WOEC Current-News and Notes From the Co-op: Budget Billing,Energy Assistance Available to Help

As the economy continues to lag and colder weather persists, we want to make sure our members know that WOEC provides assistance to them in several different ways.

First, we have been offering a program called Budget Billing or what some of our members like to refer to as an Equal Pay Program.  This program allows our members to average out their monthly bills making it easier to budget a set amount each month.  It eliminates the ups and downs of electric bills by taking the last 12 months usage and averaging it out over the next twelve months, which is especially helpful during the high bill winter months.  This program is available to our members who have been a member for at least one year, and can be done by stopping in at our office or over the phone to sign up.  To qualify, a member must have their current balance paid in full prior to being placed on Budget Billing.  This also must be done before an account has received a shut off or disconnect notice.

This leads into the second assistance we offer, and that is to work with our members in making a signed payment arrangement.  In the event one of our members finds themselves in a position of not being able to meet their current balance, but would like to have the past due amount averaged over a 6 month time period, this program allows it to be added on to the current monthly bill.  If a member has been offered a payment arrangement in the past and failed to follow through, they will not be eligible for a new payment arrangement.

The third way we offer assistance is in working with several outside agencies that offer financial help to our members in need.  These programs include Oregon Heat, Community Action, Care to Share, and St. Vincent de Paul.  Oregon Heat and Care to Share, St. Vincent, and Community Action have variable amounts they can contribute based on criteria they have established.  We refer our member to these agencies based on need and the ability to qualify for funding.  Our staff implemented a program several years back that we call “Care to Share” and have raised and donated over $10,000.  They WOEC Board of Directors has donated $5,000 to Oregon Heat and $5,000 to Care to Share each of the past several years to help  our members.  Anyone wishing to donate to our Care to Share program can do so by stopping in our office to make their donation.  Every donated amount helps to keep our friends, neighbors, and fellow members warm and bright.

Our fourth opportunity to work with our members through energy efficiency tips and programs through our news articles, Ruralite, our website, through Touchstone Energy connections, and also by stopping by our office to pick up information.

Please contact us so that we can assist you in meeting your energy needs.  Our office is located at 652 Rose Ave. in Vernonia.  Phone: 503.429.3021 or 800.777.1276