News Release, SMECO
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) introduced the Members Helping Members program in December 2010 and as of January 2019, more than 2,300 SMECO members contribute to the program, raising more than $100,000 a year to help their neighbors who are struggling to pay their electric bills.
Members Helping Members is an easy and convenient way to give aid to those who need help. Members of the cooperative who enroll in the program are simply billed an additional $1, $5, or $10 each month on their SMECO electric bill and those contributions may be tax deductible. This program is voluntary, and members can choose to cancel their participation at any time.
Each month, the accumulated donations are sent to the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, which will administer the funds to those members who seek aid and meet the qualifications. Only SMECO members who meet the eligibility requirements will receive assistance to pay their electric utility bill.
SMECO members who are interested in enrolling in the program can call 1-888-440-3311, visit the website at www.smeco.coop/mhm, or sign up in person at one of the customer service counters at a SMECO location. Anyone who would like to make a larger donation to Members Helping Members may send a check to Members Helping Members at P.O. Box 1937, Hughesville, MD 20637.
SMECO members who sign up by February 15, 2019, will receive a thank-you gift based on their level of giving.
“Despite relatively good economic conditions, we continue to see many hardship situations that demonstrate the critical importance of this fund,” said Austin J. Slater, Jr., SMECO president and CEO. “SMECO remains dedicated to offering programs that help strengthen and sustain our community. Giving $1, $5, or $10 a month to help a neighbor who is struggling is one thing many of us can do.”
SMECO members who need assistance with paying their electric bill can contact the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee for information on eligibility requirements and an application for assistance.
Other programs are also available to help eligible members with their electric bills. These programs include the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) and the Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP). To determine eligibility, customer-members requesting assistance should contact their local Office of Home Energy Programs.