UPDATE – June 11, 2020, 9:45 a.m.

For a comprehensive look at how Cherryland continues to protect its employees and member from the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can review our preparedness and response plan here.

If you have any questions regarding this plan, please contact our office at (231) 486-9200 or cec@cherrylandelectric.coop.

UPDATE – June 3, 2020, 9:00 a.m.

Join us for this year’s 82nd Annual Meeting from the comfort of your home! In an effort to follow good social distancing practices and help protect co-op members and employees from the coronavirus (COVID-19), the event will consist solely of a virtual business meeting held on June 11 at 5:30 p.m.

We will be broadcasting the business meeting live via the following:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Phone (1-888-475-4499, Meeting ID: 826 5505 8025, Password: 433303)

Hear updates about the co-op’s financials, witness the results of the Board of Directors election, and learn more about the co-op you own. As a safety precaution, in-person attendance is prohibited.

UPDATE – May 26, 2020, 12:10 p.m.

Our suspension of shutoffs for nonpayment ends June 1. If you’re struggling to pay your electric bill, call our member service department at (231) 486-9200 to speak with a representative. We want to work with you to find a solution.

You may qualify for financial assistance through local agencies. You must first apply with the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services as soon as possible. Visit the DHHS website or call (844) 464-3447 to learn more.

And if you’ve exhausted all other available assistance options, we’ve partnered with the Father Fred Foundation and ECHO His Love to administer funds we’ve set aside specifically for Cherryland members. If you live in Manistee County, contact ECHO His Love at (231) 723-6613 to learn more. If you do not live in Manistee County, contact the Father Fred Foundation at (231) 947-2055 to learn more.

UPDATE – May 18, 2020, 11:15 a.m.

As of Monday, May 18, we have opened the drive thru at our Grawn office for bill payments and other simple account inquiries. The drive thru is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please note that the lobby of our Grawn office is still closed to the public until further notice. If you do not wish to use the drive thru to make a payment, you can pay your bill online through SmartHub, via our automated phone system at (877) 833-3277, or by mail. The bill pay kiosk outside our Grawn office is still available for payment after hours. Visit the Billing page of our website for more details.

If you have any questions regarding your account, we recommend you call our member service department at (231) 486-9200 first, as the drive thru could be busy. Our member service representatives are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

UPDATE – May 14, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

After careful consideration, Cherryland has decided to host a strictly virtual Annual Meeting this year and prohibit in-person attendance. We don’t feel that we can safely accommodate a group of members in our office in a way that follows social distancing rules. And it is our always our top priority to keep co-op employees and members safe.

We will be broadcasting the business meeting live via Facebook and YouTube, as well as streaming the audio via phone (stay tuned for the phone number to call!). Members are encouraged to participate by asking questions in the respective comment sections and/or sending questions via email to am@cherrylandelectric.coop.

For more information about the 82nd Annual Meeting, please visit the Annual Meeting section of our website.

UPDATE – May 14, 2020, 9:45 a.m.

UPDATE – May 8, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, the economic impact of the pandemic on Cherryland is evolving as well. Cherryland is a private, independent business that was built by and belongs to the consumers we serve. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is intended to provide financial support to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cherryland Board of Directors voted to accept $1.3 million in PPP support as we work to keep the lights on and provide local families and businesses with certainty during this uncertain time.

The reasoning behind the Board of Directors’ decision to accept PPP support is multifaceted:

  • The economic health of Cherryland is directly tied to the wellbeing of our community. We are seeing an increase in unpaid electric bills as local businesses close their doors and hardworking Michiganders lose their jobs. We expect the decline of tourism to have a significant and long-term effect on many of the businesses we serve and the people they employ.
  • Maintaining minimal margins helps us keep our energy costs as low as possible, but this leaves a very limited reserve for us to sustain high rates of nonpayment and reduction in revenue from our closed commercial accounts. The Cherryland board sees the PPP loan as an important lifeline for our electric cooperative.
  • As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, we regularly return excess margins to our members. We do not have shareholders and any excess margins we have will always be returned to our members.
  • Cherryland has $1.2 million in outstanding economic development loans with small businesses across the region. Many of those businesses are deferring paying back those loans and it is uncertain what the default rate might be on the loan program.
  • As we rely more heavily on residential electric sales while businesses are closed down or reopening, mild weather and longer days are causing a decline in residential electric sales. Put simply revenue declines will require us to more deeply cut our expenses.

