Pedernales Electric Cooperative boasts growth spike

By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor

Pedernales Electric Cooperative continues to grow by leaps and bounds as the nation's largest electric cooperative added 15,000 new meters last year and is expected to add at least that many in 2019 as well, CEO Julie Parsley said last week.

Speaking to the Burnet County Commissioners Court, Parsley said PEC has two district offices in Burnet County — one in Bertram which employs 35 people and covers more than 900 square miles, and one in Marble Falls which covers more than 1,100 square miles and employs 90 people.

In all, PEC has more than 700 employees and more than 18,000 miles of line in its service area. As of the end of 2018, PEC had more than 314,773 active accounts and 263,104 members in an area totaling more than 8,100 square miles of the Texas Hill Country. The cooperative serves more electric meters than any other electric cooperative in the United States, Parsley said.

We are seeing 55 new meters per day and 61 line extensions per day,” said Parsley, who served as a former commissioner for the Public Utility Commission of Texas and also was a solicitor general prior to becoming the first female to head up PEC.

After installing its 75,000th meter in the Hill Country in 1986, PEC has grown in 33 years by more than 225,000 active accounts — or about three times the growth the cooperative experienced in its first 47 years.

PEC began in the Hill Country in 1938 when 28-year-old Congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson met wth representatives from Blanco, Burnet, Gillespie, Hays and Llano counties to incorporate the Pedernales Electric Cooperative after lobbying the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring electricity to the area.

With the help of local rancher E. Babe Smith, who signed up some 3,000 families for electric service, LBJ persuaded FDR to push for an exception to allow electrification to come to Hill Country and PEC received a $1.332 million loan to build nearly 1,800 miles of electric lines. . . .

For more on the history of PEC and the latest on candidates who are vying for the District 5 seat, pick up the Tuesday, April 2 issue of The Highlander. To offer a comment or a news tip, email


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