Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations
Public Relations Manager
With the goal of making solar energy more accessible for all its members, Palmetto Electric Cooperative dedicated the area’s first community solar farm adjacent to its New River office in Hardeeville at a March 31 event. The cooperative committed to two farms, one located at the Ridgeland office and the other at the New River office. Construction began in December 2016 and was completed in March of 2017. Each site is a 120kW solar array and already producing electricity. “This is the right project at the right time for Palmetto Electric,” says Berl Davis, president and CEO of Palmetto Electric. “Community solar is a great option for many of our members. It’s affordable. It’s safe. And it’s hassle free.” Community or “shared” solar, means multiple people get electricity from a large solar array, offering a convenient option for consumers who want a part of their monthly power to come from the carbon-free resource. Palmetto Electric began selling shares, last December, of the solar farm’s generating capacity on a first come, first served basis. Pricing includes a $75 non refundable enrollment charge and a monthly fee of $13 per share. Subscribing members will receive a monthly credit of 10 cents per kWh for their share of the solar energy production. The 240 shares sold out in four days. “With this business model, the co-op takes care of the hard parts – the construction, maintenance, and upkeep – and members who want the benefits of solar power can have it,” added Davis. “And they get those benefits without the upfront cost, worries or headaches that come with installing a system of their own.”
For security's sake this holiday season, Palmetto Electric Cooperative is reminding the public of how to avoid scams perpetrated either on the telephone or in person. President and CEO Berl Davis says alert co-op members have reported both types of scamming in recent days. In the telephone scam, the caller poses as a representative of Palmetto Electric. The scam caller states that immediate payment is needed to avoid disconnection of electric service. As Davis notes, "Don't give out credit card numbers and personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know who you're dealing with." If a member receives a suspicious call, mailing, email or other type of unusual contact, the member should end the call immediately and contact local law enforcement. He said co-op members also have reported being approached by individuals who falsely claimed to be with the cooperative. Davis said members can easily identify cooperative employees. “Co-op employees will always be wearing a Palmetto Electric Cooperative uniform and/or driving a co-op vehicle with our name and official logo on it. They will be glad to show photo identification to anyone who requests it,” says Davis. The cooperative sometimes hires other companies, including contract utility crews, to perform certain tasks, such as right-of-way maintenance, line construction and pole inspections. These workers should not need to enter a member’s home or business or request information from a member. Members can call the cooperative at 843-208-5551 if they have questions about their account or if they receive a suspicious call. Customer service representatives can help confirm a billing payment and balance due on a member’s account. They can also verify that workers are Palmetto Electric employees or contract labor working for the co-op.
Local organizations continue to benefit from Palmetto Electric Cooperative's (PEC) nationally-acclaimed giving program, Operation Round Up®. The Palmetto Electric Trust (PET) Board awarded several significant donations with awards totaling $184,500. Second Helpings, Inc., was awarded $67,000 to purchase a fully equipped refrigerated truck to deliver donated food items to pantries in Hampton County. The truck made its first delivery May 26th to the United Ministries of Hampton County. The PET Board also awarded approximately $10,000 to purchase and install a walk-in refrigerator/freezer to be used in the Ministries’ food pantry. Operation Round Up has been instrumental in supporting Second Helpings since the organization’s inception in the early 1990’s. “By making the purchase of their first refrigerated truck possible and now several other trucks, we are proud to support their mission and expansion of food delivery throughout Beaufort, Jasper and now Hampton counties,” stated Berl Davis, president and CEO of Palmetto Electric. The Greater Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine received a $77,500 grant to expand their free medical services into Jasper County. The PET Board provided the clinic with a grant to renovate the facility and fund their first year of operations. The new clinic, located in Ridgeland, will serve individuals who are without health insurance, qualify based on income, and live or work in Greater Bluffton or Jasper County. In other PET Board action, Jasper County Council on Aging received $15,000 for an automobile to transport senior citizens and deliver food for their Meals-on-Wheels program. A second grant of $15,000 was awarded to the Jasper County Council on Aging to assist with their program expenses. “We are pleased to support these very worthy and vital programs,” stated Davis. All of these donations are made possible through contributions to Palmetto Electric’s Operation Round Up program. Participants donate an average of $6 a year by rounding their electric bills to the next highest dollar. “We thank the 82% of our membership participating in Operation Round Up. With their support, these important life changing gifts are made possible,” added Davis. Since 1989, over $7 million has been collected in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton Counties.
Palmetto Electric is alerting consumers to an apparent scam involving individuals calling members, posing as a representative of Palmetto Electric. The scam caller states that immediate payment is needed to avoid disconnection of electric service. Consumers should call Palmetto Electric at 843-208-5551 if they have questions about their account or to report if they receive a suspicious call. Customer service representatives can help confirm a billing payment and balance due on a member’s account. Credit card numbers and personal information should never be given to suspicious callers. If a member receives a suspicious call, mailing, email or other type of unusual contact, the member should end the call immediately and contact local law enforcement.