City, co-op spar over providing power to jail

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

A literal struggle for power is emerging between two providers who want to supply electricity to the new Gillespie County Jail.

Robert A. (Bob) Loth III, Central Texas Electric Co-operative (CTEC) chief executive officer, was on hand Monday morning to present to county commissioners a proposal he said would offer “substantial” cost savings to local taxpayers now and for years to come.

The new $15 million bond-approved, two-story jail facility is being constructed behind the existing Gillespie County Law Enforcement Center (LEC), 1601 East Main Street, and is expected to open at the end of 2014.

“There’s a rule that’s called the 200-foot rule. If a line was existing prior to the Public Utilities Commission founding in 1976 and you can serve the load that’s within 200 feet of that existing line, then the person or entity requesting that line basically has their choice of who would serve them — whether it be the (utility) designated in that area or the one that’s within 200 feet,” Loth said.

He added that Central Texas Electric Cooperative has had a line in place since 1939 that runs in front of the LEC.

“That’s the line that we would serve you off of. If the city were to serve you, they would be serving you from across the highway. So, our line is actually closer to where the proposed facility is going to go,” Loth said.

But Fredericksburg City Manager Kent Myers said by phone Monday afternoon that preliminary measurements place the line at more than 200 feet away and would not qualify for the legal stipulation. To be certain, city officials are double-checking the line’s exact location and distance to the service destination.

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