Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 8, 2014

Appalachian Power announces $600,000 upgrade — in the dark

BLUEFIELD — In a case of unfortunate timing, a representative of Appalachian Power told members of the Bluefield Board of Directors Tuesday that the company plans to invest another $600,000 this year in planned downtown transformer upgrades. But the announcement was made at a board meeting that was conducted in the dark as a result of an unexpected power outage.

“First off — why is the power off?,” Interim City Manger Dennis Dillow asked Gene Jones, a representative of Appalachian Power, who was scheduled to speak to the board regarding the status of a five-year, $5 million upgrade, to the city’s underground electrical grid.

Jones said the cause of the power outage, which began around 11:45 a.m., was unknown. Approximately 882 customers were impacted. The board members decided to proceed with their regular noon meeting despite the power outage.

Jones said the company has already invested more than $1 million in work completed in 2013 that involves the replacement of aging underground electrical vaults. He said the company is planning to invest another $600,000 this year on the project, which will involve work later this month in the areas of Commerce Street, Federal Street and McCulloch Avenue.

“We plan to do it in a five-year period,” Jones said. “When all is done and said, we estimate we will spend $5 million in Bluefield.”

As soon as Jones finished his presentation, and Bluefield State College President Dr. Marsha Krotseng approached the board to begin a discussion on downtown collaborations between the city and the college, the lights came back on.


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