Heavy Rains Causing Severe Flooding, Power Outages in Liberty County

LIBERTY June 20, 2015 - Due to the large amounts of rain in May and June in East Texas, as well as along the headwaters and tributaries of the Trinity River, portions of Liberty County have experienced severe flooding for several weeks. The persistent high floodwater levels have created conditions that make it unsafe for Sam Houston Electric Cooperative to restore power to 96 meters in Liberty County along the Trinity River.
“I have not seen flooding of this duration,” operations supervisor Larry Horn said. “There may have been one other time in my early years with the Cooperative, but I have been here for 35 years.”

Sam Houston EC’s goal is to provide safe and reliable power to Cooperative members at 70,000 locations across ten counties. Safety, however, is the number one priority, and restoring power while floodwaters are high is dangerous.

On May 27, the amount of water released from Lake Livingston Dam into the Trinity River peaked at 72,600 cubic feet per second. On June 1, 2015, the amount of water released from Lake Livingston decreased to 68,200 cubic feet per second, and remains at that level.

The Cooperative has accessed the flooded areas in the lower Trinity River by boat, and line technicians were able to safely restore power to some residents. On Friday afternoon (June 19), two Co-op operations supervisors flew with an aviation service from the Lake Livingston Dam down the Trinity River to Liberty County. The purpose of this flight was to determine if Sam Houston Electric Cooperative can do anything further to safely restore power to any of the flooded areas.

“Sam Houston EC understands that it is very inconvenient for our members to be without electricity for this length of time,” said chief executive officer Kyle Kuntz. “However, our operations staff must consider public safety as well as the safety of our employees when restoring power to flooded areas. The Cooperative hopes to restore power soon, but with the rain from Tropical Storm Bill, we cannot say for sure when that will be. In the meantime, we will continue to communicate with local and state emergency management officials, and we will work to restore power as soon as it is safe to do so.”

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