PEC board member could be disqualified from serving because of a bylaw he helped vote into place

At yesterday’s board meeting, the Pedernales Electric Cooperative voted to review a recently passed bylaw that could disqualify one of its members from serving on the board.  Specifically, if the board applies this bylaw retroactively, it could disqualify Chris Perry from continuing his position on the board. 

Coop attorneys have been questioning Perry about his energy consulting business, Windhorse Energy LLC in Dripping Springs. According to documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March 2009, Perry applied with the commission for his business to engage in wholesale sales of electricity and other services. Perry said in the documents that Windhorse Energy would be a “power marketer” and that it did not generate or distribute electricity.  In addition, Perry wrote to the federal commission earlier this month to cancel his registration, stating Windhorse Energy has not conducted any business and had no active contracts for sales.

The bylaw in question prevents a director from working for a wholesale power company for at least three years prior to serving on the board.  That bylaw, along with a number of other reforms in co-op governance procedures, was approved in November by Perry and the rest of the board . Perry was elected six months earlier.

The board voted 3-2 not to begin disqualification proceedings against Perry and to initiate a review of the new bylaw. Perry abstained, however he did argue that when he was elected to the board, the bylaw wasn’t on the books, and that it was unfair to apply it retroactively.

Perry, the former assistant energy secretary for the State of New Mexico, has emerged as one of the board’s leading voices for renewable energy.  And he would have been unable to sell power in Texas anyway since he did not register with the Public Utility Commission. 

The board will have to resolve this issue, but we hope they do so in a fair and equitable way.  Nevertheless, we have to say kudos to Perry and other members of the board for disclosing any potential conflicts of interest.  This is something that would have been unlikely in the closed-off “old days” of Pedernales.