Category Archives: Announcements

Membership participation strikes down resolution to make voter records public

A concerned membership outcry at PEC was the catalyst for the rescission of a resolution that would have opened member voting records to candidates. The argument for the release of the records was that it would allow candidates to better target known voters during a campaign. Director Scanlon introduced  RES-2014-79, quoting that she had reconsidered her previous vote. The rescission  passed on a 5-0-2 vote with member voting records remaining private.

When members learned of the passage of the first resolution, growing concerns regarding privacy were immediately voiced to some PEC Directors.  In the initial discussion, PEC’s General Counsel had also raised some cursory issues, including that of member privacy. While the idea may have had good intent, the unintended consequence and overall impact on PEC elections was considered too great.

Cooperative elections are not like governmental elections, where voter records are considered public. PEC elections are reserved for coop members only. PEC has very specific election procedures in place.  Member records are subject to Privacy Act protection and therefore should not be made public without member consent.

I am sharing this recent event to demonstrate how critical member involvement is.  PEC operates under a philosophy of openness and transparency to the maximum extent practicable. Executive Sessions are only used for sensitive matters that would be harmful to PEC if made public.

Developing and adopting policy seems like a simple and fairly mundane sort of task for boards for all sorts.  When the reforms at PEC began in 2008, incoming directors discovered out-of-date policies and other policies not compliant with standard business models.  The first few years of transformation have been spent on establishing better governance, instilling structure and discipline. It was critical to establish proper delegation of authority to executive management and staff. Most of all, it was essential to implement a fair and open election process that engages members.

The Board spent considerable time re-writing by-laws and also developing new election policies.  It was a high priority because the member lawsuit had just prevailed. It was time to retire the unfair and undemocratic election process that was in place.  At that time, a proxy voting methodology embraced the idea that members could vote as many times as they had meters.  The election system was board-controlled and members were blocked out.  That system had to be abandoned.

The new system is based on a “One man-one vote” concept and director nomination is by petition only. The election process is delegated to an independent third-party provider. In doing so, the election process is also protected from board and management intervention. The Board deemed it critical to regain member trust through a totally revised and transparent election process.

Your involvement in the life of PEC is critical. It is also critical to continue with our current philosophy and business model. We are now feeling the direct benefits of years of reforms and sound management. For the first time, PEC members will see a significant reduction in residential rates starting in Dec 2014. Click here to see my blog entry about the rate reduction.

On June 20, 2015, three director district positions — Districts 1, 6 and 7, will be put up to an at-large vote. Stay involved. Together, let’s keep up the good work.

PEC stands behind the new Hill Country Science Mill project in Johnson City

PEC remains focused on helping groom the skilled leaders of tomorrow.

The board stands behind the new Hill Country Science Mill. This new venture will soon open to the public in PEC’s hometown of Johnson City.

Children from school districts within a 100-mile radius of the town will have access to a state-of-the-art facility that includes, among many things, a 3D theater and a virtual autopsy exhibit using augmented reality technology.

The center is geared toward promoting science, math, engineering and technology careers to all.  I am 110% in support of this wonderful project, it fits in my vision of PEC as a partner and collaborator in education and community development.  The Mill is an extraordinary opportunity for our kids.  It was my pleasure attending the Mill’s soft opening on Saturday, Nov. 15, along with many other friends. Pass the word around. Talk to your children’s teachers, school administrators and mentors about it.

PEC members: Know your rights, get involved

All members of PEC will once again have an opportunity to get involved in an essential guiding principle of the cooperative model. That principle is the member democratic control, or the right for all members to choose their directors on the PEC board.

PEC is divided into 7 director districts.  Each member is assured to have a director who resides within their home district.  The Board of Directors must make decisions as a body and decide what is best for all PEC members without bias.  As PEC members, you can elect directors from Districts 1, 6 and 7 by simply voting in the upcoming PEC election on June 20, 2015.

You are assured a right to fair and open elections. Such rights were written into the PEC’s Articles of Incorporation. The elections are to be run by an independent third party, which the board cannot control.  Any member can run for a Director position if they meet the straightforward qualifications in the bylaws.

Why take the time to vote in this election?

Simple. The PEC directors form the board that makes decisions on your behalf. Their decisions affect the overall performance of the cooperative and therefore, affect you, as they impact the cost of power.

Make your voice heard by voting in every annual election. Stay involved and be informed about what is going on at PEC. The Board of Directors is accountable to you as a body, as is each director individually. Don’t be shy about asking questions. Should you want to contact me, please call me at (830) 693-6094 or via email at cristi@cristiclement.com.

The election cycle kicks in at the upcoming December 8 Board meeting. The overall election timeline will be adopted.

Beyond this meeting, here are some important benchmark dates:

  • January 20 2015 – Ballot information and candidate petitions will be posted on the pec.coop website
  • Candidate hopefuls will then begin obtaining signatures for nomination
  • April 6 2015 – Candidate hopefuls return petitions and other documents to PEC headquarters
  • April 20 2015 – The PEC Board will approve all candidates and any other ballot items
  • May 21 2015 – Ballots are mailed out to members and online voting activated
  • June 20 2015 – Onsite voting only and publication of election results.

I will make an attempt at contacting as many people as possible in coming weeks. Right here and through my Facebook page, I will keep you posted on current issues, advise you on my campaign progress and always answer any questions you may have. I believe this is an incredibly important election in the life of PEC.

We’ve come a long way since 2009 when I first was elected. Still, a tremendous transformation is underway and much work needs to be done. We have a very bright future ahead, if we keep on the constructive improvement path.

Together, we can keep it going!

