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PEC board considers rate increase

PEC Bill Component Summary

A Pedernales Electric Cooperative chart shows the breakdown of a member’s average bill of $149.71. The yellow part of the chart shows the aspects that can fluctuate and increase or decrease a bill each month. That’s the Market Influenced part of the bill, which has increased in the past three years from 50 percent of a member’s average bill to 63 percent of the bill. The average increase will be about $8.75 a month if approved by the PEC board in August. Courtesy image

Electric rates could increase by 6.2 percent starting Oct. 1 for Pedernales Electric Cooperative members, but bills would not change that much. If approved by the Board of Directors in August, the average member’s bill will increase by about $8.75 a month for base power costs, while the temporary surcharge added to bills two years ago to pay the costs of Winter Storm Uri will cycle off. The average for that addition to the bill was $8-$12 a month. 

“This increase is to recover the cost to buy power,” said PEC Chief Financial Officer Randy Kruger at the July 21 board meeting. “There is a high correlation between natural gas and energy costs because gas is the marginal fuel in our market and that cost has tripled over time.” 

The cost of natural gas rose from $9 billion in 2020 to $32 billion in 2022. 

“That power supply component bill, because of the increasing power supply cost, has gone from about 50 percent of our cost structure to now about 60 percent of our cost structure,” Kruger said. “It is driven by market forces. We have less control over it, although we can manage some of it in the way we contract, but it can be a challenge.” 

Directors heard a draft resolution presentation during their July meeting to increase the flat base power charge to $0.058500 per kilowatt-hour beginning Oct. 1 from the current rate of $0.044500 per kilowatt-hour. 


The Board of Directors elected new officers. Mark Ekrut will remain president for another year, while Paul Graf was named vice president, replacing Milton Rister. Graf is leaving his previous post as secretary/treasurer, which will be filled by Travis Cox. 

Board members also submitted their conflict-of-interest certifications and disclosure forms. The information in quotation marks is exactly what is written on each form: 

  • Milton Rister, District 1 — “Nancy Rister (wife) County Clerk Williamson County”
  • Emily Pataki, District 2 — “board director, BitNile Metaverse Inc. (formerly EcoArk Holdings), a publicly traded company with subsidiaries involved in energy ad bitcoin mining”
  • President Mark Ekrut, District 3 — “none to disclose”
  • Secretary/Treasurer Travis Cox, District 4 — “none to disclose”
  • James Oakley, District 5 — “none to disclose”
  • Vice President Paul Graf, District 6 — “consulting engineer on projects which require contact with other utilities, including other cooperatives (no projects inside of PEC)”
  • Amy Ackers, District 7 — Her form was not available at the time of the meeting and will be included in the August agenda packet, according to PEC General Counsel Don Ballard.

The board adjourned to executive session after about an hourlong public meeting.