Charter Charitable Board Member Bill Hodge Retires

After 16 years of selfless service to Operation Round Up’s board of directors, William “Bill” Hodge has retired.

Bill Hodge receives clock and gift basket from Ellen Hamel
Operation Round Up Board, represented by Board Chair Ellen Hamel, recognizes Bill Hodge with a clock and a goodie basket in appreciation of his 16 years of service.

Bill was born in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, where he grew up on a farm. He served 15 years in the Army and fought in the Korean War. Formerly a boat captain and an assistant city manager, he spent most of his life as a cattle rancher, and, has lived in Hardee County for 27 years.

Bill is the last of the nine original board members that were present on March 16, 2005, when the first Operation Round Up board meeting was held at Peace River Electric Cooperative in Wauchula. The board learned the basics of the program, reviewed their job responsibilities and drew lots to set up the first staggered 3-year board terms.

Never one to shy away from responsibility, Bill served as the foundation’s treasurer from 2007 until his retirement. Respected by his peers for his leadership and keen insight, he served on ORU’s executive and scholarship committees for many years. Bill also helped put millions of dollars back into the local community.

“From Operation Round Up’s beginning in 2005, through 2021, Bill personally had a hand in granting over $2.4 million to help change lives in our service area,” shares Charlotte Heston, PRECO v.p. of corporate services. “Under his watch, funds were distributed to help build homes, support food ministries, sustain local youth in crisis, upgrade hospital services and much more.”

Bill is proud of the years he spent serving the community.

“I have in my long and greatly blessed life served on many boards, commissions and committees, but none that I have enjoyed more or felt a greater sense of service as I have on this one,” explains Bill. “But, all good things sooner or later must end; such is life. I am the last original member of this board, and at nearly 92 years old, I feel like it’s time to leave. I encourage the Operation Round Up board to continue its good work.”

“We wish Bill Hodge the very best in the future,” says Charlotte. “He leaves big boots (and a big hat) to fill. His influence will be greatly missed.”


Surge Suppressor Free Installation through May 2022

Peace of mind for only a few dollars a month

An electrical surge is a brief, sudden spike in voltage. Surges can occur from uncontrollable sources such as lightning, tree limbs on power lines, car crashes and even small animals on PRECO’s lines and equipment. Surges can also come from within your home, when major appliances, like your air conditioner or clothes dryer, cycle on and off. Even if lasting less than one second, surges can damage your electrical equipment.

One solution to power surges is to unplug every electrical device that isn’t currently in use, but that isn’t practical. A better alternative is a whole-house surge protector. At your request, PRECO will install a surge suppressor in your electric meter, offering our highest level of whole-house protection for your motor-driven appliances.

Free installation through May 2022

An installation fee of $24.95 typically applies, but act by May 31, 2022, and PRECO will install a surge suppressor in your meter socket free of charge! Then, for a monthly fee of only $5.95 (plus tax), you’ll enjoy our highest level of surge protection.

How do I sign up?

Complete an online form by visiting Tools/Surge Protection. To learn more, email us at or call 800-282-3824.

A surge suppressor connected to your electric meter is considered your first line of defense. We also recommend adding point-of-use surge protectors for individual devices such as computers, TVs and entertainment systems. Point-of-use surge suppressors, available at your local retailer, are rated in joules. Look for a rating of 600 joules or higher.

  • It is the consumer’s responsibility to protect their electronic devices.
  • Meter socket surge suppressors can stop power surges from coming into your home.
  • Installation typically occurs within 3-5 days after applying online.

You’re Invited to PRECO’s Annual Meeting March 19

Southern Express Bluegrass Band is scheduled to provide live entertainment

The 82nd Annual Membership Meeting of Peace River Electric Cooperative will take place at PRECO Park, 220 Knight Road, Wauchula, Florida, on Saturday, March 19, 2022, at 1:00 p.m.

At this year’s meeting:

  • Newly elected directors will be officially seated,
  • PRECO officers will present their annual reports,
  • Any other appropriate business will be considered by the members.

Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 1:00 p.m. when the business meeting officially starts. At the conclusion of the business meeting, door prizes will be awarded by random drawing to registered ticket holders.

Registration guidelines:

  • The member of record must register upon arrival,
  • Photo identification is required to register, participate in the business meeting and win prizes,
  • Only individuals authorized on the account may register for a business. Contact PRECO at 800-282-3824 for more information.

All registered members will receive a $10 credit on their electric bill.

Please join us in conducting the business of your cooperative.


Five Reasons We Love Serving Our Members

Heart-shaped cloudFebruary may be the shortest month, but it’s packed with special observances like Presidents’ Day, Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, and even unofficial celebrations like National Pizza Day. Each one has a purpose: to draw attention to a particular issue or theme.

Over time, Valentine’s Day has become a day to celebrate with flowers, candy, and greeting cards. It’s also the perfect time to let our friends, family, and other special people know we care about them.

With that in mind, we’re sharing our top five reasons we love serving the members of Peace River Electric Cooperative.

