FAQs – Rates, Billing & Payment


What rates does Heartland offer?

Most homes and farms are on our Peak Savers rate, but the Time of Use and Time of Use EV rates are also available upon request.

We also have discounted rates for members whose homes are heated with a heat pump. Heartland has several rates in place for its small and large commercial members, based on their load requirements. All of our members, regardless of the rate they pay, also have a Power Cost Adjustment added to their monthly bill. The PCA varies monthly as it tracks the changes in the cost of wholesale power purchased by Heartland.

Why does it matter what time I use electricity?

It’s an unavoidable fact of the electric industry: power costs much more during peak times when demand on the grid is at its highest. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand.

Electricity is generated in real-time, and the amount of electricity generated has to match the amount of electricity consumed. When demand for electricity is high, the electric grid has to work harder to supply enough electricity to meet the demand – even if it requires the use of more costly sources of generation. This can lead to higher electricity prices, particularly during peak usage hours, which are typically in the late afternoon and early evening.

In the past, when we were limited by metering technology, we had to make our per-kWh rates higher for everyone to ensure we collected enough revenue to cover power costs incurred by those with high demand during peak times.

But now, using modern meters and rate designs, we are able to consistently reward those on our default Peak Savers rate who spread out their usage during peak time from 3 to 8 p.m. on declared Peak Days. That reward comes in the form of a lower peak charge. Incorporating timing into our electric rates helps ensure fairness among all members.

How am I supposed to use less electricity during the busiest part of the day?

It’s a safe bet that on a hot summer day, you’ll be running your air conditioner during the peak time of 3 to 8 p.m. The easiest way to save on your peak charge is by not using too many other high-draw appliances all at the same time. Your big-screen TV doesn’t draw that much power, but your electric clothes dryer, oven, dishwasher, and pool pump do. (See our Energy Use Basics page for a list of appliances and their typical power draw.) Try changing up your routine so you’re using only one of these items at a time and your demand will drop. It’s that easy!

How does Heartland decide how much to charge for electric service?

Every few years, Heartland works with an outside consultant to conduct a cost-of-service study to determine the true cost of providing electricity to our members. These studies are essential for us to set rates that are fair and equitable for all members.

The cost-of-service study helps us identify the various costs associated with distributing electricity to members, taking into account factors such as the cost of fuel, the cost of system construction and maintenance, and the cost of providing customer service. It also examines the cost of providing power to different types of members, such as residential, small commercial, and large industrial, so we can set appropriate rates that accurately reflect the cost of serving each.

How much does it cost to start new service?

The process of establishing electrical service at a new location starts with filling out an Application for Service form and paying a $250 engineering deposit that will be applied to your project if you decide to move forward. (See our Connect New Service page for more details.) The engineering deposit ensures we can pay our stakers for their time visiting your location and planning the construction.

The total cost of construction depends greatly on many factors, including:

  1. How Far You Are: If your property is far from where the electricity is already set up, it might cost more. This is because we might need to put in more poles, wires and other equipment to reach you.
  2. The Land: If your land is tricky to work with (for instance, rocky or hilly), it could make things more complicated and expensive to set up the service.
  3. Service Requirements: Sometimes, the cooperative might need to upgrade infrastructure like transformers or even the number of phases on the lines running to your location to ensure we can provide the power you need.
  4. Getting Access: If we need to get permission to set up things on someone else's land to be able to reach you, there might be costs involved with obtaining easements.
  5. Local Rules: The area you're in might have special rules or fees that can affect the cost of setting up the new service.

Please call us at (800) 835-9586 if you have additional questions.

How does Heartland decide when to declare a Peak Day?

Here are a few questions we ask ourselves when deciding whether to declare a Peak Day for the following day:

  • Is tomorrow likely to be the hottest day of the month? Higher temperatures mean air conditioners work harder and longer, meaning more strain on the system.
  • Are we expected to have several days of high temperatures in a row? If so, it's likely that the Peak Day will occur after a few days of high temperatures rather than right away.
  • What does the electrical load on the system look like? Is it reasonable to expect that it might reach the highest point of the month tomorrow?
  • Has KEPCo (our power supplier) declared a Peak Day? Just because KEPCo declares a Peak Day doesn't mean we will—sometimes our interpretation of the data is a little different—but their forecast does inform our decision-making process.

