Berkeley Electric Cooperative’s management team has been monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak for several weeks and has been taking steps in accordance with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to protect the health of our community.
For the health and safety of our members and employees, Berkeley Electric Cooperative has closed all district office lobbies until further notice. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, however, drive-thru services, automated phone payments (1-877-853-6731) and 24-hour kiosks will remain open at this time. Members can also pay by electronic check, bank draft or through our free Smarthub app.
PLEASE NOTE - Our Awendaw office is closed to all member traffic, including the drive-thru. Additionally, we have suspended all disconnects and late payment fees until further notice. However, we urge our members to monitor their electricity use and their monthly bill. Please remember you will still be responsible to pay for the electricity you use. Be sure to reach out to our member services team for help if you are in a financial crisis. We are here to help and appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, Berkeley Electric Cooperative wants to provide its members with the most up-to-date information to aid them during the pandemic. The following is a summary of benefits available to small businesses under the recently passed stimulus package. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will oversee a 7(a) program to distribute $350 billion to small businesses in forgivable loans to cover employee wages, salaries, and benefits. This forgivable loan program aims to ensure that small businesses won’t have to resort to laying off employees.
The forgivable loan program offers the following:
Loans of up to $10 million for businesses with 500 or less employees.
Loans’ interest rates capped at 4%.
Deferred interest payments for six months to a year.
No personal guarantees or the use of assets as collateral required.
Funds spent on eight weeks’ worth of payroll expenses will not need to be repaid.
Here are some of the most pressing questions and answers for small business owners:
Q: Who can apply for the loan?
A: Businesses and nonprofit organizations with less than 500 employees, with certain exceptions; and - were operational as of February 15, 2020 or earlier - can show proof of payment for employee salaries, payroll taxes, or independent contractor fees. Self-employed and gig workers, including ride-sharing company drivers.
Q: How can I apply?
A: Through banks, credit unions, and private lenders approved to issue 7(a) small business loans. There are plans from the Treasury Department to roll out new regulations that will make it possible for almost all FDIC-insured banks to release SBA loans.
Q: How much money can be taken out for a loan?
A: A maximum of $10 million. Lenders are instructed to use a formula that takes into account how much the business previously spent on payroll expenses to determine the appropriate loan amount.
Q: What if the borrower is unable to repay the loan?
A: The bill includes loan forgiveness for businesses that retain employees or rehire those that had been laid off during the outbreak. Loan forgiveness can be applied to portions of the loan spent on payroll, rent payment, utilities, and mortgage expenses incurred within an 8-week period since the start of the loan’s origination date.
Q: Is there other help available?
A: Small businesses may apply for a separate SBA program for disaster loans with a maximum amount of $2 million directly issued from the agency. You can find more information about this loan program at SBA.gov
The information above has been gathered from resources available to us at the time. Please check on the facts on your own before making any decisions based on this information.
The FBI reports scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money and your personal information -- or both. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information to receive money or other benefits. The FBI advises you to be on the lookout for the following:
FAKE CDC EMAILS - Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.
PHISHING EMAILS - Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information to send you money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to charitable contributions, general financial relief, airline carrier refunds, fake cures and vaccines, and fake testing kits.
Tips, you can protect yourself and help stop criminal activity:
Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don't recognize.
Do not provide your username, password, date or birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a ".gov" ends in ".com" instead).
We know families will experience financial hardships because of the coronavirus -- many members are already facing reduced employment or unemployment. You also need electricity more than ever as you follow health officials’ recommendations to stay home to slow the spread of the virus. We want to do everything in our power to help our members and the economy during this difficult time.
Berkeley Electric Cooperative refunded $4.8 million in security deposits to more than 33,000 residential accounts to help its members during the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of March 2020. If Berkeley Electric was holding a deposit on your account, the credit appeared in your SmartHub account after it was applied to your account. The credit was subtracted from your usage when you received your next bill. At this time, only qualifying residential accounts received the refund.
For any member who suspects they may have the coronavirus (COVID-19), there are virtual care visits available for free through MUSC, Prisma Health, Roper St. Frances and McCloud Health. Click the links to get started and use the promo code "COVID19."
Although we have temporarily suspended disconnects for non-payment you are responsible for paying for the electricity you use, the same as you would be for any other product or service. We cannot provide electricity free-of-charge because we are a member-owned, not-for-profit utility. Forgiving electric bills would only shift the cost onto other members because the cooperative has no other source of income to offset those costs. We urge you to take advantage of our payment options and stay current with your bill as long as possible to avoid building up a large balance that will have to be paid when services return to normal.
Smarthub app — a free download from the app store, it allows you to pay your bill from your phone, tablet or computer. You can also set reminders for payment dates and alerts for high usage.
Online bill pay at www.berkeleyelectric.coop
Kiosks — located in the drive-thru lane at the district offices in Moncks Corner, Goose Creek and Johns Island. A standalone kiosk is located inside the St. Stephen IGA.
Automated phone payment line (877-853-6731)
Other online bill pay service offered through some financial institutions
If you need to set up service, go to and click the “Apply for Service” link in the top right corner of the screen. You will be contacted by phone when your online application has been received, so please provide a valid phone number. You can also conduct most normal services through our drive-thru windows which remain open, unless otherwise noted.
For members who need to disconnect service, that request can be made through your SmartHub account portal or by calling your district office.