Service FAQs

We have provided answers to common questions our members have asked over the years. If you don't find the answers you are looking for here, please feel free to contact us.

How can I contact the Cooperative?

The Cooperative has four service locations open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Payments are accepted and member service representatives are available to help with all your service needs.

Lubbock North District
110 North Interstate 27
Phone: (806) 775-7732
Fax: (806) 775-7796

Lubbock South District
7210 82nd St.
Phone: (806) 775-7732
Fax (806) 775-7880

Spur District
FM 836, Spur
Phone: (806) 271-3311
Fax: (806) 271-3746

Childress District
1900 Ave. C NW, Childress
Phone: (940) 937-2565, (800) 687-2883
Fax: (940) 937-2698

A fifth service location is in Lorenzo on Hwy. 62/82. The office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

To speak to a member service representative for new service or account inquiries during regular business hours, call (806) 775-7766.

To make a payment by phone or check your account 24 hours a day, call our automated service at (806) 775-7811, or pay online.

To report outages 24 hours a day, use our automated reporting number at (806) 741-0111 or toll free at (888) 741-0111. For Childress District members, call the local office at (940) 937-2565 or toll free at (800) 687-2883. For Spur District members, call the local office at (806) 271-3311.

You can reach any office by dialing (806) 775-7732 or toll free at (800) 658-2655.

We are online at www.spec.coop.

The Cooperative’s mailing address is:
South Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc.
P.O. Box 1830
Lubbock, TX 79408

It’s a good idea to periodically update your telephone number, cell phone number, email and other account information with the Cooperative. Accurate account information is important when reporting outages and mailing capital credits checks. Just call during regular business hours and review your information with a member service representative.

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How are electric cooperatives different?

With the help of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who established the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935, friends and neighbors banded together to create a new kind of electric utility, where the voice of every person made a difference.

Electric cooperatives brought electric power to the countryside when no one else would and now make up the largest electric utility network in the nation. Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® is the national brand identity for that network.

Today, America’s electric cooperatives continue to answer the call. With the same focus on member needs, today’s electric cooperatives provide much more than competitively priced, reliable energy. They are committed to improving the quality of life in their communities and for the members who live there.

Did you know electric cooperatives:

  • Are located in 80% of the nation’s counties
  • Are the largest electric utility network in the nation
  • Total more than 930 local systems in 47 states
  • Have 40 million member-owners
  • Distribute power over 2.4 million miles of line
  • Serve 75% of the U.S. land mass
  • Own $112 billion in generation, transmission, and distribution assets
  • More than 80% of all local electric co-ops offer electricity generated from renewable sources.

As a cooperative organization, South Plains Electric is a not-for-profit business. The cooperative business model is governed by seven principles and four values.

Principles

  1. Voluntary and open membership – Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  2. Democratic member control – Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights – one member, one vote.
  3. Members’ economic participation – Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative.
  4. Autonomy and independence – Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
  5. Education, training and information – Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives – Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  7. Concern for community – While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.

Values

  1. Innovation – Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® offer new solutions and state-of-the-art technology to meet members’ needs.
  2. Accountability – Since members own cooperatives, they have a say and help chart the course for the business.
  3. Integrity – The cooperative business model always puts members first.
  4. Commitment to community – Electric cooperatives invest time, money and expertise to build the local economy and strengthen relationships with member-owners.
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How is the Cooperative governed?

You own your share of a $294 million Cooperative Corporation serving more than 25,000 members like yourself. We have more than 9,000 miles of line serving farms, homes, industry, schools and businesses of all sizes with dependable electric service. The service area covers 6,600 square miles and most of 18 counties.

Twelve locally elected members serve on the South Plains Electric Cooperative Board of Directors. Directors are elected for a three year term. Directors are members like you representing all areas of the membership to ensure your needs are being met.

View our current list of directors and district map.

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Why should I care about electrical safety?

Electric power enriches our lives every minute of the day in many more ways than we can imagine. It often becomes the very life line of our existence and helps us progress toward a better standard of living. Electricity is supplied to your home and business in a safe and dependable manner. Now it becomes your responsibility to utilize this controlled power safely.

