FlexPay Program

Our FlexPay prepaid program is a “pay as you go” program and an alternative to standard monthly billing. This completely optional program works a lot like a prepaid phone or debit card. You put money into your account, and as you use electricity each day, the amount you use is deducted from your account balance. The FlexPay program allows participants to avoid deposits and monthly bills, customize their payment schedule, purchase electricity when it is convenient for them and monitor their own usage.

Why chose FlexPay?

  • The ability to pay down a debt balance while still receiving electric service

  • New accounts only pay $100 plus normal required service charges

  • Avoid $500 deposit requirement for standard billing

  • No unpleasant surprises in high usage months

  • See your actual usage in kWh and dollars on a daily basis to better manage your electricity usage and budget

Managing Your FlexPay Account

It all starts with the smart meter on your home that measures your electricity usage. Your smart meter sends electricity usage reports to FBEMC, and we can either call you with an automated voice message or send you an email or a text message to let you know how much money is left in your account. You can add more money to your account anytime with cash, credit card or check. If your FlexPay account balance goes negative you will receive a pending disconnect notice from FBEMC. FBEMC must receive a payment before 9:00AM the next day or your electric service will be disconnected. If your service is disconnected you do not have to pay a reconnect fee but you must pay enough to cover the minimum $25 FlexPay balance, the $1 transaction fee, any unpaid electricity used and the debt payback percentage if you have a debt balance.

Getting Started

Click the buttons below for printable versions of the French Broad Membership Application and FlexPay Service Agreement. Both forms must be completed and signed in order to initiate service.

FBEMC Membership Application
Flex Pay Service Agreement
Contact Billing Department
How much payback should I expect from solar generation?2021-10-28T14:53:32-05:00

There are several factors that play into the generation of a solar array and the overall return on your investment.

  • Cost of the system
  • Tax incentives
  • Renewable energy credits
  • Kilowatt hour cost
  • Size and location of the system

Example: A3 Kw system costing $9,000 would currently be eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Assuming you generate 350 kilowatts on average each month, you could reduce your electric bill about $460 annually. Your investment after tax credits for the above scenario would be $6300.00 and you could get $460.00 value annually for a payback of 13.7 years.

How much energy does FBEMC buy from renewable generation customers?2021-10-28T14:48:20-05:00

Currently, there are nearly 100 FBEMC member owned renewable energy generation sites generating 725,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This is equivalent to the amount of power used by 80 homes. The Capitola Hydro plant in Marshall and the Buncombe County Landfill are not included in these numbers.

What should I do first to install a solar system?2021-10-28T14:44:42-05:00

Jumping into the world of solar options? Let us be a resource for you.

  1. Contact French Broad EMC for a consultation. Our energy services experts can provide you with monthly, daily, and hourly usage data to help you understand your electrical usage requirements. We can also help you compare solar payback vs investments in energy efficiency and conservation measures. You’ll need to complete the distributed generation application and interconnection agreements which contains detailed information on the requirements to safely operate a solar panel that is connected to French Broad EMC’s distribution system.
  2. Second, we highly advise in dealing with a local, reputable dealer in our area. There are several local companies that have been providing solar systems in our area for a long time, they stand by their products, and work with FBEMC so that everyone benefits.
Do I have to buy new phones?2021-10-08T15:06:32-05:00

No. Any home phone is compatible with our service.

Does the phone system work with medical alert devices?2021-10-08T15:03:38-05:00

It depends on the medical alert system you use:

  • Many medical alert systems work seamlessly with a VoIP service (like ours)
  • Some will send you an adapter for VoIP phone service
  • Some will not currently integrate with a VoIP service

Please check with your medical alert service provider to confirm its compatibility with VoIP phone service.

Does the phone system work with home security systems?2021-10-08T14:59:56-05:00

It depends on which system you have:

  • Many security systems work seamlessly with a VoIP service (like ours)
  • Some will send you an adapter for VoIP phone service
  • Some will not currently integrate with a VoIP service

Check with your security system provider to confirm its compatibility with VoIP phone service.

Will I have a local phone number?2021-10-08T14:53:27-05:00

Yes. If you do not plan to transfer (port) an existing phone number, we will provide you a new local number.

