TO HELP our members during the COVID-19 pandemic, Northwestern REC temporarily suspended service disconnections and any penalties due to nonpayment in March 2020. This is one of many steps that Northwestern REC took to reduce stress on our members and provide local families and businesses with certainty during an uncertain time.
We recognize the significant economic fallout from COVID-19 on local families and businesses. The economic health of Northwestern REC is directly tied to the wellbeing of our local community. Not- for-profit electric co-ops like Northwestern REC have no shareholders and routinely return excess revenues to their members. Because of this structure and the desire to keep energy costs as low as possible, some co-ops have more limited reserve margins to sustain high rates of nonpayment.
Nationally, the pandemic is projected to cost electric cooperatives $10 billion through 2022, according to new research by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
As our community recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, starting on Sept. 1, 2021, Northwestern REC will resume adding penalties to accounts with a past-due balance. Disconnections for nonpayment resumed in April 2021, at the end of the winter moratorium.
The last thing the co-op ever wants to do is disconnect anyone’s electric service. The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented. We know our members may be facing financial challenges, and we understand you may have trouble paying your electric bill during this critical time. If you missed payments and have a past-due balance, we can help.
Please contact our Member Services Department at 800-352-0014 for help. Our hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.