SHREVEPORT, La. (KNWA/KFTA) — Southwestern Electric Power Co. announced Tuesday it will be waiving late fees and offering extended payment plans to help combat high bills due to increased demand and rising fuel costs.

According to a press release, all SWEPCO customers who enroll in the extended payment plan will have up to 12 months to pay their bill in full. In some cases, deposits can also be waived.

We understand customers are concerned about the rising cost of electricity across our region as we have experienced record-breaking heat this summer coupled with rising fuel costs. We want to give customers every opportunity to keep their electric service connected at home. These new measures will allow customers the ability to continue paying toward their electric bill while giving them peace of mind knowing they will remain connected to their service.

Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer

If you wish to get late fees and deposits waived, call 1-888-216-3523 to speak with a SWEPCO representative who can also help set up an extended payment plan.

SWEPCO says customers should be aware that the company is experiencing ongoing high call volumes. Customers who are current on their account can choose to make payment arrangements online by logging in at SWEPCO.com/Assist or over the phone.

These flexible options will be available to residential customers through Oct. 31:

Average Monthly Payment plan

Customers who are current on their bill can also sign up for our Average Monthly Payment plan, which can help spread the costs throughout the year, avoiding seasonal spikes. To sign up, visit SWEPCO.com/AMP.

Help a neighbor in need

Our Neighbor to Neighbor program offers customers who can lend a helping hand the opportunity to give to those who are experiencing financial hardships. Administered through the Dollar Energy Fund, customers can make a monthly donation of any amount on their monthly bill, providing eligible customers with a utility assistance grant directly to their own bill. To sign up, customers can visit our Neighbor to Neighbor Donation page.

The release says customers can also give directly to a family member, friend or neighbor in need through the Lighting Utility Voucher (LUV) program. The credit can be applied directly to the recipient’s account. Customers can visit SWEPCO.com/LUV to download the form and mail in their contribution using a check or money order.