In order to establish a new service with Tri-County Electric Cooperative, an individual can simply call the Mount Vernon office (618-244-5151). Or, if you prefer, the application process can be handled in person at either the Mount Vernon office (3906 Broadway Street, Mt. Vernon) or the Salem office (1631 E. Main, Salem). Once the proper paperwork is completed, an engineer will schedule an appointment at the site to 'stake' the job and review any work that needs to be done before the service can be built.
Some information needed when applying for new service is:
- Location for the new service (legal description)
- The mailing address for the new service location
- Prospective member's social security number
- Deposit (amount depends on prospective member's credit score)
Changing Existing Service into Your Name
If you are moving to a location that has an existing electric service you can simply call the Mount Vernon office (618-244-5151). Or, if you prefer, this can be handled in person at either the Mount Vernon office (3906 Broadway, Mount Vernon) or the Salem office (1631 E. Main, Salem).
You should be able to furnish:
- Location for the new service (legal description)
- Mailing address for the new service location
- Prospective member's social security number
- Deposit (amount depends on prospective member's credit score)
For Tri-County Electric Cooperative members who have lived in their residence for one year or more, budget billing can help avoid the peak bills that come with winter heating of summer air conditioning. Here’s how budget billing works:
- The total electric usage and cost over the last twelve months is calculated.
- That amount is divided by twelve months to find the average monthly bill with a smallamount added to provide cushion for weather changes.
- If a security light is at the location, the cost for the light is added.
- Each month a bill is mailed showing actual usage compared to the budget amount you pay plus your current account balance.
- Each month your account is reviewed and if the estimated budget amount appears to differ significantly, the billing department will contact you via letter providing an adjusted billing amount.
- To start the program, members must not have a previous balance owed.
- There is no catch up month in our program. Our goal is to monitor your account regularly to make sure small adjustments are made as necessary so that your running total does not accumulate too large of credit or debit balance.
To receive full benefit of participation in the Budget Billing program, monthly payments must be received by the normal due date. Failure to do so may result in removal from the program and could result in a requirement to pay any balance due in full with the next regular billing. Many members take advantage of budget billing along with automatic bank pay or online bill pay.
To sign up for budget billing call TCEC today at 244-5151 or 1-800-244-5151, or stop by our office in either Mt. Vernon (3906 Broadway) or Salem (1631 East Main Street).
- What is a kilowatt-hour?
- A kilowatt-hour is equal to 1,000 watts used for one hour. Your electric energy is measured and bought in kilowatt-hours. KWH is the abbreviation often used for kilowatt-hour.
- The security light I rent from the cooperative burns all the time. Is it making my electric bill higher?
- No, it isn’t. Security lights owned by the cooperative and rented monthly to our members are not wired through their electric meters.
- My security light doesn’t come on when it gets dark. You guys know when my light is not working don’t you?
- No, we don’t. Malfunctioning security lights (burning constantly or not at all) should be reported immediately so that repairs can be made. Tri-County has no way to know if your security light is functioning properly or not.
- What is the “service availability” charge on my bill?
- The service availablility charge is the fee you pay to have the facilities, everything there, ready and waiting for the switch to be turned on. If a member does not use any kilowatt-hours during the course of a month, they will still be charged a service availability fee to cover the cost of that service being ready for use. It is very similar to a minimum bill for water usage or a line charge for phone service.
- Why am I charged a “wholesale power cost adjustment” on my bill?
- The WPCA is a fee appearing on member’s bills based on the cooperative’s wholesale power cost from Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC). When the average cost the cooperative pays on a kilowatt hour basis varies from 7 cents per kilowatt hour the increase or decrease will be shown as a line item on member’s bills. Tri-County made the decision to utilize a wholesale power cost adjustment rather than trying to guess what the correct rate change(s) would be. It is strictly a “pass through” of any variance from the 7 cents per KWH that the cooperative has to pay for wholesale power.
- What types of things impacts the Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment?
- The major factor is the prices our wholesale power provider (SIPC) has to pay for fuels such as coal, carbon and natural gas to run the power plant. Another factor is the cost to transport coal and carbon to the power plant. Sometimes SIPC has to buy power from the open market when the load exceeds their capacity to generate power or when they are unable to generate power due to expected or unexpected reasons. Obviously, other power producers are facing the same challenges regarding higher costs of fuels to generate electricity thus resulting in higher prices. Weather is another factor that impacts the WPCA. A very mild month with only a few extreme temperature days can skew our cost per KWH. An extreme temperature day can cause a high peak demand. Couple that with lower than normal usage during mild days and it results in a higher cost per KWH on the wholesale power bill.
- Can I pay my bill over the internet?
- Yes. Simply click this link or go to the home page of our website and click the “Pay Online” button and follow the instructions to register for the service.
- Do you offer Budget Billing?
- Yes. To learn more about our Budget Billing program click here or contact our office.
- I own my own security light. Will Tri-County fix it for me if it goes out?
- Yes, TCEC servicemen can repair the light. However, a nominal fee may apply to cover the cost of the trip to your location and any parts needed for the repair.
