Members of Central Texas Electric Co-op Board District 3 (Mason/Menard/McCulloch, Northern Kimble County), met Tuesday, June 5th in the Mason Junior High cafeteria. The members were welcomed by the co-op’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert A. Loth III. Mr. Loth opened the meeting with the introduction of members of the co-op’s Board of Directors in attendance. They were: Riley Kothmann, Board Vice President, and Jack Asbill, from Mason County; Gerald Kaspar, Board President, Stanley Keese, Board Treasurer, and W.C. (Dub) Stewart, Board Secretary, all of Llano County; David D. Smith and Bill Weldon of Gillespie County; and Rex Brand of Kerr County.
In the Board election part of the meeting, Mr. Loth announced that only one application was received from District 3. Therefore, after receiving a nomination and a second, Riley Kothmann was elected by acclamation of members present, to be the District 3 nominee for director. He will now be on the election ballot at the Annual Meeting of CTEC members in August. Mr. Kothmann is seeking his second term on the Board of Directors (CTEC term limits are set at four three-year terms.)
Gerald Kaspar introduced a special video about the looming issues and challenges of delivering reliable electricity in the future, which will affect both the local area and the entire state. Kaspar said, “The biggest question we are facing is, will there be enough power for everyone all the time?”
Bob Loth followed telling members that because of the tremendous growth in Texas, and the lack of new generation plants being built, the rolling outages experienced in February of 2011, could return as soon as this summer. When there is not enough power to meet demand, ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) is responsible for making the decision to initiate 15-30 minute rolling outages across the state.
Kaspar continued that CTEC and every other electric distribution company in the state have no control over when and where these rolling outages occur. They are a protective measure that keeps the statewide grid from total failure. Since ERCOT initiates these rolling outages only when conditions reach a critical stage, CTEC cannot give any advance warning to their members. Members can stay informed of existing conditions by checking ERCOT’s website and listening to radio and TV for emergency public announcements.
Members were advised that they can help by practicing conservation on their own. Avoid running laundry appliances during peak hours of usage (4-7 p.m.), and moving the air conditioner thermostat up 2-3 degrees from your normal settings are two good examples. Loth said,” If you are not using it, turn it off or unplug it. If we all pitch in and do a little, we can do our part in preventing rolling outages”.
Loth added that when discussing the current industry situation, the next question is always about how we got into this mess. Besides the steadily growing energy demand, lack of development and construction of new power plants can be attributed to uncertain environmental regulations and profitability concern for investors. Until it is clear how pending and future environmental regulations will affect generating plants, investors are not likely to build them. Loth said, “I would say if folks find it inconvenient to be without power on a hot day in August, they may want to consider letting their elected officials know that now is the time for action”.
If members are considering adding a generator to offset the threat of rolling outages, their first step should be to consult with their Co-op. Small, commercially available, 1-5 kw stand-alone units cannot power one’s entire home’s needs, which are typically 15 kw. Also, there is a very important safety consideration involved before installing a power generator in a home.
If power interruptions occur, members are advised to switch all types of motors, like air conditioners, to the off position. Wait until the power has been on for a few minutes to turn the air conditioner back on – it will help reduce stress on the grid when power is restored.
Loth continued his report, giving an update on CTEC’s power contract with the LCRA. A new contract with CPS Energy through 2021 is complete, but won’t take effect for four more years. In addition, a recent contract has been signed with NextEra Energy for 20 megawatts through 2023. This represents approximately 15% of CTEC’s load and has brought additional savings into the anticipated future power costs. “The Board and I believe that CTEC is as well positioned as any utility in Texas for providing reliable, low-cost power in the future”, Loth concluded.
Gerald Kaspar completed the video message by thanking members again for participating in their District member meeting, and he reminded them of the CTEC Annual Meeting in Fredericksburg on August 21st.
After the video, Mr. Loth made a special presentation from CTEC’s Operation Round-Up program to the local Volunteer Fire Departments from Mason, Loyal Valley, Pontotoc, and London. A grant of $500 was presented to representatives of each fire department present. Loth said the Operation Round-Up Board wanted to express CTEC’s appreciation to VFD’s within their service area by recognizing them for their dedication and responsibility during a very difficult year in 2011.
The meeting finished with a question and answer session with CEO Loth, and a drawing for door prizes.