Power Outage? Text Us!

Computer graphic of a broken utility poleReporting and monitoring power outages couldn’t be easier: just text. Peace River Electric Cooperative’s outage texting service is simple, fast and convenient.

Here’s how it works. A simple text message from you puts your outage directly into our system. It’s just like calling in your outage, only faster.

What’s the key? The mobile number you use to text your outage must be listed on your PRECO account. There are three ways to update the number on your account:

  • Access your account online at or through our SmartHub mobile app.
  • Call 800-282-3824 and follow the prompts to access your account.
  • Speak to a Customer Care Representative by calling 800-282-3824.

How to Enroll

To begin using the outage texting system, you must first enroll by texting the word PRECO to 800-282-3824.

It’s as simple as that. The next time you have an outage, don’t call, just text.

Outage Texting FAQ

What commands are available? The system responds to three commands:

  • OUT – Submit an outage directly to our dispatch center.
  • STATUS – Request updates for an ongoing outage.
  • HELP – An automated response will provide PRECO’s toll-free number and other information.

Am I being charged for this service? Outage texting is a free service. You may, however, incur standard text message or data charges from your mobile carrier.

Can I enroll in outage texting if I don’t have an automated meter? No. A small number of members have an analog meter on their electric service. Outage texting only works for automated meters.

How do I opt out of outage text messaging? Text STOP to 800-282-3824.


PRECO Names Scholarship Winners

Operation Round Up, Peace River Electric Cooperative’s charitable foundation, granted $102,000 in college scholarships to 20 local students in 11 area schools. Since its launch in 2005, Operation Round Up has provided 234 college scholarships amounting to more than $1.1 million in the cooperative’s 10-county service area.

“In our current economy, many families are feeling the pinch of spiraling costs for basic needs, such as groceries, gasoline and medicines,” says Ellen Hamel, Operation Round Up board chairperson. “With these scholarship grants, we hope to ease some of the financial burden on college students and their families.”

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.

Scholarship winners

Liam Wilford                           Braden River High School                    $8,000

Michelle Leon-Garcia             Fort Meade High School                     $8,000

Sarah Gibson                         Hardee High School                             $2,000

Zachary Geiger                       Lakewood Ranch High School             $4,000

Sara Hutchinson                      Lakewood Ranch High School             $4,000

Nicole Hyer                             Lakewood Ranch High School             $4,000

Lexington Kahler                     Lakewood Ranch High School             $8,000

Sam Leavy                               Lakewood Ranch High School             $4,000

Kelsey McLeod                        Lakewood Ranch High School             $4,000

Hannah, Pruszinske                 Lakewood Ranch High School             $4,000

Gabriell Suazo-Gracia             Lakewood Ranch High School             $4,000

Courtney Bauer                      Manatee High School                          $4,000

Samantha Malcolm                Out-of-Door Academy                        $8,000

Eleanor Hopkins                      Palmetto High School                          $8,000

Lauren Schindler                     Saint Stephen’s Episcopal                   $8,000

David Iten                                Southeast High School                        $4,000

Emma Zolecki                         Southeast High School                        $4,000

Rachel Garland                       Florida Southern University                $4,000

Sydney Granack                      University of South Florida                 $4,000

Hudson Norman                     University of South Florida                 $4,000


Your Home Electrical System: What’s Yours, What’s Ours

Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, a few Peace River Electric Cooperative members were surprised to learn that the repair of some of their home’s electrical components is their responsibility. In fact, the National Electrical Safety Code does not allow our lineworkers to restore your electric service if your home can not safely accept power.

If your home’s weatherhead, service bracket, riser, meter socket or any related components are damaged, a qualified electrician must make repairs before your home can be reconnected. Unfortunately, these repairs can be quite costly. Are you prepared?

PRECO has selected HomeServe to offer our members optional Exterior Electrical Line Coverage for a low monthly cost. If your home’s exterior electrical components need repair, simply call HomeServe’s repair hotline. An account specialist will collect homeowner information and ask a local contractor to contact you to schedule a visit.

For more information about HomeServe or to sign up, go to or call 833-334-1874.

Graphic displaying consumer-owned and utility-owed electrical system


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.

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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.