Your Rights as a Customer

Our members are a diverse group, but each of you have the same rights that go along with being a part-owner of the Cooperative.

I. Rate & Service Information

Members may request copies of any portion of the Rio Grande Electric Cooperative (RGEC) rate and service rules either by telephone or by a personal visit to RGEC, offices located in Brackettville, Carrizo Springs, Alpine, Fort Stockton, Dell City, and El Paso.

II. Meter Testing

Members may request testing of their electric meter if they believe the meter is not accurately reflecting electric consumption. There is no charge for one requested meter test per 24-month period. Additional tests at the member's request within the 24-month period will incur $40 for a meter test; if the meter is found to be within accuracy standards of the American National Standards Inst., Inc., RGEC may charge a fee to cover the independent testing. This charge will not exceed $100 plus a trip fee.

III. Outstanding Bills

Under RGEC rules, bills are due 16 days from issuance in Texas and 21 days from issuance in New Mexico, adjusted for weekends and holidays. If the bill is not paid by its due date, the electric service is subject to disconnection, after proper customer notice. The disconnection notice will not be mailed earlier than the day after the billing due date and will provide the customer with at least a 10-day warning period. Unless a dangerous condition exists, the disconnect date will not fall on a holiday, weekend, or day of or before Cooperative personnel are unavailable for receiving payment and reconnecting service.

IV. Termination of Service-After Proper Notice

Electric service may be disconnected after proper notice for the following reasons:

A. Failure to pay an outstanding bill by due date. If due date falls on a holiday or weekend, the cut-off shall fall on the next working day. Disconnection will only occur on those days when Co-op personnel are available to receive payment to prevent disconnection. RGEC will either mail or personally deliver a written notice of termination at least 10 days prior to the date of disconnection.

B. Failure to pay a delinquent account or meet the terms of a deferred payment plan.

C. Violation of RGEC rules for the use of service in such a manner that it interferes with the service of others, or the operation of non-standard equipment, though RGEC will make every effort to notify you of the problem and allow you a reasonable opportunity to remedy the situation.

D. Failure to comply with RGEC deposit and guarantee requirements.

V. Termination of Service - Without Prior Notice

A. When a dangerous condition exists, disconnection of service may be made at once, without prior notice, and such disconnection shall remain in effect so long as the condition exists.

B. When service is connected without authority by a person who has not made application for service, or who has reconnected service without authority following termination of service for non-payment, service may be disconnected immediately without prior notice.

C. Tampering with the Cooperative's meter or equipment, bypassing same, or in other instances of diversion, service may be terminated immediately without prior notice.

VI. To Prevent Termination of Service Because of Illness

RGEC requires members who have medical conditions making them dependent on electrically powered equipment to maintain a Critical Care Medical Form on file with the Cooperative. These forms require a doctor's statement describing the type of illness/condition and the electrically powered equipment required. If a member is seriously Ill or would become more seriously ill as a result of termination of service, the physician of record, or any licensed physician actively treating the member for the specified condition(s), must, at the member's request, contact RGEC before the due date of the bill. The physician must provide a confirmation letter within 26 days of the issuance of the bill and RGEC will refrain from termination of service for 63 days from the issuance of the bill, unless a lesser period is agreed upon. If a request to avoid termination is made under this provision, the member must enter into a deferred payment arrangement and make timely payments, as specified. If the member defaults on the terms of the arrangement, RGEC may elect to terminate service. A deferred payment arrangement does not exempt the member from making payments for electrical usage incurred during the sixty-three day extension period, or thereafter.

VII. Alternate Payment Plans

A. Deferred payment plan. If not delinquent in paying more than two bills ls in the past 12 months and unable to pay any or all of a bill, a member may qualify for a deferred payment plan. Such plan requires that all subsequent bills be maintained current and that monthly payments are made in an amount not to exceed one-third of the outstanding balance. RGEC requires that a written form be signed and a copy given to the member to eliminate all doubt as to amount of payment and date due. Service will not be disconnected if above terms are met in accordance with the deferred payment plan. The deferred payment plan may include a 5% penalty for late payment.

B. Members desiring alternate payment plans must call or come to a Co-op office to discuss/request an alternate payment plan.

VIII. Service Reconnection

If service is interrupted for any of the reasons listed under Section IV, service will be reconnected when all outstanding and delinquent bills are paid, and when a deposit is provided to RGEC. If a deferred payment is agreed upon and executed, service will then be reconnected.

IX. RGEC Offices and Business Hours

The Co-op has six locations at which bills may be paid and information obtained. Cooperative offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central), Monday through Friday each week, except holidays.

X. Deposit Policy

Initial Deposit

All residential applicants (new consumers) shall be required to make a deposit, unless exempted under the following circumstances:

A. If the residential applicant demonstrates a satisfactory credit rating by appropriate means.

B. If the residential applicant is 65 years of age or older and does not have an outstanding account balance with the utility or another utility for the same utility service which accrued in the last two years. An applicant for commercial or industrial service shall be required to make a deposit if the credit of the applicant has not been established satisfactorily.

A residential consumer (existing service - no deposit on account) shall be required to pay a deposit if the consumer has, within the past twelve (consecutive months), had two or more delinquent bill payments for utility service, or if the consumer's service was disconnected for nonpayment.

Refund

If service is not connected, or after disconnection of service, the utility shall promptly and automatically refund the consumer's deposit plus accrued interest or the balance, if any, in excess of the unpaid bills for service furnished. When the consumer has paid bills for service for 12 consecutive residential billings or for 24 consecutive commercial or industrial billings without more than two occasions on which a bill was delinquent, and when the consumer is not delinquent in the payment of the current bills, the utility shall promptly and automatically refund the deposit plus accrued interest to the consumer in the form of cash or credit to a consumer's bill. If a refund of deposit is made within 30 days of receipt of deposit, no interest payment is required. If the utility retains the deposit for more than 30 days, payment of interest shall be made retroactive to the date of deposit.

XI. Financial Assistance

Call the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs energy assistance section Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.(Central Time), toll-free at (877) 541-7905. Calls can be made from either cellular phones or landline phones. You will enter your zip code to be routed to the appropriate agency serving your area.

New Mexico members can call the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) number at (800) 283-4465.

XII. Repair Service

If you are out of power, please check your fuses or breaker box. If possible, check to see if neighbors have power. After that, call RGEC's system-wide toll-free number at (800) 749-1509, report your outage using SmartHub, or via Facebook Messenger. (Please provide your meter number).

XIII. Physical Disabilities

If a consumer has a physical disability, the consumer with the physical disability, and those who care for such consumers, should identify themselves to RGEC so special action can be taken when necessary.

The implementation of the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flag Rules pertaining to the protection of consumers from identity theft and fraud prevent RGEC from disclosing account information to those who are not joint account holders, or otherwise authorized representatives of RGEC accounts.

If a member, because of illness, or disability, relies upon assistance from a non-authorized person, it is incumbent upon the member to structure their RGEC account in such a way as to grant authorization to the caretaker.

Please contact the Customer Service Representatives at your local area office for assistance.

XIV. Nondiscrimination

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, and American Sign Language) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a complainant should complete a Form AD 3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF, 462 KB), which can be obtained online, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant's name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action Insufficient detail to Inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 (PDF, 462 KB) form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690- 7442;
Email: email USDA Program Intake.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider.