Peace River Electric Cooperative plans to expand presence in Manatee County

jajones1@bradenton.comJanuary 4, 2014 

Peace River Electric Cooperative plans to build an administrative building at Lakewood Ranch to serve its Manatee County customers. A fall open ing is forecast. Artist rendering provided

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Peace River Electric Cooperative, which supplies power to parts of Lakewood Ranch and most of East Manatee, plans to expand its operations in Manatee County.

Envisioned is an administrative building with a drive-through window and walk-in lobby to serve as a payment center for consumer-members at 14505 Arbor Green Trail in Lakewood Ranch. The proposed site is on the southeast corner of State Road 70 and Lorraine Road, near the Goddard School.

The building would also house engineering and member services personnel, said

Mark Sellers, PRECO communications coordinator, in an email.

The majority of Peace River's customers are in Manatee County.

"As of Dec. 31, PRECO has a little more than 35,700 active accounts across our entire 10-county service area. Of these, about 20,200 are located in Manatee County," Sellers said.

PRECO is headquartered in Wauchula, which also has a walk-in lobby and drive-through window. There are no plans to shift the headquarters from Wauchula, Sellers said.

Peace River already has a Manatee operations center near Lorraine Road and State Road 70 in Lakewood Ranch.

"Some staff will transfer from our current Manatee office and a few may transfer from our Wauchula office. Final staffing requirements have not yet been determined," Sellers said.

A fall 2014 completion date is anticipated for the new office, Sellers said.

Barney Salmon, a planner for Manatee County, confirmed Friday that Peace River had submitted a request for final site plan approval for the 7,458-square-foot facility.

The planning staff has until Jan. 8 to provide comments on the facility.

"Peace River Electric provides power to a diverse mixture of agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential consumers. While many of Peace River Electric's accounts are agricultural and rural, the number of new urban subdivisions is growing at a rapid rate, especially in the Manatee County area," according to the Peace River website.

The 10 counties served by Peace River include Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Brevard, Indian River, Osceola, and Polk.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.

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