When examining weather and load data, we have to consider areas beyond just Heartland's system, because KEPCo's Peak Days are based on usage throughout all of the areas served by KEPCo including parts of western Kansas.


What is all that stuff under “Detail of Charges” on my monthly bill?
  • For those on our Peak Savers rate (which is the vast majority of our members), the Energy Charge is approximately 10.2 cents per kilowatt hour. (Those on the Time of Use or Time of Use EV rates will have different energy charges at different times of the day.)
  • The Service Availability Charge is $39 per month and covers fixed costs such as poles, wires, and transformers, as well as our staff members.
  • The Power Cost Adjustment reflects month-to-month changes in the cost of wholesale electricity.
  • The Property Tax Adjustment helps us fairly allocate the cost of property taxes.
  • Through Operation Round Up, consumer-members’ bills are rounded up to the nearest whole dollar and the difference is pooled into a fund for distribution to non-profit organizations that promote the health and well being of eastern Kansans. Heartland consumer-members are opted in by default, but you can contact us at (800) 835-9586 to opt-out.
  • The Peak Charge (again, only applied to those on our Peak Savers rate) is $2 per kilowatt used during your one hour of highest usage during the month on declared Peak Days. Lower your usage from 3 to 8 p.m. on Peak Days and you can save money on your bill. This charge only occurs in June, July, August and September.
  • County Taxes are also collected by Heartland and passed on to the county in which you reside.
Detail of Charges Cost
Energy Charge $134.81
Service Availability Charge $39
Power Cost Adjustment at $0.003865 $5.13
Property Tax Adjustment $-0.32
Operation Round Up $0.90
Peak Charge $12.48
Total This Service $192
What other charges might I incur?

If you have a security or yard light, a charge for that may appear on your bill, depending on whether you own it or whether it is owned by Heartland.

You may also be charged a monthly fee for a security light or generator transfer switch if you have asked Heartland to install that additional equipment.

Certain situations will lead to service fees being charged, especially in the case of late payments or if power is disconnected due to nonpayment. Heartland’s Temporary Service Minimum Fee is $50. The Meter Test Fee is $35.

Heartland’s Returned Check Charge is $35. The Collection Charge is $50. Heartland’s Cutoff Charge is $50. The After Hours Remote Reconnect Fee is $40, and the After Hours Field Reconnect Fee is $90.

Heartland will charge members for materials furnished and for work done on members’ premises beyond the equipment owned and installed by the cooperative; for trouble calls not occasioned by negligence on the part of the cooperative, and any other work or service requested and authorized by the customer. The cooperative will not charge for replacement or repair of equipment furnished and owned by the cooperative, except when repairs or replacement are caused by negligence or misuse by the customer or the customer’s agents.

Why can’t I change my due date?

Calculating bills for 8,000-plus members of an electric cooperative is a costly and time-intensive process. By calculating everyone’s bill at the same time and maintaining a standard due date for all members, we are able to make the process as efficient as possible, which in turn helps us keep rates low.

Why is there a Service Availability Charge even when I don’t use any electricity?

The Service Availability Charge is the price you pay for instant, on-demand access to power, regardless of how much you actually use. This charge is critical because it covers the fixed costs of providing service to our members, such as the cost of maintaining and operating the distribution system. These costs are incurred regardless of how much electricity a member uses, and a fixed charge ensures these costs are covered even if a customer uses little or no electricity.

This is increasingly important as technologies such as home solar become more widespread. Members with home generation use fewer kWh per month, but because solar and wind are intermittent, these members still need uninterrupted access to electricity from our system. Having an appropriate Service Availability Charge helps us ensure we can maintain our distribution system even if an increasing number of members buy fewer kWh from us.

Why is Heartland’s Service Availability Charge higher than similar charges from investor-owned or municipal energy providers?

Heartland works hard to keep costs low while ensuring reliable service, but compared to investor-owned or municipal energy providers, we have a bigger electric system to maintain with fewer members to share the cost. A mile of line in a city might serve dozens or even hundreds of meters, but Heartland averages just three meters per mile of line. We also have many miles of line to maintain – around 3,800 miles, in fact – because our members are spread out over a large area.

What is the Power Cost Adjustment and why does it change from month to month?

Heartland is an electric distribution cooperative. That means we buy wholesale power and deliver it to our members over our poles and wires.

