News and Events
75th Anniversary, Right-of-way Trimming, Carol Hennington retires...all are features in this month's Today in Mississippi newsletter.
May 1, 2013
Go to the "Member Services" tab and click on Member Newsletter, or see the first two stories under News Releases under the "News" tab.
Scholarship applications, tornado recovery and students selected for Youth Leadership...all are features in this month's Today in Mississippi newsletter.
March 1, 2013
Go to the "Member Services" tab and click on Member Newsletter, or see each story under News Releases under the "News" tab.
Celebrating 75 Years of Service
February 1, 2013
Pearl River Valley Electric is 75 years old this year. Go to "News" and then "News Releases" to read the general managers column about exceeding members' needs. Or you can read the electronic version of Today in Mississippi, under the "Member Services" newsletter tab.
Meet Your Legislators
January 2, 2013
Meet the Legislators who serve districts located within Pearl River Valley Electric's service area. It's all in January's Today in Mississippi. To read the on-line version, go to the Member Services tab and click on Member Newsletter.
Round Up for Education begins in November
November 2, 2012
See more about this exciting new program under the Member Services tab.
Annual Reports from the General Manager and President
September 4, 2012
Go to "News Releases" under the "News" tab to find informative reports from Pearl River Valley Electric's Board President and General Manager.
Hurricane Isaac Information
August 28, 2012
For the latest news releases and information about PRVEPA's plans for Hurricane Isaac, go to "News" tab and the click on "News Releases."
Hurricane Isaac Information
August 27, 2012
As of Monday August 27, Hurricane Isaac's track and forecast pose a threat to Pearl River Valley Electric's service area. Please go to the "News" section for details about PRVEPA's preparations, and click on the "Operations and Outages" section for additional information about how members can prepare.
Portable Generator Safety
August 27, 2012
As Hurricane Issac approaches our service area, members who decide to use portable generators for possible outages must operate them safely. Click on the Portable Generator Safety tab under the main Safety link.
Members to again receive annual refunds
August 1, 2012
Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association members will be receiving annual patronage capital refunds in August.
Patronage capital, or capital credits, represents members’ investment in their not-for-profit electric cooperative. Each year, rates are set so that the Association has enough funding to operate throughout the year, make payments on loans, and have reserve funds for any needed upgrades to the electric system and emergencies. If there is any additional revenue beyond these needs, a portion is assigned to be returned to members in the form of patronage capital. This year, Pearl River Valley Electric’s board of directors has authorized $1.5 million be returned to members.
“This is one of the many benefits of being a member-owner of a not-for-profit electric provider,” said Randy Wallace, general manager. “Our members share in the cost of doing business as well as the returns—after all, it was their combined investment initially that allowed us to begin building a system to deliver electricity. This is now the 49th year that we have returned some of that investment to members, totaling more than $34 million. That’s one of the best records of any rural electric cooperative in the nation, and we’re very proud of it.”
Members receive a share of the patronage returns based on their annual electric use. Each qualifying member will receive their refund as credit applied to their power bill mailed in August. For inactive members or those who qualify but have moved, checks will be mailed in September.
“We began applying credits to members’ bills in 2007, which saves a significant amount of money compared to printing and mailing checks,” Wallace noted. “Pearl River Valley Electric remains very sound and stable financially. We are pleased to return these credits to our members again this year.”
In addition to patronage refunds for active members, Pearl River Valley Electric began returning accumulated credits to the estates of deceased members in 1988, a program that has now returned more than $9 million. In 2011, more than $533,000 was returned through this program.
Installation of New Residential Meters Completed
July 2, 2012
Pearl River Valley EPA is continually looking for ways to improve service to members. As part of this commitment, we have been installing state-of-the-art automated meters at homes and businesses throughout our service area since November 2007. The final residential meters were installed last month.
The meters are part of a new meter data management system used to collect, measure and analyze energy use. Readings from each meter are transmitted over the Pearl River Valley’s power lines—they do not use radio or cell technology. Usage data is transmitted every couple of seconds and recorded hourly. The information is then transferred to our billing system and can also be used to better understand a member’s energy use.
The new meters provide many benefits, including;
- Accurate meter reading: Meters are read electronically, avoiding human error and the need to estimate bills.
- Energy management opportunities for members: Daily and hourly usage information can be helpful in pinpointing problems associated with electric use in your home, as well as helping to determine areas where savings can be realized.
- Outage restoration: When power is interrupted, the system can be used to determine which meters are not receiving power, thus making restoration quicker and more efficient.
- Enhanced reliability and system planning: We will be better able to monitor blinks and other power quality issues, as well as understand how to meet demand as it grows throughout the system.
- Reduced need for access to your property: No longer will employees have to physically read meters on a monthly basis.
- Reduced vehicle costs: The process of sending employees to read more than 47,000 meters each month means savings on gasoline and vehicle maintenance.
- Advanced security: Meter reports generated daily give insight into meter tampering issues. Catching and eliminating theft of power benefits everyone involved with our member-owned system.
“Implementing this program has been the result of extensive planning and effort involving many of our employees,” noted Randy Wallace, general manager. “This kind of project is what we’re all about as an electric cooperative—improving service to our members and reducing costs. We’re very pleased with the results so far in terms of operations, billing and member services.”
Members can access information about their electric usage and manage their accounts by logging on to www.PRVEPA.com. Once there, go to “Pay My Bill” or “Manage My Account” and follow the steps at the member portal.
The website also has a wide variety of information and interactive links related to wise energy use. If you have any questions, call Scott Arinder, member services representative, at 601-731-7809.
Environmental Regulations Drive Future Power Costs
July 2, 2012
Electric power associations work every day to balance the increasing costs of doing business with ensuring affordable service to members. While costs are escalating in a number of areas, one of the greatest threats to affordable power is new and constantly changing environmental regulations.
Electric cooperatives in the southeastern U.S. are largely dependent upon coal as a relatively inexpensive source of electric generation. South Mississippi Electric, the cooperative that generates the electricity distributed to you by Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association, used coal as the fuel for 54.7 percent of the power it produced in 2011. For this reason, regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that target coal are of particular concern for electric power associations in Mississippi and across the nation.
Over the past decade, the EPA has issued three significant regulations which impact coal-fired generation. The costs of complying with these regulations have essentially become prohibitive to power producers, especially not-for-profit electric cooperatives. The equipment necessary to make an existing coal plant compliant is so expensive that in some situations it is more cost-effective to close the plant down. In addition, the timeframes for complying with the regulations are inadequate. The short deadlines do not allow power producers sufficient time for planning major changes, nor do they take into consideration the limited number of contract specialists who are qualified to construct and install compliance controls. Essentially, the effect of these regulations is the elimination of coal as an option for producing electricity.
As our country and our industry move forward, new plants will be necessary to replace retired coal plants and to meet the growing need for electricity. In the absence of coal, more expensive alternative resources will be required. There is no getting around the fact that replacing a significant portion of our generating resources will increase our costs.
Pearl River Valley Electric and South Mississippi Electric are working to ensure that our members have the most affordable and reliable electric system today and into the future. Recent projects are taking steps to make our generation fleet more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally compliant.
A repowering project at the natural gas-fired J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex (Plant Moselle) will result in the capability of the plant to generate 37 percent more electricity using the same amount of fuel as before. This represents a savings of $25,000 to $40,000 per day for the first unit, which was completed in May. The second unit is scheduled to be completed in October. The total project cost, which is expected to be $220 million, is an example of the investment needed for future projects.
Pearl River Valley Electric and South Mississippi Electric are also investigating other options for future power generation that will enable us to maintain environmental compliance and keep our members’ power bills affordable. Amidst the changes faced by the electric industry each day, we remain committed to providing the best value possible for safe and reliable electric energy for our members.
Pearl River Valley Electric warns members about scam phone calls
June 27, 2012
Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association has received reports of telephone scams being directed at our members.
Numerous variations of the scam exist, but all claim to have money from the federal government or a community action agency that will be used to pay the consumer’s electric bill. Victims are asked to provide information about their banking account numbers or credit card information in order to process the transaction.
“Unfortunately we are hearing about more instances of these kinds of scams recently,” said Randy Wallace, Pearl River Valley Electric’s general manager. “We would never make this kind of a call to a member, nor are there any such programs out there, to our knowledge. We urge our members to not give any personal or banking information over the phone to someone they don’t know. This also includes Social Security numbers.”
In addition to Pearl River Valley, other electric power cooperatives in South Mississippi have reported similar telephone scams in their service areas.
Summer (and hurricane season) is here
June 4, 2012
Can it already be summer and hurricane season? by Randy Wallace, general manager
I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to believe that June is here already. We’ve had such a long and mild winter and spring, especially compared to the last two years. But did you notice, like I did, that on April 30 it reached almost 90 degrees throughout our service area?
