Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
How is an electric cooperative different from other utilities?
Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative is owned by the members. Because of that, taking care of those who use our power is our top priority. We don’t answer to investors or distant stockholders.
Neighbors joined together back in the 1930s to start America’s electric cooperatives. Because of that, Heartland REC remains committed to the betterment of local communities. Heartland members make their voice heard through the annual election of members of the Board of Directors, and by attending the annual Meeting of the Members.
What rates does Heartland offer?
Most homes and farms are on our General Service rate.
We also have a discounted rate 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.
What are my options for paying my bill?
- Automatic Bank Draft - The easiest method of payment! With the Advantage Payment Plan your payment is drafted from your bank account on the due date. You may continue to receive a monthly statement and your payment is always on time. Call 1(800) 835-9586 to sign up.
- Online through our eBill system
- Recurring credit card or electronic check - Your payment is charged to your credit card or debited from your checking account on the due date. You may continue to receive a monthly statement and your payment is always on time. Sign up can be doneon-line through our website or through our pay-by-phone system.
- By Phone 24/7 using our automated system at 1(888) 999-5517
- Mail - Please allow 5-7 days for payment to be received in the mail.
- After Hours Drop Boxes - available at each of our three locations
- In person - Payments can be made in person at any of our offices in Girard, Mound City or Gas, during office hours.
Heartland members looking for an alternative to the monthly electric bill can select ourPrepaid 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?
When a bill becomes past due, a charge of five percent is added to the bill and collection efforts will be initiated. Heartland may disconnect service for a past due bill 10 days after the original due date of the bill. If service is disconnected, collection and cutoff charges will be applied.
A payment will be required for service to be reconnected. We recommend you contact our member service department to discuss your options when you anticipate difficulties paying your bill.
What is all that stuff under “Detail of Charges” on my monthly bill?
The largest number is usually the “Energy Charge” which is the charge for the actual kilowatt hours you used in the previous month. We take the meter reading, multiply it by your rate, and this is the result.
The “Service Availability” is a flat fee that we charge for each meter. This helps us recoup the cost of the equipment that is in place even if you don’t use any electricity that month.
The “Power Cost Adjustment” is how we pass on the unpredictable additional costs associated with purchasing power. Because the costs of natural gas, fossil fuels and coal used to produce electricity can unexpectedly increase, the price Heartland REC pays for power can increase as well. We add the “PCA” to recoup that additional cost.
The PCA is based on your consumption, and is passed directly on to those from whom we purchase power. Heartland does not retain any of that money.
“County Taxes” are also collected by Heartland and passed on to the county in which you reside.
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 surge protector 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 $25. The Collection Charge is $15. Heartland’s Cutoff Charge is $35. 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.
What is my responsibility and what is Heartland’s responsibility?
The poles, transformers, meters, and wires leading up to the meters are Heartland’s, and we are responsible for their maintenance, upkeep and repair.
Everything past the meter, including the wires leading to your home and buildings, is your responsibility.
What is a capital credit?
As a member of Heartland Rural Electric, you will be allocated capital credits each year that revenues exceed expenses. Your capital credit amount will be based on your electricity purchases in relation to the total electricity purchased by all members during that fiscal year.
At other utilities, this money would be considered a profit and be given as a bonus or paid to stockholders. Cooperatives don’t do that, and instead return that money to the members. As a member if there is revenue in excess of expenses, commonly referred to as patronage capital, it will be allocated to you as capital credits.
When the financial condition of the cooperative permits, the capital credit will be returned to you in the form of cash.
By allowing the cooperative to use the capital credits Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative needs to borrow less money to operate or has less need to generate revenue through rate increases. This saves the members money by reducing the amount of interest that would normally be charged for using loan funds.
Every year our board of directors looks at the financial standing of the cooperative and decides how much capital credit money can be returned to the members. Some of this goes to members who have been with Heartland the longest, some goes to our newest members.
What should I do when I have a power outage at my house?
Naturally, your first step should be to check your circuit breakers or fuses in your home’s electric panel. There is most likely a set of breakers below your electric meter that can also be checked.
If Heartland’s power is out then call us at (620) 724-8251 or toll free at 1-800-835-9586. We have staff on hand to answer your call day or night. You’ll need to give us your name, address, or account number so that we can send a lineman to fix the problem as soon as possible.
You can also report an outage online here or through our SmartHub app on your cellular phone
We have linemen on duty 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Can I install solar panels or a wind turbine?
Heartland is eager to work with our members who want to install renewable energy systems at their home, farm or business. Renewable energy is good for our environment, and can be a very affordable to generate power. See our FAQ about renewable energy here. The video below will answer most questions. For more information call our office.