North Western Electric Cooperative and its affiliate NW Ohio Propane have temporarily closed their shared lobby to the public in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Based in Bryan, NWEC is a not-for-profit, member-owned utility serving nearly 5,900 consumers in Williams, Defiance, Henry and Paulding counties. Pearl Rakes, spokesperson for NWEC and NWOP said the companies are responding to the state “stay-at-home” directive and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and taking measures to protect its workforce, including having some personnel working from home and doing extra cleaning of the buildings and equipment.
“We have temporarily closed our shared lobby. Though members of the public cannot enter, both NWEC and NWOP staff are still working while practicing recommended CDC guidelines. This decision was made for the health and safety of both companies’ member-owners, customers and employees,” Rakes said Wednesday.
Rakes said remote payment options are available to customers, along with two outside drop boxes or payments by phone. Bills can be paid online for NWEC member-owners through the co-op’s SmartHub mobile app, or at www.nwec.com. NWOP customers can make payments at www.nwohiopropane.com.
NWEC also offers member-owners a secure, automated payment phone line available 24/7: 844-786-7799.
Rakes said while the lobby is closed, anyone who needs to meet with any employee should call NWEC at 800-647-6932, or NWOP at 844-636-6967.
All deliveries are made by appointment only, and NWOP cylinder fills and exchanges are by appointment only. Pre-payment is required. Please call 844-636-6967 to schedule.
If you are affected by special circumstances related to COVID-19 and are struggling to pay your bill, Rakes advises members to call the office at 800-647-6932 to speak with an NWEC member service representative.
“We have temporarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment. Please call our office. We’ll do everything we can to work with our members on a payment plan,” Rakes said.
Rakes also said the company, anticipating uncertainty caused by the COVID-19, obtained additional supplies and materials last month and is not facing or anticipating any shortages in the near term.
The options for the NWEC annual meeting — scheduled for April 18 — are being reviewed by the NWEC Board of Trustees, NWEC management and the cooperative attorney, based on the governor’s current directive regarding mass gatherings and the NWEC Code of Regulations. They are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and discussing the potential changes that will need to take place to keep the member-owners, the community and NWEC employees safe while still following applicable mandates and the orders of the governor.