  1. Without you, the co-op wouldn’t exist. Simply put, PRECO exists to serve you. That’s why we were formed in 1940––to bring power to our local area when for-profit utilities refused. Our mission is to provide you with reliable electric service and excellent customer care at affordable rates.
  2. You enable us to give back to our community. PRECO’s purpose is to empower our local community. With your assistance, we’re able to help the local community through our Operation Round Up program and making direct donations to schools, civic organizations, and local events.
    1. Co-op members serve on the board of directors. They ensure that PRECO is continually maintained and operated with your best interests in mind. Because our democratically elected board members live in the area , they’re able to serve as the pulse of the larger community and identify immediate and long-term needs.
  3. You help us get it right. We do our best to avoid power outages, but Mother Nature occasionally throws us a curveball; our members quickly report any power disruptions and are patient as our crews work to restore power safely. We also appreciate your feedback on co-op programs and services like PrePaid Power and Outdoor Lighting.
  4. PRECO members make up the community we serve. Like you, our employees live and work here and invest in the local community. That’s why you’ll see our employees volunteering at local schools, ballgames, and community events.

As a co-op, our purpose is to empower our members every day. We love serving our members and our local community.

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger

$100,000 in College Scholarships Available!

Apply Now for an Operation Round Up College Scholarship!


Graduating high school seniors

Students already attending college

Adults of all ages

Must attend an accredited college or trade/technical/vocational school


Beginning early January, complete the online application at


A high school or college/school transcript is required.

Transcript requests typically take time to process, so contact your institution as soon as possible. It is OK if we receive your transcript from your institution before you apply online.


Your online application and all supporting documents/attachments must be received no later than February 28, 2022.


Three applications are available:

  • Students currently in high school
  • Adults or students already attending college
  • Trade, technical and vocational students

Apply now!


It’s the Season of Giving

Operation Round Up logo surrounded by a Christmas wreath
The average donation for one year is only $6

The holidays have arrived and, for many of us, our focus turns to giving instead of receiving. With pandemic-driven job cutbacks, layoffs and business closures, many families are struggling to make ends meet.

Operation Round Up, PRECO’s charitable foundation, assists families and organizations with needs related to food, shelter, clothing and health expenses, as well as granting college scholarships. This year, ORU launched its highly successful Teacher Mini-Grant program to provide funds to teachers needing financial help with classroom projects.

Operation Round Up is funded by PRECO members who agree to have their monthly electric bills rounded up to the next dollar. Your spare change can change the lives of others in your community.

Will you help your neighbors by signing up for ORU today?

To join with the more than 30,000 PRECO members who donate to ORU, log in to your PRECO account online at, use our SmartHub app or call us at 800-282-3824.

Carousel, News

PRECO Members Receiving $2.5 Million in Capital Credits

Peace River Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit electric distribution utility whose members share in the ownership and prosperity of the cooperative. Your participation in Capital Credits is one of the benefits of being a PRECO member.

Electrical outlet next to a piggybank
Since 2000, PRECO has refunded more than $20.6 million in Capital Credits to its members.

Allocation and Retirement of Capital Credits

PRECO returns Capital Credits to members through a two-step process called Patronage Refund.

Step 1: Allocation

We allocate Capital Credits to the member’s account in the year margins are received. Margins are our revenues collected over expenses incurred for the year. PRECO prorates margins to its members according to the member’s total annual billing for that year.

Step 2: Retirement

When it is financially feasible, PRECO completes the process by retiring (paying) these Capital Credits to the members who contributed the Patronage Capital.

PRECO is retiring more than $2.5 million in Capital Credits to members who received electric service during 1999  and 2000. Qualifying members with an active PRECO account and retirement less than $50 will receive a credit on their November or December electric bill. We will disburse all other retirements by check in December.

For questions regarding Capital Credits, call us at 800-282-3824.

So What is a Capital Credit?

You may often hear the term “capital credits” at Peace River Electric Cooperative, but what are

Capital credits are a feature that make PRECO different from investor-owned utilities. As a
member-owned co-op, PRECO does not earn profits.

While all utilities must collect revenue to cover expenses and plan for future investments,
investor-owned utilities design rates to maximize profits, allowing them to pay dividends to

PRECO sets rates to cover costs, plan for growth, maintain good financial parameters and provide stability.

When revenues exceed the cost of doing business, the co-op earns net margins, which are allocated to active members in a ratio proportionate to the amount of electricity the member purchased during the year the net margins were earned. Those are called capital credits.


Teachers Receive $10k in Mini-Grants

We believe there is no greater calling than to invest in the youth and future leaders of our great community. That’s why PRECO’s Operation Round Up charitable foundation recently awarded $10,000 to local schools through our recently created Teacher Mini-Grant program.

We know that teachers often struggle for the funding needed to host special activities for their students. That’s why we invited educators to submit an online application for a chance to receive up to $500 for their classroom.

