Welcome to BHCEC
Welcome to Big Horn County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BHCEC). As a member you are a part owner of a fine utility. Your membership entitles you to take part in the Cooperative’s annual meeting, including the election of directors who will represent you in the operations of BHCEC.
The Cooperative’s first headquarters was in Lodge Grass. BHCEC was incorporated in 1940 and sold its first electricity to members in 1941. The headquarters operation was relocated to Hardin in 1992. The Lodge Grass facility continues to operate and serve our members.
Growing steadily over the years, BHCEC serves over 2,300 members. Our territory includes most of Big Horn County, Montana and a portion of Sheridan County, Wyoming. Currently we supply electricity over 1,300 miles of distribution lines to 3,900 meters.
BHCEC’s goal is to give its members the best service possible at a reasonable cost. To maintain this goal your Board of Directors incorporated sound operating policies and employs highly competent, professional staff.
Again, welcome to BHCEC!
BIG HORN COUNTY ELECTRIC TEMPORARY HOURS IN REFERENCE TO CORONAVIRUS – COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Monday – Friday) as of Monday, May 26th
Lodge Grass Office
Closed 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Monday – Friday)
Customer Service Representatives will still be answering phones and assisting members from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Monday – Friday)
Both offices will be closed on the weekends and holidays.
When using the drop box please include your name, phone number, and account number with the payment.
PLEASE UTILIZE BHCEC’S PAY-BY-PHONE OR SMART-HUB PAYMENTS ONLINE DURING THIS TIME.
YOU MAY ALSO UTILIZE BHCEC’S DROP BOX AT BOTH BHCEC’S HARDIN AND LODGE GRASS OFFICE LOCATIONS.
We appreciate your patience and understanding.
April 3, 2020
Dear Member/Owners of Big Horn County Electric Cooperative, Inc.
We are in an unprecedented time due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Big Horn County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BHCEC) is doing everything possible to assist our member/owners during this time. I would like to share some information with you on processes we are currently taking. BHCEC is a not-for-profit electric cooperative which has no shareholders and routinely returns excess revenues to our member/owners. Due to this structure and the desire to keep energy cost at a minimum, we have limited reserve margins to sustain high rates of nonpayment.
BHCEC has voluntarily suspended disconnecting electric service due to nonpayment and is waiving late payment fees through April 10, 2020, to reduce stress on and provide local families and businesses with certainty during an uncertain time. Please be aware these disconnect suspensions are not bill waivers, all charges will still need to be paid once this pandemic is over. We are working with member/owners of BHCEC. I encourage our member/owners to pay at least a portion of the bill as you are able. Taking this step can help avoid a large multi-month balance when the pandemic is over. It is imperative that you keep in contact with our offices if you are unable to pay your bill in full.
BHCEC is taking steps to protect your employees, and still maintain reliable and affordable services to support our community. We have closed our Lodge Grass office but are processing all drop box payments daily. Our Hardin office has limited our lobby hours to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to accept payments. We do encourage our member/owners to utilize our SmartHub Online Payment, Pay-By-Phone or by using the drop boxes provided at both the Lodge Grass and Hardin offices. We will also provide assistance by setting up payment arrangements as needed. Please call our office for additional information and to begin the process.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) received an additional $900 Million Nationwide to assist low-income families during this time. There is no additional requirements or stipulations, and funding will flow through existing channels. LIHEAP provides financial assistance to pay home heating and cooling bills. Though it is federally funded, the program is implemented at the state and local level. Eligibility requirements are set at the state level but must comply with federal parameters (15 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines or 60 percent of median income). States have the flexibility to qualify newly unemployed households. Contact the state of Montana to obtain additional information related to this program. Everyone is encouraged to apply.
As our member/owners spend more time at home, they may see a surge in home energy usage. BHCEC would like to provide some steps our member/owners may take to help control their energy bills:
- Program your thermostat to maximize energy savings. Setting your thermostat one degree lower when heating or one degree higher when cooling can reduce energy use by up to 5 percent.
- Do full loads of laundry and wash with cold water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load’s energy use in half and using cold water will save even more.
- Air dry dishes. This step can cut your dishwasher’s energy use by up to 50 percent.
- Substitute LEDs for conventional light bulbs. Lighting can amount up to 12 percent of monthly energy use. LED bulbs can cut lighting costs by 75 percent.
- Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Small appliances and electronics use energy even when not in use. When powered on, game consoles, televisions and similar electronics are responsible for up to 12 percent of energy use.
Our member/owners who have questions about paying their bills, pay arrangements and energy-saving tips should call a BHCEC representative at 406.665.2830 (Hardin) or 406.639.2341 (Lodge Grass).
Thank you and please stay safe and healthy.
Derek K. Sorley
Big Horn County Electric Cooperative, Inc.