The Barnabas Connection of Wimberley United Methodist Church is Advocating for Changes at Pedernales Electric Cooperative for Low-Income, Elderly and Disabled Members
Changes are needed because:
* The Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) Board and Staff have instituted many new reforms to respond to members’ concerns after the fall and conviction of former General Manager Bennie Fuelberg. It is time to take steps to improve the quality of service for PEC’s most vulnerable members.
* Awareness of the impacts of PEC policies on low-income, elderly and disabled members is increasing with the board and staff due to advocacy work done since 2009.
* Texas electric cooperatives are self- governed and are not required to follow Public Utility Commission of Texas rules that protect residential consumers, medically fragile individuals, or low-income, elderly and disabled households.
* Electric cooperative members are not eligible for the LITE-UP TEXAS rate discount, a state program to make electricity more affordable for low-income households.
* Unless you meet PEC’s stringent credit requirements to connect electricity you must pay a $75 connection fee, $50 membership fee, and $150 deposit ($275 total) all in advance of receiving service.
* If PEC disconnects a member’s service for nonpayment, the past due balance plus a $100 reconnection fee, and the $150 deposit must be paid in advance of reconnection.
* Advocacy work must continue to establish policies where everyone on the PEC system is treated fairly and has their basic electricity needs met.
* PEC is a democratic, member-controlled organization and that organization must hear and be educated about the needs of all of its members including vulnerable low-income, elderly and disabled members. The Board and Staff want to hear from PEC members!
I am a Pedernales Electric Cooperative member and support the following reforms:
* creation of an advisory committee to the board to help address the needs of low-income and disabled clients;
* offering a "lifeline" rate to PEC clients who qualify based on income and need;
* developing fees and deposit procedures that are not punitive to low-income clients;
* providing additional dollars for energy assistance by rounding a customer's bill up to the nearest dollar or allowing customers to add a dollar to their bill to help others.