Effective January 1, 2011, Horry Electric Cooperative electric bill payments will no longer be accepted at Horry Telephone’s location in Little River. “We’re vacating the space Horry Telephone has graciously shared with us for the past several years, but that doesn’t mean the end of a local paystation option for our members in that area,” says Danny Shelley, chief financial officer for Horry Electric. “On December 1 of this year, Conway National Bank, which is located right next door to HTC’s office, will begin accepting Horry Electric bill payments.”
“We would eventually like to build a district office in that part of the county, but it just hasn’t been economically feasible for us to do it,” says James P. “Pat” Howle, executive vice president and CEO of Horry Electric. “We considered ourselves very fortunate when HTC offered space to us in their original Little River location at the Food Lion shopping center on Highway 9 and we were equally thrilled when HTC invited us to move with them when they built and opened their office across from Bell&Bell Pontiac in 2005.
Putting off construction of a district office in the Little River/Longs area has been and continues to be among many cost-cutting measures taken by the Cooperative during the past few years. “Maintaining space and personnel in Horry Telephone’s office is an additional expense, but we needed to be able to offer members a convenient option in that area and it was less expensive than building something on our own,” says Shelley. On average, about 4,000 members take advantage of making an electric bill payment, in person, at the HTC office each month.
The change will be effective January 1. “It will be business as usual for us at the HTC office throughout the final two months of this year,” says Shelley. “Conway National will begin accepting payments on December 1 and then they will be the official paystation for us in that part of the county on January 1,” he adds.
In the meantime, Horry Electric will be making sure everyone in the area knows about the change. “The nearly 4,000 members we see each month have gotten used to being able to go to the HTC office to do business with us and we want to make sure they know we are not completely abandoning them,” says Jodi L. Braziel, office manager for Horry Electric. “They will still have a local option when it comes to paying their electric bill in person.”
“In addition to notifying members through traditional media and communications outlets, signs will be posted at the counter and at the drive-through at HTC’s Little River office,” says Shelley. “We’ll also make a point of making sure they see the sign and will send them home with a flyer so their family members will also be aware,” he adds. All the signs will be posted on November 1, which gives the Cooperative two full months to make sure the change is communicated to the members who will be impacted.
“The employees who have worked in that office over the years are sad to see our physical presence there end, but they’re thankful Conway National Bank will be filling the void by continuing to provide the service,” says Braziel, adding that Conway National provided the same convenience for members in the Aynor area since June of 2006. “In the Loris area, members have the option of using the local branch office of The National Bank of South Carolina (NBSC) on Main Street.”