|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.
ELECTRIC COOP NEEDS A JOLT
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
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
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.
ELECTRIC COOP "MEMBERS" CALL FOR DEMOCRACY
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 www.pec4u.org),
the PEC management and board were bombarded with considerable dissent, both verbally
and in the ballot box.
the right, neighbor Hillary Hart gets serious as she presents
some of the dissenters' demands (photo by Mara Eurich).
lots more info and pix, please go to the PEC
ELECTRIC COOP WASTES OWNER-MEMBERS' MONEY AND HURTS
THE ENVIRONMENT AT THE SAME TIME
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.
BOARD MEET TO "TURN OVER A NEW LEAF" - MEMBERS DEMAND
21st, the Pedernales Electric Coop met, possibly for the first
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.
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).
people are either truly crafty, creating this act of innocent
Either way, they all need to go and probably should give back
that they have been collecting under false pretenses for
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
has received, can be found at www.pec4u.org.
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
in the Johnson
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.
HAS ANOTHER "OPEN" MEETING
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
part in which members speak out.
LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT AND SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING
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?
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.
BOARD HAS THIRD OPEN MEETING (LOOKS LIKE IT'S BECOMING A HABIT)
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