COVID-19 STATEMENT

COVID-19 Update:

June 15, 2020

Operation Pocket Change (OPC) Program Partners with TVA to Donate $24,000 to a special Community Care program

Mountain Electric Cooperative and Operation Pocket Change has partnered with the Tennessee Valley Authority to award $24,000 to a special OPC program to assist families undergoing COVID-19 related hardships during this pandemic.

Funds will be used to assist MEC member families in hardship situations directly related to the COVID-19, such as loss of job or similar circumstances. Assistance will be in the form of food, rent, mortgage and non-energy utilities. Impacted families are eligible for up to a maximum amount of $300.  The administration and distribution of funds will be through the local Neighborhood Service Centers in Tennessee and through Volunteer Avery in North Carolina.

TVA provided $10,000 to the program from their COVID-19 Community Care Fund, a program which helps local power companies meet immediate needs in their communities by providing matching funds for local initiatives addressing hardships created by this pandemic.

“In the spirit of public power, we are honored to partner with local power companies to address the unprecedented challenges facing those we serve,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “TVA has a mission of service to make life better for the people of the Valley, and providing these funds to address immediate needs is one way we can help ease the burdens on families and communities.”

For additional information, contact your local Neighbor Service Center in TN and Volunteer Avery in NC. For additional information about TVA, see tva.gov

 

COVID-19 Update:

June 4, 2020

Continuing to Suspend Residential Disconnections and Late Penalties

Following NC Governor’s Executive Order #142, MEC is continuing to temporarily suspend residential disconnections and late fees for all residential accounts. While residential services will not be disconnected, bills will continue to accrue, and the energy cost that you owe will still be due at the end of the suspension period. We encourage customers to make payments if able. At the end of the suspension period, special payment arrangements will be available to pay off the accrued debt over a reasonable period (up to 6 months).

Even though our lobbies are open, we continue to encourage our members to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone, online or via email, which continues to be the safest method to conduct business.

If you must make your payment via cash or check, our drive-through windows are open with hours from 8:00am–5:00pm (Roan Mountain Office 8:00am-4:30pm).

As a reminder, MEC has several free payment options available to our customers including automatic bank draft, drive-thru drop boxes, e-check, phone and by mail. Phone and online options include credit/debit card and e-checks. To encourage phone and online payments, e-check fees have been waived and credit/debit card fees have been waived for payment amounts less than $750.00. MEC has added an automated telephone payment system that will allow members to pay bills by phone (toll-free 833-399-0814) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Again, we are so appreciative of our customers being patient with us as we navigate these very uncertain times. We will continue to communicate with you through Facebook and our website for updates. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

 

COVID-19 Update:

May 27, 2020

Lobbies are Open:

MEC has reopened its lobbies Wednesday, May 27th. Normal business hours resume – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm at the Roan Mountain Office). You will note that new procedures are in place to minimize COVID-19 exposure. We request customers to follow CDC recommendations when entering our facility (maintain social distancing, good hygiene and staying home if feeling sick or have a fever over 100.4°F). Face coverings are recommended but not required. If we find a safe environment cannot be maintained, our lobbies will re-close to ensure the protection of employees, customers, and community. Also note that only the lobby is accessible to the public. No visitors are allowed in the other office areas. We continue to encourage our members to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone, online or via email, which continues to be the safest method to conduct business.

 

COVID-19 Update:

May 15, 2020

Returning to Standard Operations:

MEC plans to reopen its lobbies with limited entry beginning Wednesday, May 27, at 8:00 a.m. Normal business hours will resume (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) with new procedures in place. The situation remains fluid and events may require the re-closing of our lobbies to ensure the protection of employees, customers, and community. Provided there are no major changes in local COVID-19 events; and provided CDC guidelines are followed within the confines of these lobbies, we plan to keep the lobbies open. We request customers to continue CDC recommendations when entering any public facility (maintain social distancing, good hygiene and staying home if feeling sick or have a fever over 100.4°F). Face coverings are recommended but not required.

We continue to encourage our members to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone, online or via email, which continues to be the safest method to conduct business.

MEC has several free payment options available to our customers including automatic bank draft, drive-thru drop boxes, e-check, phone and by mail. Phone and online options include credit/debit card and e-checks. To encourage phone and online payments, e-check fees have been waived and credit/debit card fees have been waived for payment amounts less than $750.00. MEC has added an automated telephone payment system that will allow members to pay bills by phone (toll-free 833-399-0814) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our drive-through windows remain open – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (Roan Mountain Office 8:00am-4:30pm).