Here’s how PPP dollars will be used to serve our members:

  • We have had to cancel or pause all contract work for system maintenance in order to manage our expenses and keep all 58 of our employees on our payroll. PPP dollars will allow us to cover payroll expenses and a portion of our mortgage interest and utility costs while resuming the vital maintenance work that contributes to system reliability.
  • Cherryland owns and operates critical infrastructure for 36,000 homes and businesses. The reliable, affordable electricity that we provide will help power economic recovery. By accessing PPP dollars, Cherryland can continue that vital work without undue financial burden to our members or rate increases on those we serve.

According to research by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the nation’s electric cooperatives could suffer up to $10 billion in lost revenue through 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coming months will more fully reveal the economic impact this will have on Cherryland and the members we serve.

UPDATE – April 27, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

Cherryland was built and is owned by the community we serve, so we take fiscal responsibility seriously. As you can imagine, the co-op is not immune to the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on day-to-day operations and our balance sheet. In response, we’ve been actively looking at ways to cut costs while still providing the service you expect and deserve.

After much deliberation, we’ve decided to scale back this year’s 82nd Annual Meeting; bringing it “back to basics.” In an effort to follow good social distancing practices and exercise fiscal responsibility on account of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the event will consist solely of a business meeting held at our office in Grawn on June 11 at 5:30 p.m.

You can attend virtually from the comfort of your home, as we will be broadcasting the business meeting live via Facebook and YouTube. You will still be able to listen to cooperative updates, hear from board directors, and ask questions. If you still wish to attend in person, we will have seating available if it is allowable under current social distancing rules.

This will not have an effect on the Board of Directors election. However, we highly encourage you to consider pre-voting online or by mail between May 1 and June 10. It’s convenient while following good social distancing practices. If you still wish to vote in person on the day of the Annual Meeting, we will be accepting ballots at our Grawn office from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. prior to the business meeting.

Rest assured that this Annual Meeting format is only temporary, and we fully expect to return to our normal format in 2021. This was not an easy decision, but It’s our job to do what’s best for the membership in the best and worst of times.

UPDATE – April 17, 2020, 3:30 p.m.

In line with the Michigan Public Service Commission’s order, Cherryland has opted to further suspend shutoffs for non-payment until June 1, 2020.

As a reminder, here’s some information about our current billing policies and recommendations during this time:

  • While we’ve suspended shutoffs for non-payment until June 1, 2020, note that past due notices will still appear on your monthly bill. This is necessary if you choose to apply for financial assistance.
  • We’re also waiving late fees through June 1, 2020.
  • If you’re struggling to pay your electric bill, call our member services department at (231) 486-9200 to speak with a representative. We want to work with you to find a solution, including setting up payment plans.
  • If you wish to seek financial assistance through local agencies, you must first apply with the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services as soon as possible. Visit www.michigan.gov/mibridges or call (844) 464-3447 to learn more.
  • During this time, we encourage you to pay what you can on your electric bill to avoid a high balance when we return to our normal billing policies. You can pay your bill online through SmartHub, via our automated phone system at (877) 833-3277, by mail, or via our bill pay kiosk outside our Grawn office.

Again, we are continually monitoring the pandemic and responding accordingly.

UPDATE – April 17, 2020, 3:30 p.m.

UPDATE – April 9, 2020, 3:15 p.m.

In cooperation with Governor Whitmer’s extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, Cherryland’s lobby will remain closed through April 30. Co-op employees will continue to work from home. Field employees, including lineworkers, will continue to focus on tasks related to the continuity of electric service, such as outage restoration. Simply put, the co-op’s current status will remain unchanged until further notice. 

We understand that the extension of the stay home order will continue to place members under financial strain. If you’re struggling to pay your electric bill, we highly encourage you to do two things:  

  • Call our member services department at (231) 486-9200 to speak with a representative. We want to work with you to find a solution, including setting up payment plans. 
  • Seek financial assistance through local agencies. Given the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services has lightened the qualification restrictions for receiving assistance. To seek assistance, you must first apply with the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services as soon as possible. Visit www.michigan.gov/mibridges or call (844) 464-3447 to learn more.

