Don’t fence us out

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 6.40.20 PMTexans love their land, and a locked gate is every property owner’s right.

But locked gates can impede Bluebonnet’s crews and contractors from restoring power during outages, trimming vegetation near power lines and performing important inspections and maintenance.

We respect our members’ property and their right to privacy and works with them to ensure their rights are protected while still allowing the co-op to access their property when necessary. We provide locks to property owners on whose land we have easements. Continue reading

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Bluebonnet, PHI Air Medical enter potentially life-saving partnership

Billy Rice, a flight paramedic with PHI Air Medical, helps train Bluebonnet crews to work with the company's air ambulance.

PHI Air Medical Flight Paramedic Bill Rice helps train Bluebonnet crews to work with the company’s air ambulance.

Working around, and with, electricity and heavy equipment is dangerous. If an accident happens, swift medical care can make the difference between life and death.

Bluebonnet’s crews often work in rural, hard-to-reach places, miles from a hospital. Emergency responders could be minutes – or an hour – away. The nearest Level I trauma centers, where the most critically injured are taken, are in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, at least an hour away by ambulance, but mere minutes away by helicopter. Continue reading

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Bluebonnet to resume using herbicides in its vegetation management plan

A two-person crew applies herbicides to control vegetation in a utility right-of-way. Bluebonnet will resume using herbicides this year in some of its rights-of-way.

A two-person crew sprays a herbicide to control vegetation in a utility right-of-way. Bluebonnet will resume using herbicides this year in some of its rights-of-way. It’s an environmentally safe, cost-effective method for the co-op to increase the miles of right-of-way it maintains per year.

With more than 11,000 miles of power lines to maintain, folks are probably used to seeing Bluebonnet’s crews or contractors cutting trees and vegetation in our utility easements. Workers wielding chain saws or skillfully guiding heavy equipment armed with multiple saw blades trim or remove vegetation that could encroach on power lines.

The work is performed to provide safe, reliable electric service and is done according to our vegetation management plan.

This year, we will resume using another method to remove trees and plants in our easements, or rights-of-way. For the first time since 2011, we will incorporate herbicides into our vegetation management plan. The herbicides will be used in areas that were mechanically cut within the last two or three years. Continue reading

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Access to private property needed to provide electric service

lineman-exiting-truckFor decades, Bluebonnet’s meter readers were a friendly and familiar sight on our members’ property. But thanks to technology, the data that meter readers once gathered by hand now flows directly from the meter to our computer network.

Though there are no more meter readers, there still are times when our crews or contractors need to access our members’ property. In these days of heightened security awareness, seeing an unfamiliar person on your property may cause concern. Continue reading

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Two more arctic cold fronts blast Central Texas, lead to more high electric bills

01.30.2014_Arctic JanuaryTwo strong, arctic cold fronts blasted Central Texas in January, following the two fronts that arrived around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The most recent fronts brought unwelcome ice and snow. To parents’ displeasure but students’ delight, area schools either canceled or delayed classes. The unusually cold winter weather had another effect – surprisingly high electric bills for Central Texans.

People across Central Texas are receiving electric bills much higher than they’ve seen the past two winters. In turn, Bluebonnet and our neighboring utilities are receiving lots of calls from folks who want to know why their bills are so high.

There’s one answer – weather. Continue reading

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When winter temperatures drop, demand for electricity and energy bills rise

842_3827409During the past few weeks, many Bluebonnet members called us or commented on our Facebook page about being surprised by their high electric bills caused by winter temperatures driven by a series of strong cold fronts through Central Texas beginning in November. It’s never fun to open a bill and see a figure larger than you expected, especially around Christmas.

When temperatures drop into the 20s and 30s like they have a few times this winter, demand for electricity and energy bills rise.  No one can control the weather. But Bluebonnet provides its members with a powerful, online tool they can use to monitor their current energy use and show how weather impacts electric consumption and cost. This gives our members more control over how and when they use electricity and possibly save money on their electric bills. Continue reading

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Since 1939, Bluebonnet’s goals remain the same

Mark RoseBy Mark Rose

In 1939, the newly formed electric cooperative that is now Bluebonnet set the first poles and hung the first spans of wire that delivered power to the farms, ranches, schools, churches and businesses in dozens of Central Texas communities. Our goals then were to provide safe, reliable, affordable power and serve our members’ needs.

Seventy-five years later, our goals remain the same.

In 2014, we will celebrate our rich history. We will share stories spanning the past seven and a half decades in the pages of Texas Co-op Power, on our website and social media, and at our Annual Meeting. Stories told by and about members who remember when electricity first came to their home, or the first electric appliance that forever changed their life and was a harbinger of things to come. We invite you to read your fellow members’ stories, and to share yours with us. We would love to add your memories about what Bluebonnet has meant to your family or business to those of other members and past and present co-op employees. Continue reading

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