Effective June 1st, MEC will re-establish service policies that were suspended in April and May (disconnections for non-payment and late penalties). Any accrued residential energy bills that that are due in June will be eligible for a special 6-month payment arrangement starting in June. This will allow past-due bill payments to be paid in six equal installments between June and November.

Our crews will remain on-call 24/7 to respond to any power outages or emergencies and make necessary system repairs. You can report an outage by calling your local MEC office.

MEC is committed to doing what we can to help our member-owners, our employees, and the community we serve navigate this uncertain time.

We will continue to communicate with you through Facebook and our website for updates. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

 

COVID-19 Update:

April 30, 2020

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding has increased.

In response to COVID-19, an additional $900 million was allocated for LIHEAP assistance programs in all states. If you or someone you know is having trouble paying their energy bills, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help. This federally funded program helps eligible households pay for home energy bills. With financial challenges facing many families as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, states expect applications for LIHEAP to increase significantly. Additionally, eligibility requirements are expected to be relaxed through federal action to enable more people to qualify for assistance.

  • MEC members can visit TVA’s http://www.energyright.com/residential/energy-assistance to learn if they may be eligible and to be referred to their local LIHEAP agency to apply.
  • This referral resource is intended to help struggling families access federal funds allocated for energy bill assistance for low-income households.

 

COVID-19 Update:

April 27, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Update

Attached are some further guidance documents on PPP that came out on the 24th.  SBA is re-opening the program this morning, Monday, April 27th @ 10:30am.  In the second round, many gray areas have been clarified concerning how to calculate the PPP maximum loan amount.  (See the first item below.)

(April 24 @ 10:00 PM EDT) SBA/Treasury Releases Additional PPP Guidance – How to Calculate Maximum Loan Amounts – by Business Type >

(April 24 @ 4:50 PM EDT) SBA releases Procedural Notice on Participation Sales of PPP Loans >

(April 24 @ 4:50 PM EDT) SBA/Treasury publishes 4 new FAQ >

(April 24 @ 4:00 PM EDT) SBA will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30 AM EDT. Read SBA’s Press Release >

(April 24 @ 10:50 AM EDT) SBA releases new Interim Final Rule:

Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program Requirements – Promissory Notes, Authorizations, Affiliation, and Eligibility >

 

COVID-19 Update:

April 21, 2020

We want to say thank you to our customers for being patient with us as we continue to deal with minimizing customer and employee exposures to the Coronavirus outbreak. We appreciate our residential customers making payments on their bills throughout this time. If it’s possible to keep your account current, it will benefit you in the future by avoiding an excessive balance owed at the end of the May. Special arrangements may be made to repay your debt to MEC; however, you will be responsible for making the arrangement with your local office.

We encourage our members to be vigilant in maintaining social distances and other CDC measures to keep safe from COVID-19. The lifting of stay-at-home restrictions in parts of our service area, will increase the number of people getting out in public. Another reason to continue extra precautions is because it is that time of year for our seasonal customers that live outside our service area to arrive at their summer homes. Therefore, it is more important than ever to continue practicing social distancing and other safeguards to protect you and your community.

Our lobbies will remain closed through May 15th. We encourage our members to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone, online or via email. We are continuing to evaluate the situation daily and working to support our customers as best we can.

ATTENTION HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS AND COLLEGE STUDENTS!

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Operation Pocket Change board has extended the deadline for scholarship applications until May 31st. You may download an application online at www.mountainelectric.com. The application can be mailed in or dropped off at your local office or email it to [email protected]

COVID-19 Update:

April 11, 2020

Summary to Date:

Our crews will remain on-call 24/7 to respond to any power outages or emergencies and make necessary system repairs. You can report an outage by calling your local MEC office.

Our lobbies will remain closed through April 30th and possibly longer. We encourage our members to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone, online or via email.

Effective April 1st through May 31st, MEC has suspended electric service disconnections and late fees for all residential accounts. The energy cost that you owe will still accrue and be due at the end of the suspension period. At that time, special payment arrangements will be available to pay off the accrued debt over a reasonable period (6 months). We encourage customers to make payments if able.

