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BEMC Announces Repayment Plan for Members Affected by COVID-19

BEMC ANNOUNCES REPAYMENT PLAN FOR MEMBERS AFFECTED BY COVID-19

Supply, NC, (7/24/2020) – Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) remains committed to members experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic as normal member payment procedures resume August 3.

On March 15, BEMC made the decision to temporarily suspend service disconnections due to nonpayment and waive late payment fees on all past due accounts. NC Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 124 requiring the same action for all utilities on March 31.  Executive Order 142 was issued on May 30 and extended the terms of Executive Order 124 until July 29.  These Executive Orders stipulate that they do not relieve consumers of their obligation to pay bills for the receipt of services mentioned therein. 

As North Carolina reopens and the moratorium on utility disconnections is lifted, BEMC is aware that many members will continue to face economic hardship. Currently, 6.7% of BEMC’s accounts have past due balances with an average of $275.  In an effort to help the members most affected, the following repayment plans will be available based on the service type:

  • PREPAY ACCOUNTS: Any negative balance on prepaid accounts will be converted to an arrangement amount.  The arrangement amount will be the account balance at the end of the day on August 2 plus $20 which will be added to the current prepaid balance to allow for a positive balance and time to make purchases to keep power on.  Until the outstanding arrangement balance is fully repaid, each payment will be applied as follows:
    • 25% to the outstanding arrangement balance
    • 75% to the current energy purchase
  • MONTHLY BILLED ACCOUNTS: The overdue balance will automatically be billed as an arrangement over 12 months to begin with the September billing.

 

Additional Resources

7-24-2020 Press Release

BEMC Is Accepting Applications For Community Grants

BEMC IS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR COMMUNITY GRANTS

BEMC IS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR COMMUNITY GRANTS

Supply, N.C., (12/3/2020) – – Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) invites local agencies and groups to apply for a 2021 BEMC Community Grant before February 15, 2021. The program began in 2003 and continues to provide grants of up to $2,500 to local groups who provide family service programs, civic and community programs, cultural and arts programs, emergency services, and community development activities.
    “This year, the organizations that serve our communities are more important than ever,” said Josh Winslow, CEO and General Manager. “The increased demand brought by COVID-19 has stretched their resources, and we’re eager to help them continue their good work. We encourage groups in the qualifying categories to apply for a Community Grant, and we appreciate what these agencies do for our community.”
    Last year, 36 projects were selected from a field of 68 applicants to receive a total of $36,500 for projects in Brunswick and Columbus counties. Since inception, several hundred projects with more than $616,000 in funding benefitted members throughout the BEMC service area.
    To learn more or submit an application, please visit www.bemc.org/community-grants or call (800) 842-5871 for more information.

Additional Resources

CG Announcement PR

BEMC Awards More Than $32,000 to Local Teachers Through The Bright Ideas Education Grant Program

BEMC AWARDS MORE THAN $32,000 TO LOCAL TEACHERS THROUGH THE BRIGHT IDEAS EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAM

Supply, N.C., (November 9, 2020) – Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) awarded $32,110 in Bright Ideas education grants to 29 local teachers to fund engaging projects for their students. More than 7,000 students at schools in Brunswick and Columbus counties will benefit from these grants.

Typically, these grants bring creative projects to life inside classrooms. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BEMC has been flexible with the types of projects awarded to ensure that all students are able to benefit, whether they are in the classroom or learning remotely. Grants are awarded for projects in all subject areas, including music, art, history, reading, science and math.

“Teachers have been going above and beyond to help our children in these challenging times, and their ability to solve distance learning issues while finding ways to engage their students is impressive,” said Josh Winslow, CEO. “It’s a privilege to help them turn ideas into reality and keep the school year on track.”

BEMC has contributed more than $680,000 to local teachers since the Bright Ideas grant program began in 1994 and is one of 26 electric cooperatives in North Carolina offering Bright Ideas grants. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives collectively have awarded more than $12.9 million in Bright Ideas funding since the program’s inception, making nearly 12,359 projects possible and benefitting more than 2.5 million students. 

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PR BI Winners

BEMC to Launch Member-Focused Peak Demand Initiative in December

BEMC TO LAUNCH MEMBER-FOCUSED PEAK DEMAND INITIATIVE IN DECEMBER

BEMC TO LAUNCH MEMBER-FOCUSED PEAK DEMAND INITIATIVE IN DECEMBER

Supply, N.C. (October 9, 2020) – Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) will begin a new demand reduction initiative, Beat the Peak, in December. The objective of Beat the Peak is to level off peaks in energy usage that occur during the times of highest demand, therefore reducing wholesale power costs.

“We’ll be asking members to collectively reduce energy usage for a short period of time,” said CEO Josh Winslow. “There is strength in numbers, and by working together to lower demand during these times we can reduce the rate we pay for wholesale power, keeping everyone’s electric bill as low as possible.”

Beginning in December, BEMC members will be notified by text and/or email when extreme temperatures—like cold winter mornings or hot summer afternoons—are in the forecast. These “peak” energy periods create greater demand for electricity that drive up energy costs. Beat the Peak alerts encourage members to adjust their thermostats in real time and to shift when they use large appliances, reducing the overall demand for power. This allows the cooperative to better manage costs, saving money for everyone. Members that wish not to participate in the alert program will have a simple opt-out option.

