Emily Pataki will remain president of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative board of directors. She was re-elected by fellow directors to a one-year term at the cooperative’s regular meeting June 18 at PEC headquarters in Johnson City. That meeting followed PEC’s annual meeting for members the same day.
Milton Rister will replace Amy Lea SJ Akers as vice president. He was replaced as secretary-treasurer by Mark Ekrut.
Three re-elected co-op board members were seated at the annual meeting just prior to the regular meeting. Re-elected were Akers, Rister, and Paul Graf.
The board heard a financial services report from Chief Financial Officer Randy Kruger, who focused on costs incurred during the seven-day winter storm in February and on the effects of growth in the cooperative’s service area, which covers parts of 24 counties.
“The storm cost $180 million,” Kruger said. “Before the storm, we added $400 million in liquidity for unforeseen financial events but also to fund our growth. We’ve had tremendous growth in our service area.”
With that in place, PEC avoided major financial issues faced by other cooperatives affected by the storm, such as Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc., which filed for bankruptcy to protect its members from high energy bills sent by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas after the storm.
“There’s a bill on the governor’s desk that helps those co-ops, but that’s not an option for us,” Krueger continued. “If you use that bill, you have to put a non-by-passable charge on members’ bills that could continue for 20 to 30 years.”
Instead, PEC will be able to work off its storm-related debt service over the next three years.
Next, the board heard an operations report from Chief Operations Officer Eddie Dauterive.
Applications for service have doubled, he said. Last year, only 20,000 applications for moves were received. He expects them to close at 40,000 by the end of the year.
“This is a lot of movement, a lot of families moving in and out of their homes,” he said. “These are the number of people in transition.”
Collections are now back to a pre-pandemic level, he continued. Fundraising efforts among PEC staff and members raised $87,000 in 2020 to help families out of work pay their electric bills.