Each year, electricity-related incidents in the home cause about:

  • 300 electrocutions
  • 12,000 shock and burn injuries
  • 150,000 fires

At work, electricity causes about 300 related deaths each year. Sources: NSC, CPSC, OSHA.

Think carefully before working on your electric service or before fixing any electrical appliances. For more information, go to:

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What should I do if my lights go out?

Your Cooperative works hard to keep outages to a minimum, but often weather and other circumstances are out of our control. It’s important to know the correct procedures for reporting an outage if one should occur. If your service is interrupted:

  • first check your fuses or breakers to make sure the problem is not your own.
  • check to see if your neighbors have service.
  • have your meter or account number ready before calling to report an outage.
  • if you know the cause of the outage (tree or limb on a power line, broken pole, etc.) be prepared to report this information.

The most efficient way to report outages 24 hours a day is to use our automated outage reporting number at (806) 741-0111 or toll free at (888) 741-0111. This system uses caller identification technology, so periodically update your information with the Cooperative and call from the outage location. If that is not possible, the system allows you to leave a detailed message about the outage location.

You may experience a busy signal when calling during a major outage. Check the Outage page for up-to-date information about outage areas and restoration efforts. During outages of 1,000 members or more, we will be posting up-to-date information on our Facebook page. You cannot report your outage via Facebook, but you can learn what happened and the progress our crews are making to restore power. If you see we are aware of outages in your area, be assured we will restore power as quickly as possible, even if you haven't personally contacted the Cooperative.

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Why do I have to call before I dig on my own property?

Safe digging starts when you call the Texas One Call Center. But that’s not where it ends. In fact, it’s only the first step in an ongoing process that requires everyone’s cooperation, responsiveness and good judgment. The importance of safe digging cannot be emphasized enough.

  • Always call the One Call Center two working days prior to digging.
  • The number to call in Texas is 811 or go online for more information.
  • Be ready with all important information: The street address, extent and type of work, date and time of excavation, caller’s name, contractor/contact person’s address and phone number.
  • The One Call Center will give you a confirmation number for you to record.
  • Then, wait for the site to be marked! Marking could be either paint, flags or stakes.
  • Respect and protect the facility operator’s marks.
  • Dig with care! Always hand dig near marks or flags.
  • If damage, dislocation or disturbance of an underground utility line occurs, immediately notify the facility owner.
  • If damage creates an emergency, take immediate steps to safeguard health and property.

By not calling, here’s what you could get into:

  • Personal injury, including loss of life.
  • Costly property damage.
  • Damage to a variety of utility lines.
  • Costly delays and expensive repairs, legal problems or civil penalties.
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What do I need to know about installing new service or upgrading existing service?

The Cooperative offers a special handbook explaining electrical service and wiring installation requirements for both overhead and underground services. Download your copy before you begin any project involving your electric service. Similarly, all electrical contractors and builders are encouraged to use the handbook as a reference for the Cooperative’s requirements for new electric service and meter installations or upgrading service capacity. If you still have questions after referring to the handbook, please contact any local office for additional assistance.

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How much will it cost to build service to my home or business?

New service to your home or business will cost 50% of the total bill. We'll send a staking engineer to your site to gather specific details. An estimate will be provided to you. Work will commence on your approval and 50% payment.

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What are the current rates for electric service?

Download the Cooperative’s rates and service tariffs.

It’s a good idea to verify your rate every year. You might make changes in your usage allowing you to move into a different rate class — and that may save you money. Check with your local service office for more information.

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What is the PCRF on my bill?

PCRF stands for power cost recovery factor. The rate you are charged per kilowatt hour is called a base rate. The base rate includes cost recovery methods for purchasing wholesale power along with other costs of doing service. Since wholesale power costs fluctuate each month depending on the cost of fuels to generate power, the PCRF allows your Cooperative to pass along any decreases or increases without a base rate adjustment. There are no profits earned through the PCRF — it is a direct cost of purchasing wholesale power and is paid entirely to our wholesale suppliers. Remember, your Cooperative is not in business to make a profit, it is in business to provide a service.

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Do I have to pay a deposit to connect service?

