CHELCO September E-Newsletter
Member Services Representative Lyvonnica Green helps a member with an account.
CHELCO reps seek solutions for members
CHELCO member service representatives do more than help with account changes, answer billing questions and solve other common member issues. They routinely help our members find solutions to keep electricity connected when unexpected financial difficulties happen.
Member service representatives (MSR) have a variety of resources within the cooperative and the community to help members find suitable solutions to payment problems.
“We can work with members with solutions as simple as providing short extensions on their billing to assisting with finding short-term financial help and get a hand from a community resource,” said Ken Braidwood, CHELCO member services manager.
Lyvonnica Green, a 10-year CHELCO MSR, said that she and the other representatives occasionally take calls from members who are in difficult financial situations. The representatives do their best to “be a sympathetic ear and to be empathetic” to the members’ plight.
“No two situations are exactly alike,” said Green, “so we take these on a case-by-case basis and figure out what might work best for that person.”
One solution, that helps those who prefer to pay their bills in smaller increments throughout the month, is the CHELCO Prepay plan. Green said that, for some, converting their traditional accounts to this plan helps by avoiding a single large sum due once monthly. This plan gives them more control of both payments and usage. One study CHELCO performed found that Prepay members reduced usage more than 10 percent after signing up.
Others simply need temporary financial assistance. Green continued, “We help members by directing them to the many local agencies in our community who can help. One program is funded by CHELCO members and is run through the Walton Council on Aging and the Okaloosa Council on Aging. It’s called ‘Members Helping Members’ and assists on a one-time basis.” This program, she explained, is funded by members through donations made on their monthly bill or online at CHELCO.com.
“I’ve worked with members who were embarrassed to be in the situations they’re in and who don’t want to take charity. I often recommend the Members Helping Members program because when they are back on their feet, they can donate to the program and help another person get through a tough spot.”
CHELCO’s online account portal has many features
CHELCO’s online account portal offers members the convenience to manage their CHELCO account. Inside the portal, members can pay their bill, sign-up for paperless billing and bank draft, monitor their usage, set-up notifications and more. To access the portal or get signed-up, click here.
Bank Draft and Paperless Billing
Members can sign-up for or remove bank draft under the “Draft Payment Options” tab in the portal. All you need is the name of your bank, your account number and your routing number. For members wanting to sign-up for or get removed from paperless billing, go under the “Account Management” tab and select “Paperless Options” from the tabs across the top.
Under the “MyCHELCO Usage” tab, members can see the impact that things like having house guests and changing weather can have on their electric bill. Members with traditional accounts can view daily usage reports and temperature statistics to see how extreme temperatures result in high energy usage. By monitoring usage, members become more aware of their electric use and then find ways to save money.
There is an abundance of notifications to choose from under the ”Notifications” tab. There are alerts for things like bill due date reminders, daily usage and excessive usage. Members can choose to receive the alerts by text or email. To sign-up for notifications, go to the ”Notifications” tab and register your account. You will then receive a verification code. Put in the code, select the notifications you wish to receive, the frequency and your preferred communication method.
There are all sorts of other features available in your CHELCO account portal. Use it, and you may save electricity, money and time!
Steve Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer
Join us in supporting Heart Walk
This year, I have the privilege of serving as the Okaloosa/Walton Heart Walk chairman. The Heart Walk is American Heart Association’s premiere event for raising funds to save lives from the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of Americans – heart disease and stroke. These diseases are preventable and the American Heart Association is committed to building healthier lives through health care, education and research.
You may be asking why the CHELCO CEO is promoting this cause. What does this have to do with delivering safe, reliable and affordable electricity? The answer is simple. We are more than just your electricity distributor. In 1940, we were started by the community for the benefit of the community. We’ve never lost sight of that foundation.
This is who we are. We at CHELCO take great pride in taking an active part in our vibrant community. This commitment and sense of service to our neighborhood is part of what sets your cooperative apart from the average utility company. The employees at your cooperative give hundreds of hours of their personal time, and we donate company time and charitable giving to a wide-range of worthy causes as well. This cause, in particular, is near and dear to our hearts – excuse the pun – and we want you to join us.
The walk will be held at Northwest Florida State College, 100 East College Blvd., Niceville, on Saturday, Sept. 30, 7:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. There’s still time for you to support a team, join the event or come cheer us on! I hope to see you there.
For more information, please visit American Heart Association.
Co-op Connections discount cards are just another benefit of being a CHELCO member. Dozens of local businesses, plus thousands nationally, offer discounts to co-op members. There are also discounts available on prescriptions at participating pharmacies.
We are highlighting some of our participating businesses each month. This month we thank the following businesses.
Buy a dinner bell, get appetizer at $5.99 or less half price.
Bruno’s Pizza, Panama City Beach and new Watersound location,
15% off menu item.
Bootleggers Mercantile, Freeport
10% off purchase every Tuesday.
Aidmore Animal Clinic, DeFuniak Springs
10% off dental cleaning or health screen with animal visit.
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