COVID-19: Member Updates

North Carolina HOPE Program to Pay Rent & Utilities for Renters Impacted by Pandemic

October 16, 2020
On Oct. 15, Governor Cooper announced a new statewide initiative, the Housing Opportunities & Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program that provides rent and utility assistance to eligible low-and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the economic effects of COVID-19. The new program aims to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by helping to prevent evictions and utility disconnections. 

Here are some key facts and information about the program:

HOPE Program Overview

HOPE Program FAQ

Application Information Checklist

For more information or to find out if you qualify for this program, visit nc211.org/hope or call 2-1-1. For a list of local agencies who may be able to provide additional financial assistance, visit the COVID-19 Resources page on our website at, or call 704-289-3145 if you have any questions.

HOPE Rent and Utilities Assistance Program

October 15, 2020
Governor Cooper announced a new program today called the Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program. This program is a new statewide initiative that may provide rent and utility assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the economic effects of COVID-19. The new program will help prevent evictions and utility disconnections in order to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic. HOPE is an initiative of the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. The HOPE Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program – Coronavirus and the U.S. Department of the Treasury Coronavirus Relief Funds.

Are you behind on rent or utilities? Applications from low- and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19 are now being accepted. Renters can call 2-1-1 to get started. Find out more: nc211.org/hope.

Message from EVP and General Manager Greg Andress: Governor’s Executive Order 142 Expiring

July 29, 2020
As of today, July 29 at midnight, Governor Cooper’s executive order 142 prohibiting electric utilities from charging late fees and disconnecting members for nonpayment will expire. We understand the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many households and businesses in our community may last for months to come, and we remain committed to helping those who need it. As your electric cooperative, we care about our members and want to do all we can to help make the transition back to normal operating procedures as easy as possible.

While the electric bills incurred during the time of the executive order will have to be paid back, we want our members to know we will work with them and provide any assistance that we can. To continue to ease the burden put on our members by the pandemic, we are offering payment plans to all members with an outstanding past due balance. Additionally, we will not immediately resume disconnections, however, we encourage our members to keep their accounts as current as possible to avoid facing a large accumulated balance when this crisis is over.

Union Power has always been dedicated to helping members manage their energy use and this effort is more important now than ever as many continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic. We continually encourage members to take advantage of our free and easy-to-use energy resources to help manage their energy use and discover ways to lower their energy bills.  

As another resource, we have compiled a list of local assistance agencies that may be able to provide assistance with paying your electric bills. This list can be found here on our COVID-19 Resources page.

As always, we remain committed to serving you, the member.

Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 

June 1, 2020 
On March 13, 2020, to assist members that may be struggling during this time, Union Power suspended disconnections for nonpayment and began waiving late fees and penalties. On March 31, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order No. 124 which complemented the protocols we had put in place. Most recently, on May 30, the Governor issued Executive Order 142, which extends Executive Order 124, extending the suspension of disconnecting residential utility consumers for non-payment through July 29. We encourage our members to keep their accounts as current as possible to avoid facing a large accumulated balance when this crisis is over. You can read both Executive Orders in their entirety by clicking the links below.

Executive Order No. 142

Executive Order No. 124

Message from EVP and General Manager Greg Andress: Returning $3.48 million to you

May 15, 2020
As an electric cooperative, Union Power Cooperative operates as a not-for-profit utility. One cornerstone of the cooperative business model is the allocation and retirement of Patronage Capital in the form of capital credits. This is the two-step process that returns margins to the member-owners of the cooperative. That process is explained in greater detail below.

In an effort to assist with the financial hardships some of our members are facing related to the COVID-19 pandemic, our board of directors authorized an early distribution of $3.48 million in capital credits. The distributions of these capital credits will begin in June, instead of the fall, as in most recent years.

This year’s capital credit retirement is comprised of 100% of the unretired balance of 2001 allocations and 25% of the unretired balance of 2002 allocations. This means, if you had service with us during the years of 2001 or 2002, you will receive a payment.

For those members who are eligible for a payment, you will see this in the form of a credit on your June bill. There are some members who have moved off our system since 2001 or 2002. Those former members will receive a check in the mail.

Capital credits are one of the tangible benefits of being a member of an electric co-op and a big part of what makes us different from other utilities. You can learn more about capital credits by visiting our website, union-power.com. If you have questions, please contact one of our customer service representatives at 704-289-3145.

It is a privilege to serve the membership of Union Power Cooperative.  On behalf of the whole Union Power family, I wish you the best during this time.

Capital credits: A two-step process

Step One: Allocation
Each member’s share of the cooperative’s margin for a given year is determined. Margins are allocated—or assigned—to members who purchased electricity from the cooperative during the year in
which the margin was generated. The co-op keeps a permanent record of each member’s capital credit account, which is where the allocated amount remains until it is paid—or “retired.”

Step Two: Retirement
After reviewing the financial health of the cooperative, the Board of Directors may declare a retirement, at which time all or part of each member’s balance of previously allocated capital credits may
be paid.

