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Ten East Texas cooperatives were knocked about by Hurricane Ike: 180,498 out of some 300,000 co-op meters were out September 14 due to the storm, which caused the most far-reaching blackout in Texas history. On September 21, only 17,579 meters were still off-line—less than 10 percent of the total outages.
By September 25, all co-ops had restored power.
Gov. Rick Perry, who visited Sam Houston Electric Cooperative (SHECO) on September 18, encouraged members of the cooperative, all of whom were initially left without power by the hurricane, to be patient. “This is not our first rodeo,” he said.
The governor complimented cooperatives statewide for their quick response and unceasing efforts to quickly restore electricity in the wake of Hurricane Ike. “This spirit of cooperation makes me proud to be a Texan and proud to be associated with those who know how to get things done,” Perry said.
SHECO executives discussed with the governor the importance of strong local leadership during a crisis such as Hurricane Ike and how the combined efforts of all East Texas cooperatives made it possible to restore power to members quickly and effectively.
“In a manner of speaking, Hurricane Rita (three years ago) made us better,” said Kyle Kuntz, SHECO’s general manager and CEO. “The lessons learned from Hurricane Rita enabled us to improve our efforts to effectively and safely restore power to our members in a disaster situation.”
Perry invited SHECO to get together after the Ike restoration to discuss the use of various co-op resources to further improve storm preparedness and response time.
Next month, Texas Co-op Power will publish a “Hurricane Ike Diary” and introduce readers to some of the numerous cooperative linemen who rushed from other parts of the state to help in East Texas’ time of crisis.