Can I keep my existing phone number?2021-10-08T14:50:22-05:00

You sure can. We can port your existing number to French Broad Fiber phone service. The porting process generally takes 7-10 business days to complete. When you sign up for service, let us know if you want to keep your existing number. You will then be required to sign the “Letter of Agency” form giving us permission to port your number. Please DO NOT cancel service with your existing phone provider until AFTER we have ported your number to our service.

Do long distance calls cost extra?2021-10-08T15:07:24-05:00

No way! All French Broad Fiber Phone lines include unlimited US long distance in all 50 states and Canada. We do NOT offer international calling, so you will need to use a calling card if you need to make international calls (other than to Canada).

How do I run a speed test?2021-10-08T14:41:15-05:00

Quick Notes:

  • Speed tests depend on many factors including: network traffic from your connected devices, other traffic from your computer, traffic on the site hosting the test, etc.
  • Speed limitations:
    • WiFi – 2.4GHz will deliver a max speed of 70-80Mbps
    • WiFi – 5GHz will deliver a max speed of 300-500Mbps
    • Hardwired connection (via ethernet cable) can deliver 1Gbps of bandwidth to a device.
  • Range effect: distance and materials between the router and the wirelessly connected device weaken the connection strength which causes proportionate deterioration of speed.
  • Device limitations: Age and processing power of the device play a role, and testing at 1Gbps is unlikely unless you are using a fairly new computer.
  • Notable speed or connectivity problems are most commonly issues with wireless devices involving interference or range.
  • For additional tips to maximize the performance of your service please see our WiFi Tips sheet.
Run Speed Test
What can I do to increase my Wi-Fi range/strength?2021-10-08T14:43:49-05:00

If you are having issue with signal strength in an area of the your home first make sure your router’s immediate surroundings are clear of any electronic devices. (E.G. If your router is sitting behind your TV, the Wi-Fi signal will not pass through in that direction well.) Home size, building materials, and layout, can also impact signal strength.

We can offer a mesh device, which will pair with your router in order to put out the same Wi-Fi signal from a secondary point.

This device can connect to the router wirelessly (in which case it needs to be located in a midway point between the router and area with poor signal strength) or via ethernet cable. It provides a seamless handoff between connection points when devices move throughout the house. A mesh unit is $5 per month, there is no contract, and we can help with the setup and troubleshooting. Call us with questions or to request a mesh unit.

Why is my movie or show stopping mid-video (buffering)?2021-10-08T15:12:21-05:00

1: The most common cause of buffering when using a streaming device (Roku, Firestick, etc.) or Smart TV is the device itself.

Test: Try using a different device in the same room (computer, tablet, phone) to watch any video while your program is buffering. If you can watch a video in the same location on one device and not another, it is generally safe to assume the issue is with the device.

Solution: Unplug the streaming device from the power outlet and the TV (if Smart TV, just unplug it from the outlet). Leave it disconnected for at least 45 seconds then plug in and try again once the device boots up.

2: Streaming services occasionally have issues.

Test: If you can play a video on one streaming service (Youtube TV) and not on another (Netflix) using the same device, then it generally a temporary issue with the streaming service.

Solution: Restart the streaming app | restart the streaming device | uninstall & reinstall the streaming app. These steps may help with a streaming service glitch.

3: There may be a router issue.

Test: If your video is buffering check at least one other device at the same time to see if it performs tasks online as expected. If the issue is happening on more than one device assume a WiFi or router issue.

Solution: Unplug the router from the power outlet. After 45 seconds, plug it back in and allow 5 minutes for it to reboot, then try again.

If these steps to not solve the buffering problem, give us a call for help troubleshooting.

What is my WiFi password?2021-09-30T15:50:45-05:00

If you have not requested a custom password to be set up, be sure to use the 16 character long WPA Key on the sticker on your router.

Note: The 8 character long password at the bottom of the sticker is only used for logging in to change router settings.

Why doesn’t my device show the option to connect to 5GHz?2021-09-30T15:10:10-05:00

Many older Wi-Fi devices do not have the 5GHz radios built in, so they must be connected via 2.4 GHz. If your device has the 5GHZ radios but you’re still not able to see the network, there is a chance it may be out of the 5GHz range. Higher frequency translates to shorter range. This means 5GHz frequencies do not penetrate solid objects as well as 2.4GHz which limits their reach inside homes.