A Message from EVP and General Manager Greg Andress: Strength and Unity in the Face of Challenge

April 15, 2020
As our state, nation, and world have taken extraordinary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, I am proud of the unity, resolve, and strength of the shared response in our community. We are in this together, and by working together, we will overcome these challenges and find new ways to take care of each other during this critical time.

As your local power provider and as a part of your community, Union Power is committed to providing the high-quality electric service and support that you count on.

Our communities have not been spared the negative impacts of lost wages, school closures, and scaled-back commerce. To ease this burden, we are committed to working closely with members facing financial hardships and we’ve taken several measures to help lessen the strain on those who have been impacted. On March 13, we began waiving all fees and penalties and suspended service disconnections for non-payments. We will also be working with members to develop reasonable payment arrangements for any unpaid bills. 

To assist, Union Power offers everyday tools such as our energy savings calculators, online energy audits, and usage alerts to make managing your energy use and budget easier. We’ve also compiled a list of local and federal assistance programs that may be able to assist members with paying their bills and other resources. If you haven’t explored these options before, we encourage you to visit our website to see if they are a good fit for your needs.

Just as you have made changes at home, we have also taken proactive steps during this emergency to protect our communities, members, and employees and ensure that there is no disruption to our operations or services.

By implementing remote working procedures and closing our lobbies to walk-in traffic, we are doing our part to protect our communities, while also making sure that key personnel are in place to seamlessly continue operations and provide you with high-quality service.

Our customer service representatives are available to assist you at 704-289-3145 on Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Our field personnel have implemented new scheduling and physical distancing practices as they persist in their steadfast efforts to maintain our critical infrastructure. Equally as important, we have coordinated with suppliers and partners to safeguard access to necessary components, materials, and support resources. To ensure the power you need is always available, we are in constant coordination with our wholesale power supplier to keep our grid secure and efficient.

Rest assured that as the situation evolves, we will continue to engage with local and state officials and follow the guidance of experts to adjust our response to best support your needs.

We are grateful to be a part of your community and honored to provide electricity and services that power your life. While we work together to relieve the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Union Power is here for you, just as we always have been, and always will be. We look forward to continuing to work together to meet our challenges with strength, determination, and unity.

To learn more about how Union Power is here for you, please follow us on social media or visit our website, COVID-19 Resources.

Best of health to you and your families.

2020 Youth Tour & Basketball Camp Programs Canceled

April 13, 2020
Every year, we look forward to the excitement of connecting with our local North Carolina youth through the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour and the Touchstone Energy Sports Camps. However, in light of increased concerns around COVID-19, we regretfully announce the cancellation of the 2020 Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp at N.C. State University, and Roy Williams Carolina Basketball Camp at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We all know that these unforeseen circumstances are unfortunate, but safety is our top priority. Thank you to all who applied!

Financial Assistance for Businesses

April 3, 2020
Much like the rest of our community, our local businesses are facing unprecedented financial hardships due to unforeseen economic disruption associated with COVID-19—leaving many business owners vulnerable during this difficult time.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in federal relief for American workers and small businesses in need of loans and other resources.

If you are a small business owner in need of help during this crisis, there are a number of federal assistance programs available that may be of some assistance to you.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
A part of the CARES Act stimulus package, the Paycheck Protection Program is a federal loan program aimed at helping small businesses who have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus. 

The N.C. Chamber has provided some useful information on this program, which can be accessed here:

Paycheck Protection Program Information
Paycheck Protection Program Q&A

U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering small business owners several relief options. Click here to learn more.

U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Overview
U.S. Small Business Administration Fact Sheet– Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Financial Assistance for Our Members

April 3, 2020
We realize that many of our members are facing unusual financial hardships as a result of COVID-19 and will need help getting through these difficult times.

We are here to help our members in every way that we can. That’s why we’ve taken several measures to help lessen the strain on those who have been impacted by waiving all late fees and penalties, suspending service disconnections for non-payments, and working with members to set up payment arrangements.

If you or anyone you know need help paying your electric bills, there are a number of local and federal assistance programs that may be able to provide resources.

Local Assistance Agencies

Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 124

March 31, 2020 
On March 13, 2020, to assist members that may be struggling during this time, Union Power suspended disconnections for nonpayment and began waiving late fees and penalties. Late this afternoon Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 124 which complements the protocols we have put in place. We will be reviewing this order and will be providing additional information in the coming days. You can read the Executive Order in its entirety by clicking the link below.

Executive Order No. 124

We’re Here For You, Our Members

March 30, 2020 
To assist members who may be facing financial hardships due to COVID 19, all late fees and penalties are being waived and service disconnects for non-payment have been suspended. We understand that many members will need help getting through these difficult times and we are here to help. To make a payment arrangement, call in and speak to a customer service representative.  

In light of North Carolina’s Stay at Home order issued by Governor Cooper, Union Power Cooperative employees are still working. Our customer service representatives are available to help you and answer questions Monday – Friday from 8.a.m. to 5.p.m. You can also find your account information on our website and through our mobile app 24/7. 

