Two Components to Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s Energy Rates
1. Rates have seasonal energy components — that is, metered kilowatt-hours will have a different cost associated with summer, winter and transition (spring-fall) months;
2. Rates are realigned to reflect fuel and nonfuel components. Many of you are already familiar with the Tennessee Valley Authority monthly Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA) presented on our statements. The new rates will move a portion of the energy charge (base fuel) into the TVA FCA. This new philosophy reflects the wholesale (TVA) cost of power during the different times of the year.
Explanation of Customer Charge, Energy Rates, and Fuel Cost
Customer Charge: Regardless of sales, many activities take place every month to assure proper voltage and capacity is present at each member’s meter terminals. Right-of-way maintenance, pole testing, metering, billing, and many other administrative costs are incurred throughout the five-county CEMC system. The purpose of the customer charge is to recover these costs. If a member uses a minimal amount of energy, compared to the CEMC investment for necessary capacity, sales would not begin to cover the expense of providing service.
The Customer Charge is the amount of a monthly bill assessed to cover the fixed costs of providing electric service, regardless of sales. The cost-of-service studies used to determine the amount of the fixed costs are approved by TVA.
Energy Charge: Energy charge is the amount in dollars per kilowatt-hour CEMC bills for energy consumption. It is registered on the meter and varies greatly with weather. For the CEMC system, winter is the peak sales period, followed by summer. The fall and spring seasons render significantly lower electrical energy consumption.
The customer charge and energy charge are not arbitrarily selected amounts. A cost of service study by TVA and also a consultant group indicates where costs are incurred within each rate classification. By adhering to the results of the cost of service studies, we prevent subsidization of rate classes. In other words, each class supports itself. In addition to being the wholesale power provider to CEMC, TVA also serves as our regulator. Any rate action requested must be approved by TVA prior to implementation.
Fuel Cost Adjustment: The TVA Fuel Cost Adjustment is a charge by TVA to CEMC for fuels such as coal, uranium and natural gas used to generate electricity. This cost varies monthly and is passed on from TVA to the consumer; in our case CEMC members. The FCA was at its highest point in October 2008. We will display the FCA in the same format TVA utilizes. This representation accounts for all TVA fuel related costs.
Distribution of electrical service is a complex industry. At CEMC we are determined to provide this service for our membership reliably and at a reasonable cost, while assuring public safety and the safety of employees who work on these energized power lines.
When is my bill due? The due date noted on the bill is 15 days after the bill was mailed from CEMC. If the bill is not paid by the due date, it is subject to disconnection after 5 business days.
Where can I find more information about the the meaning of various items on my bill? A detailed illustration of each item can be found here: CEMC Bill Statement
The disconnect notice states “last day to pay”, what does it mean? The last day to pay is the last pay to pay before service is subject to disconnection on the next business day. If the payment is made later, the service may be disconnected and a reconnection fee would apply.
Can the “last day to pay” be extended? CEMC does not extend payment past the date on the disconnect notice, Members are referred to the Energy Assistance Agencies listed on the back of the bill.
How can I have my power restored if my service is disconnected for non payment? During business hours, pay past due balance and reconnection fee in the district office, over the phone or online. After business hours, pay past due balance and reconnection fee over the phone or online. Call 1-800-987-2362 to request reconnection. There will be a reconnection fee.
Can the reconnection fee be added to my next bill? The reconnection fee must be paid before the service can be reconnected.
How can I pay my Bill?
- Bank Draft Payment: Automatically drafted from your checking / savings account each month on your due date.
- Credit / Debit Card by Phone: Pay your bill by phone using your credit card or debit card. There is no fee for this service.
- Mail: Mail your payment in the return envelope included with your monthly statement.
- Smarthub: Pay your bill online with a a credit/debit for no additional fee. - Districts offices: You may make a payment at our district offices. Our district offices are open 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day (except for weekends and holidays). For your convenience each district office is equipped with a payment Kiosk station that is available 24/7.
TVA Complaint Resolution Process: If you have an unresolved issue or complaint regarding your electric service account that cannot be resolved by Cumberland Electric Membership Service, TVA may be able to help. www.tva.com/complaintresolution
High Bill Questions
We would be glad to discuss any questions you have about a high bill but here are some things you might consider before giving us a call:
1. Make sure we have received your last payment. One reason your bill may be higher is because we have not received your last payment in full. The first thing you should do is check your bill and make sure your last month's payment has been received and posted to your account.
2. Have you recently purchased additional equipment or could there be existing equipment left running that's not being used? Have you recently purchased more equipment or a device that is using more electricity? Maybe a Plasma TV or Computer or Monitor? Do you have equipment that's in an "always on" mode, similar to televisions that start up the minute you turn them on? This type of equipment continues to use energy if it's switched off. Unplug it to save energy.
3. Increase in Electric Rates. CEMC member rates are based upon the TVA Fuel Cost Adjustment that can change monthly. It may be your bill is higher because of an increase in electric rates.
4. Seasonal Changes. One reason your electric bill may be higher is changes in the weather. For example you may be using more air conditioning than usual due to higher temperatures. Below is a listing of the daily average temperatures from the U.S. Weather Bureau in Clarksville.
Beginning in April 2016, accounts with an unpaid final bill balance will be remitted to Trans World Systems (TSI) for intermediate collection. The day following the final bill due date, a one-time $9.75 collection fee will be added to the outstanding balance, and accounts will be sent to TSI to begin intermediate collection. This intermediate collection will last for a period of up to 50 days, and no information will be sent to national credit bureaus during this time. Any accounts remaining unpaid at the end of this 50-day period will be turned over to long-term collections; where a 35% collection fee will apply. Once accounts are remitted to long-term collections, this information will be reported to credit bureaus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is CEMC taking this step?
A: CEMC always looks for ways to reduce the impact of write-offs to the membership. By sending accounts over for intermediate collection, our hope is to reduce the amount of unpaid final bills being written off monthly; thereby reducing rates for all CEMC members.
Q: If my account is turned over to TSI, will it affect my credit?
A: No, intermediate collections are not reported to the major credit bureaus and therefore will have no impact on your personal credit report or credit score. However, if the amount remains unpaid at the end of intermediate collections and is turned over to long-term collections, it will be reported to all major credit bureaus and have an impact on your personal credit score.
Q: Why the $9.75 collection fee?
A: This is a direct pass through of the costs to collect on these unpaid accounts. The agency we’re using for intermediate collections (TSI) recovers their costs through this flat fee; which is passed on to those members that caused the costs to be incurred.
Q: Is this the only collection fee I have to pay?
A: If the amount due is paid during the intermediate collection stage, no further fees will apply. However, if the amount is unpaid at the end of intermediate collections and is turned over for long-term collection, a 35% collection fee (less the $9.75 flat fee) will be added to the balance due.
Q: When will my account be turned over to TSI for intermediate collection?
A: When your account goes through final billing, a due date for that final bill amount will be set. One day after the final bill due date, if the balance is still unpaid, the account will be sent to Trans World.
Q: After my account is turned over to TSI for intermediate collection, how long will I have to pay the balance?
A: TSI will attempt to collect on the balance for up to 50 days. A series of letters will be sent; one approximately every 10 days. After the 5th contact from TSI, the account will be turned over to long-term collections.
Q: How can I pay my intermediate collection balance?
A: You may take advantage of any of our convenient payment methods to pay your balance directly to CEMC. Call 1-800-987-2362, visit us at www.cemc.org (click SmartHub), use the SmartHub app, visit one of our outdoor payment centers, mail your payment, or visit us in your local district office.