In December, United Electric will be waiving the service availability charge daily fee for each of its 9,819 meters. For residential customers, this charge is $1.50 per day adding up to about $45 a month. Non-residential fees are set at $2, adding up to nearly $60 a month. This will benefit each of the cooperative’s 7,742 members which includes those with multiple accounts as they will receive a deduction for each meter.
Communications Manager Amy Tobin said this deduction can be attributed to the cooperative’s United Fiber subsidiary.
“Because we were so successful with that, we were able to give back to our members right away,” Tobin said.
In total, United Electric will be deducting nearly $500,000 from its members’ bills during the holiday month. Tobin said helping during a stressful season for its customers factored into the timing of this gift.
“Especially this time of the year, with holidays and property taxes at the end of the year, every little bit helps and it’s nice to be able to do our part in helping,” Tobin said. “Without our members, our cooperative wouldn’t run. We’re able to do what we do because of our members, so anything we can, we give back to them.”
Since March 2017, United Electric has given back $2.1 million to its customers in either the form of capital credit or rebates. A deduction like this has never been done in the past. United Electric, being a non-profit, often gives capital credits to its members. In the past, this is an allocation amount based on numbers from the previous year. Waiving of this current fee is the first time United Electric has been able to give money back to its members which is a direct result of the present year’s billing.
“For us, being a cooperative, our customers own the cooperative. So, anytime we can give back to them is great,” Tobin said. “We are a non-profit so anything we make outside of our operating needs we want to give back to our members.”