Jerry Cobb has been on the CoServ board of directors for 24 years and is running for his ninth consecutive three-year term in District 4. The longtime Frisco resident was invited to my Flower Mound home to address some of the issues in his latest campaign.
“The idea that we’re some sort of mystery, keeping secrets from our members (customers), who are the owners of the company, by the way, is ridiculous,” Cobb said. “As board members, we listen to and deal with problems that customers have, if and when the 300 employees of CoServ can’t handle those problems to their satisfaction.”
Mr. Cobb stressed that if a customer says they’re not getting satisfaction, they can contact board members. “I have not had very many instances in the past five years where people have called me. They communicate with the office first because the board is not there to micromanage. We are there to act as a sounding board for the membership and handle their questions with due diligence.”
Cobb said everyone at the company is dedicated to providing courteous service to its customers. “If you’re not satisfied with your initial call to CoServ, you can do one of two things; you can say, ‘Let me speak to your higher up, let me speak to your supervisor.’ If, for whatever reason you don’t get satisfaction there, those supervisors will either send an email to the director of that the district, or make a phone call. They’ll tell us we have John Doe that is having a problem accepting our answer, or accepting the solution. Then, they’ll give us the person’s phone number or email and we’ll contact them personally. They can get the email through the CoServ management. Also, John Doe can get the email or phone number for their director if they wanted to speak with us directly.” The CoServ magazine lists an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org and a phone number: 940-321-7800, and tells its readers the phones are answered 24 hours a day.
Mr. Cobb, 66, spent a good portion of his life as a farmer and rancher and trader in commodities like wheat and corn. “When my father passed away I came back to the family farm, after living in Kansas for a few years,” he said. “I still own a ranch in central Texas with one of my brothers, where we raise cattle. We also own a small business park in Frisco that amounts to a few acres.”
When asked what he thinks is the most urgent issue in the campaign, he said without hesitation that it’s the challenge regarding the placement of the high voltage transmission lines in Frisco to prepare for continuing growth. Some residents of the burgeoning city (population about 140,000) have become involved in the decision because a recent proposal is to erect the lines on Main Street or Stonebrook Parkway, which are major thoroughfares. To have influence in that decision they formed the West Frisco Homeowners Coalition, which represents thousands of residents.
Those opposed to the location say it may have deleterious health effects and it is also an unattractive addition to the landscape. “I have a son that lives one block off Main Street in Frisco, which is one of the early two proposed routes, so I have a dog in this fight,” Cobb said. “If I can do anything to find a different route than Main Street and Stonebrook, we will want to get it done. I think Coserv has spent a tremendous amount of time and money to try to find alternate routes. We’re trying to find a way to put enough infrastructures next to existing boosters. Plus, we’re trying to work with the City of Frisco to find out if there is an alternate way to put it on some medians. We’re also trying to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to put it where there is the least amount of people.”
Cobb said Frisco is growing rapidly and they have to make sure there’s enough power to handle the growth. “Brazos (Brazos Electric – CoServ’s wholesale electric provider) set up a meeting last year and there was public outcry like they had never seen before. The outcry was against the proposed location of the lines.”
When asked when a decision must be made, Cobb said, “We must get a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CNN). Brazos has to do it in compliance with us, as we try to find more than one route. The PUC (Public Utility Commission) would study that, and it takes about 18 months for the study. There would be public hearings after they educate themselves as to this route or that route, or whatever. If they choose a route that West Frisco doesn’t like, they can go in and object to the amount of people being affected and come up with different scenarios. Some complaints might be legitimate, and some may not be, but, all will be evaluated.” He said it’s too difficult to figure it all out right now, since things can change in the next few years. However, Cobb said the ultimate decision is up to the PUC. “They are the 800 pound gorilla! They will make the decision as to where the lines go,” he said. “The board members will have influence over the decision, but doesn’t have the final authority,” he added.
Board members are elected at-large and each household or business with a CoServ meter gets one vote. The June edition of Texas Co-op Power magazine will have the ballot for voters to fill out and mail in (a postage paid envelope will be provided). Ballots must be received at the CoServ office by June 13. On June 19, winners will be announced.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.