2023 PRECO Scholarship Recipients

Operation Round Up, Peace River Electric Cooperative’s charitable foundation, granted $106,000 in college scholarships to 23 local students in 14 schools and colleges. Since its launch in 2005, Operation Round Up has provided 257 college scholarships amounting to more than $1.2 million in the cooperative’s 10-county service area.

“The charitable foundation is pleased to help bolster our local community by supporting hardworking, determined students,” says Ellen Hamel, Operation Round Up board chairperson. “We hope that many of these students will return to this area someday and use their education and talents to serve others.”

To be eligible, student applicants must reside in a home served by PRECO, maintain good grades, be active in the community and submit an essay describing their life, career and educational goals.

Funding for Operation Round Up comes from the voluntary donations of PRECO’s member-consumers who allow their monthly electric bills to be “rounded up” to the next dollar. Funds collected are used to help local families and organizations with food, shelter, clothing, health, and education needs.

Learn more about Operation Round Up.

View Student Photos.

2023 Scholarship Recipients by School
1 Yencik, Michael Cardinal Mooney CHS  $            8,000
2 Jurado, Jaqueline Hardee HS  $            8,000
3 Alderman, Karlie Hardee HS  $            4,000
4 Hernandez-Santiago, Magdalena Hardee HS  $            1,000
5 Mondragon, Robert Hardee HS  $            1,000
6 Chandley, Gabriel Lake Wales HS  $            4,000
7 Martin, Elias Lakewood Ranch HS  $            8,000
8 Hotaling, Madelyn Lakewood Ranch HS  $            4,000
9 Schmidt, Erika Lakewood Ranch HS  $            4,000
10 Thornhill, Tierney Lakewood Ranch HS  $            4,000
11 Wagner, Jessica Lakewood Ranch HS  $            4,000
12 Panzarino, Nicholas Lynn University  $            4,000
13 Zapata, Giovan Palmetto HS  $            4,000
14 Wagner, Carson Parrish Community HS  $            4,000
15 Chafloque, Kevin Southeast HS  $            8,000
16 O’Dell, Keile Southeastern University  $            4,000
17 Millican, Justin St. Stephen’s Episcopal  $            8,000
18 Bowers, Christopher State College of Fla  $            4,000
19 Thompson, Jessica Tulane University  $            4,000
20 Chen, Bryan University of Fla  $            4,000
21 Tyler, Mallory University of Fla  $            4,000
22 Zewdie, Anteneh University of Fla  $            4,000
23 Brown, Stephanie University of Sou Fla  $            4,000
 Grand Total   $   106,000

Efficiency Upgrades to Help You Save This Summer

LED lightbulb on a wood tableSpring is a great time for home upgrades and DIY projects. If you’re planning on making home improvements, consider upgrades that promote better efficiency.

Here are a few projects that can help you save energy and money––and increase the comfort of your home.

Installing a smart thermostat is one of the simplest ways to manage home energy use and keep summer bills in check. Smart thermostats are easy to install and allow you to control your heating and cooling system from your phone. Smart thermostats sell for as low as $100 and may save you 8% on annual heating and cooling costs, about $50 per year. This upgrade will quickly pay for itself, and you’ll gain insight into your heating and cooling habits.

Smart LED bulbs provide both convenience and energy savings. With smart lighting, you can schedule when and how your lights turn on or off. And the next time you head out to run errands and realize you left the lights on, simply turn them off through your phone. Smart lights, available for indoors or outdoors, come in many shapes, colors, and brightness levels. Smart lights can illuminate your home at night and when you’re out of town for better security.

Sealing air leaks around your home is a simple, effective way to save energy and lower your bills. Applying weather stripping around doors and windows reduces energy waste and may instantly make your home more comfortable. Using caulk around windows and doors can also improve the seal of your home.

Adding insulation to an under-insulated home can make a big impact on reducing energy use and costs. Typically, insulation costs can be recouped in a few years, and your home will immediately feel more comfortable.

If you want to make your home more energy efficient but are unsure where to start, contact PRECO’s Energy Services Department at 800-282-3824 to schedule a free energy audit. An energy audit can easily identify areas to boost efficiency and help you determine the projects you want to tackle first based on your budget and needs.


Come to PRECO’s Annual Meeting

Saturday, March 18th
PRECO Park, 220 Knight Road, Wauchula, Florida
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Registration
1:00 p.m. – Business Meeting2022 Annual Meeting images: a bluegrass band, antique car, children's games, a prize-winner with TV

Door prizes awarded after the business meeting!