I’m concerned that if temperatures stay high through the early summer, members will start to see higher power bills sooner than they normally do. While there is not much we can do about the weather, at Pearl River Valley Electric we are committed to helping members understand and manage their energy usage.
As you will read in another story here on our local pages, we have recently updated our website. One of our priorities was to provide more information about wise energy use. You can find tips for controlling your electric usage, as well as access to brochures that cover a wide range of energy use topics. There are also several links that help calculate energy use and provide specific pointers about reducing costs. I would encourage all members to find some time to look through the website; hopefully you’ll find it to be helpful.
Another feature of the site is one that’s actually been available for a while—access to your account information. With the installation of automated meters, which is now nearly complete throughout our entire system, members have the ability to view their electric usage hour by hour. It isn’t hard to see when your heating unit or air conditioner is running longer and consuming more electricity, especially when you apply the temperature information for a given day. You can also determine that your water heater or clothes dryer or pool pump has been running, and what their effect is on a day’s total usage.
We believe it’s very important that electric consumers become more aware of what drives their bills. It is the amount of electricity that your appliances and lights and heating and air conditioning use, in the same way that driving 400 miles in your car costs you a tank of gas. The difference is that you pay for the gasoline before you take a trip and the cost of each gallon is directly associated with every mile that passes. In our business, of course, we don’t send a bill until the end of every month and by then most of us don’t have any idea how many miles we’ve driven.
Fortunately, electricity delivered to our homes is a fantastic value—much better than gasoline or any other energy source. We can get miles and miles of use out of our electric appliances for only pennies. Please take a look at your account information to understand when and how you’re using electricity, and let us know if you have questions.
As for the arrival of hurricane season, again if you’re like me, it’s hard to believe that it has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina. This summer’s forecasts call for below-average activity in the Atlantic, but we all know that our lives can be changed drastically in just a matter of days.
I can assure everyone that we will be prepared June 1 to deal with anything that might affect our service area during hurricane season. We will also provide plenty of information about our plans if we find ourselves working through a major restoration effort. Members can be similarly prepared by making their plans early and having whatever supplies they might need available if and when a storm heads our way.
Let’s look forward to a quiet and safe summer—one that we look back on and say “Wow, I can’t believe it’s come and gone.”
PRVEPA Updates Website
May 14, 2012
Welcome to our updated website. Please have a look around and let us know if you have any comments.
New Toll-free Number for Outages, Bill Payments
May 1, 2012
New toll-free outage, payment number is now active
Pearl River Valley Electric’s members now have one number to call to report service outages or pay their bills by phone: 1-855-2PRVEPA (855-277-8372).
“In the past, there were several different toll-free numbers depending on where members lived,” said General Manager Randy Wallace. “Now all members can use this one number, and we hope it will be very easy to remember.
“It is more important than ever, however, that members keep their contact telephone numbers with us current.”
Reporting a service outage
Under normal circumstances, a member who experiences an isolated outage can call the 855 number and report their problem through the automated system. A caller may also speak to a customer service representative, if they desire, although the automated system is now faster and more convenient.
During a major power outage, which usually occurs due to uncontrollable factors such as lightning, high winds and heavy rains, the large number of callers will activate our automatic call handling system. In that case, callers will be prompted through the reporting process and the system will automatically match telephone numbers with electric service addresses, helping to pinpoint outage locations.
That is why it is important for all members to maintain their current phone numbers in our system.
During regular office hours, members may still call their local PRVEPA office to speak to an employee.
Columbia 601-736-2666 Hattiesburg 601-264-2458
Purvis 601-794-8051 Wiggins 601-928-7277
Pay your bill by phone
Members may use E-check or Visa, Mastercard or Discover credit cards to pay their Pearl River Valley Electric power bill. Callers may also access a variety of information, such as account status and bill payment totals.
Member Account Numbers Adjusted
April 2, 2012
Member account numbers have been changed
In order to enhance our billing and information systems, Pearl River Valley Electric has made a minor modification to the account numbers of all members.
Each account number has two digits at the end that are used to separate accounts with multiple locations. Beginning March 21, we added another 0 in front of the last two digits. For example, 12345-01 became 12345-001.
“The change should not be noticeable to most members, as our information system will immediately adjust for all billing and payments,” said Randy Wallace, general manager. “However, members who use online banking, bank drafts or other electronic bill payments will have to update their Pearl River Valley account number with whatever electronic payment service they use.”
Members who use electronic payment services received letters reminding them to make the change prior to paying their next bill. When the account information is updated, there should be no problem with continuing any method of electronic payment.
The change was effective on all bills mailed after March 21, 2012.