We have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you don't find the answer to your question here, please contact us by email or by phone at 1-800-794-1989.
What should I do if my electricity goes out?
- Check the main breaker panel in your house for any tripped breakers.
- Check any outside breakers. There may be additional breakers at the meter pole or pedestal and/or a breaker box on the outside of the building.
- Familiarize yourself with the breaker configuration at your location.
- When you call to report an outage, you will be asked if you have checked the above items. This helps us determine if an outage exists on our side of the meter and could help you save a substantial charge. If we dispatch a crew and it is found that the outage is on your side of the meter, you will be charged for the service call.
- If you heard any unusual sounds prior to the outage or if your neighbors are without power, please report that with your outage call.
- Calls reporting outages are answered 24-hours a day, 7-days a week 1-800-794-1989. If you get a busy signal when trying to report an outage, please try again. We may be experiencing heavier than usual call volume. You can also report outages using the SmartHub mobile app. Please do not use social media to report an outage. Our social media pages should be used for you to tell us what is going on in your area, or discuss updates regarding the outages. We cannot enter your outage into our system from social media.
Should my lights be blinking?
If your lights are blinking off and on frequently, please contact us at 1-800-794-1989. Power quality issues are correctable, we just need to know about them. Talk with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing similar blink or outage problems. This can help us narrow down the source of the problem.
FEC can and does, disconnect for non-payment year-round. FEC is not regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission, and therefore, is not under the Cold Weather Rule. See FEC's Rules and Regulations for details. If you will be unable to make a payment, contact our office before the due date. In many cases, FEC member service representatives will try to find a solution that fits.
Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) can fluctuate depending on the season, demand, and consumption.
Wholesale power costs cause fluctuation
When the wholesale cost of power is higher, or lower, than it was when FreeState's last rate study was conducted, those differences show up in the PCA.
PCA may fluctuate depending on our demand charges. Demand is simply the maximum amount of electrical energy consumed at a given time. Suppliers bill us for both the highest demand set during the month and our coincidental demand. Demand is the highest total kWh's used during a 1-hour period during the month. The coincidental demand is the demand we contributed when our wholesale power provider peaked during the month. When members create more demand by using more electricity during peak times the co-op pays more for the electricity needed by our members. Peaks typically occur between 3 and 6 p.m. on the hottest and coldest days of the month.
The reduction of FreeState’s wholesale costs is the most significant thing to keep our PCA lower. When you voluntarily conserve energy, you reduce the amount of energy and demand we need to buy, especially during the day or on days when temperatures reach 90 and above.
Why does the temperature matter?
Weather can have a real impact on your electric bill. Residential accounts see the most fluctuation due to heating and cooling, but the winter months are not necessarily comparable to summer months. Why? Because heating your home in the winter isn’t always electricity-driven because you have options, but almost everyone uses electricity to cool their home.
If we have a mild summer, with moderate temperatures PCA can remain lower, but if we see temperatures become a moving target PCA can fluctuate quite a bit.
What is this PCA you mention, and why do I have to pay it?
As a distribution cooperative, we don't generate our power. We purchase power to provide you with reliable service. Once the electricity is generated we purchase it from Westar and KEPCo., they have a diverse portfolio of power generation. The type of power we buy can also impact the PCA. For example, power options include renewable power, coal power, nuclear power, and hydropower.
Keep in mind that a portion of the cost to purchase power for you is included in your kWh rate, but because the market is volatile using PCA helps us make up any differences in those costs when buying wholesale power from Westar or KEPCo. The usage charges on your bill for electricity is exact. We are not-for-profit, so we do not profit from the sale of electricity.
If you don't make a profit, then how do you operate?
Each month you see an electric service charge on your bill. It doesn't change from month to month. This fee paid by members assists the cooperative with operating and material purchasing costs.
We collect this fee to help pay for wire, poles, other infrastructure, employees, and the cost to run the facilities day-to-day. As a cooperative, we do our best to maintain costs and keep our expenses low to increase our margins. Those margins are returned to our members as capital credits.
What is an AMI meter?
FEC’s East District began installing AMI meters in 2010. The West District began installation in 2015. These meters replace the old AMR "turtle" meters that have been in use on cooperative lines for over 15 years.
