No one notified about blackout

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2006

The night the lights were supposed to go out in Greenville no one knew.

Alabama Power had scheduled a power outage from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, but literally &#8220left in the dark” were hundreds of customers in downtown Greenville who waited out the three-hour blackout.

Marilyn Reaves, owner of Marilyn's Hair Designer, was upset that Alabama Power did not notify business owners and residents in the area prior to the outage.

&#8220Luckily I didn't have anyone at the time having their hair colored or a permanent,” said Reaves. &#8220If I did we would have had a mess.”

Reaves said there were four customers waiting for hair cuts who were still able to receive them after moving closer to the window to take advantage of the evening light.

Jan Ellis, spokesperson for Alabama Power, said postcards notifying Greenville customers about the scheduled outage were supposed to be mailed from the company's Birmingham office well in advance of Wednesday.

&#8220The procedure that we use is that we send an E-mail to an engineer in Birmingham when there is going to be a scheduled outage,” said Ellis. &#8220He received the email and printed out the postcards to be mailed to everyone in the area and apparently customers never received the notice. It was just a glitch on our part and we're very sorry about it.”

Ellis said the downtime was required to re-string some wiring and do routine maintenance at the sub-station located near Beeland Park.

Ellis said since the blackout would affect more businesses then residential customers, the decision was made to plan the outage for the evening instead of during the hours between midnight and 6 a.m., the usual time such operations are conducted.

&#8220Since this was more of a commercial area the rational was that most businesses would be closed down at that time,” she said. &#8220There's really no good time for an outage, but I think the bulk of this affected commercial customers. But it was our fault and customers should have been notified. It just got messed up and we take full responsibility.”

Although the outage was scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., power wasn't actually cut until 5:30 p.m.

It was restored at approximately 8:20 p.m.