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PEC dropping surcharge, raising rates

PEC staff, board members, and linemen

The Pedernales Electric Board of Directors pose with champion linemen who won a table full of trophies at a competition in July in Seguin. The photo was taken in front of PEC headquarters in Johnson City during the board’s regular meeting Aug. 18. The apprentices, journeymen, and barbecue cook-off champions earned a place in the national rodeo competition in Overland Park, Kansas, from Oct. 11-14. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Pedernales Electric Cooperative members will see both a decrease and an increase on their electric bills after Oct. 1, which should about even out. 

A two-year-old temporary surcharge to pay for around $100 million in damages from Winter Storm Uri, which hit Texas in February 2021, is timing out on Oct. 1. The surcharge added about $8 to $12 to monthly bills. However, the co-op’s Board of Directors approved a 6.2 percent rate increase on Friday, Aug. 18, raising bills by an average of $8.75 for 1,250 kilowatt hours (kWh).

PEC staff told the board at its July and August meetings that the increase was necessary due to market conditions out of the cooperative’s control.

“The cost of power supply since 2020 has tripled,” said PEC Chief Financial Officer Randy Kruger. “Nationally, power costs are going up by 20 percent; at the state level by 18 percent. PEC has remained relatively stable since 2020.” 

PEC is rated third out of 13 utilities in Texas for low-cost power. 

“Everybody is exposed to the same cost increases that are out of our control,” said District 5 Director James Oakley. “To me, being the third lowest out of 13, that says something about the efficiency we are able to operate under and still maintain a great response time and reliability.”

PEC Vice President of Markets David Thompson said members will be charged $0.058500 per kWh starting Oct. 1. Bills through Sept. 30 will reflect a rate of $0.044500 per kWh. 

“That’s well below the market impact,” he said. 

PEC plans to roll out systemwide notifications of the rate increase from late August through mid-September. Members with questions about their bills may call 888-554-4732.