At its regular monthly meeting September 19 in Johnson City, Pedernales Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors revised the Co-op’s member assistance policy to help clarify and broaden the assistance PEC provides for members needing assistance paying electric bills.
The Co-op Board historically has designated $500,000 each year in Co-op funds to help assist members unable to pay their bills. These Member Assistance Program (MAP) funds are allocated among seven Community Action and county agencies throughout PEC’s service area, which review documentation and qualify members seeking utility bill assistance from the program. PEC’s MAP funds are available to members whose income is less than 250 percent of the published Federal Poverty Level, and each qualifying member is limited to $500 in MAP assistance per calendar year.
The Board’s changes allow private charities to now qualify members applying for MAP assistance from their local Community Action or county agency. The goal of allowing private charities to help qualify applicants is to make PEC independent of the qualification process and to speed it up, so members can get the assistance they need more quickly.
In addition, PEC will work with MAP agencies assisting Co-op members by temporarily suspending for up to five days disconnections for non-payment. In some cases where service has already been disconnected, reconnection fees and deposits may be waived for members who qualify.
“One thing we’ve done by utilizing these agencies is getting out of the qualification process, and they do work very closely with our members who seek assistance,” said PEC Member Services Manager Eddie Dauterive. “I believe these changes will really work well, and these are good things that I think will help us work with our members to keep the lights on.”
Private charities that want to qualify PEC members for assistance should contact Melissa Westmoreland, PEC Member Services, at 830-868-5116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.