A deposit is required for electric service because you will receive a month’s worth of electricity before the first bill is sent. The deposit is waived if an applicant:

  • can show a credit history in your name or a spouse’s name with another electric utility reflecting no more than two late notices in the past year.
  • can provide written notice of a person agreeing to guarantee payment. Guarantor must be a Cooperative member in good standing.
  • can show military identification.
  • is retired.
  • is disabled.

A residential deposit is $150. A commercial deposit is $350. For irrigation members, the deposit is $35 per horsepower per meter.

All deposits are refunded after 12 consecutive billings with no more than two delinquents. Accounts must be current before deposits are refunded. Interest is paid on all deposits.

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How can I make a payment?

You can make payments and retrieve account information 24 hours a day by phone or online. To make a payment by phone, dial (806) 775-7811. To make a payment online, visit our bill pay site. To make payment via U.S. mail, use the return envelope included with your invoice. Never send cash through the mail.

Payments are accepted at any of our five service offices during regular business hours. Payment drop boxes are available at all service office locations for making payments after hours. Never use cash to make after-hour payments.

The Cooperative offers an automatic bank draft program. Call member services at (806) 775-7766 to set up your account.

Payments can be made at your local Walmart with an additional fee as low as $0.88. Just visit the Walmart MoneyCenter or customer service desk and be sure to bring the following:

  • cash, your Walmart MoneyCard, or a PIN-based debit card.
  • your current billing statement with account number.

Several local banks also accept payments. Simply submit the return portion of your bill with payment to the local bank teller and they will gladly process your statement.

  • American Bank of Commerce, Lubbock
  • American Bank of Commerce, Wolfforth
  • Citizens Bank, Slaton
  • Citizens State Bank, Anton
  • First State Bank, Shallowater
  • Vista Bank, Idalou
  • Vista Bank, Hale Center
  • Vista Bank, Ralls
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How much time is allowed to make a payment?

Prompt payment is always appreciated. You have 16 days from the date of the bill to pay the amount due before it is delinquent. If the 16th day falls on a holiday or weekend, the due date will be the next work day.

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On what grounds can my service be terminated?

Grounds for service disconnection include:

  • failure to pay an outstanding bill within 26 days of issuance.
  • failure to pay a delinquent account or meet the terms of a deferred payment plan.
  • service tampering.
  • continuing to operate non-standard equipment after the Cooperative has made every attempt to notify you of the problem and allow you to remedy it.
  • failure to comply with the Cooperative’s deposit and guarantee requirements.

A written notice of service termination is mailed at least 10 days prior to the disconnection date. If a Cooperative office is not open on the disconnection day so a member can make a payment, service will not be disconnected until the following regular business day.

Service will be immediately disconnected without notice where a dangerous condition exists. The service will remain disconnected as long as the dangerous condition exists. Service connected without proper application to the Cooperative or reconnected after termination by unauthorized persons will also be disconnected without notice. If the Cooperative’s meter or equipment is tampered with in any way, service will be terminated immediately without notice.

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How do I get my service reconnected?

If your service is disconnected, you can re-establish service when all outstanding and delinquent bills are paid, the service reconnection fee is paid, equipment is brought up to code and a deposit or other evidence of payment guarantee is provided to the Cooperative.

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Do you offer deferred payment plans?

Deferred payment plans are sometimes available, depending on the specific situation. If you can not pay your current bill, a deferred payment arrangement may be available under the following criteria:

  • if you have not been delinquent more than two times in the past 12 months.
  • you must keep all subsequent bills current plus pay a minimum of one-third of the outstanding amount each month.
  • if you do not fulfill the terms of the agreement, your service will be terminated under standard termination procedures.
  • if you break the agreement, you void your right to another deferred payment plan or renegotiation to avoid termination.
  • the Co-op is not required to offer a deferred payment plan if you are on the service for less than three months or you are a non-residential member.

Call member services at (806) 775-7766 to review your specific situation.

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What do I do when I move?

We hope you will always be a Cooperative member, but if you do move and can’t continue to use our service, here are some tips to help make the transition smooth.

