• Last modified 427 days ago (April 23, 2020)


Power problems a headache for all

Staff writer

Marion’s electrical service needs major work, as two major power failures in less than a week brought to light.

A major power outage on Easter was followed by another Thursday.

In both cases, a failure in a major circuit shut off power to a widespread area of the city. Last week’s failure hit Marion’s downtown, interrupting operation of Main St. businesses.

Both outages occurred in the same buried circuit east of the county waste transfer station.

The outages raised questions during Monday’s council meeting about how the city is communicating with businesses and residents.

Mayor David Mayfield asked city administrator Roger Holter if the city’s Code Red alert system could be used for updates on electrical outages.

Mayfield said he’d gotten numerous phone calls asking when power would be restored. He thinks it would be better to let customers know the progress of work on the electrical system.

“I’d like us to be proactive rather than reactive,” Mayfield said.

The city had to call in electrician Harvey Sanders to help get power restored.

Former electric supervisor Clayton Garnica resigned two weeks ago.

The city used the wrong supplies to repair the first outage. The repair was not waterproof, so after rains last week, the same circuit, located in a vault, failed again.

When the second outage happened, city crews rerouted a different circuit to restore power to the downtown area. The back feed is a temporary fix, until parts arrive for a proper repair.

High density, high voltage lines are on order from New York, and the city doesn’t know when the wiring will arrive.

Holter said problems with the power system began March 25 when a contractor working on the county’s new transfer station, just east of the substation, hit a line while digging to create a foundation.

It was not the contractor’s fault, Holter said. The line was buried too shallowly in the 1960s and should not have been where it was.

The construction work is itself causing drainage issues on the property.

“Water is going where it never went before,” Holter said.

Last modified April 23, 2020