Did You Get A Letter? – CEMC Delays $250 Deposit Program

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Did You Get A Letter? – CEMC Delays $250 Deposit Program

MIDDLE TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (CEMC) recently mailed out over 4000 letters to its customers indicating that in order to maintain their electric service they will need to pay a $250.00 deposit.

electric meterThe change was put into affect after a revision of CEMC’s credit policy. Smokey Barn News received many emails and phone calls from readers regarding the letter they received asking what they can do about it, prompting this report.

What Smokey Barn News learned this morning is that the program has been suspended and if you received a letter you do not need to pay the deposit, at least for now, according to CEMC Member Services Communications Coordinator Julie Wallace.

According to Wallace, the program has been delayed until January 2016 and re-tooled. CEMC received many calls and as a result they have added a recording to their customer service line that states, “If you are calling in response to a letter that you recently received regarding a deposit assessment, please disregard. You will soon receive a letter with additional information about the program that has been revised and delayed until January 2016.” An announcement was also added to the CEMC website.

Smokey Barn News spoke with Julie Wallace in length this morning, Julie said the intent of the program is to “reduce the risk of unpaid electric bills which ultimately ends up raising members rates,” Wallace said. “Last year we wrote off about half a million dollars in unpaid electric bills, so we are trying to mitigate that risk, that’s what the deposit installment program was all about. We didn’t communicate that to our customers well enough.”

Funeral services ad 300In an effort to be more fair, CEMC is holding back the deposit requirement until January 2016. “We want to give our customers ample time to look at their credit history,” Wallace said.

With the current deposit program, any customer that paid a couple days late could have been vulnerable to the $250 deposit program, Wallace said that has been changed. “If you make a payment a couple days past due you are not going to have to pay that deposit installment. If you get a cut-off notice, a returned check, if you are put on the disconnect list, or if you are disconnected for non-payment, those types of things are what’s going to initiate the deposit,” Wallace said.

In short, if you have payed late a few times you’re OK but if your late payments have ever resulted in some sort of disconnect action you may have to pay the deposit.

To clarify the credit rating, the credit score CEMC refers to is your internal CEMC credit score, not your over all credit rating.

carpet consultation 300 adJulie said CEMC services about 93,000 customers and until the program was halted about 4300 letters were sent out. Julie estimated that about 6000 letters were going to be sent before the program was stopped.

If your bill is due on the 5th of the month, and if you pay it by the 10th, you think ‘no big deal’ but members don’t realize that’s showing up as a late payment,  so that’s kind of where it came from,” Julie said.

Julie said, “If you received a letter you will be getting another letter explaining it all a whole lot better.”

What if you already paid the $250 deposit? Julie said you can call the office at (800) 987-2362 and request a refund check or the money can be applied to your account.

Julie said if you would like more information about the program you can follow this link.

CEMC letter

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Latest Comments
  1. Angel

    I have never liked CEMC but what can you do when you have them for your electrical service! Maybe if they were like NES and allowed their customers to make payment arrangements then there would be no need for deposits! They were going to cut my electricity off for being $5.00 short!!! What a bunch of crooks! And the one who made the comment about the WH location I agree, they act like they HATE their job! You never see a smile let alone a THANK YOU when you pay your bill! I get more friendly customer service from using the kiosk machine than dealing with the women inside!!! CEMC need to appreciate their customers just a little more but then when they know its a necessity one has to have I guess they don’t have to display friendly customer service uh? SMH!!!!

  2. Shelby

    I pay my bill on the day I get paid ( I get paid once a month) my bill is due the 18 so I pay the late fee each month. I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this. Not once did CEMC ever tell me they I was occurring points until July of this year. I have been a member for over 20 years. How do you get a point removed? I didn’t say anything when they raise my rates each year, raise my extra light pole from 9.bucks until almost 15. PLUS I have to pay a TVA charge for your spill. It’s bad enough I’m having to pay exhorborant rates but your solution pay by the day if I go over my allotted amount of electric for that day you shut my power off until the next day when my ‘allowance’ starts all over. Sounds like something straight out of the apocalypse

  3. Joshua vest

    Freaking crooks. They already have a $175.00 deposit. And they got ya by the nads. What else are you gonna do, go without power. We are already existing customers with no other option. We already paid deposits. My question is, is this legal smokey barn?

  4. Brandy

    This is bull. We’ve had service for 15 years and never had our electric shut off. Yeah, we’ve paid late but we also pay a 5% late fee when we do. We also paid $150 deposit 15 years ago when we first had our service turned on. Last year our house burnt so the electric company had to come take the complete meter off, even though it was only a kitchen fire with a lot of smoke damage. Afterwards we had to pay $250 to have electric turned on at our rental. When our house was repaired we had to have our electric cut back on under a new account number, pay a $100 underground equipment charge (even though our line is not underground) and the final bill to our rental which was estimated because it wasn’t due yet. It’s really not like we had a choice though.

  5. Marianne

    Let’s examine this, shall we? First, I pay you for the privilege of having you supply my electricity, then I pay for the electricity itself.
    If I pay my bill late, I get a late fee. If my bill (and the subsequent late fee) aren’t paid within an additional timeframe, you remove my access to the electricity. Then I pay you again to turn it back on (as long as I have already paid my bill and the late fee).
    Now you are advising that I need to pay you AGAIN so that the late payments of others don’t affect the amount I pay you for the privilege of using your electricity. Because 4000 customers paying you $20/mo to supply your brand of electricity doesn’t cover some late fees or unpaid bills, correct? Oh, and that’s not factoring in all the customers who pay you $20/mo for your brand of electricity that ARE able to pay their bills on time.
    Tell me again how this isn’t a pyramid scheme??