Utilities Board tours electrical system

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Members of the City of Andalusia's Utilities Board were able to see up close on Tuesday the strides that the city's electrical system have made over the past several months.

During the regular meeting of the Utilities Board, the board took a bus tour of several electrical substations and areas where significant progress has been made in removing power lines and installing new poles.

Some of the highlights of the tour included stops at the Central Street substation, which is currently one of the oldest in the system, and Electrical Superintendent Royce Whigham noted that much work needs to be done to bring sites such as the Central Street station in line with other modernization that has been achieved in the city.

Whigham pointed out numerous areas which have become more aesthetically pleasing due to the placing of concrete poles or removal of poles and wires such as East Three Notch Street and on the city's bypass near Andalusia Elementary School.

The superintendent also showed areas where sufficient power lines are not in place, which has translated into low levels of electricity in certain residences.

"(When customers do not have sufficient electricity due to aging or poor lines) it keeps us from serving our customers the way we want to," said Whigham.

Whigham said he thought the tour went extremely well.

"I thought it was very effective and very informative," said Whigham. "I think it allowed the board members to have a better understanding of some of the needs of the electrical system. Overall I thought the meeting was very productive."

He said the purpose of the tour was twofold.

"We wanted the board members to see some of the degradation which has occurred at the Central Street substation and other outlying lines, especially since there is an upcoming contractual bid pending (regarding electrical system equipment) and that was a key thing," said Whigham. "We also wanted to give everybody a look at some of the improvements that have been made, in areas such as the bypass. Tours such as this give the board members a better insight into what we are trying to do."

Whigham noted that as part of the continuing efforts to ensure the highest quality electrical service, additional tree-trimming may take place in some areas, and he urged residents in those particular areas to be patient during that process.

During his regular report at the meeting, Whigham discussed issues such as customer numbers for residential and commercial service and the progress on projects involving substations.

In other business discussed at Tuesday's meeting, the City of Andalusia Utilities Board:

Discussed the Woodcrest and Woodland Park subdivisions, where residents recently came before the Utilities Board to request their subdivisions be tied in to the city's water system. Utilities Board Superintendent Earl Johnson said letters have been sent to residents in the subdivisions informing them of their options about water service. There are 52 houses in the subdivisions and the options are a gravity flow system which would cost between $1 million and $1,250,000 and Johnson said he felt that option was entirely too costly. The other option is a low pressure system which would involve installing grinder pumps at each residence at a cost of $3,500 for each pump. Residents would also have to pay regular charges and a $15 fee for the pumps. No action was taken regarding this matter at Tuesday's meeting.

Discussed a request from the Sewer Department for the purchase of a sewer jet cleaning machine. No action was taken on the matter.

Heard departmental reports from Wastewater Superintendent Donna Cross and Water and Sewer Superintendent Jimmy Wilson.

Approved drafting a resolution of appreciation for employee Wylene Liles.

Approved the minutes from the June 10 meeting.