Whether you are a really early riser or a night owl, Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) will help light your way. The electric cooperative provides power to about 196,200 residential and commercial customers across five counties in southwestern Florida. The company's service territory includes Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, and parts of Lehigh Acres. The member-owned non-profit electric utility operates more than 8,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines and 23 substations. Tampa-based Seminole Electric Cooperative serves as LCEC's wholesale power supplier.
The cooperative is working on a number of strategic initiatives in order to keep up with the demands of the growing population in its service area: maintain power quality, enhance disaster recovery competency, keep up with regulatory compliance requirements, implement mobile workforce technology, and keep employees engaged.
High power demand (especially during a hotter-than-usual summer and a cold winter) lifted revenues in 2010. Strong power sales that year allowed the cooperative to decide against a base rate increase. However, higher wholesale purchased power costs did drag down its net margins.
As part of its non-profit charter, LCEC returns surplus equity to its current and former members. In 2011 its Board of Trustees approved $6.1 million in retired equity distribution and $8.2 million general distribution.
Under the leadership of Homer Welch (and as part of a nationwide rural electrification drive), LCEC began operations with 15 miles of distribution line and 158 members, or about 1% of Lee County's 1940 population of 17,500.
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