Flint Energies Offers New Payment Options for Members Impacted by COVID-19

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Flint Energies is offering several bill payment options through its COVID-19 Arrangement and Relief Extension (CARE) program for those impacted financially by the public health crisis. The CARE program does not relieve Consumer-members of their obligation to pay for energy services, however, it allows the Cooperative more flexibility with assisting Members during this difficult time.

Flint Members who have missed payments or have a past-due balance can be helped through the Co-op’s CARE program. Post-pay, also known as traditional, accounts will be offered the following options for past-due balances until July 31, 2020:

Apply available Member deposit to past-due balance. Based on Member’s account history, an installment agreement may be required to rebuild the deposit.

If there is a balance due after any Member deposit is applied, the Member may choose to transfer the remaining past-due amount into a COVID-19 Arrangement and Relief Extension, or CARE, Agreement. The CARE Agreement gives the Member up to 6 months to pay the remaining balance, which will be divided into up to 6 equal payments. The CARE installment amount will be added to the Member’s monthly balance due for service moving forward. If the CARE installment amount is not paid, the Member’s service will be disconnected.

Members can convert their traditional account to a pre-paid account, known as Pay Your Way, with debt management. Any available Member deposit will be transferred to the pre-paid account and any remaining past-due balance will be placed on pre-paid debt management. A minimum $50 account balance will be required to start a Pay Your Way account. After the initial payment, 15 percent of each future payment will go towards the repayment of any past-due balance that is in the debt management program. The 85 percent electricity and 15 percent for debt management payment ratio is a temporary, beneficial change for the Pay Your Way program (see details below).

CARE payment plans do not cover new monthly bills, charges, fees, etc. and all new bills are due and payable on or before the due date. CARE payment plans will automatically cancel if a payment installment and/current bills are not paid on or before the due date. The CARE program may not be reentered once the agreement is broken.

To assist those Flint Members currently on Pay Your Way, the Cooperative is restructuring the debt management ratio from its current payment distribution ratio of 75 percent prepaid balance and 25 percent debt management. The new payment distribution ratio is 85 percent prepaid balance and 15 percent debt management through December 31, 2020. For example, for each dollar a prepaid Member pays, 85 cents will go towards their current balance and 15 cents will go to their debt. This will allow Pay Your Way Members more time to pay their debt management balance.

Late payment penalties and reconnect fees will be suspended on all accounts through July 31, 2020.

Flint will resume disconnects for non-payment beginning June 1, 2020 after suspending disconnects in April for both pre-paid and traditional residential and commercial accounts.

“Regardless of your account type, if you are unable to pay your bill, please contact us as soon as possible but BEFORE June 1 to discuss making a payment or setting up a payment plan. You can reach us Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at 1-800-342-3616. Our Member Solutions Representatives are ready to assist you. We’re here for you,” says Marian McLemore, Vice President of Cooperative Communications.