The past year-and-a-half has been a busy one at our Pedernales Electric Co-op. We have moved from a closed and upper echelon ruled system, to one of democracy and transparency and member involvement. Many reforms have occurred, from the top to the bottom. The primary major reforms are in place. There is still work to be done, much of which occurs at each meeting.
Our new General Manager, Juan Garza, has a list of goals pertaining to all areas of management, including budgets and better fiscal responsibility to the members. By-law changes, Policies and Procedures are all evolving into 21st Century practices. These changes require time to thoughtfully create and implement. There are often complicated factors to be considered before these changes can be made. It is all a process, and at PEC, the process is rolling!
As an involved member, and now potential board director, I have been excited about this process of change. Since March 2008, as a member, I have steadily reviewed and participated in many of these processes. I have shared ideas, concerns and member input with the board and management. Most importantly, I have studied the factors that should be considered before making a decision. I have had tutors in the industry, calling on their expertise to educate me and answer my questions. Experts within PEC have readily provided information and answered my questions. I have shared this knowledge with members at every opportunity, speaking to groups and writing blogs on the Hays County Roundup. The PEC has become a dominant part of my life. This has been a choice, and I have viewed it as an opportunity to serve the members. As a board director, this will not change.
We are now at the point of electing two more new members to the board. All of us as candidates, have goals for renewable energy sources and a strong, viable, conservation plan. These initiatives are already in the process of happening. PEC just recently adopted a new PURPA Standard that will require these goals to become reality. The legislature is pushing renewable energy to become a heavier component of the market basket and power portfolios of all electrical companies. This IS the way of the future. This is going to happen regardless of who is on the board. HOW it is done will be the critical issue. Again, there are many factors to consider as these renewable resources become available. An dominant factor to PEC, is the contract with LCRA, from whom we buy about 95 percent of our power. (Please see future blog on this topic). No candidate has an edge on these goals, but some of us have a far better understanding of the potentials and processes for reaching these goals.
Some of the candidates have never attended an annual meeting or any board meetings. Yet they profess to know and understand the needs of the members and what the board needs to be doing. Some of the candidates are making promises of what they will do, without having the facts to support their ability to fulfill those promises. Nor do they actually have the larger member input to know if this is really what members want much less what is best for the business operations of the co-op. Some candidates are promoting actions that have already been implemented. Most of the candidates look good on paper, but “talk is cheap”. If these candidates are so concerned and interested in our co-op, where have they been? Where have they gotten their information? WHO has supplied that information? The PEC website offers much information, but not enough to supply even the basics of the business operations of the co-op. This is a time consuming operation, and the board directors MUST have the time and the motivation to do more than attend the meetings. It is generally accepted that there is a three year learning curve: the time needed to get fully educated and functional for the board. One of us has more than a year’s lead on that curve!
There are many “qualities” that make for a good board member. The actual personality is one of them. Our co-op is a professional organization. The board members are often part of state and national activities. They represent our co-op. Simple, good social skills need to be part of the package. Professionalism, including calm and logical demeanor in the face of challenge, should be a must. A positive attitude about our co-op is essential. We are being watched very closely by others in the industry, not just other co-ops. I know this to be fact, because I have had contact with some of them. Negativity and emotionalism do not have a place on the board. Members have every right to participate in the co-op as they choose, but the Board has an obligation to the members as a whole. There is simply no room for personal agendas.
This article could move to epic novel proportions, there is so much to share! Instead, I open the door for you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call me at (512) 847-0634. I welcome your questions and input. I am out on the campaign trail, meeting with members, but every member has access to me. I have a blog at rogersforpec.blogspot.com. Please exercise your voice as a member: VOTE I thank you for your consideration as your choice for the board.
LINDA KAYE ROGERS
ROGERS is a Pedernales Electric Cooperative Place 6 board candidate.