Is my router putting out 5G?2021-09-30T15:11:34-05:00

No. 5G (5th Generation cellular service) is sometimes confused with the 5GHz (5 Gigahertz WiFi frequency) because of their abbreviations, but they are not the same.

What are 2.4 and 5 Ghz?2021-09-30T17:08:40-05:00

2.4Ghz and 5Ghz are the two different Wi-Fi frequencies that your router sends out to give you the best of both worlds.

● BANDWIDTH: 5GHz can typically pass more data and handle more connected devices at once. We recommend connecting stationary devices that are close to the router to the 5GHz when possible.

● RANGE: The higher frequency of the 2.4GHZ helps it penetrate through materials better, which usually means a strong connection from farther away from the router compared with 5GHz.

● SPEED: If you have the Fast Fiber service, both frequencies can achieve your top speed of 25Mbps. If you have the GigaFast Fiber service the 5GHz is capable of delivering speeds several times that of the 2.4GHz.

● INTERFERENCE: Network interference usually resides in the 2.4GHz space (since more household devices use this frequency) so by using the 5GHz
frequency interference is mostly negated.

Will I be notified about internet & phone service availability?2021-10-06T14:10:56-05:00

Yes! FBEMC will send a notification by mail (to the billing address we have on file) when fiber services are available in your area. Even if your area shows as “Under Construction” on our Coverage Map, or you’ve seen our crews working on fiber infrastructure on your road, service may not be available to your home quite yet. This notification will include the required internet service agreement.

Is Fiber Internet & Phone Available In My Area?2021-10-06T14:12:35-05:00

Check our Fiber Coverage Area Map for a visual reference of areas currently served and those under construction.

Why Is French Broad Fiber Internet Not Available In My Area?2021-10-06T14:12:17-05:00

While FBEMC already has a substantial backbone to serve fiber Internet in Madison County we must build the new network to each individual neighborhood in order to deliver service. This process takes some time, but our long term goal is to cover all of our members in Madison County!

Do I Need My Own Wi Fi Router?2021-10-06T14:11:14-05:00

No! We provide you with a high quality wireless router at installation for no additional charge. Our router connects directly to our fiber network and uses both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless frequencies to ensure the highest performance and coverage possible. The router also comes with 4 wired network ports so you can connect directly to any of your devices if necessary.

Does French Broad Fiber Provide An Email Account?2021-10-06T14:11:33-05:00

No. We do not offer email service to keep our costs as low as possible and because there are so many great FREE email services already available. We recommend Gmail, but other quality services include Outlook.com and YahooMail.

Does French Broad Fiber Have Data Caps or Monthly Limits?2019-10-22T18:22:03-05:00

No! Our service offers truly unlimited data, so your connection will always be the same speed throughout the month no matter how much you use your service. There are NEVER any overage charges, you only pay the fixed monthly cost for your chosen level of service.

Speed Test Results Too Low?2021-09-30T15:33:00-05:00

All advertised speeds are “UP TO” advertised speed and are not guaranteed (especially over WiFi). For detailed info on how speedtests work and and improving your speedtest results, checkout the article HERE

Speedtest Notes:

  • Speedtests depend on many factors including: network traffic from your connected devices, other traffic from your computer, traffic on the site hosting the test, etc.
  • Speed limitations:
    • WiFi – 2.4GHz will deliver a max speed of 70-80Mbps
    • WiFi – 5GHz will deliver a max speed of 300-500Mbps
    • Hardwired connection (via ethernet cable) can deliver 1Gbps of bandwidth to a device.
  • Range effect: distance and materials between the router and the wirelessly connected device weaken the connection strength which causes proportionate deterioration of speed.
  • Device limitations: Age and processing power of the device play a role, and testing at 1Gbps is unlikely unless you are using a fairly new computer.
  • Notable speed or connectivity problems are most commonly issues with wireless devices involving interference or range.
  • For additional tips to maximize the performance of your service please see our WiFi Tips sheet.

If you have reviewed the info above and think there are issues causing your service to under-perform, please give us a call for troubleshooting. Be aware that requesting a technician visit for onsite speedtesting will result in a service charge.