Additional Resources

10-9 Beat the Peak PR

BEMC to Hold its 81st Annual Membership Meeting Virtually

BEMC TO HOLD ITS 81st ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING VIRTUALLY

BEMC TO HOLD ITS 81st ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING VIRTUALLY

Supply, N.C. (September 10, 2020) – Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) has announced that its 2020 Annual Membership Meeting will be held in a virtual-only format on September 26. No in-person meeting will be held this year due to public health concerns related to COVID-19. Members will have the opportunity to register the week before the meeting at all three office locations from September 21st – September 25th while following CDC guidelines. Gifts will be available to the first 2,000 members who register, and each member registered will be entered into a random drawing for cash prizes, with winners being announced during the virtual meeting. Members do not need to attend the meeting to win.

“We look forward to socializing with our members each year, making this a difficult decision,” said Josh Winslow, BEMC CEO. “Ultimately, our commitment is to the health and safety of both employees and members. We have lots of exciting and important information to share, so we look forward to members joining us online on the 26th.” 

Additional Resources

News Release Registration

BEMC and Town of Oak Island Provide Restoration Process Details

BEMC AND TOWN OF OAK ISLAND PROVIDE RESTORATION PROCESS DETAILS

Supply, N.C. (8/11/20) – Brunswick Electric and the Town of Oak Island continue to collaborate in their efforts to complete the final phases of power restoration in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaias.  With safety and efficiency as top priorities, the process is proceeding as follows:

Brunswick Electric received a list of properties from the Town that were deemed unsafe for utility power, and continues to work closely with inspection teams to disconnect them.

Once these properties are disconnected, the beachfront and second row areas will be re-energized.
The disconnected properties will require necessary repairs and re-inspection before they can be reconnected. This process will continue on an individual, case by case basis until restoration is complete.

“Restoration is always an organized methodical process,” said Josh Winslow, BEMC CEO. “Following this process ensures that undamaged homes in the hardest hit areas are able to receive power, leaving us to focus on the ones that need greater repair soon after.”

Additional Resources

Press Release 8-11 Restoration Update

Brunswick Electric and Town of Oak Island Coordinate Restoration Efforts

BRUNSWICK ELECTRIC AND TOWN OF OAK ISLAND COORDINATE RESTORATION EFFORTS

Supply, N.C. (8/10/20) – Brunswick Electric has been out in force working with the Town of Oak Island to assess damage and restore power to as many homes and businesses as possible since Hurricane Isaias made landfall last week. Today, as of 4 pm, power had been restored to 285 more locations, with 770 remaining.

Conditions are still unsafe for power restoration in some areas, and with safety as the top priority, the Town of Oak Island and inspectors are working together to identify and repair electrical issues. BEMC stands ready to re-energize these homes when the issues are corrected. 

“Our crews are following Town inspectors, and once a section of houses passes inspection we work quickly to restore power to that section,” said Josh Winslow, CEO. “Please know that we won’t stop until the outage number goes to zero. Thank you again for your patience.”

Additional Resources

Press Release 8-10 Restoration

BEMC Reports Power is Restored to 98% of Membership

BEMC REPORTS POWER IS RESTORED TO 98% OF MEMBERSHIP

SUPPLY, N.C. (August 6, 2020) – Power has been restored to 98% of Brunswick Electric’s membership following the impact of Hurricane Isaias. The remaining outages are in the area of Oak Island, one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Isaias.

“We’re coordinating with town officials in order to make the necessary repairs and restore power as quickly as possible,” said Josh Winslow, CEO. “We’re putting the full strength of our experience and expertise to work so that we can get these members the electricity that they need.”

At the height of the storm more than 43,000 members were without power. As of Thursday morning, fewer than 2,400 members are affected.

“We’d like to thank our membership for their support and patience during the restoration process,” said Winslow. “And we’d like to assure those still waiting that we’ll have power on as soon as is logistically possible.”

Additional Resources

Press Release 8-6

Restoration Efforts Continue for BEMC Members

RESTORATION EFFORTS CONTINUE FOR BEMC MEMBERS

SUPPLY, N.C. (August 5, 2020) – Around 39,000 Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) members have had their powered restored following Hurricane Isaias. Teams comprised of line workers, tree trimmers and safety specialists set out early this morning to bring back power to 4,300 cooperative members still impacted by Isaias.

The remaining outages are primarily in the hardest-hit parts of BEMC’s service area. Crews will continue their efforts today, clearing downed trees and debris and repairing and replacing damaged poles and lines until power is restored to all members whose homes can receive electric service. Amid these challenging conditions, and with additional, pandemic-related safety measures in place, cooperative officials urge members to keep safety top of mind. 

Additional Resources

PR 8-5 am Restoration

Brunswick Electric Begins Making Power Restoration Progress

BRUNSWICK ELECTRIC BEGINS MAKING POWER RESTORATION PROGRESS

BRUNSWICK ELECTRIC BEGINS MAKING POWER RESTORATION PROGRESS

Supply, N.C. (August 4, 2020) – As Hurricane Isaias made landfall overnight, Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) began to see its outage numbers climb to approximately 40,452, leaving 40 percent of its members without power. 

BEMC’s experienced, highly trained local crews are joined by 45 additional contract and co-op crews from in and out of state, including Alabama and South Carolina in restoration efforts.
These crews are out in force, assessing damage, clearing debris and beginning restoration efforts. Cooperative officials caution that existing outages could extend for several more days, particularly in the hardest-hit areas due to flooding, fallen trees, and debris impeding line crews’ access to restoration points. 

“Our priority is to restore power to all of our members across Brunswick and Columbus Counties as quickly and safely as possible,” said Josh Winslow, BEMC’s CEO. “Our crews are storm-tested and will keep working until the power is back on for all of our members.”

Additional Resources

PR 8-4 am Restoration