Frequently Asked Questions

My bill is too high…can you help?

If you are concerned that your bill is too high, several factors should be taken into consideration. Seasonal changes and daily temperatures, for example, could increase your electricity usage substantially within a short period of time. When the seasons change from fall to winter or spring to summer, you can expect your electric consumption to peak. Generally speaking your usage will be at its highest during the coldest month of winter and the hottest month of summer. Pull your past bills and compare your current bill to those of the same month of years past. It may seem that your bill is higher than it should be, but it still falls within the same range of bills for the same month of previous years. Consider the temperature extremes of the season. Was this a hotter summer or a colder winter than you can remember for years past? Were any repairs made to any major appliances? Was the heat pump or water heater repaired recently? If the answer to all of those questions was no, then start monitoring your usage. Take readings off your meter at about the same time each day, and record your usage. Compare the number of kilowatt-hours you use each day. Record extreme changes in weather, so you can compare an extremely hot or cold day to one that was mild. By doing this you can track the cost of each day’s usage. We recommend that you monitor your usage for a couple of billing cycles. If the usage drops back in line, there is not likely to be a problem. If the usage stays the same or keeps increasing, then a problem could be causing the increase.

How can I reduce my consumption?

Contact EMEPA for a free walk-through energy audit. The energy audit will help to reveal your home’s base load. Base load is made up of those appliances you use every month, such as your stove, washer/dryer or TV, which are not affected by temperature. Understanding your home’s base load can help you reduce your consumption, by providing you knowledge of your appliances’ operational costs.

My water is extremely hot…what should I do?

To reduce the temperature of your water, you need to adjust the settings on your water heater. There are two types of electric water heaters. The first is a single element water heater. We recommend a temperature setting of 125°. The other type is a duel element water heater. On a duel element water heater, we recommend that the top element be set at 120° and the bottom element be set at 125°. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when adjusting the temperature on your water heater.

What can I do to protect myself against lightning?

Home protection against “indirect lightning” can best be achieved through surge protection equipment. A device installed on the outside meter service panel and a device plugged directly into an interior outlet are two examples. The meter-based surge suppressor is designed to protect electro-mechanical appliances such as a washing machine, dryer, stove, refrigerator, freezer, water heater, etc. A plug-in surge suppressor is designed to protect appliances with electronics such as televisions, VCRs, personal computers, cordless phones, microwave ovens, stereo components, etc. Additionally, “single point” grounding will help prevent lightning damage. This means that grounding for electricity, cable TV and phone service should be bonded at one point, creating a single path for a surge to travel. EMEPA offers a surge protection program to help protect you and your home against lightning. Contact your local EMEPA office for more information.

Why are my lights blinking?

A light blink is a momentary power interruption that happens almost in the blink of an eye. It’s like flipping a switch off and then back on quickly. While some people mistakenly believe that an occasional blink means poor service from their power company, it actually indicates the opposite. Most blinks are the result of the local environment. Generally, when your lights blink, it is the result of a squirrel or other small animal getting onto a transformer or a tree limb falling into the lines. The blink you see actually means that EMEPA’s protective equipment is operating as it should and an outage has been avoided. If, however, the blink occurs frequently or consistently (same time every day), then there may be a problem requiring EMEPA to investigate. In this case, please call us and we will be glad to respond to your call.

What is the difference between a cooperative such as EMEPA and a conventional, investor-owned electric utility?

EMEPA is a member-owned, not-for-profit utility, unlike other utilities that are investor-owned. Cooperatives are locally owned and operated, and the members have a say in the business. Members vote each year for directors and changes in the by-laws. EMEPA has approximately 37,000 services in place on over 5,900 miles of line. EMEPA’s average density is 6.2 customers per mile of line, while investor-owned utilities serve approximately 35 to 50 customers per mile of line. Cooperatives such as EMEPA are a part of the communities they serve. Employees and the business are active in a wide variety of community activities. Because the business is not-for-profit, margins go back into the company to fund upgrades and prepare for emergencies (repairs from hurricanes, for example).

 I recently bought a generator. How can I make sure I use it safely?
Always refer to the book that came with your generator and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Unless your home has been wired for a generator, only use a generator that appliances can be plugged in to. You must not break the seal and remove your meter to connect a generator. Never plug a generator directly into a wall outlet. Instead, use an extension cord and plug an appliance into the generator. Rotate appliance usage. For example, keep the refrigerator or freezer plugged in long enough to keep food cold, then plug another appliance into the generator.

If generators are installed incorrectly, the result may be injury or even death for line crews who are trying to restore power. Line crews may believe a line is de-energized, but the line may have been energized by a portable generator. Current from a generator that is incorrectly hooked up can flow out of the home and into the transformers serving the home or business. Once the electricity goes into the transformer, it is stepped up to 13,000 volts and enters the local power distribution system.

If my power goes out, what should I do?  
First check to see if your neighbors have power. If everyone around you has power, check your fuse or breaker box. If that doesn’t seem to be the problem, call EMEPA at 601-581-8600.

What should I do if I see a power line down?

Don’t go near any downed line. It may be energized, even though your power may be off. Call EMEPA immediately to report the line’s location. Also, remember that water conducts electricity. If the downed line is near water, keep your distance from the water.