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PEC shines light on 85 years

PEC

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is celebrating 85 years of providing electricity to Central Texas residents. PEC archive photo

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is celebrating 85 years of providing Hill Country residents with electricity. The cooperative was established on May 19, 1938.

PEC will host a variety of events in the fall to mark the anniversary, including birthday parties with seniors turning 85. PEC is also asking members with historical items, photos, old electric bills, stories, and other PEC-related memorable to share them with the cooperative for its archives.

The co-op was founded by then-U.S. Rep. Lyndon B. Johnson and area rancher E. “Babe” Smith to provide rural Central Texans with electricity in a time when more than 90 percent of rural homes in the area were without power. 

“LBJ spoke for every person who has ever served as part of the PEC team when he once said, ‘Of all the things I have ever done, nothing has given me as much satisfaction as bringing power to the Hill County of Texas,’” CEO Julie C. Parsley said in a media release. “Serving our members is our highest privilege, and we’re grateful to be part of their lives.”

Over the past 85 years, PEC has ballooned into the largest electric cooperative in the nation, serving more than 1 million Central Texans.

“PEC was created by Hill Country Texans to provide safe, reliable, and low-cost power to our communities, and we have been focused on that mission ever since,” Parsley said. “As we look back at 85 years of serving our members and energizing their communities, we are proud to have brought Central Texas to light. We are also looking forward to the future and our next 85 years of faithful service.”

To learn more, visit pec.coop or email PECHistory@peci.com.

PEC TIMELINE

PEC archive photo

July 1938: PEC has roughly 3,000 paid memberships, meeting the guidelines of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) loan requirements.

September 1938: The REA grants PEC a loan of about $1.3 million to construct about 1,800 miles of lines to serve nearly 3,000 families.  

January 1939: The very first PEC headquarters is built in Johnson City.

October 1939: The first section of PEC’s 1,800-mile transmission line is energized through a substation in Bertram, and 422 members in Burnet County and Smith receive electricity for the first time.

October 1959: PEC installs streetlights in Lago Vista, making the town the first rural community in the country to have street illumination.

October 1999: PEC begins its scholarship program. The program has awarded more than $1.4 million of scholarship funds to local students seeking higher education.

January 2000: Y2K does not effect service to any member’s home.

July 2000: PEC merges with Kimble Electric Cooperative in Junction, doubling the cooperative’s service territory.

December 2006: PEC launches the Power of Change Program, which has provided more than $575,000 of funding for community grants and nonprofits in the Hill Country.

December 2017: Membership reaches 300,000 active accounts.

December 2017: PEC hires Julie C. Parsley to become the cooperative’s first woman CEO.

editor@thepicayune.com