2021 Winter Recovery
Information for members.
Transition to Recovery
Two major winter storms walloped our service area and beyond with a one-two punch Valentine’s Day weekend, slamming the region and the entire state with record-setting low temperatures, extraordinary snowfall and dangerous ice that snared roads
and toppled tree limbs. Millions of people found themselves without power and soon without water during a natural disaster emergency that saw all of Texas’ 254 counties facing severe winter weather.
Amid this ongoing catastrophe, Farmers EC is working with our members to help them recover from this historic weather event.
Understanding the Temperature Gap
Local thermometers dropped well below freezing for several days in a row during these winter storms. If your HVAC is heating your home to 70 degrees while it’s 20 outside, the system’s covering a 50-degree Temperature Gap (the equivalent of a 120-degree summer day). That gap was even wider this month as many spots in Texas saw sub-zero readings, forcing your HVAC to draw even more energy to cover the difference.
To understand more about the Temperature Gap, watch our informative video: Understanding the Temperature Gap
March 5, 2021 | 5 p.m.
February’s unprecedented polar vortex challenged Texas’ electrical grids, but Farmers Electric Cooperative continues to deliver the same safe and reliable electric service it has provided for more than 80 years. The rates our members pay for power will remain stable, and all co-op employees are on the job to keep the lights on.
As we go forward, Farmers EC does not anticipate any significant increase to the overall cost of the electricity we provide. Electric cooperatives have a long history of working with Texas’ leaders to ensure your electricity remains safe, reliable and affordable. The cooperative doesn’t yet know all the impacts of the recent storm but remains focused on protecting our members and employees from any potential effects. Farmers EC will continue to work diligently on behalf of our members and employees as we learn from this event.
Farmers EC is working with state legislators, our power supplier, and fellow Texas electric cooperatives to protect the rights of electric consumers. Our power supplier, Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative, recently filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to order the Energy Reliability Council of Texas to suspend invoicing, billing, and collection of charges related to the February energy market failure. “We are sensitive to the impact it has on the members,” Rayburn CEO David Naylor said. “We are making sure that all the costs are legitimate and valid and that it does not pass through any illegal costs to customers.” Rayburn’s action follows the letter from the ERCOT Independent Market Monitor stating that ERCOT erroneously overcharged market participants by $16 billion.
While Farmers EC works to protect electric consumers, we remain committed to our core mission. The cooperative will continue to deliver safe and reliable energy to members at a fair price—a commitment that has guided our business for more than 80 years.
February 23, 2021 | 7:00 pm
Members have been asking how the record-breaking cold weather event that took place Feb. 14-19 may impact upcoming bills. We know usage increases as the temperatures drop, which results in above normal energy bills for this time of the year. The cooperative does not expect, however, members to see an increase above current electric rates due to this winter event.
The rate for Farmers Electric Cooperative members for March 2021 is .10759 cents per kWh. This is the same as the rate for February 2021. Farmers EC has been around for more than 80 years and has seen how natural disasters impact energy prices. We still remember the impact of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina on the price of electricity. That’s why we embrace long-term rate stability and strive to be consistent.
We know usage increases in winter, then starts to decrease with the mild spring weather. We have tools to help members recover from the extreme weather event. Budget Billing helps to even out monthly bills, so your payments stay more consistent by avoiding seasonal peaks. We also encourage members to use our HVAC tune-up rebate to have their heat and air systems inspected after being used to overcome at least a 50-degree temperature gap at times. We understand if members need additional time to pay their bill. Our Member Care team can help find a solution that fits any budget. The Farmers EC Member Care team is available by calling 903.455.1715 during business hours.
Farmers Electric Cooperative only charges you for the energy you use. We believe in member service innovation and putting members first. At Farmers EC, you’re a member, not a meter. That’s why, as we recover from the rotating outages and the historic cold weather, we will continue to work with our state legislators, power supplier, and our fellow Texas electric cooperatives to protect the rights of electric consumers. Working together, we will advocate for meaningful reforms to ensure that future extreme weather events do not put members at risk.
News Articles: Impact of Winter Storms
February 2021’s back-to-back winter storms had an immediate impact across Texas with massive electricity outages, water shortages, ice-snared roadways, and more. The impact’s far from finished, though, as clean-up continues and the next round of utility bills shows the strain of heating (and re-heating) storm-stricken homes and businesses.
