Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative's mission has echoes of the late Lady Bird Johnson's quest to spread bluebonnets and other wildflower seeds along Texas' highways. In this case the cooperative spreads power to homes and businesses in rural central and southeast Texas. One of the largest power distribution cooperatives in the state, Bluebonnet Electric serves more than 81,000 customers in 14 counties (a service area of more than 3,800 square miles). The member-owned company, which was formed in 1939, operates approximately 11,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines, and 19 substations. It purchases its wholesale power supply at 21 Lower Colorado River Authority-owned substations.
A long Texas drought caused a dust buildup on several of the co-op's insulators, prompting a number of pole-top fires in late 2008 and early 2009. The utility is retrofitting the insulators to avoid a recurrence of the problem and ensure uninterrupted service.
Higher-than-normal summer heat drove up power demand in 2010. This resulted in Bluebonnet Electric reporting higher revenues and an improved net profit.
The heat and drought continued in 2011, and helped fuel a major wildfire in Bastrop over the Labor Day weekend. Bluebonnet Electric was subsequently confronted with a lawsuit which blamed it for the wildfire that destroyed almost 1,600 homes (high winds brought down tree limbs on the coop's power lines, sparking the blaze). The coop's executives ponted out that the trees which triggered the fire were on private property outside of the utility's easement and that Bluebonnet Electric could not be reasonably blamed for the conflagration.
In late 2011 the company lowered its electric rates to reflect lower natural gas commodity prices (natural gas accounts for 90% of the fuel Bluebonnet Electric uses to generate power).
In 1964, in order to avoid confusion with the Lower Colorado River Authority, the utility, originally known as the Lower Colorado River Electric Cooperative, changed its name to Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. – less