MEC will continue to help non-residential members who have suffered a loss of income and cannot make their bill payments due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These members should contact their local MEC office to explain their situation. Assistance is considered on a case-by-case basis and will apply primarily to small businesses that can show a loss of income and inability to make bill payments. This assistance will remain in effect through 5/31/20. We will continue to evaluate this policy and timeframe as the situation develops.

MEC has several free payment options available to our customers including automatic bank draft, drive-thru drop boxes, e-check, phone and by mail. Phone and online options include credit/debit card and e-checks. To encourage phone and online payments, e-check fees have been waived and credit/debit card fees have been waived for payment amounts less than $750.00. MEC has added an automated telephone payment system that will allow members to pay bills by phone (toll-free 833-399-0814) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While our lobbies may be closed, we are still here to serve you. We encourage our customers to conduct necessary business over the phone, online or via email. If necessary, please call your local MEC to inquire about other business matters.

If you must make your payment via cash or check, our drive-through windows will remain open with hours from 8:00am–5:00pm (Roan Mountain Office 8:00am-4:30pm).

MEC reminds members to be aware of scams targeting utility consumers. MEC personnel will never…

  • Call to threaten disconnection
  • Demand immediate payment with a prepaid card
  • Call and ask for sensitive data like banking information via email or phone

This is a fluid situation, and we recognize that businesses, individuals and families are impacted by these unprecedented events. As this situation evolves, MEC is committed to being responsive to the needs of our members, employees and communities.

We will continue to communicate with you through Facebook and our website for updates. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

 

COVID-19 Update:

April 4, 2020

SBA Scams related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

MEC has become aware of scams targeting individuals seeking SBA loans. Be aware if you receive an SBA loan solicitation from an official “broker.” Check the fine print, you may find these brokers will charge you a fee plus a percentage of the loan amount. You DO NOT need such a broker or paid intermediary for any PPP loan as you work directly with a business bank that is an authorized SBA lender. Private information about yourself, your business, and your employees must be guarded and given only to people you have long-standing, trust-filled relationships. We expect these types of solicitations will be numerous in the coming weeks and months. Do not be fooled.

 

COVID-19 Update:

April 3, 2020

Automated Telephone Payment System

MEC has added an automated telephone payment system that will allow members to pay bills by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Members may call toll-free 833-399-0814 to directly access this system or may call the Mountain City or Newland offices to access this system via the greeting message menu. The system allows payments by credit cards and e-checks. Note that E-check payments require an e-check profile to be set up online prior to using the new telephone system.

The new system will allow another remote payment option for customers and will reduce front office workload that facilitates staggered work schedules and other internal safety measures.

 

COVID-19 Update:

April 1, 2020

MEC is announcing the postponement of electric service disconnections for residential customers beginning April 1st through May 31st. We are suspending late fees for residential customers during this time also. The energy cost that you owe will still accrue and be due. At the end of the postponement period, special payment arrangements will be available to pay off the accrued debt over a reasonable period. We encourage customers to make payments if able.

MEC will continue to help non-residential members who have suffered a loss of income and cannot make their bill payments due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These members should contact their local MEC office to explain their situation. Assistance is considered on a case-by-case basis and will apply primarily to small businesses that can show a loss of income and inability to make bill payments. This assistance will remain in effect through 5/31/20. We will continue to evaluate this policy and timeframe as the situation develops.

Our lobbies will remain closed through April 30th and possibly longer. We encourage our members to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone, online or via email.

Our drive-through windows will remain open with hours from 8:00am–5:00pm (Roan Mountain Office 8:00am-4:30pm).

Our crews will remain on-call 24/7 to respond to any power outages or emergencies and make necessary system repairs. You can report an outage by calling your local MEC office.

It is unfortunate that some will use events like this to take advantage of others. MEC reminds members to be aware of scams targeting utility consumers. MEC personnel will never…

  • Call to threaten disconnection
  • Demand immediate payment with a prepaid card
  • Call and ask for sensitive data like banking information via email or phone

This is a fluid situation, and we recognize that businesses, individuals, and families are impacted by these unprecedented events. As this situation evolves, MEC is committed to being responsive to the needs of our members, employees, and communities.

We will continue to communicate with you through Facebook and our website for updates. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

 

COVID-19 Update:

March 31, 2020

Assistance for Small Businesses:

The recently enacted Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provides a new Small Business Administration (SBA) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Assistance Loan.

