PC Electric is poised for new growth in the near future and beyond, according to General Manager Myron Lambert.
Speaking at the co-op’s 79th Annual Meeting at the Scott Civic Center in New Roads, Lambert said PC Electric is positioning itself to expand its power delivery system and become an even greater contributor to the regional economic engine.
Lambert announced that the co-op is re-branding itself from Pointe Coupee Electric to PC Electric in an effort to reflect the organization’s re-emphasis on service reliability and growth.
“A lot of people don’t really know much about co-ops, who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Some people don’t even know they’re a member of a co-op,” he said. “So, we’re introducing a new logo and a new branding concept. You can see it on our trucks, on your bill, in our office and on signs throughout the community. It’s the same great co-op that we’ve had for nearly 80 years, but we’re adopting a new attitude about growth and service.”
As part of the campaign, Lambert mentioned that PC Electric has also launched a new website where members can pay their bills online and receive other timely, useful information. He noted that the co-op is working on acquiring new loads, including a new subdivision in Pointe Coupee Parish and a new school in West Baton Rouge Parish.
“We want to be an integral part of business expansion and economic development in each of the three parishes we serve and throughout our region,” he said.
Lambert concluded his remarks by thanking “our employees, the men and women who put in long hours and work hard to keep the lights on and deliver low-cost affordable power to our homes and businesses.”
Lambert and Settoon made a special presentation to Settoon’s father, Irvin Settoon, who represented the members of District 7 for 39 years before retiring last year.
“Mr. Irvin exemplifies what it means to be a leader, a good family man and someone who cares about his community, his faith and his neighbors,” Lambert said. “It’s an honor to recognize him today and all the great work he has done in the past.”
The meeting began with an invocation from Marvin Dixon, who was later commended for his 40 years of service. Other employees recognized for their years of service were Jerry Moore, 10 years; Emily Jarreau 10 years; Derek Jarreau, 10 years; Chad Brown, 10 years; James Wercham, 15 years; Shane Johnson, 20 years; Chad David, 20 years; and Joanie Bishop, who announced her retirement after 19 years at the co-op.
Selected by his peers as the 2017 Employee Spotlight winner was Lead Lineman Chad David.
Members also heard presentations from three special guest speakers. Pointe Coupee Associate County Agent Mark Carriere delivered a report on area agriculture performance for the past year. He said that while figures are still being finalized for 2017, excessive rain, cold, pollination problems, feral hogs and other factors led to significant damage to soybean, corn and other crops.
He indicated that last year the ag industry contributed $136 million to the economy in Pointe Coupee Parish, $80 million in Iberville and $30 million in West Baton Rouge.
He characterized the previous 12 months as “a rough year when Mother Nature was not too kind to us.” Cane farmers, he added, did well in 2017.
State Rep. Major Thibaut reminded members of the history of their cooperative that was formed in the midst of the Great Depression.
“The national unemployment rate at that time was about 25 percent and so many able-bodied people didn’t have a job and few homes and farms in our area had electricity,” Thibaut said. “People right here in our backyard decided to organize and take advantage of a government program and had the fortitude to make electricity available to attract businesses and help the families and farms in our area.
Throughout its nearly 80-year history, he said, the co-op has been singularly focused on what was best for those living and working within its service area than what was best for the populations in places like Boston, Chicago or New York City.
“Locally-owned businesses are just as important today as they were back then. It’s important that the people who you depend on to keep the power flowing are people you know, or you’re kin to, or you grew up together or go to church together,” Thibaut said. “I applaud PC Electric for this new direction they’re taking. In business, they say if you’re not growing, you’re dying. I’m confident your co-op is going to be even greater than it is today.”
Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Dr. Craig Greene, who grew up as a co-op member in Maringouin, said he relates to the co-op’s mission of delivering power as a non-profit, democratically-controlled organization serving predominantly rural areas.
In other matters, three $1,000 scholarships were drawn and $500 endowments were presented to 4-H representatives in Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes.