Election guide for Pedernales Electric Cooperative board of directors

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The Perdernales Electric Cooperative provides electricity to more than 291,000 customers in Central Texas, including residents in Cedar Park and Leander. Its seven districts cover 8,100 square miles, which spans from Lampasas to Bulverde. The board of directors is responsible for setting policy for the PEC.

*Incumbent

District 2

William D. (Bill) Boggs

William D. (Bill) Boggs

William D. (Bill) Boggs

Profession: retired

Bio: Natalia High School; BBA in management, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; four years in U.S. Army’s Security Agency; 10 years at Central Power and Light Co.; More than 30 years at Lyondell-Basell Petrochemical Co.; Served on PEC board; third-generation Texan

Contact info: wdboggs1@yahoo.com, 512-947-1440

Why are you running for election to the PEC board of directors?

I want to help the cooperative move forward to best serve the interests of the member-owners. Members are concerned by recent decisions by the board that diminish member control.

What are the biggest challenges for the PEC?

The board needs to work through their governance and ethics issues. We need to remain competitive in a volatile energy market and study renewables to make sure they move with the market to better serve the member-owners. Information needs to be better communicated to members.

What are your views on PEC power rates?

PEC has had rate reductions over the last several years. This effort needs to continue. We need to look at all options to reduce what is being paid to LCRA. We need to keep the cost down to the members.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

• The board needs to work together to serve the members’ interest, not their own agenda.
• Expand governance and ethics education. This board is a group of knowledgeable individuals in their chosen fields. They lack cooperative knowledge and skills. Cooperative knowledge is of the utmost importance.
• The board needs to make decisions on business matters and not try to run the day-to-day business of the cooperative. That is what the employees do.


District 2

Emily Pataki

Emily Pataki

Emily Pataki*

Profession: consultant

Bio: B.A. Yale University; PEC board president, District 2 director; board member, Association of Women in Energy; board member, Atec Inc.; freelance consultant at ELP consulting; seventh-generation Texan; parishioner at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.

Contact info: Emily.L.Pataki@gmail.com

Why are you running for election to the PEC board of directors?

We have been making great strides in lowering rates, maintaining excellent reliability and enhancing customer service capabilities for members during my first term on the board. I’d like to see those trends continue. It’s been an honor to serve my fellow members, and it would be an honor to continue for another term.

What are the biggest challenges for the PEC?

We are seeing monumental growth at PEC. We added over 12,000 new meters in 2016 alone. With growth comes increasing infrastructure needs, and while it can be challenging to decrease rates and maintain reliability, I’m proud to say we’ve been able to do both.

What are your views on PEC power rates?

When I joined the board, PEC rates were well above the state average. After a concerted shift in approach toward fiscal conservatism and efficiency, we have lowered rates seven times, amounting to an average of a 17 percent decrease in member bills. PEC rates are below the state average, and if re-elected, I will continue the focus on improving rates for our members.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

• Continue cost reductions and further reduce rates
• Provide diverse service options and rates to members to allow them to customize their specific energy needs
• Partner with communities to bring new business growth to the PEC territory


District 3

Randy R. Klaus

Randy R. Klaus

Randy R. Klaus

Profession: CPA

Bio: BBA University of Texas at Austin, 1977; retired from the Public Utility Commission of Texas in April 2017; Formerly employed by MCI

Contact info:
512-335-9528, 512-423-4576

Why are you running for election to the PEC board of directors?

I am concerned about rising utility costs in the wake of stagnant wages for many folks, especially seniors on fixed incomes. After 21 years of public service at the Public Utility Commission of Texas, I have a sense of what is in your interest and the public interest. PEC needs directors with a business acumen and utility experience. I have both.

What are the biggest challenges for the PEC?

Reducing the overall cost of PEC’s purchased power (about 60 percent of the total electric bill) and financing the outside plant additions stemming from the incredible growth PEC is experiencing in its service territory.   

What are your views on PEC power rates?

PEC’s rates are somewhat higher than legitimate rates in the competitive electric market. Tax-exempt nonprofit electric cooperatives have structural cost advantages­—they do not pay federal income taxes or dividends to shareholders to prop up share prices. Cooperatives’ rates should be lower than those found in the competitive electric market.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

• Reduce the monthly $22.50 Service Availability Charge
• Stop wasting money on unnecessary cost studies, etc.
• Exercise PEC’s options to acquire more economically priced purchased power 


District 3

Judy Lawler Pokorny

Judy Lawler Pokorny

Judy Lawler Pokorny

Profession: independent contractor

Bio: degree in business management, University of Texas at Austin; over 30 years’ experience with the state of Texas; Appraisal Review Board, Williamson Central Appraisal District (2012 -present); Breakaway Neighborhood Association treasurer; PEC member-owner for over 35 years

Contact info: jpok452@hotmail.com. 512-259-2516

Why are you running for election to the PEC board of directors?