AMI meters offer the most up to date technology, including two-way communication. Old turtle meters would simply send consumption information to our office once per day. The only data you could extract from the readings was the total amount consumed.
With the new meters, you will have access to more detailed usage information, such as what you consume on an hourly basis. Members can monitor their account with SmartHub.
- Complete an Application For Service for each meter
- You may be subject to a security deposit after a credit check
- The security deposit may be reduced or waived with your good credit score or a positive letter of credit from a previous electric provider.
- The application and any applicable fees must be in our office at least three business days prior to connection or transfer.
- If applicable, the former account holder should call our office to OK an account transfer.
- Photo identification may be required.
- Renters may be required to provide a signed rental agreement.
- Contact the FEC office at least three (3) business days prior to the date you wish to be disconnected.
- Have your forwarding address available.
- If new people are moving in, please work with them to help avoid an interruption of service.
- Fees can include a security deposit. Typically, the security deposit for residential service is based on 2x the average at the location service is requested. Commercial deposits are based on estimated usage. The deposit may be reduced or waived depending on your credit score and/or a positive letter of credit from a former electric provider.
- Security deposits are credited to the final bill or may be credited to a regular bill after 24 consecutive months of on-time payments.
- For newly constructed homes or buildings please contact the office.
- FEC accepts cash, checks, money orders, and MasterCard or Visa credit/debit cards.
- You can pay by phone 27/7 by calling 1-877-853-6120. We are not able to take payments over the phone. In order to make a phone payment, you must call the secure payment line. Mastercard or Visa credit/debit cards or electronic check, are accepted.
- You can pay online or with your SmartHub account using a Mastercard or Visa credit/debit cards or electronic check.
- We have a convenient night drop box outside the front door of our offices if you visit after regular business hours.
The electric service charge helps pay for the physical equipment and maintenance costs associated with maintaining such equipment. The customer charge is applicable even when no energy is consumed.
Think of it as you would when you rent a car. You pay a rental fee whether the car is used or not. The gas you put in the car (and consume) is the equivalent to the kilowatt (kWh) billed on your electric account.
It is very difficult to make accurate comparisons with electric bills - there are so many variables. The size of the house, the size of the family, age and quality of appliances, type of heating and cooling systems, quality of insulation, condition of internal wire, and many other factors. If you are concerned with your bill, contact our Energy Usage Coordinator. They will able to provide valuable information to assist you.
There are several area agencies in our area that have been known to assist customers with bill payment in a time of crisis. Please be advised that this list is provided only as a courtesy to you. FEC is not affiliated with these agencies in any way and has no agreements with them. There is no guarantee assistance will be granted.
Yes, we will - provided the trees are on the primary side of the meter (or before the meter). Any trees/bushes/overgrowth occurring after the meter - or on your side of the meter, will be your responsibility. You will need to complete a Tree Trimming Consent form and submit it to the FEC office before work will begin.
There are multiple ways you can get in touch with us. If you call the cooperative you may have a specific topic. Here are the departments who can assist you. All other inquiries can be handled by a member of the MSR team.
Are you a vendor needing information about how to make a payment?
Communications, Marketing, Public Relations
- Publications and Printed Materials (e.g. brochures, business cards, annual report, meeting notices, postcards, newsletters for employees and members, mass emails)
- Media Inquiries
- Charitable Giving
- Advertising (Print, Radio, TV, Theater, Schools, Web)
- Social Media
- Annual Meeting
- Trustee Elections/Nominating Committee
- Co-ops Vote Program (for screening)
- Co-op Connections Program
- County fairs, parades, safety demonstrations, community presentations and other events
- School programs
- Youth Programs
- Touchstone Energy
- Employment Verification
- Reference Checks
- Insurance Claims
- Jobs listed at www.freestate.coop/jobs
Energy Use Coordinator
- High bill complaint
- Solar/renewable energy
- Interruptible Rates
- Water heaters and rebates
- Ground-Source Heat Pumps
Purchasing, Safety, and Resources
- Resale of items
- Poles for sale or pickup
- Delivery questions
- Building issues
- Safety or maintenance