Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative (CVEC) has recently implemented several new tools and resources — and revamped others — to prepare members for a brighter future.
Some tools, like a solar calculator and an electric vehicle registration page, will help members learn more about emerging trends in energy use. Other tools, like a remodeled website, a payment kiosk and a refreshed phone app, improve existing services.
“We believe our members deserve the best service possible, and periodically implemented updates and new tools helps us accomplish this goal,” says General Manager Jon Cullimore. “Additionally, the world of energy is changing rapidly, and it can be confusing to understand all the trends. We owe it to our members to provide the best information possible so they can make educated decisions about how they use electricity.”
A Remodeled 'Home'
The improvements began in mid-May when the cooperative unveiled a refreshed website that accomplished several goals.
First, the 5-month rebuilding process allowed CVEC staff to reorganize several sections of the website while removing or updating outdated information. The new website also implements a modern look and enhanced accessibility features that make it easy for all people to use.
“The website revamp took tremendous coordination with several people internally and with our website host,” says Jeremy Wise, CVEC manager of marketing and member services. “In the end, it was well worth it! Our remodeled home on the internet is simple to navigate, easier to use, and allows us to make updates with little effort.”
One of the other major benefits was the migration of the Coosa Valley Technologies and Coosa Valley Propane websites into the Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative platform. This has made it simpler for members to locate all the services CVEC and its subsidiaries have to offer.
With the unveiling of the refreshed website, CVEC officially began promoting a new electric vehicle rebate. CVEC members who own an electric vehicle can answer a few questions about their vehicle, its usage and their charging habits and receive a $100 rebate through the Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative website.
The electric vehicle page also features information on federal tax credits available for electric vehicles and other information members may need to consider while purchasing an electric vehicle.
“While we don’t have many electric vehicles on our grid currently, we anticipate that will change over time given automakers’ commitments to EV manufacturing,” Cullimore says. “Just gathering a little bit of information about our members’ EVs and the way they use them will help us better plan for the needs of our electric grid for years to come.”
In July, CVEC added a solar calculator tool to its website. The tool uses national solar panel array pricing, available tax incentives, CVEC’s electric rates, and a member’s energy usage habits to determine how much money a member could save on their monthly bill with a solar array.
Any monthly savings are then compared to the cost of the solar panels to determine how long it could take a member to pay for a solar energy system.
“Our solar energy pages also feature some insight into our solar policy and some recommendations we would like for you to consider,” says Lucas Browning, CVEC’s energy services representative. “Since solar energy is emerging in popularity, we want to ensure our members achieve their goals should they elect to install solar panels at their homes.”
A Better Mobile Experience
In June, the cooperative released a new version of the CVEC Connect app. The app features a new way to report an outage, easier access to the outage map, and new methods to update account information — paramount in keeping connected with the cooperative.
“We understand phone numbers and email addresses change over time, and sometimes it’s hard to remember all the businesses that need the updated information,” Wise says. “This app will allow you to quickly provide us these updates, ensuring you receive important information from us — especially during critical times.”
The app also features more notifications in which members can enroll. These supplement the excessive usage and daily usage notifications that help people monitor and manage their power consumption. Making bill payments with the app is simpler than ever — with all features displayed in a newer look, as well.
New Way to Pay
For years, CVEC has provided members several convenient methods to pay their bills including online, via the CVEC Connect app, through an office visit or via mail. In August, the cooperative added another: through a kiosk.
The kiosk, located in the foyer of CVEC’s headquarters, is accessible 24 hours a day. By keying in a few tidbits of account information, members can use cash, electronic check, or credit cards to make payments on their bills.
The machine does not return change. If a member pays more than what is owed, the account is credited the excess.
Members can establish a profile on the kiosk, which then stores account information. This allows for even quicker payments the next time a member accesses his or her account.
“We’ve had a night deposit box that people can use at all hours, but unlike the night deposit box, members receive credit for their payments instantaneously,” Wise says. “Since the kiosk is available around the clock, we feel like our members will benefit greatly from this new service.”