Below are links to some news stories covering these storms:
Member Care is available by calling 903 455 1715 to help with any issues. Wait times have increased due to the historic cold weather. You can also send the Member Care team a message at the Contact Us submission portal link.
We understand that this historic cold weather event not only brought snow to our area for the first time since March 4, 2015, it may have also created some unexpected expenses. If you are experiencing financial hardship, we can help you find local agencies and charitable organizations to help you get assistance with payments.
Please message or call Member Care at 903 455 1715 if you need to discuss payment arrangements. We’re committed to remaining flexible and responsive to your needs. We understand usage has increased as the temperature dropped during this historic cold weather event.
We offer different bill plans designed to work with your needs. You may want to consider enrolling in our Budget Bill Plan to average out your payments and avoid seasonal spikes in usage. This will help keep your bills consistent as you forecast your household budgets. If you are not familiar with our Budget Bill Plan, this short video will help explain how it works: Watch Video
Watch the video: Budget Bill Plan
No one has more influence on your energy use and its resulting costs than you do. We’re here to show you how to take charge of your energy use to maximize the comforts and conveniences of electrical power while reducing impacts on your budget and the resources we all share.
Watch the video: Home Energy Efficiency Guide
Request a printed copy of the Home Energy Efficiency Guide
Rebates – After these record low temperatures, now is a good time to get your HVAC system check out. Claim our HVAC tune up rebate to save up to $50 on the cost of the service.
USPS mail delivery times have slowed due to COVID 19 and the winter weather. Our online portal SmartHub can be used to make your bill payments electronically. You can also pay by phone, pay stations, or the Greenville office’s drive-through window. Please reference our website’s MEMBER HUB PAYMENT OPTIONS page for more details on these methods.
NOTICE: Fidelity Express and MoneyGram fees are being waived at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Farmers EC’s financial health following the winter storm event?
The financial health of the Farmers Electric Cooperative remains strong and stable despite the recent winter weather event. Although we are still examining the storm’s impact on the cooperative, we remain confident Farmers EC will provide rates and power supply agreements that can give our members long-term rate stability.
2. Is Farmers Electric Cooperative following the emergency order issued by the Public Utility Commission of Texas to suspend electric disconnections for non-payment and late fees?
Farmers EC believes in helping members during difficult times and the recent extreme weather event is no exception. We agree with the PUCT’s order. Our skilled Member Care team has resources available to help members create a solution for high bills caused by the winter weather. Contact the Member Care team today at 903.455.1715.
3. I heard the Governor suspended all bills based on estimated billing for this winter event. Does Farmers estimate my electric bill? Will you for this winter event?
Farmers EC bills our members for actual usage of electricity. Occasionally, when Farmers does not have actual usage information, a bill may be estimated based on that member’s prior usage. Please contact the Farmers EC Member Care team at 903.455.1715 if you receive an estimated bill and have questions.
4. I’ve seen media reports of bills that reached thousands of dollars for the winter storm period. Is my bill going to go up too?
Many of the consumers who were featured in the news were customers of a retail energy provider that allowed consumers to purchase energy at the real-time ERCOT market price. ERCOT market prices change every 5 minutes. Farmers EC’s rates did not change for March. The March rate is the same as the previous month. We do know usage increased in February. Usage increases as the temperature drops, which results in above normal energy bills. Our temperature gap video helps explain why usage increases during the colder winter months.
Should there be rate changes due to impacts from the extreme winter event, members would be provided advance notice. Consistent with our 5-Point Philosophy, Farmers EC aims for long-term rate stability, and any rate changes will be transparent.
5. Why doesn’t SmartHub usage data match my billed usage?
SmartHub is an application to help members manage their monthly consumption of electricity. The usage some of our members are seeing on SmartHub during the rotating outages is estimated. SmartHub is a graphical representation of usage and is separate from the Farmers EC billing system. The Farmers EC Member Care team can provide details for a specific account. Contact the team at 903.455.1715.
6. Winter weather negatively impacted me. What if I can’t pay my bill?
Contact the Farmers EC Member Care team at 903.455.1715. We understand and we want to help. Wait times are longer than normal. You can also send the Member Care team a message thru SmartHub.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has also declared an emergency in our area. FEMA resources can be found at disasterassistance.gov.
Increased home energy use.
Farmers EC is committed to help our members use less energy. Download our INCREASED HOME ENERGY USE PDF for tips on how to manage and reduce energy usage before major events take place.