The Gift of Electricity, for Those in Need

“Kilowatt hours” could be one of the most welcomed gifts this holiday season for those having difficulty paying their electric bills, and the “elves” at La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) have initiated a program designed to assist with that gift of electricity.

At offices in both Durango and Pagosa Springs, the LPEA Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) have decorated festive Power of Giving Trees, adorned with ornaments that sport varying dollar amounts ($5 to $100). Community members are invited to select an ornament and bring it to the Customer Service window, and that dollar amount will be applied to the account of a fellow LPEA member challenged with paying their electric bill this season.

A few of the “Giving Tree” elves at LPEA.

“Any amount is valued,” said CSR Julie McIntyre, who initiated the idea with her fellow team members. “Being on the front lines every day, we do become aware of members who are in need. We wanted to try to do something to help.”

“It’s the ‘pay it forward’ concept,” added CSR Donna Arriza. “Or should we say ‘power it forward?’ No matter what, it’s giving from the heart, and helping our friends and neighbors.”

LPEA members contributing to the Power of Giving Tree will receive either an LED light bulb or LED nightlight for their generosity.

“Though LPEA has not raised its rates for 2018, other utilities have,” said Ron Meier, manager of engineering and member relations. “We know firsthand that many people are having difficulty with even the most basic of necessities. The gift of electricity is definitely one that can be used and appreciated, and it’s heart-warming to see our customer service representatives taking the initiative to help out our members.”

In addition to the Giving Tree, LPEA members can also make arrangements to assist specific family members or neighbors with their bills, as well as non-profit organizations, by applying credit to their LPEA accounts.

Gifts of any denomination are accepted at LPEA offices in Durango or Pagosa Springs during regular business hours. Contributions can be made anonymously.

“This doesn’t need to be something that happens just around the holidays,” added Meier. “We can make arrangements for regular monthly credits to any account of your choosing. It can be a gift that keeps on giving.”

LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, contact LPEA at 970.247.5786 or visit