Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply for service?
A new residential consumer will need to submit a residential service application and a copy of each applicant's drivers license. A new commercial consumer will need to submit a commercial service application. Applications are also available at our office, or one can be faxed or mailed to you. Once complete, applications and licenses can be faxed to us at 252-426-8270, or they can be scanned and emailed to us at email@example.com or mailed to us at P.O. Box 69 Hertford, NC 27944. A credit check will be performed once we have received your completed application and drivers license. Results of the credit check will determine your deposit amount. In addition to the deposit, you will be charged a $50 connect or transfer fee.
How much is a deposit?
The security deposit for residential service can range from $0 to $450.
The security deposit for commercial service is up to $1,000 or two month's estimated bill, if greater.
What causes the dramatic swings in the cost of electric service from month to month?
Demand for electricity is extremely dependent on weather, especially for residential consumers. This is because the devices that generally use the most electricity are used for heating and/or cooling our homes. Periods of extreme cold and heat can often double or triple a residential power bill from one month to the next.
How long do I have to pay my bill before I am cut off?
Payment is due 20 days from the bill date. After 20 days, the bill is considered delinquent. If you have not paid this bill by the next time you are billed, a penalty is added and a disconnect date for 15 days later is assigned. These dates are clearly stated on your bill. After 15 days, your account is subject to disconnection for the overdue amount.
What are capital credits?
Any revenue margins that the cooperative makes, after all operating expenses are paid, are returned to our members in the form of capital credits. These margins are not always returned immediately, as the cooperative may need to use those funds in the short term to pay for extraordinary operating expenses. However, these profits are given back to the membership. Capital credits are one of the most unique and beneficial advantages to being a member of an electric cooperative.
I am no longer a co-op member, but was at one time. How can I find out if I am due any capital credits?
Please contact us and provide us with the name in which your account was listed and the time you were a member. We may be holding your capital credits because we could not locate you.
How are capital credits distributed?
Living members are issued capital credits through a process known as general retirement funds. On a regular basis, the board of directors will determine that the financial condition of the cooperative is such that a general retirement of capital credits is warranted. Active members will be given a credit on their electric bill. Former members will be mailed a check at their last known address.
How do I apply for deceased member capital credits?
Please contact us and request a Deceased Member's Capital Credits Form. Please note that accounts in the name of the deceased must be changed or disconnected prior to applying.
What should I do if my power goes out?
Albemarle EMC maintains a 24-hour dispatch center. Please report all power outages to the dispatch center by calling 1-800-274-2072. Because a power outage can affect hundreds of consumers, your call may be answered by a computer so that we may effectively manage the large call volume. When you call, the number you are calling from is sensed by the computer. If this number matches the number we have for you in our database, it will instantly notify our dispatchers of your address and location. We can then dispatch crews quickly and efficiently to where they need to go. Because your telephone number is an important factor in our ability to quickly respond to your outage, please contact us if your telephone number changes so that we may update our records. Regardless of whether the number you are calling from is in our database, all callers will have the opportunity to leave a voice message. Please do so; we listen to each and every call.
What causes outages?
Outages can result from many things. Trees and other vegetation are a major cause of outages. Lightning striking power lines also precipitates outages. Other causes include animals, automobile accidents, construction and sometimes equipment failure. Albemarle EMC constantly patrols the electrical system to identify and remedy any potential causes for power outages.
Why do my lights go out and come back on?
The electrical distribution system is equipped with special equipment called reclosers. These devices are designed to de-energize the line during a fault or short-circuit condition. This protects the electrical system from unnecessary damage and gives the fault a chance to clear. Moments later the recloser re-energizes the circuit to determine if the line is now clear. If the faulted condition does not clear, the recloser will stay open permanently. Cooperative personnel must them patrol the line to determine the cause.
Sometimes my power goes out, but my neighbor's stays on. Why does this happen?
Albemarle EMC maintains a three-phase electric distribution system. It is possible for one of these three phases to become faulted while the other two remain clear. If your home is served from the phase that is de-energized, you could experience an outage, and your neighbor would never lose power. If the transformer that serves your home is damaged, neighboring homes may not be affected.
What should I do in the event of a major storm in our area?
We all know that our area is prone to severe thunderstorms and hurricanes. Whenever such a storm arises, please follow these helpful tips:
Keep away from windows and open doors.