Recipient list:

Teacher School County Project Amount
Mrs. Kera Picker Virgil Mill ES Manatee Cooking & Science in Classroom  $      500.00
Mrs. Cara Hamrich Buffalo Creek MS Manatee Book Study/Science  $      500.00
Mrs. Gloria Neel North Wauchula ES Hardee An Amazing 21 Days  $      498.00
Mrs. Elizabeth Kimbrell Freedom ES Manatee FES Lights Up the Stage  $      497.00
Mrs. Lori Bedeman Tara ES Manatee Sunshine State Readers Competition  $      496.00
Mrs. Jacque Weight-Lukes Palm View K-8 Manatee Ukulele Lessons  $      493.00
Mr. Casey Fabianski Braden River HS Manatee Learning How to Print  $      492.00
Mrs. Laura Wells Zolfo Springs ES Hardee Bringin’ the Noise  $      492.00
Ms. Julie Reynolds Avon Park ES Highlands STEM for the Future  $      478.00
Mrs. Heather Haman Sunrise ES Brevard Math and Beyond  $      462.00
Ms. Olga Pena Parrish Comm HS Manatee Newspaper Production Technology  $      457.00
Mrs. Alyse Bianchi Virgil Mill ES Manatee Bringing Fam. Together w/Literature  $      450.00
Mrs. Rachael Patrick Virgil Mills ES Manatee Born to Blossom  $      440.00
Dr. Dana McCarthy Palm View K-8 Manatee Band Instrucment Repair  $      431.00
Mrs. Adriana H. Gore Parrish Comm HS Manatee Applied Engineering Technology  $      427.00
Mrs. Anne Davis Blackburn ES Manatee Improving Early Literacy  $      400.00
Mrs. Joadie Durfee Harvey ES Manatee Let’s Grow  $      370.00
Mrs. Connie Barnes Babson Park ES Polk ESE Garden  $      370.00
Mrs. Heather Nyland Virgil Mills ES Manatee Dive into a Book  $      321.00
Mrs. Nora Hyde Braden River MS Manatee Captivating Curr. Events for Science  $      314.00
Mrs. Chelsea Kelly Hilltop ES Hardee Growing Readers  $      311.00
Mrs. Alice Lander McNeal ES Manatee Brag Tags for Readers  $      301.00
Mr. Charles Rogalia Tara ES Manatee SSYRA-Fla Sunshine Books  $      250.00
Mrs. Jeanne Rogers Tara ES Manatee Building Strong Readers  $      250.00

PRECO received more than 80 Mini-Grant applications. Operation Round Up’s board of directors is already making plans to make Teacher Mini-Grants available once again in August 2022.


SmartHub Users: New Notification Now Available!

SmartHub, your personal PRECO account management system, is always working to bring you more convenient features. We know you’re always on the go and want quick updates regarding your electric account.

Already included with your account are many notifications you can choose to keep up to date, such as, when your bill is available, when your credit card is about to expire, when your bill is past due and more.

We recently added a new notification: Payment Posted. You can now receive an email or text when your bank draft, recurring credit card (AutoPay), online banking or paid-by-phone payment is applied to your account. But, you must opt in to begin receiving these convenient Payment Posted notifications.

To opt in, log in to your online account at, then click or tap Manage Notifications and select Payment Posted. If using the SmartHub mobile app, tap Settings, then Manage Notifications and select Payment Posted.

Did you know SmartHub can also remind you when your payment is due? You have the option to choose the number of days prior to your due date that you would like to receive a payment reminder by email or text. Just access your online account at or open the SmartHub mobile app. Click or tap Manage Notifications and select Payment Reminder.

While you’re visiting the Manage Notifications web page, check out the many other handy notifications you can choose to stay informed about your electric account.

PRECO is always looking for new ways to empower our members.


Highly Efficient Generating Facility to Slash CO2 Emissions

Seminole Electric Cooperative—Peace River Electric Cooperative’s wholesale energy provider—is projected to lower its carbon dioxide emissions in 2024 by 48% from 2005 levels, thanks to the closing of a coal-fired generating unit, adding 300 MW of solar power and constructing a new gas-fired generating facility.

With a generating capacity of approximately 1,050 megawatts, the new highly efficient natural gas-fired Seminole Combined Cycle Facility is planned to be commercially operational in 2022.

Currently named the Seminole Combined Cycle Facility (SCCF), the new plant is being constructed directly adjacent to the existing Seminole Generating Station site in Putnam County, Florida, and will have a generating capacity of approximately 1,050 megawatts.

Construction of the new plant is proceeding on schedule and within budget. As of June 30, the project was 46% complete. All major plant components for the project have been delivered to the site. The plant is scheduled to be commercially operational by the fall of 2022.

“Seminole and its Members have invested in a new generation facility with the latest technologies in efficiency and reliability,” said Paul Champion, Quality Assurance/Control Coordinator for the SCCF project. “There are many advantages with a new gas-fired power station, economically and environmentally, that will benefit our community.”

Seminole has also committed to adding 300 MW of additional solar power to its portfolio. With the addition of the solar power, and the removal of one of the coal units from service, Seminole is projected to lower its carbon dioxide emissions in 2024 by 48% from 2005 levels.

The inclusion of SCCF and the additional solar resources in Seminole’s power supply mix will align with Seminole’s purpose; to provide essential wholesale services to its Members through a balanced, diversified portfolio of safe, affordable, and reliable energy resources.