CU board recognizes line workers
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Jan 23, 2013 | 831 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Utilities line crews are working from corner to corner of the community in a collection of electric and water projects — most of which are linked to municipal growth — but in a recent update to the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities, Electric Division Vice President Bart Borden focused on the humanitarian side of his workers.

Specifically, five drew recognition because of their willingness to travel to two New England states to help provide emergency restoration to damaged power systems that fell in the path of Superstorm Sandy.

Borden called their efforts “... the highlight of the month of November.”

He identified the crewmen as Travis Ownby and John McClain, line foremen, and linemen Steve Kiser, Ernie Cannon and Max McCann. Their work helping to restore electric service to neighborhoods in Dover, Del., Milltown, N.J., and Madison, N.J., was featured in November in the Cleveland Daily Banner, and also highlighted in the Thanksgiving Day edition. The latter news coverage featured interviews with three of the five CU employees, who spoke of their experiences in the wake of the historic hurricane which blew inland after taking a northern pattern for days up the Eastern seaboard.

Sandy’s northern trek was similar to that taken a year earlier by Hurricane Irene.

“These crewmen assisted [in power restoration] for two weeks and everyone they helped was very thankful and complimentary of their work,” Borden told CU board members. “I would like to recognize line foremen Travis Ownby and John McClain, and linemen Steve Kiser, Ernie Cannon and Max McCann.”

Borden added, “We are very proud of their willingness to help our fellow man in times of great need.”

For years, CU has worked cooperatively with other utility systems in emergency situations. The partnerships took an even keener face following the tornadoes of April 27, 2011, that raked across the Cleveland and Bradley County community over a 12-hour period. The five storms took nine lives locally, destroyed 285 homes, damaged hundreds of others and leveled 25 percent of CU’s electric distribution system.

Utility companies from throughout the Southeast dispatched more than 30 crews to Cleveland to help local linemen restore power. Damage was so severe to the electric grid that it took 11 days to complete preliminary repairs; however, the work could have taken months without the help of outside crews.

Both Borden and CU President and CEO Tom Wheeler in past interviews have pointed to the 2011 tornadoes as reasons that the local utility makes every attempt to help other systems facing such emergencies.

In other Electric Division reports for November addressed by Borden:

- A work order was issued to install the final two transmission poles and four distribution poles at the intersection of Georgetown Road and 20th Street for possible road widening of Georgetown Road via a middle turn lane for south-bound traffic.

- Final electrical design work for the new Publix Super Market at Mouse Creek Crossing on Huff Parkway has been completed. A work order has been issued to install a conduit road bore under Valley Head Road for the main primary feed to the store. Publix is paying the cost of the underground loop feed.

- A work order has been issued to provide underground feed electric service to a new Dollar General store on Highway 64 at Cherokee Drive.

- A work order has been issued to connect electric service to Honey Baked Ham Company and Deli in the Cleveland Town Center development.

- A work order has been issued to install a third pad mount transformer and electric service for Renfro Charleston located on Michigan Avenue Road.

- CU substation maintenance employees worked in conjunction with Southwest Electric to rehabilitate the power transformer at the local utility’s Wildwood Substation. The maintenance work will prolong the life of the substation and will save on long-term replacement costs.

- CU line crews installed 24 new poles following inspection and testing that showed decay beyond the required strength by the National Electric Safety Code. CU inspects and treats its wood poles on a 10-year cycle.

- Tad Bacon, CU traffic signal coordinator, updated the board on recent training completed by CU and city employees on use of new Miovision Scout traffic data collection equipment that will be used to gather vehicle or pedestrian counts. Bacon described the equipment — priced at $4,000 — as a “vital tool to determine proper timing and designs for intersections.” The ability to conduct its own traffic counts will also save CU on costs to contracted traffic engineers like Cannon & Cannon of Knoxville which partners with CU on various traffic flow projects.