Don't use electrical appliances or the telephone. Lightning can follow the wires into your home.
Stay out of the water. Never go swimming or boating during a lightning storm, If you're in the water, get out as quickly as possible. Lightning can follow metal plumbing pipes, so avoid the shower or bathtub during a lightning storm.
Avoid trees, poles and other tall objects. Avoid large metal objects. These things are targets for lightning.
Go to low ground and crouch down low if you're caught outdoors.
Keep a flashlight, battery-powered radio and batteries on hand in the event of an electrical outage.
Why do I sometimes not see Albemarle EMC personnel when I experience an outage?
The cause of your outage is likely far away from your residence. Some of our lines are upwards of 10 miles. Albemarle EMC repair crews search for the source of the outage, repair the damage and then re-energize the line. All of this may happen without the repair crews coming to your neighborhood.
Why does the cooperative charge me to move a pole?
The cooperative incurs costs when a pole is moved. If a pole is moved at the member's request, the member is required to pay in advance the nonbetterment cost of relocating the pole. Nonbetterment costs are the costs to replace the facilities that were already existing. Albemarle EMC may choose to upgrade those facilities, but the member will not be charged for the upgrade.This ensures that all members do not absorb the costs for the work that, otherwise, would not be necessary.
member is required to pay in advance the nonbetterment cost of relocating the pole. Nonbetterment costs are the costs to replace the facilities that were already existing. Albemarle EMC may choose to upgrade those facilities, but the member will not be charged for the upgrade. This ensures that all members do not absorb the cost for the work that, otherwise, would not be necessary.
Who owns the meter base?
Residential members generally own the meter base. Albemarle EMC provides the meter base required for special applications. These special applications include metering for three-phase services and some large single-phase services. Your electrician determines which type of metering is necessary for a new service.
What Voltage should I have at my outlet?
The normal expected voltage is approximately 123 volts AC. This voltage will vary according to your location on the electrical system. If you live close to a substation, the voltage will likely be higher. If you live near the end of the line, the voltage can be lower. These values vary according to load, which changes throughout the day.
Will the cooperative supply me with three-phase service?
Yes. However, when a member or an individual requests that the cooperative supply electric service in a manner requiring equipment and facilities in excess of what the cooperative would normally provide, such excess equipment and facilities will be provided at the cost of the member.
Can I have my overhead service changed to underground?
Yes. Please call the co-op at (252) 426-5735 to schedule a service technician to meet with you. The fee is based on the distance from the power line to your house or business.
How is the amount of my security deposit determined?
The deposit amount is based on a credit score as determined by Experian Information Solutions Inc. The deposit ranges up to $450 depending on that score. If you have questions about your credit score, visit the Experian website.
Will Albemarle EMC cut trees at my request?
Co-op personnel will, at their discretion, trim or cut down vegetation of trees that present a hazard to the electrical system. If you have vegetation that is close to power lines, contact us.
Will the cooperative remove the debris after cutting right-of-way?
Albemarle EMC will remove limbs from a normally maintained area after right-of-way trimming. If Albemarle EMC must cut a tree down, we will remove the brush and debris from any maintained areas affected by the cutting. We do not remove the tree trunksl The responsibility of removing the trunks lies with the property owner.
Does the cooperative spray chemicals to control vegetation?
Yes. Albemarle EMC contracts with Natur-Chem to spray portions of the electic system right-of-way. Spraying promotes the wildlife habitat more efficiently that conventional cutting. The trade name of the chemical used for spraying is Arsenal. It provides a safe and effective means of vegetation management.
How often does Albemarle EMC clear right-of-way?
Your cooperative clears the right-of-way at a rate of approximately once every four years. In order to clear at this rate, contract crews clear right-of-ways throughout the year to keep the power lines clear. This ensures that our members receive the highest quality of electrical service possible.
What is a Basic Charge?
The Basic Charge is a fee used to recover the cooperative's fixed monthly costs of providing the infrastructure that ensures power is available to a meter.
Why is the Basic Charge higher for my outbuilding?
The co-op can charge a smaller Basic Charge on a residence because the electricity that the residence consumes offsets some of the costs the co-op incurs providing the electricity. A larger Basic Charge is needed for nonresidential accounts that consume minimal electricity or require added facilities due to load.