We are here for you during this crisis
Newest Update: Girard drive-thru reopens June 8
As COVID-19 cases drop across Kansas and our low numbers in Southeast Kansas stay low, we're gradually getting back to normal at Heartland. Starting on Monday, June 8, our drive-thru at our Girard office will be open. Our employees will be there starting at 8 a.m. and will be available until 4:30 p.m. Since we still have some employees working from home, the drive-through will be closed for half an hour at lunchtime. Even though our drive-thru will be open, we still encourage members to utilize alternate payment methods to minimize potential exposure to the virus. Safer payment methods include payment by phone, paying online or with a smartphone through our SmartHub portal, payment by mail, or using or dropbox. Members can also set up automatic payments, or can arrange payments online through the member's own bank. For the safety of our employees, our lobbies in Girard, Gas and Mound City are still closed to the public. Currently, we anticipate opening our lobbies to the public in early July.
Update: Disconnect pause ending June 1
To help our members during the COVID-19 pandemic, Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative temporarily suspended service disconnections due to nonpayment of bills. Now, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, and local officials have started plans to get Kansas open and back to work. Starting on June 1, the state’s mandated suspension of disconnections will no longer be in effect. Therefore it is critical that members with outstanding balances contact us before June 1. Members who have an outstanding balance, and fail to contact us, may be subject to disconnection if steps are not taken by the end of May.
Heartland wants to help our members avoid disconnection of electric service. We understand that some people are facing financial difficulties because of COVID-19. Heartland can work with members to set up payment arrangements if necessary. We ask members to call us as soon as possible to discuss payment options. Heartland staff can be reached at 1-800-835-9586 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Those struggling financially may also be able to get help through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a Federally-funded program that helps eligible households pay a portion of their home energy costs by providing a one-time per year benefit. The state's DCF is adding a second opportunity for Kansans to apply for the LIEAP program. The new application period begins May 1 and runs through May 29. For information on applying call the state office at 1-800-432-0043.
Members wanting to make payments can access account information and make payments on the website with our SmartHub mobile app, or by calling our 24-7 phone payment system directly at 1(888) 999-5517.
Update: Disconnect pause extended to June 1
We at Heartland understand that our members are facing financial hardships due to COVID-related issues like loss of income or illness. That's why we are extending our policy of pausing disconnections through June 1. We recognize that electricity is an essential service that our consumer-members rely on for quality of life, and this policy of not disconnecting power will help lessen the financial strain.
We encourage everyone to be mindful of your balance and not get too far behind, which could make it difficult to catch up when disconnect procedures are reinstated. Continuing to make payments, even if it is not the full bill amount, will help you avoid a large, potentially unmanageable past due balance in the future.
Our offices also remain closed to the public. If you are a member who previously came to our offices to pay your bill in person, please use one of our other options to make a payment, such as by phone or online.
This is a good time for members to try one of our other fee-free options to pay your electric bill. These include setting up an automatic payment process, sending a check by mail, drop boxes at our three offices, paying online with our SmartHub smartphone app or through our website, paying by phone, or paying online through your bank's online banking service.
If you are experiencing financial hardships and find it difficult to pay on your account, please call us at 1-800-835-9586. We are glad to work with you so that we can all get through these difficult times.
Update: Heartland crews, contractors still working
As an essential service, Heartland continues to work every day to do the system maintenance, improvements, and upgrades that are necessary to keep power on for all of our consumer-members. Work is also still being done every day by those companies that Heartland partners with. These companies include Iowa-based Chapman Metering which is helping us with meter upgrades, Poor Boy which does tree trimming for us, Progressive helps us by spraying unwanted vegetation, Osmose crews that inspect poles for signs of decay, and local contractor CDL, which changes poles and helps with large projects such as wire location needed by wind farm construction. All of these crews are critical for us, and need access to our poles, wires, and infrastructure as we all do what is necessary to keep the lights on.
Update: New service work on hold
To further protect the health of our employees, Heartland will be delaying some types of work, including construction work on new meter connections. Experts say we should all maintain a minimum of six feet of distance between people during this pandemic, and, to be honest, that's almost impossible to do when we're out in the field working on projects that involve working closely with electricians, excavating contractors, new members, construction crews, and even curious members of the public. Therefore we are cutting back on some of those "close interaction" duties. Rest assured, we will always be there to do what's necessary to keep the power on for all our members. Our crews are working every day, but we also need your help. First, when we are working in your neighborhood, it's important that you maintain a minimum of six feet of distance separation for your own health and the health of our employees. This virus is out there, and we need to be vigilant. Also, if you call us about an outage or other service issue at your home, please let us know if your family has been exposed to the Corona Virus so that we can take appropriate precautions. We're all in this together. Thanks!
Update: Letters about missed payments
Heartland members who do not make their payments on time will continue to receive notices in the mail regarding their delinquent account. Although these letters include our standard phrasing about collection charges, cutoff charges and "subject to disconnection without notice," these cutoff charges will not be applied, and no disconnections will take place during the month of April, as directed by the Kansas Governor.
A video from CEO Mark Scheibe
Heartland's offices are closed, but the work continues
To our consumer-members in our community, we understand the concern and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and we want to share a few things we’re doing as your cooperative to keep you, our staff, and our community safe & healthy. Because we are critical infrastructure, we are doing everything we can to keep our employees healthy and to keep the power on for all of our consumer-members during this difficult time. Currently, all of our lobbies are closed to the public. Minimal staff continues to work in our three locations, while many office employees work from home. We are also making changes in how we work to minimize our own exposure. Most of our employees are working from home. And we are taking appropriate measures to protect the handful of employees still in our offices, and our crews working in the field. At Heartland, we are taking additional measures to disinfect high-touch surfaces in our offices and vehicles, as well as educating our staff on best practices recommended by the CDC
All disconnections for non-payment are suspended
We know that during this difficult time nobody should have to worry about being without power. We are currently not disconnecting our members for non-payment through May 1. However, we do encourage all of our members to pay what they can. Your electric use and amount due will continue to accrue as you use electricity. Members are encouraged to pay what you can now to avoid a large bill later. We encourage members to make payments using our mobile app, online SmartHub portal, night deposit box, or by phone to help minimize your exposure to others during this time. If you find yourself unable to pay your electric bill, please call our office to stay in touch and make payment arrangements if possible. Communication is key for all of us at this time.
We're in this together. Reach out to let us know how we can help
As schools close, events get canceled, and more local people become ill, we expect everyone to spend more time at home. We know it’s critical to have power at home. We promise to take whatever measures are necessary to keep the power on for everyone during this unprecedented time. We will continue to monitor this situation and make every effort to assist our members in any way possible! We are in this together. Our crews are working, and we are determined to keep your lights on no matter what. By everyone doing their part, we will come through this crisis a stronger nation. Our lobby is closed, but our phone lines and website remain open. We are here to assist in any way possible.
Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns at 1-800-835-9586.