We try to provide stable pricing for our members, but the reality is the cost of wholesale electricity is different from month to month, day to day, even moment to moment. Factors that affect cost include overall demand on the grid and the price of the fuels used to generate electricity during that time. We don’t know how much we will have to pay for power until we receive our monthly bill from our power supplier, KEPCo.

The Power Cost Adjustment helps us account for that variability and gives us a way to make sure we’re collecting enough revenue to cover our costs from month to month. Some months it might be a credit, and other months it might be a charge. It all just depends on what the wholesale electric market was like during the billing period.

What is the Peak Charge?

Our default Peak Savers rate includes a Peak Charge, which only occurs in the summer months of June, July, August, and September. The purpose of the Peak Charge is to better align what Heartland charges its members with the true cost of energy, which is higher during peak times.

The Peak Charge is calculated at $2 per kW used during the member’s one hour of highest electric usage during the month – but that one hour can only occur between 3 and 8 p.m. on Peak Days that we declare in advance. We do not declare Peak Days on weekends or holidays.

You can find more information on our Peak Savers page.

Why do I have to pay an electrician to fix a line that’s down between the meter pole and my building?

For liability and insurance reasons, we do not work on members' equipment. Per Heartland's Rules and Regulations (PDF), Heartland's obligation to supply electric service is completed by supplying electric service at the member's point of delivery (i.e., the meter), and the cooperative "will not be liable for any loss, damage, or injury whatsoever caused by leakage, escape, or loss of electric energy after it has passed the point of delivery, nor for defects in the Member's wiring, appliances, or equipment" (pages 22-23, section 7.C).

Why doesn’t the Peak Charge on my bill match up with what I see in SmartHub?

If your monthly peak hour occurred from 4 to 5 p.m., your bill will list 5 p.m. as the basis for your Peak Charge. This reflects the way our behind-the-scenes metering system measures usage.

SmartHub looks at the same data a little differently. If you want to see the same time period in SmartHub, you would need to look at the 15-minute interval data from 4:00, 4:15, 4:30 and 4:45. Add up those kW readings and you should have something very close to what is shown on your bill, although there will be small differences due to rounding as SmartHub uses two decimal places while our metering system uses three.

Payment and related issues

What are my options for paying my bill?
  • Automatic Payments – Heartland allows you to set up automatic payments on your due date, which is typically the last business day of the month. You can set up automatic payments through SmartHub. Automatic payments can be made using your bank account or credit/ debit card. Contact us at (800) 835-9586 if you have questions.
  • SmartHub – Our free SmartHub service, available online and on your smartphone, allows you to make payments using your debit/credit card or bank account whenever and wherever you want. Visit our SmartHub Member Portal Guide page to learn more.
  • Automated Phone System – Heartland follows the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which means our Member Service Representatives do not handle credit card payments over the phone. However, you can make credit card payments 24/7 using our automated system by calling (888) 999-5517.
  • Drop Off or Mail In – Payments can be dropped off at our Girard and Mound City offices, as well as at Community National Bank and Trust in Iola. Checks can also be mailed to the address listed on your bill. Please note that payments must arrive at our office on or before the due date in order to avoid late fees—even if the post office was responsible for delayed delivery. For this reason we strongly encourage other forms of payment.

Heartland members looking for an alternative to the monthly electric bill can select our Prepaid billing option, which is a pay-as-you-go method of paying for the power you use. Members who sign up for this program pay no upfront deposit, and have no late fees or connection fees if power is disconnected.

What happens if I don’t pay my bill?

Bills are considered past due if payment is not received by close of business on the due date shown on your bill. Past due bills will incur a 5% penalty. Service will be subject to disconnection 10 days after the account becomes past due. If you are struggling to pay your bill, please call us at (800) 835-9586. We can work with you to make payment arrangements or refer you to organizations that provide assistance.

What is Heartland’s disconnection policy?

When a bill becomes past due, a charge of five percent is added to the bill and collection efforts will be initiated. HREC may disconnect service for a past-due bill 10 days after the date of mailing written notice to the member. If service is disconnected, all collection, disconnection and reconnection charges and all other utility charges must be paid before service is restored. Heartland will make every effort to restore service on the day payment arrangements are made, or no later than the next business day.

Does Heartland follow the Cold Weather Rule?

