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PEC pole replacement almost complete in Marble Falls area

PEC pole replacement in Meadowlakes

Pedernales Electric Cooperative workers install a single steel pole in Meadowlakes as part of a multimillion-dollar project to upgrade poles and lines in the Marble Falls area. Once each steel pole is in working order, crews will remove the two wooden poles seen here. Photo courtesy of PEC

The last of a multimillion-dollar project to replace two wooden transmission poles with a single steel pole and upgraded lines is nearing completion in the Marble Falls area, said Cody Luehfling, an engineer in Pedernales Electric Cooperative’s Transmission Development Department. The project began in 2018 and should be done by May 2022.

“These poles have a longer life span and less maintenance costs,” Luehfling said. “This will benefit the membership because PEC will spend less money on maintenance and inspections.”

The new poles can also handle more adverse weather. They require fewer guide wires, and those wires can hold larger loads. 

“One of the key drivers for this project is the growth in the area,” Luehfling continued. “Upgrading the wire size better serves the amount of load and future load.”

In 2021, PEC processed 40,909 new member applications and installed 18,627 new meters, a record high.

The total cost of the pole replacement project, which stretches 17 miles and connects existing substations at Wirtz Dam, Flatrock, and Paleface, is $10.7 million, which will not directly cost PEC members. It will be recovered through transmission cost of service pass-through charges, which average about $1.77 on each bill. The PEC board recently voted to have staff recalculate pass-through costs every six months instead of annually, which lowers the costs even more.

Transmission cost of service is passed along to the electric provider customers of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s grid. It is based on the actual cost of transmitting electricity to members and is regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

PEC plans to replace wooden H-structures with steel monopoles throughout its service area. The Marble Falls-area project now underway is the final one in the Highland Lakes. A project connecting Burnet and Bertram was finished in 2021. In 2020, poles were replaced between Wirtz Dam and Johnson City. 

The co-op is returning each location where poles have been removed and replaced to the same condition it was found, Luehfling said. 

“We know we are running across members’ property, and I want to assure everyone that we will restore the right of way to the condition it was in before we arrived,” he said. 

More information on the Wirtz-Flatrock-Palface project can be found on PEC’s website.

1 thought on “PEC pole replacement almost complete in Marble Falls area

  1. This is a superior upgrade, no doubt, except they are as tall as the Eiffel Tower. We need upgraded
    infrastructure everywhere but remember, it will be 3 times higher and wider. My best
    idea for the PEC and County is to keep the curb up appeal of all the homes in these cities affected. I saw the ones at Turkey Run and Mahan (Yikes!) all the way across the lake through Marble Falls and over the lake, they are behemoths! If they painted them wood or green with some metal paint, that would drown out their silvery, eye-popping glare and blend in well. Great work PEC, this is a huge job and these wooden poles snap so easy and they’re out-dated now. Can PEC or Burnet County get some paint for all the ones around homes in the Marbel Falls area? It will keep up integrity and curb appeal of this entire area. Add to the agenda, please, council people, paint the Eiffel’s! 🙂

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