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Roughly 2,000 customers spent part of Wednesday without power due to outages caused by Sunday’s winter storm

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 11:12 PM CST
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ROBERTSON COUNTY, Texas (KBTX) - Roughly 2,000 Navasota Valley Electric Cooperative customers were still without power for a period of time on Wednesday due to outages caused by Sunday’s winter storm.

By 11:00 p.m. Wednesday, the utility had restored power to all but five of those customers, but Sheran Hay was one of those who woke up without it Wednesday morning. Although her lights came back on later that afternoon, spending nearly three days without electricity had some consequences.

“It was pretty bad. If we had not had propane heat, we would’ve had to go to a shelter or a motel,” Hay said. “We lost all our food in the freezer and the refrigerator. It really broke my heart, but we’ll survive.”

Navasota Valley Electric covers 6,500 miles of overhead line across nine counties. General Manager Steve Jones says the delays were a manpower issue.

“To be honest with you, it overwhelmed us,” Jones said. “It hit us really hard.”

Jones says crews began restoration efforts around noon on Sunday from where the storm rolled in and customers began reporting outages.

“We had already sent our crews to the northeast part of our service territory,” Jones said. “It’s hard to have them up there and then pull them away when you’re already there, leaving those people without service. It’s not very efficient.”

Navasota Valley Electric did receive some extra help from other contractors the past two days to assist their efforts in getting everyone’s power back. Jones says once all customers have their power restored, he and his staff will do a post-storm review to figure out where they can be more efficient and reliable.

“We’ll look at the steps that we took and where we lacked,” Jones said. “We will definitely review our right-of-way maintenance because when the snow accumulates on the limbs, they may not be hanging on the lines right now, but when you put the snow accumulating on them, they fall into the lines.”

Hay says she knows crews were trying and is encouraged to hear the co-op will review its response.

“I just know they were going 100 different directions trying to cover everybody,” Hay said. “If they didn’t have enough employees, that just says they were stressed. They’re understaffed just like several other places in our county. They need more help and they’re not getting it.”

“I know people are frustrated,” Jones said. “But I would like for them to understand that every employee here gave everything they had to get power restored. I want to thank them first and foremost, and ask that the customers understand that we did do the best we could, and we will always do the best we can.”

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