SVEC Requests Approval Of New Payment Method
Customers of the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, or SVEC, may soon have a new way to pay for electricity. SVEC, has filed an application with the State Corporation Commission requesting approval of a new proposed voluntary tariff to allow certain residential customers to establish and maintain a prepaid balance for their electric service. The Prepaid Tariff would be available to certain residential customers at their option who wish to establish and maintain a prepaid balance. The Cooperative states that the Prepaid Tariff is not universally available and that the following customers would not be eligible to participate: customers who have a serious medical condition, customers who receive service under Schedule NEM – Net Metering, and customers signed up for Levelized Billing, also known as budget billing.
SVEC represents that customers taking service under the Prepaid Tariff will pay the same rate as any other customer served under its Residential Service, Schedule A-11, however, Prepaid Tariff customers will not be subject to fees associated with the disconnection or reconnection of service. The Prepaid Tariff will allow customers to establish a prepaid balance on their account with a minimum payment of $50 prior to receiving service. The Cooperative will make an account calculation after each daily meter reading and after each payment is applied to the Prepaid Tariff customer’s account. At the customer’s request, SVEC will contact the customer whenever the prepaid balance drops below a prescribed level set by the customer or a minimum of five days estimated electric service usage. If a customer’s balance reaches zero or below, the Cooperative will issue a notification of pending service suspension if payment for a positive balance is not received by 9:00 a.m. the next business day. SVEC will not mail bills to customers receiving service under the Prepaid Tariff. Balances can be checked online and at 24-hour kiosks in SVEC’s offices.
SVEC states that the proposed Prepaid Tariff will provide several benefits to customers, including the ability to avoid customary deposit requirements, the ability to pay for their service in multiple smaller payments throughout the month, and a better understanding of their daily usage patterns, which will likely encourage conservation. They also assert that the Prepaid Tariff will be beneficial to the Cooperative by reducing administrative costs associated with the collection and deposit processes, improving the cash flow position of the Cooperative by receiving payment in advance of service, and eliminating the cost of generating and mailing paper bills to Prepaid Tariff customers.
On or before June 12th, anyone interested in commenting on SVEC’s application to the SCC can file written comments with Joel H. Peck, Clerk of the State Corporation Commission in care of Document Control Center, P.O. Box 2118, Richmond, VA 23218-2118 or electronically by following the instructions at www.scc.virginia.gov/case. All comments shall refer to Case No. PUR-2018-00041. Anyone may also participate as a respondent in the proceeding by filing a notice of participation, and anyone may request a hearing on the Cooperative’s application.