Help Arrives for Livingston


SEPTEMBER 17, 2008

LIVINGSTON -- "Texas, we're here!" That was the message painted on a convoy of trucks from New Jersey thundering into East Texas to join an army of nearly 3,000 rebuilding Sam Houston Electric Cooperative's electric distribution system.  Sam Houston Electric Cooperative Inc., headquartered in Livingston, Texas, is working nonstop with the help of crews from across the United States to restore power to its member after the devastation of Hurricane Ike.

Hurricane Ike was twice as devastating to the Co-op's service territory as Hurricane Rita in 2005.  Line technicians, right-of-way crews and chainsaw teams are clearing lines, rebuilding broken power poles, and repairing damaged substations across Sam Houston EC's 10-county service territory. While 64,000 of Sam Houston EC's meters are without power, tremendous progress has been made in removing tens of thousands of fallen trees and rebuilding much of the Cooperative's electric distribution system. "How I do appreciate the electric cooperatives' efforts in the recovery from Hurricane Ike," said State Representative Jim McReynolds. "I know we have miles to go before we sleep; however, I have full assurance that our electric cooperatives will continue to work night and day until all meters are back online for their customers."

Numerous areas across the Cooperative's territory have been rebuilt and are ready to receive power. The Entergy Texas transmission grid, which delivers electricity to Sam Houston EC's distribution system, was severely damaged as well. The Co-op continues to work alongside Entergy through the restoration process, and as repairs are made on both systems, areas in Sam Houston EC's service territory are being re-energized.

"Tent cities" in Coldspring, Tarkington and Woodville, as well as Camp Cho-Yeh and Lake Tomahawk, are providing a temporary home for the crews who have traveled hundreds of miles to help restore power in East Texas. Each location is a small city within itself, providing lodging, fuel and a hot meal. It is a temporary repayment for the dedication and commitment crews have shown to Sam Houston Electric Cooperative's members.

Taking care of nearly 3000 hard-working crewmembers is no easy task. Support efforts take place 24 hours a day to keep crews in the field. Preparing meals, laundry, fueling and repairing trucks, procuring and receiving supplies never stops.

"Our entire team has been tremendous in sustaining this effort around the clock to repair damage and restore equipment," said Kyle Kuntz, Sam Houston EC's General Manager and CEO. "Our thanks go to all the cooperatives and utilities around the country, who have sent workers to help out, and we appreciate our members' patience as we work to restore power to our system," Kuntz said. Sam Houston Electric Cooperative expects to continue making progress on the restoration of its system. As of 10 a.m., Wednesday, nearly 13% of the Co-op's system is back online.