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Lee County Electric Cooperative, a major electricity provider in Southwest Florida, announced Thursday it will start charging late fees and disconnecting customers for past-due bills in July, according to NBC2.

The company had used the past few months as a grace period for customers struggling to pay bills from the COVID-19 economic lockdown.

But in that time, LCEC lost out on at least $1 million, according to the company.

“We do not generate our own power, so we pay a power supplier. So we do need to have funds coming in so that we can make our payments going out,” said Karen Ryan with LCEC.

Ryan said LCEC is willing to be flexible with customers on late payments. They are encouraged to enroll in SmartHub to request payment extensions or call 239-656-2300 for assistance.