Billing and Payment
CEMC’s residential energy rates are updated monthly. Current and archived rates can be viewed on the My Account page.
Rates have seasonal energy components —that is, metered kilowatt-hours will have a different cost associated with summer, winter and transition (spring-fall) months.
TVA generates the electricity used by nearly 10 million consumers across the seven-state Tennessee Valley. TVA sells its power to 153 local power companies (like CEMC) that in turn distribute the power to the homes and businesses of the Valley.
As the fuel costs vary from month to month, TVA uses the FCA to pass along increases and decreases in fuel costs to customers. The FCA calculation works by capturing the difference between the amount that TVA forecasts to pay for fuel during a given month and the amount collected through rates.
As a not-for-profit member-owned cooperative, CEMC must pass this energy cost on to our members.
TVA began using the FCA in October 2006 after a spike in fuel costs caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita the previous year. The FCA ensures TVA recovers costs as they occur, helping TVA better match its revenues to expenses as a not-for-profit energy producer.
Like every other power company in the Tennessee Valley, CEMC has no control over the fuel cost adjustment, and it is a penny-for-penny pass-through – every penny collected for the FCA goes directly to TVA.
You can estimate your monthly bill by using our Online Rate Calculator.
It’s important to keep in mind your bill is the result of not just the cost of energy, but also the amount of energy you use. By controlling your usage, you control your bill and your cost. You only pay for what you use.
Whether you have to pay a deposit depends on:
• Your payment record, if you have had service with CEMC.
• Your credit check, if you have not previously had service with us. CEMC uses Online Credit Exchange to provide a credit evaluation unique to utilities, the deposit decision is based on the risk evaluation. It is a “soft” inquiry and does not affect your credit score.
• The amount will be two times the average bill at the location or $250 dollars if there is no billing history at the location.
• May be paid over the phone with credit/debit card.
• May be paid in the District office with cash, money order or check payable to CEMC, or credit/debit card.
Refund of Deposit: On residential services the security deposit is refunded after 36 months with no late payments or refunded on the final bill if the member moves out of our service area. On commercial and industrial services the security deposit is held until the account is closed.
If I move do I have to pay another deposit? We will transfer your deposit to your new location provided service can be disconnected within 3 days at the former location. Past due balances must be paid upon transfer.
We have implemented a re-designed electric bill format. The design incorporates new, more detailed information such as average daily use and presents existing electric bill information in a more streamlined manner. View an interactive explanation of your electric bill here.
- Bank Draft Payment: Automatically drafted from your checking/savings account each month on your due date. Enroll via SmartHub®, visit any CEMC office, or call 800-987-2362 to set up.
- Credit / Debit Card by Phone: Pay your bill by phone using your credit card or debit card. There is no fee for this service.
- Mail: Mail your payment in the return envelope included with your monthly statement.
- SmartHub®: Pay your bill online via a one-time credit/debit card, or set up reoccurring payments for no additional fee.
- Cash at Local Retailers: We offer cash payments on your CEMC bill at many local retailers. Use the SmartHub® app to find a participating retailer, show the barcode at checkout and make a cash payment (service charges apply).
- E-Check by Phone or SmartHub®: You can make a payment using your banking information and save for future payments with no additional fees.
- District offices: You may make a payment at our district offices M-F 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (except holidays). For your convenience, each district office is equipped with a payment kiosk station that accepts credit/debit card or cash 24/7. (Kiosk is unable to provide change on cash payment. Any overage is credited to the account.)
Occasionally, scammers will pose as CEMC/Cumberland Connect attempting to get payment from you.
Know that CEMC/Cumberland Connect will NEVER call you and ask for banking or payment information.
If you receive a call from someone pretending to be CEMC, do not give out any personal or banking information. Hang up! If you are unsure, call us.
As always, you can make a secure payment by calling (800) 987-2362 or using the SmartHub® app.
The due date noted on the bill is 15 days after the bill was mailed from CEMC. If the bill is not paid by the due date, it is subject to disconnection after 5 business days.
The reconnection fee must be paid before the service can be reconnected.