COVID-19 loans can be as much as $2 million and can be used to help you and your business overcome temporary loss of revenue and other adverse effects of COVID-19. Specifically, COVID-19 relief loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills you cannot pay due to the economic impact of COVID-19 on your business.

To apply for a regular disaster assistance loan, go to the SBA Disaster Assistance web page https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. Through the end of 2020, the act extends SBA loans known as 7(a) loans to any business, private nonprofit, or public nonprofit organization with under 500 employees. Borrowers can receive loans equal to 2.5 times their monthly payroll, mortgage, rent, and debt payment expense, up to $10 million. Borrowers can use these loans for a broad range of business expenses, including payroll, paid sick leave, mortgage, rent, utilities, and payments on existing debts.

 

COVID-19 Update:

March 27, 2020

We are evaluating this ever-changing situation daily and we will address the challenges as they occur in consultation with federal, state and local authorities. We are working to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers while focusing on providing reliable services to our communities.

Please be patient with us as we navigate these very uncertain times. Just as you are, our employees are facing situations that are new and different than anything we have ever experienced before.

MEC is helping members who have suffered a loss of income and cannot make their bill payments due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These members should contact their local MEC office to explain their situation. Assistance is considered on a case-by-case basis and consists of special arrangements that may include waiving late fees and extending disconnection dates. This assistance will apply primarily to residential customers and small businesses that can show a loss of income and inability to make bill payments. This assistance will remain in effect until further notice. We will continue to evaluate this policy and timeframe as the situation develops.

While our lobbies may be closed, we are still here to serve you. We encourage our members to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone, online or via email.

We will continue to communicate with you through Facebook and our website for updates. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

  

COVID-19 Update:

March 23, 2020

Mountain Electric Cooperative has decided to take the precautionary measure to close all MEC’s lobbies to the public beginning Monday, March 23 at 5:00pm until further notice.

While our lobbies may be closed, we are still here to serve you. We encourage our customers to conduct necessary business over the phone, online or via email. If necessary, please call your local MEC to inquire about other business matters.

We encourage our customers to use our payment drop box locations. If you must make your payment via cash or check, our drive-throughs windows are open Monday-Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm. (Roan Mountain Office 8:00am-4:30pm)

As a reminder, MEC has several free payment options available to our customers including automatic bank draft, drive-thru drop boxes, e-check, phone and by mail. Phone and online options include credit/debit card and e-checks. To encourage phone and online payments, e-check fees have been waived and credit/debit card fees have been waived for payment amounts less than $750.00.

 

COVID-19 Statement:

March 17, 2020

Mountain Electric Cooperative is committed to maintaining reliable service, while also doing our part to limit the spread of the Coronavirus.

Our employees’ and member-owners’ safety and health is our top priority. We want to take all available precautions to ensure our employees stay healthy so that we can continue providing reliable service to our customers.

Proactive actions are being taken by MEC to both prevent the spread of the illness and protect the safety and health of our employees. MEC operations will continue as normal during this time. As a customer, you can be assured that our comprehensive plans and procedures will ensure a continuation of operations and service.

We recognize the risk of hardships and financial difficulty that may result for some of our members from the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the obvious health related issues associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19), it has the potential to have a tremendously negative effect on the economy; specifically, a loss of income for many members of our community. MEC members who become infected with the disease (COVID-19) or have suffered a loss of income due to the government mandated closure of their employer should contact their local MEC office for guidance/assistance with bill payment.

We encourage our customers to conduct necessary business with MEC over the phone or online at www.mountainelectric.com. MEC has several free payment options available to our customers including automatic bank draft, drive-thru drop boxes, and by mail. Other online and phone payment options via credit or debit card and e-check are also available. To encourage phone and online payments, CREDIT/DEBIT CARD AND E-CHECK FEES HAVE BEEN WAIVED for payment amounts less than $750.00.

If you must make your payment via cash, check, or money order at the MEC office, our drive-through windows will be open for those circumstances.

Our crews will remain on-call 24/7 to respond to any power outages or emergencies and make necessary system repairs. You can report an outage by calling your local MEC office.

We will continue to evaluate contingency plans as the situation develops. As always, please call your local MEC office to learn more about payment options or to inquire about other programs that could be beneficial.

MEC is committed to doing what we can to help our member-owners, our employees, and the community we serve navigate this uncertain time.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you.