- Will you conduct an energy audit in my home to determine ways I might use electricity more efficiently?
- Yes. Tri-County Electric Cooperative offers free energy audits of your home to help pinpoint areas you can make improvements to your house to enhance your energy efficiency. We also offer a Certified Comfort Home program to members building new homes. Contact our Member Services Department for more details.
METER LOOP SPECIFICATIONS
Meter loop specification sheets are available for many types of services.
The following meter loop specifications are available to print online:
- 100 amp overhead to overhead
- 100 amp overhead to underground
- 200 amp overhead to overhead
- 200 amp overhead to underground
- 200 amp w/ 100 amp additional overhead
- 400 amp overhead to underground
- 400 amp underground pedestal with two 200 amp disconnects
- 400 amp underground pedestal
Note: other meter loop specification sheets may be available. For specific needs not listed above please contact the Engineering Department at Tri-County Electric (618-244-5151).
Member Installed Secondary Underground
See additional information for requirements of member installed secondary underground.
INTRODUCTION TO SMARTHUB
The new "Smart Hub" is now activated as the new improved manner in which to pay your bill from the website as well as from your Smart Phone or other mobile device. In addition to paying your bill, you are now able to set-up automatic recurring payment of your monthly electric bill to simplify your life. Another new feature of "Smart Hub" is the ability for you to track your energy usage in greater detail. If you believe that you can benefit from having mobile access to your account from your Smart Phone or tablet, you can download the FREE mobile app now from the iTunes store (if you have an Apple product) or from Google Play (if you have an Android phone or device). If you already have a user name & password on our system, you will login to "Smart Hub" with the same login information as you did before. Otherwise, you will need to begin by Registering your account. Tri-County Electric bills will continue to be due on the 20th of each month, with the meters being automatically read on the 1st day of the month.
With Smarthub, the power of data is in your hands through convenient account management and daily usage information. Smarthub, a mobile solution for smartphones and tablets, also is a web application for PC's and Macs allowing you to stay connected anywhere. The two-way communication available with Smarthub allows you to notify us of account issues while dually allowing us to notify you about special offers, programs, events and more.
- Is my phone or tablet supported?
- Our Apps are supported on the following platforms:
- IOS 3.1 and above (iPhone and/or iPad)
- Android 2.1 and above (Smartphones or tablets)
- Is the App secure?
- Yes! All critical information is encrypted in every transaction run and no personal information is stored on your mobile device. Mobile devices do offer you the ability to store your login information for Apps installed on the device. If you choose to store your login information, any person who has access to your mobile device can access your account.
- How do I get the App for my phone?
- Simply look for "Smarthub" in the Apple Store® or in the Google Play® Market.
Search: SmartHub (not case sensitive but must be all one word), if duplicates appear the correct App is provided by our partner, National Information Solutions Cooperative.
- Do I have to buy the App?
- No. Our App is free to download and install.
- Do I have to change the way I pay my bill in order to use SmartHub?
- No. You can take advantage of all of the features of SmartHub and continue to pay your bill as you currently do.
- I have five accounts. Can I see them all in the App and on the Web?
- Yes. The Web home page shows all of your accounts with the amounts due and hyperlinks to other detailed information. On the App, tap the Bill and Pay icon. The total due of all accounts shows and below it you can select different information by account, such as partial payment option, billing history and payment history.
- Can I make a payment on multiple accounts?
- Web: To pay the total amount owed on all accounts, click the Pay Now button in the upper right corner of the screen or the Make Payment button on the home page. You can also make a payment to a single account or partial payments to all accounts by clicking on the Billing & Payments button. It will allow you to check the accounts to be paid and change the amount for each account by clicking on Other Amount. After entering the amounts to be paid click the Pay Now button.
- App: Tap the Bill & Pay gadget. If paying the total amount due, tap the Pay button. If paying a partial payment, tap the Pay Partial Amount, tap on the account and adjust the Pay Amount.
- How current is the account information I see in the App or on the Web?
- The information you see in the App and in the Web is shown in real-time, so it's always accurate. However, if you keep your App or the Web version open for an extended period of time, you should refresh the page by selecting a new option in order to ensure the information is still current.
- How do I sign up for notifications? What if I want to receive notifications for multiple accounts?
- You must log into the Web and click on Notifications.; Select preferred notification method (Text, Mobile Push, Email or Phone) and fill out the appropriate notification information based on your selection. Click Next to continue, verify the notification parameters and confirm. If you have multiple accounts, while you are setting the notification it will prompt you to indicate which account the notification is for.
- How do I find your offices and payment locations?
- On the App, tap the Map and you will see all the office and payment locations available to you. To get directions, tap the location and an address box comes up. Tap the address box and the Map/GPS Navigator options appear. Tap on the preferred method and follow the instructions.
- What is the recommended screen resolution for SmartHub on the web?
- 1280 x 1024 or higher on your PC or Mac
- What do the color codes represent on the mobile application My Usage screen?
- The colors represent a visual indication of your usage. Red indicates the highest usage for the range of days displayed, brown is the second highest, etc. Green indicates average usage.
