The Evolving Pedernales Electric Cooperative
In January of 2006, I began an effort to bring about reform of my electric coop, from a good-ol'-boy run, secretive, corrupt organization, to a truly democratic, truly cooperative organization that works for the benefit of its member/owners. I was joined along the way by a group of smart, savvy reformers and we have achieved a good deal of success. Archived here are the articles, images and video clips that I have posted on this site over those past few years. The more recent the post, the closer it is to the bottom.


June 17, 2006

This afternoon, Annie and I attended the PEC's Annual Meeting in Johnson City. The meetings are basically pro forma affairs, staged for the appearance of democracy at this very undemocratically run organization- The meetings are huge grabfests populated by mostly senior citizens, there to try for one of the many doorprizes. It so happens that at this meeting, this senior citizen (yours truly) was the big winner of a $300 gift certificate to (are you ready for this?) Wal-Mart, the Beast of Bentonville, the store I never go near. Oh well, if I don't use it I'll be giving the Beast 300 bucks so use it I will. For an overview of my recent research into the workings of PEC, as well as a review of the meeting, please check out Ric's PEC Report.

And here's another bit of distressing news about PEC. San Antonio Express-News reporter Roddy Stinson, while following up on a lead and trying to get some information, was stonewalled by the PEC. This made him mad so he requested and got the PEC's IRS records. Read Roddy's article from January 24, 2007 here.


June 16, 2007

This year's PEC annual meeting got pretty roudy as citizens rose up to demand more democracy and transparency at the coop. Led by a coalition of dissatisfied owner-members organized as PEC4U (website at, the PEC management and board were bombarded with considerable dissent, both verbally and in the ballot box.

On the right, neighbor Hillary Hart gets serious as she presents some of the dissenters' demands (photo by Mara Eurich).

For lots more info and pix, please go to the PEC page.

Hillary Hart testifies at PEC annual meeting 6-16-07

PEC sign in lights


December 24, 2007

Last night, as Annie and I drove through Johnson City, we were practically blown out of the car by a blast emanating from PEC's headquarters. It was a Las Vegas-like city of lights that glowed brighter than the nearly full moon. Here's more.


January 25, 2008

On January 21st, the Pedernales Electric Coop met, possibly for the first time, in a session open to the members. The Board sat patiently (if a little bored) and listened to each member who wanted to address them. The meeting was held at the PEC's training and meeting center, the "River Palace" and over 50 member-owners were in attendance to testify and/or observe. The almost unanimous member request was that the current Board resign immediately. This well-paid yes-man board is not about to do that.

Toward the end, they made a show of passing the new bylaws revisions. When someone questioned them as to whether that vote was even on the agenda, they mumbled something like "here it is down at the bottom - board business." Then they adjourned to executive session (probably to snicker about how they had bamboozled us again).

These people are either truly crafty, creating this act of innocent ignorance, or they are truly clueless. Either way, they all need to go and probably should give back the money that they have been collecting under false pretenses for so long.

Claudia Grisales has, up to now, done a great job of covering the unfolding of this story in the Austin American Statesman. Unfortunately, her piece reporting on this meeting left a lot unsaid. Claudia's articles, as well as most of the other media coverage that the scandal has received, can be found at The Statesman has also published a lot of letters to the editor from irate PEC members. On January 13th, they printed this one by yours truly. A pretty good summary of the 1/21/08 meeting was published in the Johnson City and Blanco papers by Jodi Lehman. Here is the text of that article. And, in case you want to review the proceedings for yourself, I videotaped the event and have posted the entire 77 minute meeting on line. You can watch the Windows Media video here.


February 18, 2008

This afternoon, the Board of Directors of the Pedernales Electric Coop made another effort at the appearance of transparency by holding their monthly meeting in their auditorium, where there is room for members to attend and witness the proceedings. Again, while taking baby steps in the right direction, this Board still doesn't get it. In my opinion, they embarass themselves with their ignorance of issues and paucity of substance. But7 don't take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. The Windows Media video is in two parts. Part 1 is the Board's business, which consists mostly of trivia. Part 2 is the "citizen communications" part in which members speak out.


April 11, 2008

Our favorite electric coop has been all over the news for some time now. Claudia Grisales has written extensively about the organization's Board and management's shenanigans. She has done a great job of shining light on the scandal for a wide audience to see. But out in the Hill Country, several reporters have also done great work, writing in local, small town newspapers. Notable among those small town heros (and heroines) is Jodi Lehman, who writes for the Horseshoe Bay Beacon. Jodi has an interesting perspective, being both a reporter and an attorney. She gets it and pulls no punches. Reproduced here are 3 of Jodi's recent articles. Two of them were from April 3rd - both covering the March 27th hearing held by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. The first article is a very complete look at the hearing and all of its drama. The second focuses on the fact that the PEC Board will only allow the private (and expensive) Navigant audit as opposed to a state audit, which would be preferred by just about everyone else. The third article appeared April 10th and covers the lawsuit settlement and how we members of PEC will be stuck with a hefty bill to pay off the lawyers on both sides of the litigation, partially because the Board's insurance company refused to pay the entire claim. Hmmm, now why would they do that?

Senator Fraser chews out PEC Board members at Senate Business an Commerce Committee hearing
At the Senate Business and Commerce Committee hearing on March 27th, Senators Troy Fraser (gesturing) and Leticia Van De Putte (in red) gave a tough grilling to PEC Board members with the guts to show up.


March 17, 2008

This afternoon, the Board of Directors of the Pedernales Electric Coop held their third open monthly meeting in their auditorium. At least they are letting members attend, listen in (at least to the part that is not "executive session") and speak. If they are actually listening to what members say, that is great. Once again, I videotaped the meeting and have posted it as Windows Media streaming videos. Part 1 is the Board's business. Part 2 is board business continued, followed by "citizen communications" in which members speak out. Part 3 is more members.