Good news for PEC Members: Rates are going down

PECRateDecreaseJust in the eve of the holiday season 2014, PEC residential members will see a delivery charge reduction applied to their electric bills. The new rate of $0.02712 per kilowatt-hour is a significant decrease from the old rate of  $0.03212. The change results in a $5 savings for every 1,000 kwh used. PEC’s average monthly residential use is 1,275 kwh. Consequently, the majority of PEC’s residential members should see even greater savings on their bills. Rates reductions will be reflected in PEC electric bills prior to the end of this year.

This reduction was possible because of PEC’s aggressive focus on cost decreases and operational improvements. There are multiple moving parts that have to align perfectly before a rate reduction is implemented. This decision was carefully examined and was justified. It is the purpose of the board to find ways to pass some of the savings back to you, our members.

Also, we are pleased to announce that your capital credits distribution amount will also appear as a credit to your balance on your December bill.

Furthermore, the Cost of Service Study is currently underway and the end product will be a total redesign of our rate structure. Recommendations will be under review early in 2015. We are hoping to offer more customer choices such as consumption management, bill payment, time of use rates and many other features.

The PEC board has worked hard to organize finances and stayed focused on cost reduction. As such, we’ve kept an eye on debt obligation and expenses, and also implemented a plan to increase member equity from 17 percent to 35 percent within five years. PEC also has a mature capital credits program returning about $13 million to our members each year.

We are in the cost-reduction mode on many fronts and remain so.
Promises kept. Let’s keep positive progress going! It’s hard work but we can do it.

PEC power supplier LCRA dedicates new Ferguson power plant

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Aerial view of LCRA’s new Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant on Lake LBJ in Horseshoe Bay

 

Pedernales Electric Cooperative’s primary wholesale power supplier, the Lower Colorado River Authority, dedicated its new Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant on Lake LBJ in Horseshoe Bay Oct. 15. The new 540-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas power plant is producing power for the state’s electric grid as one of the newest and most efficient, reliable electricity generating facilities in Texas.

LCRA invited PEC Board directors and Co-op executives to the dedication ceremony for the new plant, which was constructed next to and replaces the original 420-megawatt Ferguson plant built in 1974.

“This is an advanced, world-class power plant,” said PEC Board President Dr. Patrick Cox. “Not only is it efficient and clean, but it is also in our service area. We commend LCRA for investing in local and environmentally responsible energy generation and for continuing to be a stable source of power for our members.”

As a distribution cooperative, PEC does not generate the power it sells to its members. The Co-op buys electricity from wholesale suppliers, with LCRA providing the majority at around 84 percent in 2013.

LCRA’s new Ferguson plant is among the most environmentally responsible power plants in Texas, producing 30 to 40 percent fewer emissions per megawatt-hour than the original plant and using only one-third of the water of a comparably sized steam plant. The greenhouse gas permit issued for the new plant by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 was the first permit to be issued under new federal rules requiring power plants to utilize the best available technology to reduce greenhouse gases.

The new plant also uses about 35 percent less fuel per megawatt-hour than the original plant and incorporates advanced technology that makes it capable of starting and ramping up quickly.​ In addition, the plant’s water intake velocity was reduced to lessen the impact on fish and other aquatic species. LCRA also made minimizing noise from the new plant a priority, including having sound-absorbing, engineered walls surround most of it.

The original Ferguson plant was taken off line in September 2013 and is being dismantled, and the site will be restored to its pre-construction condition with backfill, topsoil and bluebonnets.

At a glance: LCRA’s new Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant

  • Located on Lake LBJ in Horseshoe Bay.
  • Replaced the original 420-megawatt Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant next door.
  • Can generate 540 megawatts of power.
  • Produces 30 to 40 percent fewer emissions, uses 35 percent less fuel per megawatt-hour and uses about one-third less water than the original plant.
  • Construction generated about $25 million for the local community.
  • Groundbreaking took place on April 27, 2012, dedication was on Oct. 15, 2014, and completion is scheduled for the end of November 2014.

MONDAY, OCT 27, 6:00 PM–MEMBERS INVITED TO ENERGY PLANNING

PEC members invited to forum Monday, Oct. 27, on Integrated Resource Planning Development
The purpose of the Co-op’s IRP will be to describe the portfolio of energy resources that PEC plans to use to meet current and future needs for energy at the lowest reasonable cost to Co-op members.

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is currently developing a long-term integrated resource plan (IRP) and has hired independent consulting firm Burns & McDonnell to analyze the Co-op’s current and forecasted energy requirements and develop resource plan options for consideration by PEC’s Board of Directors.

The purpose of the Co-op’s IRP will be to describe the portfolio of energy resources that PEC plans to use to meet current and future needs for energy at the lowest reasonable cost to Co-op members. To complete the IRP, Burns & McDonnell will identify and examine PEC’s power supply, generation and conservation requirements while ensuring members continue to receive reliable, economical and sustainable service. Once completed, the IRP will help PEC establish a roadmap for ongoing power supply efforts.

On Oct. 27, PEC and Burns & McDonnell will host a member forum to outline the IRP process, answer related questions and gather member input. The forum will be held at PEC headquarters, 201 S. Ave. F in Johnson City, at 6 p.m. The event also will be streamed live atwww.pec.coop.

PEC members who have feedback regarding the IRP should send their name, service address, phone number and comments by midnight Nov. 3 to IRP@peci.com or to Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Attn: Integrated Resource Plan, P.O. Box 1, Johnson City, TX  78636.

More information on PEC’s integrated resource plan is available at www.pec.coop/IRP.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Member forum on PEC’s integrated resource plan
WHEN: Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, 6 p.m.
WHERE: PEC’s E. Babe Smith Headquarters Building
201 S. Ave. F
Johnson City, Texas
Also streamed live at www.pec.coop

Continue reading MONDAY, OCT 27, 6:00 PM–MEMBERS INVITED TO ENERGY PLANNING