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PVEC returns to regular billing policies after first wave of COVID-19

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative (PVEC) was among the first entities in the region to temporarily amend their policies in March when COVID-19 hit. The Cooperative moved swiftly to suspend all disconnections due to nonpayment of past due balances. Late fees were also suspended during that timeframe.

The utility hit the ground running to step up safety measures for its employees, especially those on the front lines.

Roger Ball, president of the PVEC board of directors, explained the new procedures during an interview in March.

“We’re bringing in our crews at different times. Each two-man linemen crew is retaining the same truck and disinfecting it at the beginning of the day and again at the end of the day. They place their work orders for needed materials inside their vehicle. We’re leaving the trucks outside and the materials are placed outside their truck by the warehouse employees. That way, none of the people are coming inside the warehouse. We’re taking every precaution so that none of the employees will be in contact with anyone except the one person they are working with.

“We’re a vital service and we can’t afford to have a major epidemic with our employees. There’s no congregating to have coffee or to even get their supplies. They don’t even come in the building,” said Ball, during the interview.

The utility created several ways in which its members could pay their bills or generally transact normal business via online and call-in services. Temporary trailers were retrofitted with special windows to allow a safe, enclosed environment via drive-thru window service.

Randell Meyers, PVEC general manager and CEO, has issued a news release informing customers that normal business policies have resumed as of Nov. 1.

“As a member-owned, nonprofit utility, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative realizes our services are vital to our community during these times of uncertainty, and we are working to maintain affordable and dependable services for all,” reads the release, in part.

Members unable to pay their bills due to COVID-19 fallout are urged to seek help through the local energy assistance office, which can be found by logging onto the PVEC website.

Members are still responsible for paying their bills until Powell Valley Electric Cooperative receives payment or is notified that the member has been approved via an energy assistance pledge.

Meyers says in his release that members facing hardships due to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the Cooperative to make alternate payment arrangements if unsuccessful in obtaining help through other means.

“We continue to work with our community and those struggling financially,” said Meyers.

For more information, go to: www.pve.coop or call the New Tazewell office at 423-626-5204.

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative serves Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Union Counties in Tennessee and Scott, Lee and Wise Counties in Virginia.