Saving Together – TVEC Targets Transaction Costs to Save Members Money

• Transaction fees have grown over the last few years as more members use credit cards for payments.
• TVEC is not planning to add fees to any transaction type at this point.
• As a nonprofit electric cooperative, the co-op’s members ultimately benefit if we work together to keep costs as low as possible.

From the May 2022 Texas Co-op Power magazine-
With constant attention to costs and budgets, Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative has been aggressive in dealing with rising costs over the last 12 years. Those efforts have resulted in a steady base electricity rate of $.10484/kWh that has not changed since 2008, even as almost 32% inflation has occurred in the same period, raising the cost of doing business.
One way co-op members can help is to consider the costs of transactions for payment. The cost of credit card and mailed-in payments in particular have grown considerably over the last several years.
“As a nonprofit cooperative business, it is really in all of our best interests to keep costs as low as possible,” said Jeff Lane, TVEC general manager/CEO. “We have identified the costs of payments, and of mailing service in general, as a way that co-op members can really help us by simply choosing the most cost-effective payment method that makes sense for their situation.”
For perspective, credit card merchant fees paid by the co-op have risen 28% just since 2020. That has resulted in about $750,000 in charges paid in 2021.
“As the co-op has grown, the percentage of members using credit cards for payment has also grown. Combine that with higher fees charged by the card companies, credit card payments have become a major expense,” Lane said.
The most cost effective methods of payment are automated bank drafts, e-check payments online or through the myTVEC mobile app, and mailed check payments.
Mail service costs have also risen dramatically, meaning a switch to electronic billing with online bill payment is both easier on the environment and cost-effective for co-op members.

This chart shows the average cost for each type of transaction members may use when paying bills.

TVEC Transaction Costs Chart