Pedernales Electric Cooperative members will see lower monthly electric bills starting in December after the PEC board of directors voted to reduce the cooperative's delivery charge.
The board's Sept. 30 vote lowers the monthly delivery rate for all homes, farms and businesses. For customers who use 1,000 or more kilowatt-hours, or KWH, of power each month, the charge will drop from $32.12 to $27.12. For customers who use 1,275 or more KWH each month the charge drops from $40.95 to $34.58.
PEC Chief Executive Officer John Hewa said most residential customers within PEC's coverage area use more than 1,275 KWH each month. They will save about $75 a year, he said.
PEC relays electric power to more than 250,000 Central Texas customers, including residents in Cedar Park and Leander. Its seven districts cover 8,100 square miles spanning from Lampasas to Bulverde and Marble Falls to Johnson City, where its headquarters is located.
The delivery charge decrease could be the just the first decrease of rates for PEC members.
"We're anticipating that toward the end of  our board will have some opportunity to look at the fuel costs," Hewa said, referring to the wholesale power PEC purchases from the Lower Colorado River Authority.
PEC passes along wholesale power costs to customers. Hewa said PEC and LCRA have been closely monitoring their business
performances to find savings.
As a member of the board of directors, Emily Pataki represents members in District 2, which includes Leander and part of Cedar Park. Pataki said Hewa has helped reorganize PEC by streamlining internal practices and paying down the cooperative's debts.
"The amount of energy that [residents] are purchasing is up every year because more people are moving into the area," Pataki said. "We're more cash-rich than we have been."
PEC board members are discussing other ways of trimming power costs, she said.
"They've found a lot of the low-hanging fruit, and that's great," Pataki said. "Now we've got to be more strategic about improvements."
PEC announced Oct. 16 it had hired a consultant to develop a resource plan.
On Oct. 20, PEC said it will distribute about $13 million in capital credits among current and former PEC members. The credits represent PEC members' financial investments in the cooperative. PEC said its fiscal year 2013–14 revenue exceeded expenses and allowed PEC to return the funds. By December current members will receive credits on their bills and former members will receive checks, according to PEC.
"Our work is not finished," Hewa said. "This reduction in our delivery charge was a first step."