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Answer Line: Electric deregulation a complicated process

July 6, 2017 at 12:51 a.m.


QUESTION: Will Longview ever stop deregulation on electric energy in local homes and apartments etc. and give homeowners, business owners and renters a chance to select their own electric company?

ANSWER: I think you mean either "start deregulation" or "stop regulation," because our area of the state is still regulated.

Here's the deal: In 1999, the Texas Legislature passed a law to implement electric deregulation in 2002 in Texas. However, a coalition of Northeast Texas cities, including Longview, worked to successfully delay deregulation here, largely because this area had some of the lowest rates in the state through Southwestern Electric Power Co. That delay has continued because of actions taken by the Texas Public Utility Commission and, ultimately, the Legislature (at the request of leaders in this area).

The Legislature adopted a law in 2009 delaying deregulation here until a set of pre-conditions is met. Those have not been satisfied; plus, I'll point out, there are so many parties involved in this issue that no one city or person or whatever could snap their fingers and say, "Done. We're deregulated today."

Terry Hadley, a spokesman with the Public Utility Commission, explained that basically "everyone" would have to be in on the decision. One of the organizations would have to start the process with SWEPCO, the Public Utility Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to determine, first, how viable deregulation would be here, and then to develop the process to make it happen.

Q: We live in Avinger and have been taking our recyclable materials to the recycle bins that used to be in the Brookshire's parking lot in Daingerfield. These bins have been removed and are no longer available to us. Do you have any information as to where we can go now to drop off our used materials? We did an Internet search but could not find a recycle center.

A: I'm sorry I don't have a lot of answers for you unless you drive to the Rivers Recycling Center outside of Kilgore. Specifically, it's at 298 FM 1252 W., and you'll find a large container for recyclables sitting outside the facility's gates. (If there are other, closer, options that readers know about, please let Answer Line know, but after many inquiries, this what I'm left with.)

Just for a little background: the city of Daingerfield had been providing that recycling container at Brookshire's for Daingerfield residents. City Manager Rocky Thomasson said it was moved to a city yard because people outside Daingerfield were "using and abusing" it, including dumping trash there. Thomasson said his city has to pay each time the container is dumped.

Gene Keenon, with Republic Waste Services, said recycling options are limited in rural Northeast Texas.

"The further you get away from the recycling centers the less opportunity you have because of the cost, and that's just the issue," he said.

Q: The Declaration of Independence was signed on Aug. 2. How was July 4 selected as the day of celebration?

A: You also might ask, "Why not July 2?" That's the day members of the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence, and in fact, that's the day John Adams thought would be the important date in American history, according to information I found on the National Archives website. Members of the Second Continental Congress spent a couple of days finalizing the language of the actual document, the Declaration of Independence. They voted to adopt it — unanimously, I might add — on July 4, 1776. You're right that it wasn't signed until Aug. 2, because someone had to write it up all pretty and other details had to be attended to. But even then, not all the delegates signed that day.

Folks in Philadelphia had a "spontaneous" celebration on the document's first anniversary, but, according to information from the Library of Congress, Independence Day celebrations didn't become common until after the War of 1812.

So, it sounds like tradition grew up around the adoption of the actual Declaration of Independence document. Congress sealed the day by declaring it a federal holiday in 1870.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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