By Bob Jamison

          Two times in recent years south Liberty County, TX has had a problem. One was called Rita and the other was called Ike. But the two storms created almost exactly the same problem…. service outage!

          A small child will quickly learn not to put his finger on a hot stove the second time. Even in ancient times the famed philosopher Confucius might have said, “One who carries cat by tail learns quick lesson”

         Sam Houston Electric Cooperative, Inc., with home base in Livingston, Texas, has the majority of its customers in East Texas. A finger of their authority comes like a wedge into Liberty County that lies directly between Liberty and Dayton. Furthermore, this limited space splits the service area of Entergy, Inc. Even though it is a small sliver into the area, SHECO has almost l0,000 customers. These folks between Dayton and Liberty were without electric service long after the upper regions of SHECO authority were up and going according to recent reports from individuals.     

        SHECO explains to Radio Station KSHN that they were working diligently to put everyone back on service which they have done in most parts. But, it was much later than the service restored by Entergy to either Dayton or Liberty and SHECO’S area is right in the middle.

          Would it be logical to suggest that a formal request would be made to the Board of Directors of SHECO to consider an agreement to de-annex this particular area from their authority and to apply to Entergy, Inc., to accept these customers?

          Of course, as a matter of law (agreeably with more loops than a fish net) utility users do have a right of choice of service. On the other hand, SHECO is a cooperative and it appears it doesn’t necessarily have to comply with the edicts of the Texas Public Commission. This does not mean you can’t file a complaint with the Commission if you feel you have a cause and they will quickly give you the procedure, but it appears it might have little effect with a cooperative.

          It all boils down to the many folks from about the Dayton city limit upwards through Kenefick, Woodland Hills, Winter Valley, etc., might remain in the dark when the next one hits.
Or, possibly there just might be a chance that the good folks on the Board of Directors of SHECO in Livingston would consider the problems shared by so many of their customers that would benefit by a seemingly simple change.

          Let it be known, however, that this is in no way a complaint about the good people that are employed by SHECO. As individuals, they will seem just like your favorite neighbor and have always been helpful in this writer’s experience. The territorial and geographical difference is the whole issue, I believe.

          Your voice is the only force that might be reckoned with, in my opinion. It might be the voice that could be heard best from our community leaders and especially the Liberty County Judge and the Commissioners Court. It is well known when they speak people listen; or certainly should.