Compared to annual meetings of old when members of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative gathered for festive picnics and games, the June 18 meeting at the public utility’s headquarters in Johnson City was a staid but informative affair. Last year’s annual meeting was worse. It excluded members due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a strange day indeed to hold our first annual meeting without our members last year,” said board President Emily Pataki at this year’s meeting. “I am glad we are all back together today.”
Considering the hardships the cooperative and its members faced over the past 12 months, including seven days of snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures in February that knocked out electricity and water throughout the service area, reports on growth, awards received, and feats accomplished included accolades and gratitude for jobs well done.
“Despite the difficulties of 2020, we had an excellent year,” Pataki said during her President’s Report. “We are anxious to put last year behind us, but it is important to reflect on the last 12 months, not only to remember the hardships we faced but to recognize the achievement.”
Included in those achievements, PEC:
- lowered rates to save members a total of $6 million a year despite increased power costs;
- added 34,000 new members;
- kept average outage times at 42 minutes systemwide;
- achieved the best record for the time it takes to restore outages in the cooperative’s history;
- members and employees raised more than $87,000 to assist small-power users during the pandemic;
- launched a new website to make it easier for members to access information and pay bills during pandemic;
- launched a curriculum-based energy-efficiency program for students and teachers stuck at home during the pandemic;
- and was named top workplace in San Antonio and Austin for 2020.
More accomplishments can be seen in a video titled “2020: A Year in Review.” It takes a look back at what the narrator of the three-minute film calls “one of the most challenging years in the cooperative’s 83-year history.”