Registered members receive a $10 electric bill credit

Free Food, Games and Prizes

  • Hot Dogs
  • Soft Drinks
  • Ice Cream
  • Fries
  • Kettle Corn
  • Funnel Cakes
  • Kids play area
  • Informational & educational booths
  • Great door prize drawings for registered PRECO members

Southern Express Bluegrass Band

Back by popular demand, Southern Express consists of six talented musicians. This local group brings hard-driving entertainment through a blend of bluegrass, gospel and country music favorites.

Joey Foley

Long-time central Florida singer, songwriter and entertainer. Joey and his guitar will take you back in time with good ol’ Classic Country Music!

Antique Car Show

  • See the cars and trucks of yesterday. If you’d like to display your antique vehicle, call Jeff Cornelius at 800-282-3824 ext. 4636.
  • Bring your photo ID to register
  • No smoking, no alcohol permitted. No pets (service animals only). Photos will be taken at this event for publications/social media
  • For faster registration, bring your recent electric bill with the scannable QR code

Pay-As-You-Go with PrePaid Power

Food, gas and cell phone minutes are some of the goods and services we typically buy before actually using. With Peace River Electric Cooperative’s PrePaid Power service, you control when and how much you pay for electricity. It’s up to you.

Eliminate Security Deposits and Fees

Traditional Monthly Bill Deposit: $200 & up        PrePaid: $0
Traditional Monthly Bill Late Fee: $10                    PrePaid: $0
Traditional Monthly Bill Reconnect Fee: $40      PrePaid: $0
Traditional Monthly Bill Collection Fee: $30        PrePaid: $0

Simple, easy, no hassles

No due dates. Pay on your own schedule.
No monthly bills. You’ll receive low-balance alerts by text, email or phone.
Pay what you can afford when you need more power.
You’re in control of your energy bill.

How does it work?

PRECO’s PrePaid Power works like refueling your car. You fill up the car, drive it until the gas gauge gets low, then add more fuel. Similarly, with PrePaid Power your account balance decreases as you use electricity. When your account balance gets low, you simply add more funds to your account.

Convenient payment options

  • Log in to your online account at or our SmartHub app on your mobile phone or tablet
  • Visit a payment kiosk at one of our three offices, 24/7
  • Pay by phone at 855-386-9924
  • Authorize automatic payments by credit card or banking/checking account with AutoPay
  • Visit a MoneyGram store near you

How to sign up

Simply complete an enrollment form online at or call us at 800-282-3824.


Children Sleeping in Their Own Beds Thanks to PRECO Foundation Grant

The mission of Beds for Kids, serving Manatee and Sarasota counties, is to support the welfare of children and, when needed, to provide them with beds.

Frequently, area child welfare groups reach out to Beds for Kids when a child needs a bed. It may be due to a child being removed from the home for safety reasons, if the family cannot afford a bed for the child or if a child is co-sleeping with a parent or family member due to a lack of beds.

“Our volunteers sand wood, paint Bible verses on the slats and get each bed ready for delivery,” shares Carla Gallas, Beds for Kids board member. “Once the bed arrives, each child eagerly helps assemble it. Children also receive bed linens, a mattress and pad, a children’s Bible, a tote, a handmade rug and a teddy bear.”

Operation Round Up, Peace River Electric Cooperative’s charitable foundation, recently gave Beds for Kids a $20,000 grant to purchase lumber.

“Increasing lumber costs are a challenge for us, so we are very grateful to Operation Round Up for this generous grant,” adds Gallas.

ORU is funded by the donations of PRECO member-consumers who opt to have their monthly electric bills rounded up to the next dollar. ORU assists individuals and organizations with food, shelter, medical, clothing and education needs.

Learn more about ORU or download an application. To learn more about Beds for Kids or to volunteer, visit


College Scholarship Applications Open Through Feb. 28

Peace River Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up Board of Directors has set aside $108,000 in scholarship funds for prospective and currently enrolled students of all ages at accredited colleges, trade, technical or vocational schools.

PRECO members and their dependent children—including legal guardianship—may apply. The applicant’s permanent legal address must be served by PRECO.

Online applications must be completed by February 28. High school or college transcripts must be received by PRECO via mail no later than March 7. Transcript requests take time to process, so contact your institution immediately. Your transcript can arrive before you have completed the online application.

Some restrictions apply. See the scholarship application for details.

Submit an application.


