National credit systems mandate prompts change in La Plata Electric Association’s bill payment options
DURANGO, Colo. – In accordance with national credit policy changes designed to minimize identity, credit card and banking information theft, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) has now implemented a new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system (effective Jan. 4, 2011). The IVR will impact only those who opt to pay their electric bills by phone.
“We have been mandated to move to these more automated systems,” said Dennis Svanes, LPEA CFO. “For member privacy and protection, our Customer Service Representatives will no longer be allowed to take payments verbally over the phone. Our members will need to interact with a computer, and we know this is not always popular with people, but we have no choice. It is for member security and federally mandated.”
The step taken by LPEA is similar to changes being implemented at all businesses that accept payments with credit or debit cards. Essentially, the intermediary person (such as a clerk, receptionist, etc.) is not allowed to take private information (i.e. an individual credit/debit card) out of the cardholder’s sight. This policy has already been implemented at larger entities, but may eventually affect establishments such as restaurants, medical offices, movie theatres and more. Many larger retail outlets in Durango and Pagosa Springs installed such private credit/debit card scanners in 2009-2010.
LPEA offers a variety of options for convenient payment of electric bills. Members with checking or savings accounts, credit and debit cards can pay their bills via auto-pay at www.lpea.coop, by phone (through the new IVR), and in person. Checks and money orders are still accepted by mail. For cash payments, members must visit LPEA’s offices in person.
“We encourage members to opt for the auto-pay program, which automatically deducts the amount of the bill on a specified date each month,” said Svanes. “Not only are payments not accidentally missed, the auto-pay is secure and also streamlines efficiencies for members and within the cooperative – helping save time and dollars.”
To learn more about bill payment options or sign up for auto-pay, LPEA members are asked to log on to www.lpea.coop or visit the LPEA offices in Durango or Pagosa Springs.
LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 40,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, contact LPEA at 970.247.5786 or visit www.lpea.coop.