PEC celebrates grand opening of new district office

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Lew K. Cohn/Burnet Bulletin
Representatives with PEC and Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce cut a ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of the new PEC district office in Marble Falls.




By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

Burnet Bulletin

Pedernales Electric Cooperative officials had a proverbial “Chamber of Commerce day” Wednesday, June 27, as they celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Marble Falls district office on US 281.

Patti Zinsmeyer, executive director of Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, welcomed a large crowd to the facility to see up close what she called “a grand addition to Marble Falls and the Hill Country.”

Zinsmeyer also pointed out PEC recently observed its 80th birthday as the cooperative has been serving the Texas Hill Country since 1938. She praised the involvement of PEC in the local community, especially at the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights and Christmas Light Up Parade, both of which are sponsored by the Chamber.

“PEC's specialty is to put as many lights as they can on a work truck and to wear their hard hats covered in lights,” Zinsmeyer said. “You have to love it; it really is something special to see. They definitely take pride in community and it shows in their involvement. We at the Chamber notice it first-hand.”

PEC Board President Emily Pataki, who represents District 2, said the history of PEC, which has a territory of more than 8,100 square miles, starts in Burnet County.

“If you had the chance to come to our annual meeting this past weekend, we talked about the history of PEC and how when we got our federal loan to get started, we built 1,800 miles of electric line,” Pataki said. “That was right here in Burnet County. The first meters were set in Bertram, not too far from here. This is a very historic part of our territory and we are very proud that, in this monumental year, we can open up this beautiful new facility to continue to serve the people of this great county.”

Other PEC directors present included outgoing District 1 director Cristi Clement, incoming District 1 director Milton Rister, District 5 director James Oakley, District 3 director Randy Klaus and District 6 director Paul Graf. Oakley also introduced PEC chief executive officer Julie Parsley, chief operations officer Eddie Dauterive and Marble Falls and Bertram district manager Nathan Burns.

Oakley said he is “humbly honored to be able to wear a couple of hats, one of them being Burnet County judge, but the other being on the PEC Board of Directors.”

“This is such a great addition to both entities I am able to represent,” Oakley said of the new facility. “Back when I was board president about three years ago, we had talked about how we need our facilities to catch another gear and stay up with the times and the growth patterns of PEC.

“I know being from here, I probably take PEC for granted because they have always been around, but the thing we have to keep in mind is this is the nation's largest electric cooperative and it is also the fastest-growing cooperative. It grows more each year than the average-sized cooperative in the United States.”

On average, PEC has been adding about 13,000 new meters per year to its service area and now has well more than 300,000 customers.

The new Northwest Operations Center, located at 4302 US 281, officially opened June 7. The facility includes a two-story, 27,000-square-foot office building as well as an 18,000-square-foot warehouse. The building incorporates LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

The new district office includes three convenient drive-thru lanes, a 24/7 self-service payment kiosk and public electric vehicle charging stations. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The building also includes equipment for solar and rainwater collection and two spots available for electric vehicle easy-charging stations.

PEC broke ground on the facility in March 2016 after a third party completed a comprehensive facilities study to determine the health and functionality of PEC's buildings.

“The old site was a 10-acre site, but only three acres was usable,” Oakley said. “It was cramped and it had lots of issues. It had been in use for 27 years and it was completely outgrown.

“This facility is designed for growth. We are proud of the responsible architecture and building style which only enhances our area and sets a precedent and example for others. This has been a long time in the making. We are very proud of this facility. Our intent was to look into the crystal ball to at least a 30-year window, if not 40, and figure out what we needed.”

Andi Ball, a Highland Haven resident who is a field representative for U.S. Rep. Roger Williams' Austin district office, presented PEC officials with a flag that flew over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in commemoration of the new Marble Falls PEC district office.

“The Congressman is delighted to present at flag to PEC,” said Ball, who served as chief of staff for First Lady Laura Bush both in Texas and in Washington, D.C. “This is a beautiful, state-of-the-art building and great addition to Marble Falls and we are delighted with it.”

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