How Is Fiber Different Than Other Broadband Services?2019-10-22T17:08:05-05:00

Fiber Internet is the gold standard for residential and business Internet connections. Fiber offers much faster speeds over longer distances than traditional copper-based technologies like DSL and cable.  Data is sent on fiber optic cables via pulses of light, so the signal is very fast. Unlike other “high-speed” platforms, you’re not sharing bandwidth with others outside of your home. So it doesn’t matter what your neighbors are watching, playing, or doing; you have your very own high-speed highway coming right into your home. Whether you’re watching a movie on Netflix or video chatting with family across the globe, with the right equipment to support your fiber-speed connection, your experience will be seamless and quick. Fiber also offers the lowest latency available so gamers will enjoy a higher quality connection with less jitter and lag.

What is VOIP Phone?2019-09-12T18:07:06-05:00

VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocal, is the software and hardware that enables the use of the internet to transmit telephone calls.  We offer our fiber customers a VOIP option as a replacement for a traditional landline.

Does FBEMC offer TV Services?2020-11-06T15:06:26-05:00

We do not offer TV services or packages. However, many members utilize our internet service to switch from traditional satellite or cable TV to third party internet based TV “streaming” services. Note that a streaming device (Roku, Fire Stick, etc.) is required to use these services on each TV unless it is a smart TV. Click HERE for the easiest way to compare streaming service options and pricing.

What is Fiber-Optics?2019-09-11T16:37:27-05:00

Fiber is a thin glass wire that transfers light (or optical) signals, rather than electrical signals transferred by copper wire. We use our growing fiber optic network to serve members with incredibly fast and reliable internet and VOIP phone service. Click HERE for more info on what FBEMC does with fiber and see if you are in our expanding network area.

What is a kilowatt hour (kWh)?2019-09-11T16:26:50-05:00

A kWh is a measure of energy use. It is equivalent to the amount of energy a 1,000 watt appliance would use in the course of an hour.

How Do I Report An Outage?2021-11-16T14:33:05-05:00

Our metering system automatically notifies us when power is out and repair crews are dispatched. We make all efforts to respond as quickly as possible to any outage whether it affects many members or just one home.

If your power outage is noted on our outage map, there is no need to report it. If it is not, please call the numbers below corresponding to the area in which you are located:

  • MADISON – (828)649-2051

  • MITCHELL – (828)688-4815

  • TN/MADISON – (800)222-6190

  • YANCEY – (828)682-6121

After 4:30 PM:

  • MADISON – (828)649-2051

  • MITCHELL/YANCEY – (828)682-6121

  • TN/MADISON – (800)222-6190

What Are Capital Credits?2019-09-12T18:31:08-05:00

Since FBEMC is a nonprofit organization, any money left over after paying expenses in a given year is credited to each member’s capital credit account, in proportion to the amount of electricity they purchased in that year. Capital Credits represent member equity or owner-ship in FBEMC. This money is reinvested into the electrical system and when finances allow it may be payed back to members. Click HERE to read more about how they are calculated and how refunds are re-paid.

How Do I Set Up Automatic Bank Draft?2019-08-08T13:32:19-05:00

Download the Automatic Bank Draft Form HERE and mail it in with a voided check.

How Can I See My Bill2021-10-08T19:04:13-05:00

To view your electrical usage, or bills, please login to our online bill pay website. You will need to click “Register Now” on the right side of the screen the first time you login. You can also download our mobile app using the links below. Learn more about our billing options HERE.

 

What is Net Metering?2019-08-05T16:01:51-05:00

Net Metering is the term we use for selling excess energy back to the utility from a solar system. It’s called “Net” metering because each month’s bill is the difference between the energy generated and the energy purchased from a utility company, at the current residential retail rate.

Will French Broad EMC purchase power from me?2019-08-05T15:54:54-05:00

Yes. Any residential or small commercial member can install a solar system and interconnect to our electric grid. Solar panels are connected directly back to French Broad EMC’s power lines through a meter and transformer. Each kilowatt generated is recorded on the meter and the total is calculated each month. The member is sent a billing statement showing the generation amount along with a check.

2019-09-27T18:13:14-05:00
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