- In SmartHub web, my tab buttons are not highlighted to indicate what screen I am on and the Utility logo is centered on the page. Why is it displaying this way?
- Even though you may be running Internet Explorer 8 or later, some of your websites could be displayed in version 7 compatibility mode. To check this, open Internet Explorer, select Page, and click Compatibility View Settings. Any websites that are listed will display in version 7 compatibility mode. Remove the SmartHub web site from this list.
- Will my existing eBill login work with SmartHub?
- Yes. Your existing login credentials will carry forward to SmartHub.
- Will my existing stored credit card and/or checking account information be available in SmartHub?
- Yes. All financial information stored in eBill will be available in SmartHub.
Online Bill Payment
Tri-County Electric offers on-line bill payment with either a credit or debit card or an electronic check. You may access the e-bill payment system through this link or from the home page of our Web site.
It is very important and helpful to have your account number available while signing up. Your account number is the same as your member number on your postcard billing statement.
Otherwise, click here to get started. You simply answer a few questions and create your password. Please remember that your password is case-sensitive and must be between four and ten characters. In addition, it is important to note that the last name and account number during the sign-up must match what is on your billing statement. Once you have completed the sign-up process, the next time you visit the site you will only need to input your e-mail address and password.
Pay online easily using our e-bill consumer self serve.
Click the link to access your account by logging in.B
Here’s what you will be able to do on-line:
- Pay your bill with Mastercard, Visa or Discover
- Pay your bill via an e-check
- View current and past payments
- View and print current and past bills
- View and print charts about your energy usage
- Members with multiple accounts can pay them all with one transaction
Just imagine-no more checks, stamps or trips to the post office plus you’ll be able to access your secure account online 24/7. Moreover, you will get an e-mail every month when your new bill is calculated and ready to view.
Automatic Bank Pay
Tri-County Electric realizes and understands that some members are not comfortable paying their electric bill online. As an alternative to online bill payment we offer automatic bank pay.
Once members sign up for auto bank pay, the amount due on their electric bill will be deducted automatically from their checking or savings account around the 18th of each month. Simply contact our office at 244-5151 or 1-800-244-5151 and we’ll be glad to send you the authorization forms so you can get started on the program.
There is no fee for this recurring program and you will continue to receive a billing statement each month so you know the amount to be deducted from your account. The auto bank withdrawals will continue until you ask to be removed from the program. You don’t have to worry about stamps, the post office or remembering to pay the electric bill!
Financial assistance for low-income families to assist with payments on electric bills is available through the following agencies. If you need assistance, please check with those agencies to see if you qualify.
Tri-County provides energy audits for members free of charge. During an energy audit, a cooperative representative visits your home, discusses your energy consumption, and makes recommendations on how to make your home more energy efficient.
Call Tri-County at 1/800-244-5151 or 244-5151 and ask for the Member Services Department to schedule an appointment or click here to e-mail a request for additional information.
The Tree Swap Program provides replacement trees or shrubs for trees that are a hazard to power lines. If you have a tree in your yard that interferes with Tri-County's primary line and would like it removed, let us know. Tri-County will cut down the old tree, clear up the debris and give you a replacement tree or shrub to be planted away from the line. There are many trees and shrubs from which to choose.
This program helps the cooperative reduce outages by clearing problem trees, and it gives the member a new tree of his or her choice to plant away from the power lines.
Contact Tri-County Electric at 800-244-5151 or 244-5151 and ask for the Forestry department or click here to e-mail a request for information.
As interest in “green” energy and ways to save money on utility bills continue to grow, some cooperative members may be considering the installation of a solar array.
Since these types of systems have the capability of returning electricity back to the electric grid, there are some major safety considerations to sort out before a system is installed.
Before deciding to buy a solar array, examine the economics to determine whether such a system will lower your monthly electric costs. If you do decide to install a solar array, contact our office as early as possible in the process.
A TCEC representative will provide information on our interconnection process and policies, as well as answer any questions you may have. That way, you and your installer will have the information needed as you progress with your system.
For more information on TCEC’s policies and requirements, please contact our office Monday through Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BILL
The cooperative lists several items on members' bills in order to provide more detailed information.
Items that can be detailed on bills include: kilowatt hours used, service availability charge, security light rental, pole rental, wholesale power adjustment, and state utility tax.
- The kilowatt hours used shows the energy consumption since the last reading (bill).
- The service availability fee is a fee you pay to have everything there, ready and waiting for the switch to be turned on.
- The security light rental is a monthly fee for a security light that the cooperative maintains for the member. The fee includes the kilowatt hours used by the light as well as any maintenance that may be required such as changing the photo electric eye or bulb.
- The pole rental is a monthly fee when it is necessary for the cooperative to set an additional pole for a security light.
- The wholesale power adjustment is a fee shown on a member's bill based on the cooperative's wholesale power cost from Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC). When the average cost the cooperative pays on a per kilowatt hour basis varies from .07 cents per kilowatt hour the increase or decrease will be shown as a line item on members' bills.
Please contact us if you have any additional questions.