I am running for the District 3 position on the Pedernales Electric board of directors because rates should be lower, and capital credits should be returned to our member-owners quicker. Households are not seeing a real decrease in their electric bills. My promise to my fellow members: lower rates, a return of capital credits more expeditiously and transparency.

What are the biggest challenges for the PEC?

PEC’s size and growth are the biggest challenges I see. PEC is the largest distribution cooperative in the U.S., serving more than 270,000 meters. Reliability issues; transmission distribution; increases in fixed and variable cost, such as line costs; and maintenance of existing lines are a few of the complexities with this type of growth and coverage.

What are your views on PEC power rates?

Our rates are too high. Depending so heavily on one source hinders our ability to lower rates. We need to diversify where our energy comes from by taking full advantage of new technologies to reduce our need to purchase from the open market, [which is]subject to huge price fluctuations during peak times.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

• Lowering electric rates
• Planning for growth and advocating the use of emerging technologies, returning capital credits to member owners quicker through better management and planning
• Transparency—you have every right to know how and what your cooperative is doing


District 3

Eric Stratton

Eric Stratton

Eric Stratton

Profession: policy adviser and project manager 

Bio: five years with the National Rural Electric Cooperatives; three years designing and managing multimillion-dollar projects for Texas; vice president, Avery Ranch Owners Association; appointee, Austin Economic Prosperity Commission

Contact info: eric@ericstratton.org,  512-569-4701

Why are you running for election on the PEC board of directors?

I am running to be your voice for electric co-op business from District 3 to keep the lights on, rates low and provide excellent customer service. We are more than account numbers at PEC—we are stockholders and member-owners with the opportunity to determine our affairs. I have the combination of experience, passion and commitment to co-op and community to represent District 3 well.       

What are the biggest challenges for the PEC?

Keeping the rates low and customer service excellent. Previous PEC boards have passed resolutions calling for a rather arbitrary 30 percent renewable energy target, which has led to multimillion-dollar purchased power contracts with solar companies the member-owners know little about. This places all member-owners at risk of higher rates. Blocking access to details of the contracts is not best practice for transparency and excellent customer service.

What are your views on PEC power rates?

Rates have been lowered seven consecutive times, in large part due to our relationship with LCRA and lower natural gas prices. But there is more to be done. Renewable energy is a laudable goal—but not when the board sets arbitrary targets and enters into contracts that members-owners know little about. One type of power should not be pushed if it favors one member-owner over another or places all member-owners at risk of higher rates.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

• Keep the lights on. Continue innovative outage detection and prevention strategies so member-owners can get outages fixed quickly and safely.
• Keep the rates low. No unrealistic targets or expensive contracts for green power that increase rates and overhead. Ensure all member-owners get the same best rates.
• Provide excellent customer service. Each member-owner deserves a solution to their concerns on the first call. Reduce the use of “competitive matters” policies, which deny member-owners access to information.


District 3

Matthew Weldon

Matthew Weldon

Matthew Weldon

Profession: semiconductor manufacturing staff

Bio: B.S. in chemical engineering, University of Colorado-Boulder; M.S. from University of California-Davis; more than 20 years in semiconductor device manufacturing; industrial project coordinator at University of Texas, present

Contact info: matt.weldon@materialway.com,  512-964-9330

Why are you running for election on the PEC board of directors?

Electricity delivery is a rapidly changing service industry, and recent technology and market developments mean it is a great time for the PEC to focus investment inside the territory of the cooperative to maximize the net benefit to members. Current management has initiated a number of policies that I wish to see continue, which include:  a pro-member policy for installing solar on homes, financing services, community solar and securing lower-cost capital for all operations.

What are the biggest challenges for the PEC?

Debt accumulation due to infrastructure build-out driven by rapid growth in PEC’s service territory. Cost of capital to serve No. 1. The need to innovate and change with changing market conditions. ERCOT rule changes, mild winters lowering revenue generation of the current rate structure, customer defection enabled by new technology, and rising customer expectations all drive a need for change but also represent great opportunity for investment and improved member service and engagement.

What are your views on PEC power rates?

PEC rates have decreased due to actions by PEC’s current management team and so are in the bottom half for the state, and Texas rates are in the bottom half for the country. These are positive trends I would continue, but not at the risk of degrading system reliability, safety, employee treatment or quality of service.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

• Review the long-term strategic plans and aid the executive team in execution
• Further improve the transparency of governance of the cooperative and better engage and forewarn the membership when significant changes are under consideration
• Support investment in distributed generation and storage within the PEC territory at both utility and customer sites to help lower operational costs, raise capital value, improve system resilience and aid the cooperative in its service-delivery mission

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