The reliability of SECO’s electric service plays a critical role in SECO members’ health and wellbeing. To keep its employees healthy and ready to serve its members, the cooperative has made changes to mitigate health risks related to member and public interaction.
During SECO’s Emergency Response Plan activation, it is offering members who request a payment arrangement an extended period of time over and above normal payment arrangement parameters. Members requesting a payment arrangement can do so by visiting with SECO’s virtual assistant on the automated telephone system or by logging into SmartHub at SECOEnergy.com. Both platforms have been programmed to automatically allow additional time for payment arrangements. Members are encouraged to utilize the phone system and SmartHub as call volume has been high amid COVID-19 concerns.
SECO is taking precautions to protect its members and employees from risk. SECO’s five Member Service Centers are equipped with counter-to-ceiling glass barriers for employee and member protection. As such, SECO has decided not to close any Member Service Centers at this time; however, they will be operating with limited staff. The cooperative offers members 12 ways to pay bills, most that avoid face-to-face contact. Members can pay online, by phone, by mail, enroll in bank draft and more. SECO’s online account platform called SmartHub is the place to start for convenient self-serve options. Log in or create an account profile today. View past bills, usage history, request a payment arrangement and more.
As part of the Emergency Response Plan, SECO Energy’s Sumterville headquarters and adjacent campus are temporarily closed to public access for any vendor or delivery without an approved appointment or scheduled delivery. SECO field personnel are practicing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended social distancing standard of maintaining a six-foot barrier with members. Employees and members are asked to use email, phone and web conferencing communication in lieu of in-person meetings whenever possible and to practice social distancing when in-person meetings are unavoidable.
CEO Jim Duncan stated, “SECO Energy provides electricity which is an essential service in preserving public health and quality of life in today’s world. The cooperative’s Emergency Response Plan ensures it can maintain a 24/7 workforce, preserve SECO’s ability to maintain its electric system and provide an acceptable level of member service even in the face of employee impact with COVID-19. Our members depend on us to provide reliable electric service, and that’s even more important as our largely senior demographic practices social distancing at home to remain healthy.”
Duncan continued, “SECO has proactively waived late payment fees, and we automatically extending the time period for payment arrangements so that members can use both SmartHub and the virtual phone assistant as hold times are longer due to COVID-19 concerns.”
SECO has other ways to help members in need through a corporate citizenship initiative called Pennies from Heaven. The program helps fund local United Way chapters managed through Florida 211 for bill payment assistance for SECO members. Members who need assistance with utilities, food, and other household expenses are encouraged to contact 211.
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