June 30, 2020 – LCEC welcomed Eric Scott as its new Director of Governance Risk and Compliance Chief Risk/Compliance Officer. In this role, Scott will serve as a strategic partner and advisor to the CEO, Senior Leadership Team, and the LCEC Board of Directors on matters pertaining to governance, risk, and compliance for the cooperative. Additionally, Scott will provide leadership in key fundamental areas such as regulatory; policy development, management, and administration; business continuity in all industry and environmental conditions; compliance and controls; insurance programs and claims; internal audit; and power supply. Scott’s 21 years of utility experience include working for the Ameren Corporation as the as the Director of Reliability Standards and Compliance Oversight since 2008. Prior to that, Scott worked for nine years with Associated Electric Cooperative. Scott has a Bachelor of Science degree in both Finance and Accounting and a Master of Business Administration degree in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University.
LCEC knows COVID-19 has been difficult for many customers and we want to help. Funds are currently available for those in need. A past due notice is not required to be eligible. Register at www.Leeflcares.com to see if you qualify.
LCEC is also working with customers to ensure uninterrupted power. You can request a payment arrangement or make a payment extension through SmartHub.
We urge customers with past due accounts to pay by the due date to avoid a large balance due, or reach out for help. LCEC will resume the collection process in July including late fees and disconnection for non-payment. For additional assistance contact us at www.lcec.net or 239-656-2300.
June 24, 2020 – LCEC will begin normal collection activities in July. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, LCEC took measures to try to ease the financial burden on customers by suspending disconnection for non-payment, waiving late fees, returning $12 million in equity to active and inactive members, and contributing funds to the Power to Share Program for energy assistance. Many utilities throughout the state of Florida have already resumed the collection process or will restart disconnection protocol in July. “This decision is tough and does not come lightly. It is based on helping customers avoid building up a large balance and having an impact on all customers through accumulated bad debt for the cooperative,” said CEO Denise Vidal. Close to $1 million in LCEC late fees have been waived since the pandemic impacted SWFL.
LCEC customers are encouraged to enroll in SmartHub now to request payment extensions, or call the contact center at 239-656-2300 for assistance or to set up payment arrangements. Customers are also urged to seek financial assistance while it’s still available through State and local financial assistance programs. “Customers should know that we will find solutions to help them meet their personal responsibility to LCEC so that we can fulfill our financial requirements with our power supplier and lenders,” said Public Relations Manager Karen Ryan.
LCEC takes great pride in helping those in need throughout the communities it serves. Corporate stewardship has been part of the not-for-profit electric cooperative culture since establishment in 1940. LCEC is only in business to serve its members daily, and in times of crisis. “We sincerely thank our customers for their continued support, understanding and patience as we navigate through these uncertain times together,” Vidal said.
June 10, 2020 – LCEC is ready to fight back if a hurricane heads to Southwest Florida. To ensure that we are ready for restoration, LCEC cultivates relationships with power line and tree-trimming contractors, fuel companies, material vendors, food service vendors, other cooperatives and local agencies for mutual aid. You name the resource and LCEC has a relationship in place should the situation call for it.
In addition, the 375 LCEC employees play a critical role in the restoration plan. Employees put their typical job responsibilities on hold to pitch in during restoration. From assessing damage to leading out-of-state crews, and even doing laundry for linemen, each and every employee has an important role.
We understand the importance that electricity plays in our customers’ lives, especially during this pandemic. We understand that for many, the home has become the workplace in addition to the place where loved ones reside. Please remember that LCEC has a proven track record when it comes to storm restoration, and we ask that customers be patient. We know how frustrating it is to be without power. Customers can rest assured knowing that we work around the clock during restoration situations to ensure the lights are back on as quickly as possible. We won’t rest until all of our 220,000+ customers have power.
LCEC has a thorough restoration plan that outlines priorities of electric restoration during large power outages. The LCEC plan first calls for restoration of critical circuits that power essential services such as hospitals, traffic signals, shelters, law enforcement. Next, power is restored to the largest number of customers possible. The last to be restored are individual services in small pockets or services that need to be reconnected after repair to their home electrical system.
Please note that LCEC does not disconnect power before a storm. We let Mother Nature run her course, and begin to restore power to impacted areas once winds are at a safe level to work.
How customers should prepare for outages
• Ensure a back-up telephone other than a cordless or telephone that is dependent on electricity.
• Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to stay aware of news and other information.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.
What to do when the lights go out
• Help keep the LCEC telephone lines clear for emergency calls. Only call LCEC at 656-2300 to report downed power lines.
• Visually check the weather-head (on the roof where your service drop connects to the pole) and the meter box to make sure it is not damaged.
• Any damage to the home’s electric system must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected by a designated agency before power can be restored.
• Turn off appliances. This will protect them when service is restored, prevent electrical fires and lessen the chances of circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to serve as a visual signal that power has been restored.
Storm Safety Tips
• Stay clear of downed power lines. They may still be energized and dangerous. Puddles of water contacting downed lines are just as dangerous.
• Don’t trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines. If you must remove debris from your home, don’t pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
• Residents on life support must have an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.
• If operating a portable generator, keep it outside and in an open area. Carbon monoxide emissions can be harmful. Follow all instructions regarding safe operation. Do not connect the generator directly to the main electrical panel. If installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and cause injury to the owner, neighbors or utility crews working in the area.
• Please do not detain LCEC employees or contractors while they are working to restore power. This can be distracting, can cause an accident and impedes the process.
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