel as if you will still have difficulty paying your bill, local service agencies have funds available and are ready to help members who need additional assistance. Please view our Community Services page for a list of local agencies or visit SC211.org for a list of resources.
OPERATION ROUND-UP SUSPENDED
Applications for Operation Round-Up have been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We realize the impact this has on members, however, given current social distancing guidelines, we would be potentially exposing both members and contractors to unnecessary risks since in-home inspections are required as part of the program. Please check our website and social media pages for updates in the coming weeks.