What is an electric co-op?
What if the only electric utility in the area refused to serve you?! Or, what if they would only serve you if you paid thousands of dollars up-front, and then, they'd charge you 25 cents for each kilowatt-hour you used?!
Well, step back to the 1930's and you'd see people in the cities who had enjoyed the advantages of electricity for decades, while rural people were still making do without it or paying these exhorbitant rates and fees- even by today's standards- to get electricity. In those days, the big, for-profit power companies had little interest in providing this essential service to people in sparsely populated communities. It simple wasn't profitable.
But rural Texans, like most rural people all over the country, believed that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Around that same time, many members of Congress who represented those areas recognized the need, and the idea of the Rural Electric Co-op became a reality. In the places the large corporations had ignored, cooperation got the job done. The result was, and still is today, almost 1,000 electric cooperatives formed across the nation. These co-ops continue to provide top quality electric service and to be one of the finest examples of neighbors working with neighbors to meet the needs of a community.
Do co-ops really not care about profits?
As a non-profit co-op, we have absolutely no interest in making a buck! The ONLY reason we exist is to serve YOU! The Cooperative differs from investor-owned utilities and other power suppliers in that all margins (or profits) ultimately belong to the member. These margins are designated “capital credits” in the bylaws, and are also referred to as “patronage capital.”
If you need service, our crews are never far away. NEC is staffed by people who live in the service area. That means we know the lines and we know the land.
NEC is partnered with South Texas Electric Coopertive (STEC) who provides the generation and transmission of power for our member consumers. Another partner is the Cooperative Response Center (CRC). CRC is a co-op's co-op and is owned by electric and telephone cooperatives across the nation to provide after-hours and emergency dispatching services. They help us to efficiently and effectively serve your needs 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Whether your service need is restoring power during an outage, trying to find out if we have a line underground during your spring gardening, removing a tree you noticed touching the power lines, answering a bill question, or anything else ....we are here to help. Most co-op customers are glad their electricity doesn’t come from a distant corporation. When you need service it’s nice to know you don’t have to call 1-800-Who-Knows-Where.
Why & how did electric cooperatives get started?
In the late 1930’s our nation’s government saw the need for providing electric power to the rural areas of the nation. Agriculture needed electricity, but large power companies were reluctant to venture into rural America because of the excessive cost involved in building miles of power lines for only a handful of consumers. On May 11, 1935, rural America took a giant step forward when Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act. This Act called for establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) which would have the authority to make available loans to groups of rural citizens working together to bring electricity to non-urban areas. These organized groups of citizens were called Electric Cooperatives.
Meetings were held throughout the various rural areas to acquaint farmers and ranchers with the feasibility of securing electric service. Prospective members were required to sign an agreement to buy electricity from the Cooperative when the lines were built and to pay a membership fee into the organization. The agreement and fee made them members of the Cooperative, and each member had one vote in elections for representatives or Directors of their Cooperative.
The Cooperative members elected a Board of Directors and they prepared and adopted the Articles of Incorporation with the assistance of legal advisors from REA. A Charter was secured from the State of Texas and a loan was obtained from REA in Washington, D. C., to provide the capital necessary to construct the initial power lines.
Nueces Electric Cooperative, Inc. was chartered December 7, 1938, by a group of farmers and ranchers who truly exemplified the pioneer spirit. In 1939, we held our first annual membership meeting. From the originally signed 355 members, the Cooperative has evolved some 60 years later into a Cooperative that provides delivery services to over 17,000 meters utilizing over 3,000 miles of energized power line. NEC also provides competivie retail services to over 18,000 consumers in Texas outside the NEC delivery area, and the growth continues.
How do I know which co-op district I am in?
Nueces Electric Cooperative has territory in parts of 8 South Texas counties as allowed and determined by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Your Cooperative serves part of Nueces, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Kenedy, Duval, Live Oak, McMullen and Brooks counties. That area is divided into 9 districts. NEC also has a retail division that can supply power to all of the competitive retail areas in Texas. This area is represented by a tenth district. If you would like to know which district you reside in, contact NEC at 387-2581 or 800-NEC-WATT.
Who are our current directors?
NEC has one director per district. The directors serve for a three-year term and ALL NEC directors are elected by ALL NEC members.
