Are you a Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (CEMC) member in Tennessee? If you are, then you’ve probably wondered how to save money on your bill every month. We’ve got answers!
We know firsthand how a high power bill can destroy a low income family’s budget. That’s why we’ve investigated this utility to find all the ways you can save money.
As a CEMC cooperative member, you get special benefits!
Cooperatives are not-for-profit businesses that are owned and controlled by their members. When you apply for service and pay a membership fee, you become a member and owner of the cooperative. There are around 95,000 members in the five-county CEMC service area.
Most electric cooperatives offer Capital Credits, which are basically refunds for prior electric payments. These credits are paid to current and former members periodically. Be sure to keep your address up-to-date with CEMC so you never miss out on your capital credits!
As a Touchstone Energy Cooperative member, CEMC also offers special discounts and deals to their members. Click here for a full list of Touchstone Energy benefits list.
Levelized Payment Program can help you budget better.
By averaging your previous year’s usage over the next year, you can budget with confidence. Because the bill is based on the current month and the previous 11, there may be small differences in your actual monthly bills. However, unless there is a dramatic difference in your usage or the coop’s rates, you should have a steady payment through this program.
In order to enroll in CEMC’s Levelized Payment Program, you must own your own home and have been a CEMC customer for at least one year. You may be disqualified if you have had more than one late payment or any returned checks.
Get help with energy efficiency improvements.
CEMC will help you improve the energy-efficiency of your home! They have three programs that can help.
Efficiency Upgrades Loan Programprovides low-interest loans to consumers who qualify. You are not eligible for this service unless you have had CEMC service for at least one year.
eScore Residential Energy Efficiency Program and Home Energy Evaluations helps homeowners learn how their specific home uses energy. Through these programs, you can get expert advice, install efficiency upgrades, receive rebates and more.
Watch out for those extra charges and seasonal rates!
At CEMC, there are many extra charges that accompany your usage bill.
The customer charge covers expenses that wouldn’t be adequately covered by usage fees alone. These expenses include maintenance, pole testing, metering, billing and other administrative costs.
The energy charge is the product of your total monthly energy consumption multiplied by the energy rate. Usage tends to be highest in the winter and summer.
The TVA Fuel Cost compensates TVA for the fuel (coal, uranium, natural gas, etc) used to create your electricity. It varies monthly because it is impacted by things like rainfall.
There are also differing rates for each season. This is because it costs more to make energy at certain seasons. These seasonal energy rate changes are anticipated to result in a fluctuation of $5 or less on your power bills.
File for Medical Hardship Status if you need it!
If you are experiencing a medical hardship, you should file for the Medical Hardship Status. This can prevent disconnection on your account.
Your doctor will be required to fill out a form that indicates which type you qualify for. You will have to have the form completed and signed by the third day after the form is issued to you.
There are only two types of Medical Hardship Status: Type 1 is for non-portable life-sustaining medical equipment and Type 2 is for hospice or in-home care due to a terminal illness.
High school students can get scholarships and more!
Every year, Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative awards senior scholarships that can be used toward freshman expenses like textbooks and tuition. In 2019, CEMC awarded $1,000 each to twelve seniors.
Similarly, 12 juniors are selected for the Washington Youth Tour each year. These students spend a week in the capital, learning about government, leadership and public policy.
Unfortunately, CEMC is notoriously unhelpful for low income customers.
I reached out to their customer service department via their website’s chat function, but I wasn’t able to get any answers. The representative I spoke to did indicate that they have an Energy Assistance Program in all five counties of their service area, but refused to provide additional information about it.
Unlike other utilities, CEMC does not offer payment arrangements, flexible due dates or other programs that benefit lower income customers.
Unfortunately, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation appears to be very strict. Their bills are issued on the 15th of the month and you are subject to shutoff on the 20th if you don’t pay. Their website clearly indicates that they do not extend disconnect dates or offer any payment arrangements.
Use these tips to save money on your power bill!
We have a comprehensive room-by-room list of ways that you can save money on your power bill. Check it out here!