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Peace River Electric Cooperative Charity Profile
Providing dependable service to our members and value to our community.
Exceeding the expectations of those we serve
Peace River Electric Cooperative, Inc., also referred to as PRECO, is a fast growing electric distribution cooperative providing service in ten Florida counties: Brevard, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Osceola, Polk and Sarasota. PRECO provides electric service to residential, business and light industrial and has a broad service area from residences within 30 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, to homes on the Gulf of Mexico. Precoís headquarters are in south central Florida in the town of Wauchula and district offices are located at Bradenton in Manatee County and Indian Lake Estates in Polk County.
Local Ownership, Local Control...
The Cooperative area is divided into nine geographic districts. Electric consumers from each district democratically elect local members to Preco's Board of Directors at their District Membership Meeting each year. Directors, who serve for three-year staggered terms, employ a professional utility manager and provide policy-making guidance for the cooperative. The real backbone of Preco's business is its employees who work as a team to provide reliable service to meet the needs of a wide variety of Floridians. PRECO is committed to a safe working environment for all it employees. For many years, the Co-op has maintained its safety accreditation from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and through Loss Control and Safety Program of the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association.
Peace River Electric provides power to a diverse mixture of agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential consumers. While many of Peace Riverís accounts are agriculturally oriented and rural, the number of new urban subdivisions is growing at a rapid rate, especially in the Manatee County area. Today, PRECO provides quality electric service to more customers with fewer employees than ever before due to the use of new technologies and continuous improvements in system operating efficiency.
After the creation of the Rural Electric Program by Congress in 1935, Peace River Electric Cooperative joined electric cooperatives across the nation in organizing to bring the conveniences of affordable electric power to residences and smaller communities that were located too far from major cities to make service feasible. Rural residents in our multi-county area formally organized Peace River Valley Electric Membership Cooperative, Inc. (as it was originally called) on February 10, 1940, to provide them with electricity. In September 1941, the first electricity flowed through Co-op lines serving 222 memberís homes.
Distribution System and Power Supplier
Peace River Electric Cooperative currently maintains nearly 4,000 miles of energized underground and overhead power lines across its system. PRECO is an electric distribution system - it does not generate its own electricity. PRECO buys its wholesale electricity from Seminole Electric Cooperative, a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative generating entity that maintains one of the cleanest coal-fired generating plants in the nation. The Seminole plant, which is owned collectively by its 10 electric cooperative members, is located in Palatka, Florida. (For more on Seminole Electric - click here)
Because its local consumers own PRECO, it operates on a not-for-profit basis. As a non-profit entity, it is exempt from federal income tax. PRECO does, however, pay all other taxes, such as state and local property taxes, and other fees that electric utilities are required to pay. Any net margin of revenue over expenses is credited to members in proportion to their usage of electricity in the form of capital credits or patronage capital. This equity - an ownership share in the business - can be refunded of members as directed by the board when financial conditions permit.
The Value Factor - Customer Services
The Cooperative has an array of beneficial energy service programs available to its consumers. For details contact your member services representative.
PRECO offers surge suppressor packages to consumers with the option to lease or buy a comprehensive protection plan for residential appliances. A heavy-duty surge arrestor can be installed by PRECO in the customerís electric panel to help stop indirect surges that could damage or destroy household wiring and appliances, such as personal computers and digital telecommunication equipment.
During major power outages, such as hurricanes, the Co-op uses the Porche Automated Outage Reporting System, which is very helpful in handling and responding to numerous customer power outage calls. Instead of the caller continuing to hear a busy signal, the system handles up to thirteen incoming calls simultaneously. The system allows customers to effectively report outages, receives information regarding the extent of known outages, and provides information to co-op dispatchers who are helping to restore service by routing repair crews more rapidly.
Other Co-op services revolve around making payment methods easier for our members. One payment method is Automatic Bank Draft Authorization, which enables customers to have their monthly bill paid by their bank using electronic funds transfer. We also offer direct debiting of customer credit cards for our members.
Commitment to Communities
PRECO was one of the first co-ops in Florida to participate in an energy conservation partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Energy Star Program. Through voluntary membership in the program, PRECO purchased and installed high-efficiency, cost effective transformers on its distribution system. High efficiency transformers require less energy, reducing the need for future electric generation plants.
A good community citizen, Peace River Electric has sponsored a Little League Baseball team for over 20 years, and sponsors City-League softball teams. Many employees coach youth football, baseball, basketball teams, and participate in community beautification projects within our service territory.
The Cooperative is active in Chamber of Commerce's within the service territory. Employees of the Cooperative participate in local community activities such as American Cancer Society "Relay For Life", March of Dimes WalkAmerica and United Way. The Cooperative has a strong local school program, teaching students about electrical safety, environmental protection and energy conservation. Cooperative employees are also active in local political organizations, voter registration efforts, and in assisting campaigns for candidates for public office who support the Cooperative philosophy.
At PRECO, the Cooperative slogan "Owned by Those We Serve," really holds true. Weíre involved in our communities, committed to serving our members, and focused on efficiency. Itís a mission thatís good for our members and for all Floridians - today...and tomorrow.