Navasota Valley Electric Cooperative working to turn on lights again for thousands

KBTX News 3 at Six - Saturday(Recurring)
Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 5:24 PM CST
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FRANKLIN, Texas (KBTX) -Thousands of Brazos Valley residents are still without power due to the effects of the winter storm.

Navasota Valley Electric Cooperative is undergoing some major challenges keeping the lights on for its customers. General Manager, Steve Jones, told KBTX that the recent winter conditions have halted their business like never before.

“The situation we had in 2021, that doesn’t compare at all to this one that started Tuesday,” said Jones. “There’s really been nothing like this. Even though we didn’t have snow, it was the ice, trees falling down and just our lack of ability to get to places.”

Jones said this winter storm hit both northern and southern areas of their customers, causing 68% of the system to be lost during the peak of the storm.

“Two years ago it was really the north areas of our customers and it was a 48% loss. This time, nearly 14,000 of our 21,000 customers were out of power on Thursday, Feb. 3. if you’re looking at 68 % of our customers,” said Jones. “As of right now we’re at mid 7,000 [customers without power] and have resolved over 500 today as of 10 a.m.”

One Navasota Valley Electric customer who wished to remain anonymous told KBTX it’s been a struggle to live and they’re frustrated with the company. The company told us they understand their frustration.

“We’re going into day four. People are pretty frustrated and all they wanna know is when their power is going to get back on,” said Jones. “We can’t give them an exact date, but I can tell you this morning [Saturday] when all the crews rolled out, we were able to sign a crew to every feeder with an outage and that’s a huge deal. Previously, we couldn’t get to every outage we had to get this one fixed and go to the next one.”

Navasota Valley Electric is being assisted by several contracting companies as they work to fix the power outages.

“Echo, SEC, Amp, Brightstar, Mid-South/Synergy, San Bernard Electric, Cherokee County Electric,” said Jones. “The weather today for the crews is nice. We can travel down the roads, yes it’s muddy but we can get anywhere even if our cars get stuck. That’s going to be very conducive to getting this restoration done. We’ve been working 16-hour days.”

Jones said to visit their Facebook page for daily updates.

“We expect to work through most of the outages on Saturday and fix the remainder on Sunday,” Jones said. “There won’t be a rate change after this. There wasn’t for the other storm in 2021. We do have an additional charge on our bill now because our power bill then ended up being around 51 million. But with this one, an easy answer is no it should not affect any rates. It’ll be an expense and we’ll deal with it but it won’t affect our customer’s rates.”