  • When you are ready to disconnect service and pay your final bill, just call any service location. Your meter will be read on your designated disconnection date and a final bill sent. Please provide the Cooperative with a forwarding address.
  • As a Cooperative member, you may have earned capital credits based on your usage. It’s important to keep a current mailing address on file so when the capital credits are refunded the Cooperative will be able to get a check to you. The capital credits stay on your account until refunded. So even if you have not been a member for many years, the Cooperative needs your current mailing address so we can get checks to you.
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What is a critical need member?

A critical need member is someone who has a critical need for electric service because a resident on the premises requires electric service to maintain life. The Cooperative maintains a list of critical need members and when an emergency situation occurs, these members are given priority status for restoring their electric service.

To establish your critical need status with the Cooperative, have your doctor contact the Cooperative.

If your situation is temporary, have the doctor contact the Cooperative within 16 days of the billing date. The physician must provide a confirmation letter to the Cooperative within 26 days of the billing date. Once the situation is verified, the Cooperative will not terminate service for 63 days from the original billing date unless a lesser period is agreed upon. If you make a request under this provision, you must enter into and abide by a deferred payment arrangement.

Being identified as a critical need member is not a reason for not paying your bill.

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Can I receive notification for another person’s account?

Elderly and disabled members sometimes forget to pay their electric bills, or because of illness are unable to handle their financial affairs. To assist these members and keep their electric service from being disconnected because of overdue bills, the Cooperative will mail a copy of any disconnect notice to a third party relative, clergyman, social agency, close friend or any designated individual. If you or someone you know could benefit from this service, please contact us at (806) 775-7766.

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How do you read my meter?

The Cooperative has installed automatic meter reading (AMR) equipment at most locations. This saves you money because we can efficiently and accurately read your meter from the office.

Electricity is measured by kilowatt hours (kWh). Reading your electric meter allows the Cooperative to determine how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you use in a given amount of time.

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How do I handle a dispute with the Cooperative?

If you disagree with any aspect of the Cooperative’s service, you may request a supervisory review. If the dispute can result in service termination and the Cooperative is unable to provide a supervisory review immediately, you have five days to participate in the review before electric service will be terminated.

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Do you offer financial assistance to help pay my bill?

If you are having trouble making your electric service payment, here is a list of local help agencies 84KB .pdf that may be able to help.

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Can I file for tax exempt status?

You can complete a form for tax exempt status with the Cooperative. The State of Texas does not allow for exemptions on city, franchise and gross receipts (G-tax) taxes, so even if you have filed for tax exempt status, these taxes will be on your bill.

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What are Capital Credits?

As a member of an electric cooperative, you receive not only a needed service, but a benefit reserved for owners of a company; a return on your investment. This happens through something known as capital credits.

Capital credits come from the money left over (margins) after all expenses are paid in a given year. If margins are available, that money is credited to your account according to the amount of electricity you purchased. Assigning capital credits to members, instead of paying dividends to distant stockholders, is just part of the accountability the Cooperative offers you.

When the Cooperative’s finances permit, that money is returned to members in the form of capital credits checks.

Unlike many other businesses, cooperatives do not have shareholders who expect to make money from operation of the company. Instead, cooperative consumers are member-owners of the company. It’s a not-for-profit business that exists solely to provide its members with electricity. That’s the cooperative difference!

Being paid for patronizing your own company is just another benefit of buying your power from an electric cooperative.

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Why am I receiving the Texas Co-op Power magazine?

You receive a free copy of Texas Co-op Power monthly as a member benefit. The center section highlights local news, events and opportunities directly related to South Plains Electric Cooperative and is our main source of communication with you.

Texas Co-op Power is like no other magazine in Texas. With a circulation of more than one million Texans — a larger circulation than Texas Highways and Texas Monthly — it’s not only the most widely read magazine in the Lone Star State, but it offers a unique perspective on rural and suburban Texas. With its roots firmly set in the proud electric cooperative tradition and with its editorial eye on a fast-growing, rapidly changing state, Texas Co-op Power offers features on daily life in contemporary Texas, stories by some of the state’s best writers, electric utility information, and tips on cooking, recreation, gardening and things to do/places to go around the state.

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What is Touchstone Energy®?

