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KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative has announced it will stop disconnects for its non-paying residential and small business members during uncertain economic times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During this unprecedented time of economic uncertainty, combined with a limitation on social resources and movement, we recognize the importance of keeping power on for our members in difficult circumstances," read a statement from the company.

TVEC also plans to add funding to bill payment assistance organizations through the TVEC Charitable Foundation.

Non-paying members will continue to accumulate a balance but, TVEC says it will not collect late fees and encourages those members to take steps to use less energy to avoid accumulating a larger balance.

Members who are affected by financial hardship should contact TVEC Member Services at (800) 766-9576 to discuss your service and for a referral to an organization that may be able to provide financial assistance.

The disconnect stoppage began on March 16 and TVEC says members who were previously disconnected due to non-payment will be reconnected.

See below for a complete statement from TVEC:

During this unprecedented time of economic uncertainty, combined with a limitation on social resources and movement, we recognize the importance of keeping power on for our members in difficult circumstance.

We are committed to doing our part, not only to slow the spread of the virus, but also to do what we can to assist members as we go through this together.

We have stopped residential and small business service disconnection for non-payment.

As of Monday, March 16, TVEC stopped turning off service for non-payment and will not collect late fees for late payments. While your service will remain on, please contact TVEC Member Services at 800-766-9576 to discuss how we can best serve you or refer you to an organization that may be able to assist you.

If you are affected by financial hardship, we do encourage you to pay as much as possible, and take steps to use less energy to avoid accumulating a larger balance that could become overly burdensome. Please be aware that electric bills are not being waived and will require payment, but we will work with members to resolve past due accounts when things return to normal.

We will reconnect service for members previously turned off for non-payment.

TVEC Member Service Representatives are contacting members who were recently disconnected to make arrangements for reconnecting service.

Neighbors helping Neighbors

While we are happy to be in a position to delay payment for members in need of assistance, it is still important for those who can pay their bills on time to do so. By paying your bill in a timely manner, you help us extend help to others.

Additionally, the TVEC Board of Directors is working to add funding to bill payment assistance organizations through the TVEC Charitable Foundation. More information regarding this action will be posted as plans are finalized.

We are here to help.

TVEC employees are committed to maintaining excellent service through this crisis. Power outages, new service connections and other services will continue to operate, with modifications to help us ensure employee health.

Office lobbies are currently closed to the public, but our Member Services team is working diligently to keep up with increased call load and online business activity. When you call during business hours, you may experience a brief on-hold wait, but your call will be answered.

Please consider taking advantage of mobile and online tools for account management, including the Member Service Portal at TVEC.NET, the myTVEC mobile app on iOS and Android, and our automated phone service system at 800-720-3584.

A list of organizations that provide utility bill assistance is located on the TVEC website here. Tvec.net/bill-payment-assistance/ (Link)

Outage reporting is easy through outage texting (link) or by calling 800-967-9324, and you may visit the outage center at TVEC.NET for outage maps and restoration information.

Also, please follow along for the latest updates and news on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Non-essential services have been temporarily affected.

Some of the steps we have taken to avoid community spread of the virus include the temporary stoppage of energy audits and educational programs. We will be in touch with you to reschedule when it has been deemed safe to do so.

We are all in this together.

As a member-owned electric co-op, one of our founding principles is Concern for Community. It is at a time like this that the cooperative spirit really shines in our community.

We are constantly monitoring the situation and coordinating our response with federal, state and local guidance as well as the advice of healthcare professionals and the Centers for Disease Control.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding your energy usage or the proactive steps we are taking to continue serving our members through this unique situation.