Cooperative News

Dark skies, bright stars

Keeping the stars big and bright

Three of the four certified International Dark-Sky Communities in Texas are located right here in the PEC service territory, so we know how important preserving our precious starry night sky is to our members.

The Texas Hill Country’s natural beauty is one of the reasons PEC’s service territory has seen unprecedented growth in recent years, but this rapid growth comes with the potential to diminish the darkness of our skies at night. That’s why we’ve taken steps to preserve this natural resource, and help save energy in the process.

In 2011, the PEC Board of Directors adopted a resolution to promote outdoor lighting fixtures that follow up-to-date guidelines for efficient, nonintrusive lighting. PEC also began working with partners to educate and encourage landowners, businesses, residential communities, and public entities to join in this commitment.

Now, as part of our Cooperative Lighting Program, we’re upgrading street and area lights across our service territory to make them dark-sky friendly. Over the next 18 months, we expect as many as 30,000 fixtures to be updated to new LED lights that are not only more energy efficient, but can also detect their own outage to expedite restorations.

Want to learn more? See our Cooperative Lighting Program FAQs (PDF).

Want to pitch in at home?

Only use outdoor lights where necessary, and be sure the light is directed where it is needed by pointing and shielding it properly. Use the dimmest, warmest bulb for the job. And, use a motion sensor to ensure the light is on only when needed.

Dripping Springs, Horseshoe Bay, and Wimberley Valley are recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association for showing exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky, with Blanco on track to join them. In PEC’s service area, the following counties have adopted resolutions recognizing the value of dark skies and supporting their preservation: Burnet, Blanco, Comal, Edwards, Gillespie, Kimble, Kerr, Lampasas, Mason, and Real.

Awareness is key in protecting the night sky, and PEC is committed to shining a light on the ways our members can help keep the stars big and bright in Texas.