Our Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 UPDATE: MARCH 30, 2020
WCEC Pauses Residential Disconnects
Wharton County Electric Cooperative is voluntarily pausing disconnects for non-payment on residential accounts effective immediately.
"We know that our members are facing financial hardships due to efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve," says GM/CEO Gary Raybon. "We ask members who need assistance to call our office and speak to our staff to make arrangements if possible. Pausing residential disconnections is a temporary measure to help those in serious need."
It is important to note that regular billing cycles will continue and disconnect notices will still be generated. Members who cannot make full payments are encouraged to make partial payments to avoid large account balances over time. As we all transition back to normal, WCEC will work to set up payment arrangements for members who may remain behind on their electric bills. Additional assistance may be available through these community resources.
"Unfortunately, as more family members are home during the day, our members could see an increase in their usage. This means higher electric bills," Raybon says. "Members can keep tabs on their usage through our SmartHub app or online portal. We also have energy-saving tips available on our website and on Facebook and Twitter. If you haven't taken advantage of these tools to help you save, now is a good time to do so."
WCEC is a member-owned electric cooperative that operates on a not-for-profit basis. As a cooperative, WCEC will not qualify for funds from the Texas Public Utility Commission’s COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program.
Wirehand Wireless Updates Coming
Due to an increase in residential Internet usage during the daytime hours, Wirehand Wireless technicians will be performing a series of updates to our system over the new few days. During the updates, our users may experience intermittent loss of Internet or spotty service. The first upgrade will be performed from 2-6 a.m. tomorrow, March 31.
We know, now more than ever, that our users depend on reliable Internet in their homes. Wirehand Wireless is committed to doing all we can to keep everyone connected during these uncertain times. For more information, please contact our Internet department at 979-543-6271.
COVID-19 UPDATE - MARCH 23, 2020
WCEC Suspends Internet Service Installations
In a continuing effort to protect our members and employees, effective today, WCEC has suspended all Internet installations and repairs that require an in-home visit by a technician. The Spring Promotion offering free installation on Wirehand Wireless through the end of March will also be suspended.
All site surveys and scheduled installations have been canceled at this time. Those who were added to the site survey or installation lists from March 1 – 20 will qualify for the promotion savings once we resume normal operations.
COVID-19 UPDATE - MARCH 19, 2020
WCEC Working to Protect Our Members & Employees
Further action has been taken by WCEC management to provide more measures of social distancing for our members and employees.
In addition to asking our members to limit face-to-face visits to our office, our staff will be restricting visitor access to all areas of our building except for the front lobby. Events scheduled for the Edison Room will be canceled or rescheduled later by the event coordinators. All in-home appointments with our members have also been canceled.
Load Management Device
Testing Load Management Device Installations
Repairs and installations for our Internet Services will continue as needed on a case-by-case basis as will water heater repairs and installations. These precautions are being put in place as we focus on maintaining a healthy workforce. It is imperative that we keep key personnel—such as line workers and member service representatives— available so that we can continue to provide the excellent service you expect from us.
COVID-19 UPDATE - MARCH 18, 2020
WCEC Urges Members to Practice Social Distancing
To protect the health of our members and employees, WCEC is encouraging our members to practice social distancing and limit face-to-face visits to our office.
"While we will not be closing the office at this time, we do want to encourage our members to only visit if it is absolutely necessary," says GM/CEO Gary Raybon. "There are many options to handle WCEC transactions without visiting our office."
Members who need to drop off a payment can do so using the dropbox located in the drive-through at the office. Payments are also accepted at the drive-through of these El Campo banks:
First Financial Bank
First State Bank
Payments can also be made online through the SmartHub web portal or mobile app.
For payments over the phone, please call 1-877-833-3326.
You will need your account number to use the automated phone system and to set up an account on SmartHub. Your account number is listed on your monthly bill or you can call us for that information at 979-543-6271 or toll-free at 1-800-460-6271.
"Do not hesitate to call ahead to ask our CSRs if an office visit is necessary to serve your needs," Raybon says. "As always, we put our members first, and, during this time of uncertainty, we want to be as proactive in protecting everyone as we can be."
COVID-19 UPDATE - MARCH 17, 2020
WCEC Monitoring COVID-19 Situation
Wharton County Electric Cooperative is monitoring the situation with COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, and will provide updates to members if decisions are made to change any business processes as a result of the virus.
If you are trying to avoid going out, please keep in mind that there are options to pay your WCEC bill over the phone or website. Information on that is available here.
For the latest reputable information on the virus, please visit CDC.gov/COVID19. At this time, they are encouraging everyone to wash their hands and to be cognizant if you are in one of the higher risk groups. If you have concerns, please call or visit your local health professional.
Know that behind the scenes, we are preparing should COVID-19 have a significant impact in any of the communities we serve. We are evaluating options to work with a smaller workforce, a threatened supply chain and limited support services, while keeping key personnel available so that we can continue to provide excellent service to our members if it comes to that.
Members should also be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, or persons impersonating business employees or charitable organizations. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of these opportunities. If you get a call from anyone claiming to be with WCEC and demanding payment, hang up and call us at 1-800-460-6271 or 979-543-6271. We will verify if any payment is needed on your account.