While Heartland is not required to follow the Cold Weather Rule established by the Kansas Corporation Commission, Heartland's board of directors has elected to adopt its own version of the policy. See below for details.

(1) The provisions of the COLD WEATHER RULE establish the disconnection procedures for delinquent accounts of any Residential Customer of the Cooperative throughout the cold weather period, which extends from November 1 through March 31.

(2) The Cooperative will not initiate the disconnection process for Residential Customers’ service between November 1 and March 31 when the National Weather Service office forecasts the temperature to drop below 35 degrees (the activating temperature) within the following 48 hour period unless:
(a) It is at the Customer’s request;
(b) The service is abandoned;
(c) A dangerous condition exists on the Customer’s premises;
(d) The Customer violates any rule of the Cooperative, which adversely affects the safety of the Customer or other persons, or the physical integrity of the Cooperative’s delivery system; or (e) The Customer causes or permits tampering as defined in section 6.J.
In any of these situations, the Cooperative may disconnect the service immediately. Services disconnected under (c), (d) or (e) above may be restored as soon as possible after the physical problems defined in (c), (d), and (e) above have been corrected.

(3) To avoid disconnection during the cold weather period and qualify for the benefits of the COLD WEATHER RULE the Customer must meet the requirements of the GOOD FAITH TEST. To meet the requirements of the GOOD FAITH TEST, the Customer will:
(a) Inform the Cooperative of the Customer’s inability to pay the bill in full;
(b) Give sufficient information to allow the Cooperative to make payment agreement;
(c) Make an initial payment of the most recent bill for consumption plus one-third of the arrearage;
(d) Enter a level payment plan agreement for past, current and future charges for electric service with arrears paid in equal installments over the next two months. The Customer and the Cooperative may negotiate other payment arrangements mutually agreeable, individualized to the Customer’s situation providing the most appropriate terms, after the Customer has been informed that he or she has at least two months in which to pay;
(e) Apply for federal, state, local or other funds for which the Customer is eligible;
(f) Not obtain electric service by tampering as defined in Section 6. J.; and
(g) Not default on a payment plan.

(4) In addition to fulfillment of the procedures outlined in Section 5, (with the exception of C.2., which is replaced with the more stringent requirement of (a) below), the Cooperative will:
(a) On the day prior to disconnection, make at least one telephone call attempt with the Customer of record or make one attempt at a personal contact with the Customer of record if telephone contact on that day is not made. If the Customer is not contacted during the phone call(s) or the personal contact the day prior to termination of service, the Cooperative
employee will leave a disconnect message on the door on the day prior to disconnect;
(b) On the day of disconnection, receive a 24-hour forecast above the activating temperature from the National Weather Service. If the temperature is then forecast to be below the activating temperature, the disconnection may not be carried out and the Cooperative must wait for another 48-hour forecast above the activating temperature to initiate the disconnection procedures;
(c) Inform the Customer in the telephone contact(s), the written notice, the personal contact and the disconnect message on the door, of the existence of the Cold Weather Rule and that the Customer can avoid disconnection by bringing the Customer’s electric bill current;
(d) Inform the Customer of, or provide a list of, organizations where funds are available to pay electric bills.

I mailed my check before the due date but was charged a late penalty. Why?

As a member, it is your responsibility to ensure your payment is received at the office on or before the due date – regardless of when you mailed your check. Slowdowns in the mail service over the last few years have resulted in more members struggling to get their payments to us in time. For that reason, we highly recommend using another form of payment if possible. See our Payment Options page for more information.

Why can’t I give my credit card information to Heartland staff over the phone?

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance is a set of rules and guidelines that businesses (including Heartland) that handle credit card information are required to follow as part of their agreements with card processing companies. Think of it as a security checklist to make sure that credit card data is kept safe and protected from hackers and thieves. We follow these rules so that the cooperative and our members are protected from things like hacking and stealing of your information.

PCI compliance requires Heartland to use safe ways to handle your credit card info. The fewer people who have access to your info, the better. Sharing credit card information from person to person over the phone just isn't as safe as other methods. We strongly recommend using SmartHub on the web or app, but other good alternatives include using our automated payment phone line or paying in person. We have a wealth of resources to help you get started on our SmartHub Member Portal Guide, and you are always welcome to call us at (800) 835-9586 for assistance.