San Bernard Electric Cooperative, Inc. had its beginning in 1939, when several leaders from Austin and Colorado Counties became interested in securing service for their farms. As a result of their efforts, the cooperative was incorporated in November of 1939.
The cooperative derived its name from the San Bernard River, which is the common boundary between Austin and Colorado Counties. The first 89 miles of power lines were built in 1940 and energized on December 31st, 1940. They served 141 members in the rural areas of Colorado and Austin Counties. The construction was financed by a government loan through the Rural Electrification Administration (REA).
Currently the Cooperative has approximately 3,900 miles of line serving approximately 30,000 meters in parts of eight Texas counties – Austin, Colorado, Lavaca, Waller, Montgomery, Harris, Grimes and Fayette. San Bernard Electric Cooperative, Inc. no longer borrows government loan funds. When financing is required for system construction, funds are obtained from (CFC) a financial cooperative.
San Bernard Electric Cooperative, Inc. is an electrical distribution utility. The Cooperative utilizes multiple wholesale power providers and resources to meet the energy needs of our membership. SBEC’s power portfolio includes such resources as natural gas, wind, solar as well as a 50 Megawatt peaking generation unit located in our service territory. Along with our diversified portfolio, SBEC utilizes Garland Power and Light to act as our Qualified Scheduling Entity (QSE) to schedule our load into the ERCOT market.
When you applied for electric service you were asked to pay a membership fee. When you paid your membership fee you joined a non-profit, member-owned cooperative that is dedicated to efficient management to provide you with reliable electric service at the lowest cost possible. Along with being a member of SBEC, you have rights and responsibilities:
- The right to talk to co-op management about any problem concerning SBEC.
- The right to attend the Annual Meeting and vote for directors.
- The responsibility to report hazardous situations or vandalism to SBEC property.
- The responsibility to keep your account current and help maintain the financial strength of your cooperative.
We in turn have a commitment to you to fulfill our obligations as a responsible business organization and to supply power at the lowest cost possible and to maintain the highest quality of service.
SBEC holds it's annual meeting every year on the third Saturday during the month of May. At this meeting you have the opportunity to participate in the operation of your electric cooperative. By casting your vote at the annual meeting, you are electing a board of directors, who are also SBEC members, whose function is to set down the policies and procedures by which your cooperative is governed. Qualifications for directors and additional information concerning the annual meeting are included in the cooperative bylaws.
To keep all members current on local and statewide issues in the electric industry, each member receives a monthly copy of the Texas Co-Op Power Magazine. The magazine is published by Texas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (TEC) in Austin, and has circulation over 800,000. Featured every month are "local pages" that are specifically for SBEC members. Watch these for meeting announcements, safety tips, conservation ideas and other important information for members of the cooperative.