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Sam Houston EC Power Supply Ready for Summer Heat

Sam Houston EC Power Supply Ready for Summer Heat

There is plenty of electricity for Sam Houston Electric Cooperative members this summer, according to chief communications officer Keith Stapleton. Recent news reports about potentially inadequate power reserve margins in the Texas power grid have caused some to wonder if East Texas will be affected.

“Sam Houston Electric Cooperative and the other nine cooperatives in East Texas have always worked together to make certain our members have more than enough electricity for even the hottest or coldest days,” Stapleton said. “With the construction of new power plants and the acquisition of other generating facilities, we have established a diversified portfolio of power resources, so our members can be assured of a more than adequate supply of electricity.”

The majority of the confusion stems from a lack of understanding about the Texas power grid, also known as ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas). There are three primary power grids in the United States. One serves the western U.S. Another serves the eastern part of the country. Then there’s the Texas grid—ERCOT.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that ERCOT does not encompass all parts of the state. The Texas power grid does not include Southeast Texas, Northeast Texas, the Panhandle and El Paso. With the exception of the area between Diboll and Huntington, almost all of the 68,000 homes and businesses served by Sam Houston Electric Cooperative are outside of ERCOT.

“While our power reserves are more than adequate,” Stapleton said, “we always encourage members to conserve. By reducing energy consumption, members save on their electric bills and help us control costs.”

The Cooperative’s biggest challenge this summer, however, is dead trees that resulted from the recent drought.

“We love our trees in East Texas,” Stapleton said. “The problem is we have more than 6,000 miles of distribution lines, and there’s an average of 20 dead trees along each mile of line. Every one of those dead trees can cause a power outage when it falls. We’ve been proactively taking down these dead trees.”

Over the past nine months, the Cooperative has taken down more than 100,000 dead and danger trees. The large-scale effort is expected to extend into early fall.

“Sam Houston EC is a not-for-profit cooperative,” Stapleton said. “Our board is made up directors who are members themselves—they are elected by the other 52,000 members of the Cooperative. Those who serve on our board of directors are committed to ensuring we have an adequate supply of reliable electricity, at a low cost to our members, for many years to come. Our members can rest assured we have the electricity to meet their needs, no matter how hot it gets this summer.”