3rd new substation enhances 4-County service in Clay

The new 4-County substation under construction in Montpelier in northwestern Clay County
DTL Staff
Staff Writer

A third new substation under construction in northwest Clay County is the latest step by a utility to improve an "already-sound power infrastructure" in rural parts of Clay and Chickasaw counties.

The 4-County Electric Power Association substation under construction on North Beasley Road just south of Montpelier is the utility's third in the county in five years and is part of a $9 million investment to insure a reliable power supply.

The utility brought the Waverley Substation online in July 2014 to serve Highway 50 East from West Point to the Tenn-Tom Waterway including Church Hill Road, Barton Ferry Road, County Line Road and Old Waverly Road). The Lone Oak Substation came online in June 2016 improving service to areas west and north of West Point plus Highway 45 Alternate south of the city.

The new Montpelier station is scheduled to be online in September to serve Sparta in Chickasaw County and western Clay County along Highways 46, 389 and 50.
"They were part of a 20-year long-range plan which included retiring three substations that were very old, Pheba, Ivy Village and West Point. The emphasis was primarily focused on improving reliability in Clay County,” explained 4-County Engineering Manager Lynn Timbrook, noting the planning began in 2010.
Reliability and service are priorities for the cooperative, according to Chief Executive Officer Joe Cade.

“For an electric power provider, reliability is job one. But reliability can also be expensive. Replacing miles of old wire and poles, and building substations is not cheap. But we have made a lot of changes to 4-County to help save money in other areas,” Cade said. “By using technology, such as online services and payment options, streamlining our internal processes and cutting down on overhead, we are spending less but getting more bang for our buck.

"And we continue to offer innovative services to members. In fact, coming up soon our members will be able report an outage by text, and get updates on restoration progress the same way. We are proud of being one of the leading electric cooperatives in Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley,” he added.
The cooperative also is focusing on an improved service plan that makes the cooperative more accessible and convenient for customers through out the nine counties it services.

Some of the options include:

-- Apply online for membership and electric service. Go to HYPERLINK "http://www.4county.orgwww.4county.org, click on the residential tab, then the “apply for service” tab and follow the cues.

-- Online bill payment – Pay and manage your account online.

-- Bank draft – Probably the most popular of all the payment options. Your bank takes care of the transaction each month. Download the form from the website, print it and mail it in, or sign up online.

-- Credit Card Draft – Works like bank draft. Credit and/or debit cards will be drafted each month for amount due. Sign up online.

-- Kiosks – Eighteen payment kiosks are located in convenient locations throughout the 4-County service area. The kiosks accept personal check, credit/debit card and cash payments. Locations in Clay County include: West Point Shell, 1443 Hwy. 45 N. in West Point; Knox Grocery, 9672 Brand Una Road in Prairie; and Sprint Mart, 631 W. Main St. in West Point.

-- Payment by phone – Pay your bill by phone using 4-County’s automated phone system. Call 1-800-431-1544 to make a payment.

-- Payment by Mail – Pay the traditional way through the mail.

-- Prepay – One of our newest options. Pay what you want, when you want. No security deposit, late fees or disconnect fees. Call 1-800-431-1544 to get started.

-- Levelized Billing – Uses a rolling average of your last 12 months of bills to keep your monthly bill at a near-level amount – allowing you to budget better and avoid drastic changes during extreme hot or cold months.

-- Choose a due date – For fixed-income members. Due dates can be set to coincide with member income fluctuations. Members are required to fill out some paperwork.

-- Invoice Billing – Good for members who have multiple accounts. One invoice can cover it all.

“Our number one goal is to find ways to bring excellent service to our members while finding ways to save them money. I’m proud of the job we are doing," Cade concluded.