Remember that we are continually monitoring the pandemic and responding accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.  

UPDATE – April 3, 2020, 2:40 p.m.

UPDATE – March 27, 2020, 2:30 p.m.

UPDATE – March 23, 2020, 4:45 p.m.

In response to Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, we are taking additional measures to safeguard our employees and the public.

First, it’s important to remember that the State recognizes that utilities such as Cherryland provide critical services and need to continue to operate. We’re not going anywhere.

In addition to the measures we’ve already taken, including closing our lobby to the public and having employees work from home, we are asking our lineworkers and field employees to focus solely on tasks related to the continuity of electric service, such as outage restoration. This means that current and pending construction projects could will be delayed. If you have questions regarding a specific project, contact the assigned engineer. And as a reminder, if you see a Cherryland lineworker or field employee, we ask that you adhere to good social distancing practices and do not approach them.

Line crews will remain on-call to respond to any power outages or emergencies. You can report your outage via text, through SmartHub, or by calling us at 231-486-9200. Visit our website’s Outage Center to learn more.

UPDATE – March 23, 2020, 4:00 p.m.

Cherryland has taken proactive steps to provide relief to consumer-members experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes temporarily modifying billing policies that may affect you.

Here’s what you need to know:

• We’ve suspended shutoffs for non-payment until May 15, 2020. Note that past due notices will still appear on your monthly bill. This is necessary if you choose to apply for financial assistance.

• We’re also waiving late fees beginning with bills that will generate on or after April 8, 2020.

• If you’re struggling to pay your electric bill, call our member services department at (231) 486-9200 to speak with a representative. We want to work with you to find a solution, including setting up payment plans.

• If you wish to seek financial assistance through local agencies, you must first apply with the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services as soon as possible. Visit www.michigan.gov/mibridges or call (844) 464-3447 to learn more.

• During this time, we encourage you to pay what you can on your electric bill to avoid a high balance when we return to our normal billing policies. You can pay your bill online through SmartHub, via our automated phone system at (877) 833-3277, by mail, or via our bill pay kiosk outside our Grawn office.

We are continually monitoring the pandemic and responding accordingly.

UPDATE – March 20, 2020, 3 p.m.

UPDATE – March 13, 2020, 2 p.m.

UPDATE – March 13, 2020, 1:30 p.m.

In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have chosen to take precautionary measures and close the lobby of our Grawn office to the public beginning Monday, March 16.

Here’s what you need to know:

Why is the lobby closed?

Our employees’ well-being is our top priority. We want to take all available precautions to ensure that our employees stay healthy and we can continue providing reliable service to our consumer-members.

How long will the lobby be closed?

We have scheduled the lobby to reopen to the public on Monday, April 6.

Will the closure affect Cherryland’s day-to-day operations?

The closure will have minimal effect on our day-to-day operations.

What additional measures is the co-op taking to protect employees?

We have instituted several measures to safeguard our employees against any potential illness. This includes equipping our employees to perform the majority of their duties from home, cancelling all non-essential business travel, and asking employees to report personal travel and to impose self-quarantines for 14 days following any out-of-state travel.

Will the closure affect your power outage and emergency response?

No, line crews will remain on-call to respond to any power outages or emergencies. You can report your outage via text, through SmartHub, or by calling us at 231-486-9200. Visit our website’s Outage Center to learn more.

Can I still manage my account and pay my bill?

Yes, you can still manage your account online via SmartHub and pay your electric bill in several ways, including online via SmartHub, by phone, by mail, and via our bill pay kiosk at our office.

What should I do if I’m experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and struggling to pay my electric bill?

Cherryland is currently suspending all disconnects for non-pay until April 15 and will be evaluating next steps as this situation unfolds. If you are experiencing financial hardship and having difficulty paying your electric bill, we want to work with you to find a solution, including, if applicable, making financial arrangements, directing them to agencies, offering our energy efficiency expertise, etc. We ask that if you are experiencing financial hardship that you stay in contact with us.

Will the closure affect my new service request, pending service orders, etc.?

We do not anticipate any interruptions. The Cherryland engineer assigned to your project will contact you and provide updates as needed.

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will address the challenges as they occur. But know that, in the face of any challenge, we are here to keep the lights on. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.