Director Election Process
NEC prides itself on its director elections. The election process reflects one of the Seven Cooperative Principles - democratic member control: one member, one vote. Nueces Electric Cooperative is member-owned and is governed by a ten (10) person, member-elected board of directors. These directors represent the ten member directorate districts of the cooperative. A portion of the co-op directorships stand for election each year - usually three districts. The board of directors determines the method for voting in the director election. For many years, the method of voting has been an in-person or proxy voting process which takes place in conjunction with the annual membership meeting. Relevant information about this meeting and the annual report appear in the Texas Co-op Power magazine. It is up to you, the members, to elect the directors best qualified to run your cooperative. There is no term limit for an NEC director but he/she must complete the nomination process every three years and be re-elected by the members.
NEC's director nomination process begins each June as members in the districts up for election are invited, through the Texas Co-op Power magazine, to request petition packets to become candidates on the annual meeting director election ballot in accordance with the bylaws. Any NEC member in a district up for election may seek to become a candidate. Those members interested in becoming candidates may request and sign for an official petition form and instruction sheet. At least twenty (15) signatures of qualified members within the voting district, received at the co-op by the designated deadline, are required to nominate a member from a district for the Board. If more than two candidates are nominated for a directorship, a primary election will be held in the district to select two candidates who will appear on the election ballot. At the annual membership meeting all members of NEC may vote to elect the new directors in the districts up for election. All members will receive a ballot by mail or attached to the Texas Coop Power Magazine. If members cannot attend the meeting, they may cast their vote by mailing in the ballot.
Directors are tasked with the development of governance policies and monitoring the financial health of the cooperative. In addition, they are charged with keeping up-to-date on industry trends, legislative actions, and other pertinent issues affecting cooperatives as well as representing the membership at cooperative related functions.
Section 8. Compensation; Expenses.
(a) Directors shall not receive a salary for their services as such. However, subject to subsection (b) below and as determined by policy adopted by the Board, directors may receive a fee, which may include insurance benefits, for each day during which they attend meetings or otherwise perform duties on behalf of the Cooperative. Fees for otherwise performing their duties need not be the same as for attending meetings of the Board.
(b) For attending meetings and otherwise performing duties pursuant to authorization thereof by the Board, directors shall be advanced or reimbursed their related expenses actually and reasonably incurred and expended by them, in accordance with the same policy established by the board for advancement or reimbursement of expenses for Cooperative employees, except that the policy may be different as it relates to uses of personal automobile.
(c) No director shall receive compensation for serving the Cooperative in any other capacity, nor shall any close relative of a director receive compensation for serving the Cooperative, except that (1) a director who is also an officer of the Cooperative, or a director, officer or committee member of or a delegate to an organization of which the Cooperative is a member or stockholder, and who as such performs substantial additional duties on behalf of the Cooperative, may be paid such compensation therefor, on a per diem basis, as is authorized by the remaining directors, and (2) a director or close relative of a director may be paid such compensation as is authorized by the Board upon its certification of such as a temporary emergency measure.
Each year NEC files IRS Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax). NEC is a 501(c) (12) organization under the IRS code. Form 990 has financial information for the cooperative in addition to a list of directors and the executive manager along with their annual compensation. This document is public information. The IRS regulations, which became effective on June 8, 1999, state that every organization required to file Form 990 annually is obligated to immediately provide copies of its three most recent 990s to anyone requesting them in person, or send out copies within 30 days to any written request. You may request copies from NEC, download them via the link at left or Form 990s are also available from the IRS upon request at the district office where the forms would have been filed.
Tommy Ermis District 6- Agua Dulce Bill Hartman District 7- Orange Grove Vice-President Rumaldo Juarez District 1- Wood River David Rosse District 3-Kingsville Secretary-Treasurer Maxine Stewart District 5- Freer Gregg Truesdale District 2-Robstown Johnny Alvarado District 9-Riviera Donald Wayne Herrmann District 4- Robstown Brian Menking District 8- Alice President
How can I get current information on co-op happenings?
NEC considers communication with our members to be a top priority! There are several means by which we get important information to you!
Texas Co-op Power Magazine - As a member of NEC you receive this monthly magazine. While most of the magazine is prepared by our state association--Texas Electric Cooperatives, in Austin-- NEC prepares the center 8 pages and customizes the information specifically for our consumers. Be sure to give these pages a quick look each month for important information.
Messages on Your Bill - Your billing statement may have an important message printed on it each month. Be sure to read it carefully.
Bill Inserts - If we have more than a short sentence or two, NEC may periodically insert a separate notice along with your bill. These contain important information so we encourage you to read these completely!
Website - Our "Hot Topics" on our home page of this website is regularly updated with important information. Bookmark our site or choose us as a "favorite" site, and check in with us regularly for all of the latest happenings.