We are monitoring the situation and taking proactive steps to ensure there will be no disruption in providing electric service to our members. No matter the challenges brought to our area by COVID-19, Union Power wants to assure you that our commitment to provide you with safe and reliable electricity remains the same.

Keeping Distance During COVID-19

 
With distancing precautions key to slowing the spread of COVID-19, we have adapted our procedures to protect and reduce risks to our line crews and vegetation management personnel as they work to meet member’s needs. In these times of uncertainty, we need to focus on safety. If you see our crews or employees working in your neighborhood or near where you live, for the safety of everyone, please stay at least six feet away. Thank you for your cooperation and for helping us to better serve you, our members.

Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams

 
Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many of us have seen a sudden influx of emails from companies offering safety tips and information about how their services and consumers will be impacted by the virus.

From banks to doctor’s offices, insurance companies, and other businesses who provide essential services, emails about COVID-19 have begun to filter in from all over. Along with the increase in emails, members should also expect an increase in cyber scam attempts. Members are urged to remain vigilant about cyber scams regarding COVID-19.

Avoid Coronavirus Cyber Scams by following these helpful tips:

“Unfortunately, there are Cyber threat actors out there looking for an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting victims during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Jeremy Black, Union Power manager of information services. “Members should continue to be vigilant and have an increased awareness of any potential scams.” 

If you have questions or are suspicious of any emails or phone calls sent on behalf of Union Power, call our office at 704-289-3145.

UPC College Scholarship Deadline Extended 

 
Due to the unprecedented times, our community and nation are facing we have extended our deadline to April 3, 2020. Each year we offer high school seniors, attending North Carolina accredited colleges and/or universities, the opportunity to apply for a $1,000 scholarship. 

Click here for more information about our scholarship program.

Suspending Disconnections and Late Fees


As the impacts of COVID-19 unfold, we will continue to be responsive to the needs of our membership.  Late last week we suspended disconnecting power for nonpayment and began waiving late fees.  Any member wishing to make a payment arrangement will need to contact a Customer Service Representative. We will continue this process until April 15, 2020, at which time we will evaluate the situation and make any necessary adjustments.  

Union Power remains committed to serving you and your families. Our customer service representatives are here to help you and can be reached at 704-289-3145 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For the latest information about our plans and preparations for COVID-19, please stay connected with us via our website and on social media.

Important update: Our Lobbies are Closed 


As your local energy provider, we are determined to continue delivering the reliable power you need while helping to protect the health and well-being of our community.

We understand that these are difficult and uncertain times, and as always, our customer service representatives are here to serve you. For the safety of our members and employees, our lobbies will be closed until further notice, but our drive-thru in Monroe and Oakboro will remain open. Our customer service reps are here to help and can be reached at 704-289-3145. You can also access our free and easy-to-use online, phone, or mobile app services. Our website and social media pages are a good way to stay up-to-date with the latest information from our company as the impacts of COVID-19 unfold.

Union Power remains committed to serving you and your families. We are proactively taking steps to help ensure the stability and continuity of our operations.

We are closely monitoring the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government officials, including taking the steps necessary to reduce the threat of COVID-19 exposure to employees and members. It may be helpful for you to review the symptoms on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html.

For the latest information about our response and preparation for the virus, please stay connected with us via our website or our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels.

Guidance for Members: Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Union Power practices and promotes a comprehensive culture of safety. Amid growing concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we invite you, our members, to share in this culture to limit the potential impacts the virus could have on our local community.

Union Power is closely monitoring COVID-19 and taking proactive steps to ensure there will be no disruption to business operations or service to our members in the event our area is impacted.

We will remain engaged with local emergency management officials to ensure decisions are made with the highest level of situational awareness.

We also are reviewing procedures and practices to ensure continuity of operations for our website, telephone, and mobile app services for members. 

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we will give careful consideration and follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. Please stay connected with us via our website or our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for the latest updates.

Payments and other requests

Safety is a top priority for us at Union Power. In order to ease concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and minimize potential spread, we encourage you to utilize our online and by-phone member services, including bill pay options and our live chat feature from the convenience of your home.

Payment options:

Pay Online – View and pay your bill on our secure site using your credit card, debit card or by electronic check. Click here, then enter your account number or User ID and Password and select “Payments” to pay your bill now.

Mobile App – View your bills, make secure payments, manage your alerts and reminders, and even receive push notifications using the UPC Mobile app with your iPhone®, iPad® or Android™ device. Search Union Power Cooperative in the App Store or the Android Market.

Pay by Phone – Use our FREE automated system by calling 800-794-4423 and press 3.

Please reach out to us at 704-289-3145  with any questions or concerns.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Prevention and Safety

Please take everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Stay extra vigilant about cyber scams regarding COVID-19. Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19.

If you’re unsure if a call, email, or text sent on behalf of Union Power is legitimate, please contact us 704-289-3145.

 These precautions include:

Stay extra vigilant about cyber scams regarding COVID-19. Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19.

If you’re unsure if a call, email, or text sent on behalf of Union Power is legitimate, please contact us 704-289-3145.