[Watchdogs] Important Day in History of PEC
carlostx at sbcglobal.net
Tue Nov 16 16:33:58 CST 2010
New Bylaws at the PEC
Overall, our Board members deserve our appreciation and applause for their actions and interactions in adopting new Bylaws during the Nov. 15th Board meeting. Even though President Landaker said at the outset that probably no one gets every thing they might want in the Bylaws, there is still one provision that should not be acceptable to any member. That one is addressed below.
If you did not attend the Board meeting on Monday, Nov.15th, you can hear and view the proceedings now by going to https://www.pec.coop/ Once on that page, under ‘Corporate Profile’, select ‘Board of Directors’ and then ‘Meeting Videos.’ On that page, click on 2010, and then select the Nov. 15th meeting.
When the Nov. 15th meeting video starts, you can click on the picture to see the sliding time bar at the bottom of the video. Move the time bar to an elapsed time of 33 minutes to listen to a few members express concerns to the Board. Pay particular attention to these two concerns expressed by members:
1. Whether the goal for PEC rates should be ‘low-cost’ or ‘affordable’ and
2. Whether landowners should be forced to give the PEC unlimited right-of-ways across their property in order to receive electric service from the PEC.
If you’ll move the time bar to an elapsed time of just past one hour, you can listen to the discussion on Bylaws changes. After due consideration, the Board did relent, and reject the term ‘affordable’ rates in favor of the term ‘low-cost’ rates. Despite some assertions that the terms mean the same thing or that they are equally ill-defined, there is a big difference. ‘Low cost is fairly well understood, and therefore fairly easily defined. It puts the emphasis squarely on economy and efficiency in PEC’s priorities regarding the purchase and delivery of electricity. ‘Affordable’ is a far more flexible term. It injects into the setting of rates the imposition of charges for services or features beyond low-cost electricity that members may be able to afford but may not want.
Another great concern raised by members – the ‘taking’ by the PEC of rights of way – was left in the Bylaws with no discussion at all by the Board. By any sensible standard, this provision is overreaching. While it is entirely fair to require a landowner to provide right of way access for electric lines across his property in order for the PEC to deliver electricity to that landowner, this provision in the bylaws, as it is written, would allow the PEC to run un-related transmission lines across the land-owner’s land, entirely at the discretion of the PEC.
Here’s what the provisions says:
Section 9. Grant of Easements, Rights-of-Way or Licenses. In consideration of the furnishing of Electric Service, upon request of the Cooperative, a Member shall: (1) provide the Cooperative access to or use of real property in which the Member holds an interest sufficient to grant such use ("Member Property"); and (2) pursuant to the law and any terms and conditions specified by the Cooperative, and without compensation from the Cooperative, grant or convey to the Cooperative a written easement, right-of-way or license for use of Member Property as specified by the Cooperative for the purpose of providing Electric Service to the Member or one or more other Members.
The provision would be fine and fair, if the two phrases I have underlined were left out. It would be better to omit the first phrase, but at the very least, it should say ‘any reasonable terms and conditions.
The second phrase should be omitted or at least limited in scope. As it reads, as a condition of providing power to a rancher, the PEC could demand a right of way across his ranch for a major transmission line built to serve customers 200 miles away that had nothing to do with service to that rancher.
At the very least, the taking of a right of way should be limited to something like this:
A member shall . . . . . .grant or convey to the Cooperative a written easement, right-of-way or license for use of Member Property as specified by the Cooperative for the purpose of providing Electric Service to the Member as well as to other members within two miles of that member, when such use of the right of way by the PEC is appropriate and reasonable.
This is no small matter. None of us as members should sit in silence and allow our co-op to run roughshod over the rights of any of our other PEC members.
I do commend the Board for adopting the ‘low cost’ approach to delivering our electricity, and for the decision by the majority of the Board to hold fast to its high standards when it comes to conflicts of interest by Board members and employees. One other commendable action by the Board is its rejection of a proposal to require Board members to attend a series of educational forums, etc. It is OK to encourage Board members to attend, but it is beyond the pale to require it. The PEC members can decide for themselves who is qualified to be a Board member by their votes in each Board election.
512 258 3564 CarlosTX at sbcglobal.net
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