Touchstone Energy cooperatives are owned by the members they serve and are committed to providing reliable electricity at the lowest price possible. In short, co-ops “look out” for the members they serve. South Plains Electric is your local Touchstone Energy cooperative.

Touchstone Energy co-ops provide high standards of service according to their four core values: integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.

Learn more on the Touchstone Energy website.

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Do you offer scholarships?

The Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to high school seniors. The applications are available each year in October and usually have a March application deadline. View our available scholarships for more information.

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What is the Government-in-Action Youth Tour?

The Youth Tour brings more than 1,300 high school students to Washington, D.C., every year, and has since the early 1960s. More than 40,000 students from rural areas and small towns all over America have participated in this unique program.

Students on the tour learn about electric cooperatives, American history and U.S. government. They attend educational seminars, visit with their representatives in the House and the Senate, and see the sights around Washington, D.C.

Students compete for the opportunity by participating in an interview process. The Cooperative selects students for this program through the overall strength of the applicant. Get more information if you want to join this Washington tradition.

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What is Operation Round Up®?

One of the cooperative principles emphasizes our commitment to the communities we serve. Several thousand members of the Cooperative participate in an innovative program, known as Operation Round Up, to provide funding for people and projects in our local communities.

Operation Round Up receives contributions from Cooperative members whose monthly utility bills are rounded up to the next dollar. You must request your accounts be added to the program.

For example, if your monthly bill was $65.64; it is automatically rounded up to $66.00. The extra cents collected go to Operation Round Up.

The average annual contribution is about $6.00 per year. If all of the Cooperative’s members were contributing to Operation Round Up, the fund would grow by more than $250,000 annually!

Ten members, your neighbors, sit on the Operation Round Up board. They review applications and approve grants. They are also the eyes and ears in your community for potential projects.

The Cooperative implemented Operation Round Up in 1993. Most of Operation Round Up’s donations go to three categories:

  • Individuals including: victims of house fires, medical tragedies and scholarships;
  • Communities including: youth programs, city and county projects and school projects;
  • Organizations including: Neighborhood House, Women’s Protective Services, Assist Human Needs, Backyard Missions, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and others.

Contributions to Operation Round Up are tax deductible. Learn more and sign up for Operation Round Up.

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Does the Cooperative use the newest technologies?

Your Cooperative is a leader in implementing state-of-the-art technologies to improve reliability and outage response – because service is our number one priority. New technologies are incorporated if research shows a benefit in service and reliability to members and/or cost savings. It’s about doing the best job better.

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Is the Cooperative advocating for me in current legislation?

Being member owned allows the Cooperative to act as your advocate in today’s volatile electric industry. Your Cooperative works in your best interest when negotiating wholesale power purchases and watching legislative trends. They work hard to protect your best interests and abide by ethical business practices.

It’s also important for you to be involved with the many legislative issues currently being debated because of the threat of increasing electric bills. Read more about current legislation and how you can voice your opinion at Action.coop.

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Should I attend my local membership meeting?

Yes. It’s your right and responsibility as a Cooperative member. Once a year, the Cooperative hosts an annual membership meeting to personally update you on the financial health of the Cooperative business and to elect the board of directors. Meetings are held in July for the Spur and Childress Districts and the Annual Meeting is held in September in Lubbock.

Attending the Cooperative’s business meeting is a privilege not afforded to you from other businesses. We encourage you to attend and show your interest in the Cooperative.

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Can the Cooperative help me manage my energy usage?

If you are looking for ways to cut your electric bills, check your home or business for energy efficiency. See how the little changes add up at TogetherWeSave.com. You can investigate energy savings concepts by taking the Virtual Home Tour, watching energy efficiency-themed videos on the Touchstone Energy Web TV portal, and use interactive applications to explore in detail the actions you can take and the money you'll save.

Download these educational booklets: Home Energy Savings Guide 1.5MB .pdf and 101 Ways to Save Energy and Money 422KB .pdf

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Is the Cooperative involved in our local communities?

The Cooperative looks for opportunities to educate and inform the public about the cooperative business model and electricity. South Plains Electric Cooperative "Gives Back" to our local communities in a variety of ways - learn more here.

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