Cooperative News

Powering through 2020

In a year filled with challenge, PEC shines

Through the unique and unexpected challenges of 2020, PEC never stopped powering through for you! When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we quickly adapted, implementing important protocols to keep our members and employees safe. Our PEC crew in blue was steadfast — keeping the lights on for our members at home and area businesses, including hospitals, grocery stores, and schools. And when our communities needed support, we helped brighten them, finding new and creative ways to give back.

Despite the pandemic, PEC experienced historic growth, increased demand, and implemented a rate reduction helping all members save money. To keep our system as reliable as possible, we invested in new technology and upgraded our systems. And because we value convenience, we enhanced our programs and ways to pay to improve your member experience.

Having been through this unprecedented journey, we look forward to 2021 with confidence that we’re stronger now because of it. Thank you for your membership and continued trust in PEC!

2020 HIGHLIGHTS, INCLUDING AWARDS, RELIABILITY, MEMBER EXPERIENCE, AND PHILANTHROPY

Awards and accolades:

PEC received the following recognition in 2020.

  • We were named a Top Workplace in both Austin and San Antonio, affirming PEC’s commitment to invest in our talent to provide the best possible service.
  • Texas CEO Magazine recognized PEC Chief Executive Officer Julie C. Parsley for Exceptional Leadership in Texas 2020, and the cooperative’s COVID-19 response.
  • Fitch Ratings, reaffirmed our AA- rating, citing stability and strong financial health.
  • For the fifth consecutive year, we made National Cooperative Bank’s top 100 co-ops list.
  • PEC was named the winner of the Austin Chamber’s Greater Austin Business Awards in the Community Relations category among medium-sized companies.

Reliability:

Our commitment to reliability has never been stronger. In 2020, we continued to invest in new technology to keep our system as dependable as possible and to serve a growing membership.

  • We expanded our UAS program and system maintenance programs helping us maintain some of the fastest outage response times in the state and providing our members safe, reliable power.
  • In September 2020, we deployed our battery storage system, becoming the first cooperative in Texas to use the technology.
  • We opened our new Safety and Technical Training Center in Marble Falls, in partnership with the National Lineman College, to provide hands-on, local education to support the future generation of lineworkers.

Member experience:

We enhanced our member services with the following programs and initiatives to provide the best possible customer service.

  • In June of 2020, The PEC Board of Directors proudly passed a rate reduction to our base power cost — saving our members, about $1.25 per month, on average.
  • We launched a new member website to help make it easier for members to sign up for electric service in one convenient location.
  • In November of 2020, we debuted our bill redesign with new and improved charts to help members better understand their energy use habits.
  • We improved PEC’s residential rebate program, making it more robust than ever, by adding multiple rebate incentives, an online energy-saving resource, and a dedicated team of energy service experts to assist members with energy conservation over the phone.
  • We returned $6.1 million in capital credits in December 2020, to current and former members.
  • In early 2020 we launched pec.coop, a new website catered to our commercial account offerings.

PEC Gives:

Serving and supporting our communities is an important part of our culture as a cooperative. Here’s a look at how we gave back in 2020.

  • We launched PEC’s COVID-19 Relief Fund in May and raised more than $87,000 to help PEC members impacted by the pandemic, pay their electric bills. PEC employees contributed more than $12,000 of the total amount.
  • Through our Masks for Members program, we helped improve access to masks in our communities, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. With the help of our PEC members, we collected more than 4,200 masks to donate to our local hospital partners to distribute to those in need.
  • Through PEC’s Power of Change program, and with the help of our members who round their bills to the nearest dollar, we provided more than $50,000 in PEC Community Grants in 2020. These funds help strengthen our communities by helping area nonprofits fulfill their important missions.
  • Our PEC employees donated $265,300 to the United Charities program, supporting more than 230 nonprofit organizations.
  • PEC employees also helped brighten the 2020 holiday season for children and families across PEC’s service territory by donating $4,300 to help support local toy drives.
  • We invested in youth education and programs awarding $100,000 in scholarships and donating $24,000 to help support Central Texas education foundations, school districts, and public libraries.
  • In the fall of 2020, we also launched PEC’s EmpowerU program, an electricity-focused educational program for teachers, students, and parents. The program provides free virtual access to lesson plans, videos, worksheets, activity booklets, coloring sheets, and more.
  • In an effort to preserve our natural wildlife and protect our environment, PEC installed our first butterfly way station at PEC headquarters, certified by Monarch Watch to help promote monarchs and other pollinators.