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Cooperative Leaders Visit Legislators in Austin

Cooperative Leaders Visit Legislators in Austin

Hundreds of electric cooperative leaders from throughout the state attended the Texas Electric Cooperatives Legislative Rally in Austin on February 11 and 12 to visit with elected officials about ongoing projects and issues in the cooperative industry. Sam Houston Electric Cooperative representatives included: Kyle J. Kuntz, CEO; Keith Stapleton, chief communications officer; and Sam Houston EC board directors Bob Boyd and Don Boyett.

With a group of more than 30 cooperative leaders, Sam Houston EC visited with Senators Robert Nichols, Tommy Williams and Charles Schwertner; and Representatives Trent Ashby, Brandon Creighton, John Otto and James White. Sam Houston EC attendees also met with Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

Two major talking points concerning statewide issues were clearance standards for electric distribution lines and potential legislation regarding smart meters. Electric co-ops asked elected officials to support bills by Senator Nichols (SB 349) and Rep. Creighton (HB 898) concerning the height of distribution and transmission lines. Cooperative representatives also told lawmakers that smart meter “opt-out” legislation is unnecessary.

Elected officials were also very interested in the status of the Woodville Renewable Project and the Lake Livingston Hydroelectric Project.

“Keeping our elected officials informed is vital to the future of electric cooperatives. We are fortunate to have a good reputation in Austin,” Stapleton said. “Co-ops are respected as member-owned, not-for-profit entities that look out for the best interests of their members.”