Electric Co-ops Suspending Member Disconnects During COVID-19

Posted: March 13, 2020 at 1:23 pm

distribution electric substation with power lines and transformers

Electric cooperatives are responding to COVID-19 by taking steps to protect employees, maintain reliable and affordable services and support their communities. Electric co-ops are built by, and belong to, the communities we serve. That community focus drives co-ops as they respond to evolving COVID-19 challenges and local concerns.

Louisiana electric cooperatives have temporarily suspended disconnecting electric service per the Louisiana Public Service Commissions Special Order No. 22-2020. This is one of many steps that co-ops have taken to reduce stress and provide local families and businesses with certainty during an uncertain time.

Importantly, these disconnect suspensions are not bill waivers. That’s why many co-ops are also working with their members on deferred payment plans and other assistance to ease the transition once the pandemic has passed.

Electric cooperatives are encouraging their consumer-members to pay at least a portion of their bill as they are able. Taking this simple step can help avoid a large multi-month balance when the pandemic is over.

As co-op consumer-members spend more time at home, they may see a surge in home energy use. Some steps members can take to help control their energy bills include:

  • Program your thermostat to maximize energy savings. Setting your thermostat one degree lower when heating or one degree higher when cooling can reduce energy use by up to 5 percent.
  • Do full loads of laundry and wash with cold water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load’s energy use in half, and using cold water will save even more.
  • Air dry dishes. This step can cut your dishwasher’s energy use by up to 50 percent.
  • Substitute LEDs for conventional light bulbs. Lighting can amount to up to 12 percent of monthly energy use. LED bulbs can cut lighting costs by 75 percent.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Small appliances and electronics use energy even when not in use. When powered on, game consoles, televisions and similar electronics are responsible for up to 12 percent of energy use.

Consumers who have questions about paying their bill or implementing energy saving tips should contact their local Louisiana electric cooperative for more information.