Clearing a Path to Reliability

There are many ways that Peace River Electric Cooperative provides you with safe, reliable electric service. One of the most common—and crucial—programs is referred to as right-of-way clearing.

A right-of-way (ROW) is a strip of land underneath or around power lines that is your electric cooperative’s right and responsibility to maintain and clear. Trees must maintain a safe distance from conductors to minimize the possibility of harming people or disrupting electrical service. Specifications vary, but a general guideline for maintaining a safe ROW is 10 feet of clearance on either side of the primary conductors and all limbs removed above the highest wire on the pole. PRECO’s mission is to reclaim our ROW using a ground-to-sky method.

Maintaining a clean ROW is critical to keeping trees away from power lines and keeping your lights on. So far this year, trees, shrubs or bushes growing too close to power lines are responsible for 18% of PRECO power outages. Our goal is to reduce that percentage to maintain better reliability.

ROW clearing also helps keep your family safe by removing tree branches that may become energized due to close contact with a power line. PRECO’s lines can carry up to 14,400 volts, meaning an energized tree branch is incredibly dangerous—possibly deadly. Be mindful when around trees close to power lines and warn your children that climbing trees near power lines is extremely unsafe.

PRECO’s clearance contractor, Georgia Right of Way, removes branches and brush away from power lines across our entire system. This group uses skilled personnel to safely prune or remove trees using chainsaws, bucket trucks, woodchippers and more to keep lines free from hazards.

Our contractor, in compliance with national standards, prunes or removes trees that threaten your electric service. Providing proper clearance for repair crews and trucks helps them restore power faster during an outage.

Our commitment to safety is why we discourage our members and untrained contractors from pruning trees near power lines. If you are planning to remove or trim a tree near PRECO lines or if you spot a tree that may endanger the lines, please report it by calling us at 800-282-3824.

To learn more about our tree maintenance program and to receive information about how to keep the ROW around your home clear, visit our website at


Youth Tour: Free Trip to Washington DC for 11th Graders

YOUTH TOUR: JUNE 13-18, 2023

Peace River Electric Cooperative is offering the trip of a lifetime to two ambitious students. If you are currently an 11th-grade student and your parents are members of PRECO, you are invited to apply for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour.

What is Youth Tour?

Youth Tour is an annual six-day trip to Washington, D.C. by thousands of students from electric cooperatives across the country. As PRECO’s delegate, you’ll tour monuments and historic sites in our nation’s capital, meet U.S. Congressional Representatives and make new lifetime friends. Plus, you’ll learn how electric co-ops help your community thrive and grow.

If selected, you’ll travel with approximately 30 – 40 other students and chaperones from Florida electric cooperatives as you see the best of D.C. And, best of all: it’s all expenses paid courtesy of your cooperative.

To learn more about Youth Tour or to submit an online application, visit The deadline for applications is January 31, 2023. Questions? Email


National Co-op Month: Celebrating Membership

Fall is a busy time, and October is a particularly eventful month with school, community, and sports activities in full swing. It’s also when all cooperatives celebrate National Co-op Month.

When I say Peace River Electric Cooperative celebrates Co-op Month, it really means we are celebrating you! After all, our co-op wouldn’t exist without you, our members.

Our core business is to serve as your electricity provider. But our larger mission is to help make our corner of the world a better place. “Concern for community” is one of seven guiding principles that all co-ops share.

Similar to how the power lines run through our service territory, our concern for the community flows through all of our decisions. That’s because being a co-op means being a responsible partner and good neighbor.

PRECO works to help our community thrive through initiatives led by our employees and local board, who live right here in our community. Because we’re local, we understand our community’s unique needs and strive to help meet them.

We’re proud to support local youth through our Youth Tour and scholarship programs. With your help, we offer Operation Round Up to aid our community’s most vulnerable. We also partner with and support many area schools and sports programs.

The word “cooperative” implies everyone working together towards a common goal—mutually benefitting one another and the larger community. That’s the cooperative spirit. Our employees and member-elected board members are invested in the community where they live and serve.

Above all, as a co-op, we put our members’ priorities first. As your trusted energy partner, we know that saving energy and money is important to you. That’s why we have programs to help, including free home energy audits and our PrePaid Power program.

Through our SmartHub app, you can conveniently monitor and manage your energy use. And, of course, you can also give us a call if you have questions about your energy bills.

PRECO’s mission is to provide you with reliable electric service and excellent customer care at affordable rates. After all, we’re your local co-op, built by the members we serve.