Frequently Asked Questions
- What accounts are billed? All accounts are billed on a monthly basis. All non-irrigation monthly billed accounts are billed on the 25th of the month based on readings that consumers provide when they pay their prior month's bill. Irrigation accounts are billed around the 5th of the month from May through December.
- When do I read and report my meter readings to you? Most members of HEC read their own meters. Certain areas with a high concentration of services will have their meters read by HEC personnel. Members who read their own meter should do so around the same day each month, record the reading on the stub at the bottom of the bill and mail it with their payment. If a reading is not received in time for the next billing, the bill will be estimated.
- When should I expect my bill to arrive? Except for irrigation and annually billed accounts, energy billings are billed on the 25th day of the month. You should receive your bill during the first week of the month and it is due on or before the 15th day of the month. Irrigation bills are billed around the 5th of the month with payment due by the 25th day of that month.
- Is it true that all meters are read annually by Co-op personnel? Yes, our employees read all meters at least once each year. We utilize this opportunity to perform our annual system inspection, verify that our members have not misread their meter, and that the meter is working properly.
- What is HEC's prompt payment discount? A prompt payment discount is allowed for billings paid on or before the due date as indicated on the bill. The discount allowable and the net due if paid by the due date are shown on the bill. All accounts must be current before the discount is allowed. It is to your benefit to pay by the due date to take advantage of this discount.
- Do I have to pay for my service even when I'm not going to use it for more than a month or so a year? Yes. Most stockwells would come under this type of service. Unless the service is out of the five-year agreement, all minimums are due and payable for the calendar year. If the service is disconnected and then reconnected prior to being disconnected for a full twelve month period, all prior minimums will be due and payable prior to reconnecting.
The Cooperative shall at all times be operated on a cooperative non-profit basis for the mutual benefit of its patrons. The Cooperative's operation shall be so conducted that all patrons, members and non-members alike, will, through their patronage, furnish capital for the Cooperative.
HEC’s By-Laws explain in detail the treatment of Patronage Capital. Please request a copy if you would like a complete explanation on your Patronage Capital.
- What is patronage capital? Since HEC is a member owned non-profit cooperative, it does not pay state or federal income taxes based on profits from operations. Because of this, any profits that HEC may make during the year are allocated back to the members in the form of patronage capital. This is money owed to the members and may be paid to them at some future date.
- How is patronage capital allocated to members' accounts? Patronage capital is allocated to individual accounts based on the percentage of the member's gross billings for the year as compared to HEC's gross billings for all members.
- Can I request payment of my patronage capital balance? No. Patronage capital will only be paid out when a normal distribution has been authorized by the Board of Directors. Upon the death of a natural person member, written request can be made by the estate of the member to pay the estate the balance (limited to $10,000 per year).
- Can my patronage capital be assigned to another? Patronage capital shall be assignable only on the books of HEC pursuant to written instruction from the assignor and only to successors in interest or successors in occupancy in all or a part of such member's premises served by HEC unless the board of directors, acting under policies of general application shall determine otherwise.
- Where does HEC purchase its power? All power is purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) under a long-term contract. Even though some power is received by HEC through Sierra Pacific Power Co.'s (SPPC) system in Nevada, it is purchased from BPA. BPA and SPPC have an agreement for providing power to HEC through SPPC's system.
- I live close to your co-op, but not in your service territory; can I purchase power from HEC? No. Harney Electric Cooperative, Inc.'s service territory is defined by definite boundaries as established by the Oregon Public utilities Commission and the Nevada Public Service Commission. HEC can only serve members within its defined service area.
- Why do I have to become a member of HEC? Because of our non-profit cooperative status, we can only provide service to members. It is extremely important that we maintain our non-profit status in order to keep our rates as low as possible. We do not want to jeopardize our non-profit status, which would cause an increase in rates to our members.
- How come our rates differ from other Cooperatives or utility companies close to us? Rates are a function of many variables. Power costs, operating & maintenance costs, debt retirement, equipment & plant purchases, etc. are all different between neighboring power providers. Some power providers may offer different services to their customers, which may have an effect on the rates they charge for power.
- Who do I call when I have a power outage? Restoring your services is very important to us. For information on reporting an outage, please click here.