During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Louisiana Public Service Commission issued an order to suspend disconnection of electric services due to non-pay. As that order expires, Claiborne Electric General Manager & CEO Mark Brown wants Co-op members to know they have payment options to clear delinquent debt.
“We understand that this pandemic has caused financial hardship for some of our members, and we want to help them clear that debt so that it doesn’t grow to an unmanageable amount,” Brown said.
Electricity used during the order will still have to be paid for. Members who feel they will be unable to pay balances should contact the Co-op for possible payment arrangements. Brown said members have multiple options to clear debt over time instead of paying an entire accrued balance at once.
12-month payment plan:
For members who want to pay debt on a traditional monthly billing cycle, the Co-op offers a 12-month payment plan. With this plan, all debt owed by the member to the Cooperative is divided by 12. The member pays one portion of the debt each month by the due date, along with their current monthly bill, until all debt is paid in full.
This plan allows members to bring their current balance out of a negative state and pay a small portion of the debt each month for 12 months, at which point the debt is cleared.
Members with an outstanding debt may opt to use Claiborne Electric’s EZPay program. EZPay allows members to pay for electricity in advance instead of receiving a traditional bill. The program allows members to purchase electricity before it is used, giving them the flexibility to add credit to their electric account as their budget allows. It also eliminates deposits, due dates, late fees, and fees associated with disconnection or re-connection.
EZPay also has a mechanism that helps members pay off accumulated debt. When a member who owes debt to the cooperative makes an EZPay payment, 80% of the payment purchases electricity for future use and 20% of the payment is applied to outstanding debt. This allows a member to pay the debt over time without facing disconnection. This would be a good option for members who have accumulated debt during the pandemic that they are unable to pay in full. If a member is on traditional billing and would prefer changing to EZPay, we can also apply the account’s deposit to help lower the debt.
“The people we serve are our friends and neighbors, and we want to help them during this difficult time,” Brown said. “I would ask members not to wait until they owe an amount that makes them overwhelmed. Call us. We will be glad to help find the payment option that fits their needs.”
To discuss payment options, please call our Farmerville office at 368-3011 or our Homer office at 927-3504.