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The $8 to $12 monthly surcharge PEC members began paying Oct. 1, 2021, could end sooner than the original 24 months set last fall. That’s if finances continue to follow a current upward trend, the Pedernales Electric Cooperative Board of Directors learned at its regular meeting Friday, Jan. 21. 

“We are on a path to recover storm charges at a faster pace than we expected,” said PEC Chief Financial Officer Randy Krueger at the meeting. “We are going to finish the year (2021) with $7 million more than we originally planned.”

The board approved the surcharge in September 2021 to cover the $181 million cost of the February 2021 winter storm. 

“If we continue with the amount we are running ahead currently, we maybe could cut off the (member surcharges) a couple of months early,” he continued. “As of today, we are on track to pull that off.” 

He warned, however, that increased interest rates and inflation are eroding some of the financial gain.

In the action items portion of the agenda, the board moved the March meeting to Thursday, March 24, six days later than regularly scheduled. The April meeting had been moved in action taken last year to April 14 because the third Friday in that month lands on Good Friday. 

In other business, the seven board members were asked to submit two names each from their districts to serve as a member and alternate on the election committee. Names must be submitted by Feb. 4. 

This year, the committee will vet candidates filing for two open seats: District 4, currently held by Travis Cox, and District 5, currently held by James Oakley. 

The election committee will meet April 6-7 with the second day only required if business is not completed April 6. Members are reimbursed for expenses, fed lunch, and paid $100 for each day that goes beyond one hour of service. The second day rarely lasts longer than an hour and is usually done by phone, according to PEC staff. 

Filing to run for the two seats opened Monday, Jan. 17. Members living in either district have until 5 p.m. March 28 to file for the election, which runs from May 18 to 5 p.m. June 10. Only members living in each district can vote in that district’s election. 

Results will be released June 14. Elected officials are seated at the annual meeting, which this year is set for 9 a.m. Friday, June 17. 

Terms are three years each. Directors are limited to four consecutive full terms for a total of 12 years. If re-elected, Oakley will be in his final term. Cox is ending his first term. 

Directors are paid a fixed monthly fee of $3,000. They must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, be a U.S. citizen, and be a cooperative member in good standing for at least one year before the election. Former co-op employees who want to run have to be out of the job for five years to be eligible. More details can be found online. 

Board candidates are nominated by petition, which must contain 50 verifiable signatures from PEC members who live in the nominee’s district. The process can be found online. Petition materials are also available online. Nomination materials also may be obtained by calling 888-554-4732, emailing election@peci.com, or visiting any PEC district office.  

The January meeting was shorter than usual with only one public comment and 12 action items — mostly draft resolutions to send board members to conferences and meetings — before the board went into executive session a little after 10 a.m. 

suzanne@thepicayune.com