CEMC does not extend the Disconnect Date or offer payment arrangements. Members may choose to enroll in Pre-Paid Meter (PPM) Billing or be directed to contact a local Energy Assistance Agency for help paying a delinquent bill. Members may also apply for Medical Hardship status where applicable.
During business hours, pay the past due balance and reconnection fee in the district office, at an outdoor payment center, over the phone, online, or through the SmartHub® app. After business hours, pay the past due balance and reconnection fee over the phone, online, at an outdoor payment center, or via the SmartHub® app. Call 1-800-987-2362 to request reconnection. There will be a reconnection fee.
We would be glad to discuss any questions you have about a high bill but here are some things you might consider before giving us a call:
- Make sure we have received your last payment. One reason your bill may be higher is because we have not received your last payment in full. The first thing you should do is check your bill and make sure your last month’s payment has been received and posted to your account.
- Have you recently purchased additional equipment or could there be existing equipment left running that’s not being used? Have you recently purchased more equipment or a device that is using more electricity? Maybe a large TV, computer or monitor? Do you have equipment that’s in an “always on” mode, similar to televisions that start up the minute you turn them on? This type of equipment continues to use energy if it’s switched off. Unplug it to save energy.
- Increase in electric rates. CEMC energy rates are based partially on the TVA fuel cost, which changes monthly. It may be that your bill is higher because of an increase in electric rates.
- Seasonal changes. One reason your electric bill may be higher is changes in the weather. For example you may be using more air conditioning than usual due to higher temperatures.
Past Due Accounts
Accounts with an unpaid final bill balance will be remitted to Trans World Systems (TSI) for intermediate collection. The day following the final bill due date accounts will be sent to TSI to begin intermediate collection. This intermediate collection will last for a period of up to 35 days, and no information will be sent to national credit bureaus during this time. Any accounts remaining unpaid at the end of this 35-day period will be turned over to long-term collections; and this information will be reported to credit bureaus.
CEMC works with local assistance agencies to provide help for those struggling to pay their electric bill. See more on our Community Assistance page.
Members wishing to apply for medical hardship status will be provided an application to be completed by a doctor. Type 1 is the use of non-portable life-sustaining electrical equipment. Type 2 is hospice or other in-home care due to a terminal illness. The doctor is required to document which type applies and sign the application, which must be returned to CEMC by the close of business on the third day after it was issued. Each type carries a suspension of disconnection upon approval. For more information contact us at 800-987-2362.
As an alternative to disconnection for non-payment, members may enroll in Pre-Paid Meter (PPM) billing. This pay as you go program requires a $50.00 deposit and $50.00 pre-payment, in addition to half of any past due balance(s). Members with past due balances may utilize the Pre-Paid arrangement; which allocates 25% of each payment to the outstanding debt and the remaining 75% toward future usage. If your prepaid account runs out of funds it will be remotely disconnected. The pre-paid balance must be brought up to a $20.00 credit balance before service will be restored. PPM is only currently available for 200-amp residential services.
Intermediate collections are not reported to the major credit bureaus and therefore will have no impact on your personal credit report or credit score. However, if the balance remains unpaid at the end of the intermediate collection period and is turned over for long-term collections, it will then be reported to all major credit bureaus and have an impact on your personal credit score.
When your account goes through final billing, a due date for that final bill amount will be set and printed on the final billing statement. One day after that final bill due date, if the balance remains unpaid, the account will be sent to Transworld to begin the intermediate collection process.
While an account is in intermediate collection, TSI will attempt to collect on the balance for up to 35 days. A series of contact letters will be sent; one approximately every seven (7) days. Following the 5th contact letter from TSI, if the balance remains unpaid, the account will be turned over to long-term collections. Accounts may remain in long-term collections for up to 18 months from the date of initial remittance.
All payments made on accounts currently in collections should be made directly to CEMC. You may take advantage of any of our convenient payment methods to pay your balance. Call 1-800-987-2362, SmartHub® app, visit one of our outdoor payment centers, mail your payment, or visit us in your local district office.