Your Cooperative Will Protect Its Members - A Message from the General Manager
The winter storm that wreaked havoc on our lives last week and left over half of our membership without power, has put a myriad of emotions and questions into play. First and foremost, I want you to know that Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative will work with our members to ensure this event does not create a nightmare that will not go away.
As folks begin to clean up after the storm and attempt to return to some semblance of normalcy, there appears to be a growing concern about outrageous bills as a result of the storm. The media is having a heyday highlighting the astronomical bills some Texans are receiving. Electric cooperatives operate on a different business model than the retail electricity providers that may be saddling their customers with unmanageable bills. DETEC is owned by you and we operate on a non-profit basis. We have some flexibility in dealing with difficult financial situations. There is no doubt that we will have to deal with higher power costs as a result of this storm. It would be disingenuous of me to suggest otherwise.
Two factors will drive the higher bills. One you have control over, the second you do not. That first item is your kilowatt usage. Your usage impacts your bill far and way more than anything else. At my home we used more electricity last week than we used in the entire month before. Our heaters were running non-stop and water heaters were working overtime as temperatures remained below freezing for a full week. I can control this usage and if I decide I do not want to go through this again, I could replace the 70 year-old windows in my house, install more attic insulation, set my thermostat even lower and on and on. That is a financial decision you and I have to make on our own. Are we willing to spend the money necessary to maintain lower electricity bills in extreme weather or live with the occasional high usage bill? If you were one of the unfortunate ones that had no electricity last week, you will obviously have no issue with higher usage as DETEC bills you only for the power you use. Zero usage for that week may be the only bright spot on an otherwise dismal situation.
The second factor that is totally out of your control is the amount of money your cooperative will pay for the power that we purchased during the storm. Because of the shortage of electricity generation across the state of Texas, kilowatt demand far outpaced supply creating a market where prices skyrocketed. Like any other product, high demand brings higher prices. Temperatures continued to drop and as a result the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) saw record breaking electricity demand during this period and scheduled mandatory power outages to maintain the integrity of the electric grid. It should be noted, that only a small portion of the DETEC system is located within the ERCOT boundaries. The majority of DETEC is within the SPP and MISO grid who did not experience the same tragedy as ERCOT. Texas legislators are tackling this issue to ensure Texans are not carrying the burden for this demand for power during such an unprecedent event. As a distribution cooperative, DETEC delivers purchased power to your home. Like you, DETEC receives a power cost bill from our energy providers. Absent any relief that may come from high power bills, rest assured that we will always do all we can to spread any high power bill we receive out over time. As a cooperative, we are not required to recoup the whole amount at one time. DETEC’s fixed kilowatt rate is calculated to recover operational costs and a portion of this power cost, if not all. DETEC’s kilowatt rate has remain unchanged since 2009. When DETEC’s power costs are beyond or below this portion of the rate, the power cost factor is adjusted, shown as PCA on your bill. If you look back at your 2021 bills to date – this rate was either not on your bill because it was $0.00 or it was a negative number, in which you were receiving a credit. Looking back further you will see periodic small PCA rates, it is never an astronomical number like many news outlets are referring to. DETEC is committed to never unfairly burdening its membership with excessive power costs, it is just not the way we do business.
In conclusion, any substantial increase shown on your March 1st and April 1st bill, will be the direct result of usage above what your home normally requires due to extreme temperatures. Your electric rates will not change as a result of this storm. We have mechanisms in place at DETEC to help you pay extremely high bills over time. We discourage this as it delays the time it takes you to get this situation behind you, but it is available. We also encourage our members to take advantage of levelized billing which smooths out your bill over time.
I am bracing for a large bill next month due to my usage and I know many of you are doing the same. I hope most, like me, are able to swallow the pill and put it behind you. If you are not, please call at 936-229-4000, option 2 and let us help you manage the situation.
Temporary Lobby Closure - Effective Friday, March 20, 2020 at 5 PM:
While no one can predict the overall impact of this global issue, or the local impact should it touch our community directly, DETEC employees are working hard to ensure electric service remains unaffected.
Member Service Representatives can handle all your account needs such as billing questions, payments, establishing new service, reporting outages, status of current work orders, etc. over the phone by calling 936-229-4000 or 1-866-392-2547, option #2. On-hold times may be higher during this time, but we will work diligently to take care of everyone as quickly as possible.
Outages: Outages may be reported 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-392-5986. Crews will continue to respond to all outages immediately.
- Phone: 1-866-392-2547, option #1 - Representatives are available to help you pay your bill 24 hours a day by using a Visa, Master Card, Discover or American Express debit/credit card or Electronic Check. For prompt service, please have your account number available. There is no fee for this service.
- Online: DETEC offers secure online bill pay via our website at www.deepeast.com. First time users will need their account number, the phone number associated with the account and the last 4 digits of the social security number of the account holder available to create an account. You can make a payment online using a Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express debit/credit card or Electronic Check. There is no fee for this service. For assistance with accessing your account online, call 936-229-4000 or 1-866-392-2547, option #2. Access your account online here.
- By Mail: Payments may be mailed to: Deep East Texas Electric Co-op, PO Box 736, San Augustine, Texas 75972
- Secured Office Drop Box: DETEC offers a secured drop box outside our office at: 880 TX Hwy 21 East, San Augustine, Texas 75972
If you have been affected by COVID-19 and need help with your account, please contact the Cooperative.
We encourage you to take all precautions by following recommendations of health professionals.
Please be on the lookout for scammers who may try to take advantage of this event. If you receive any suspicious calls about your account, including demands for payment or threatening service disconnection, hang up and call us directly at 936-229-4000 or 1-866-392-2547, option #2.
We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this time.
Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DETEC) is a transmission and distribution electric cooperative. Formed in 1938, the Cooperative is headquartered in San Augustine, Texas and serves some 40,000 meters in eight counties of Deep East Texas, including Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine and Shelby Counties.
- Attention Members -
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