PUC discusses power outages
WMC recommends land transfer to school
GRAFTON – The recent power outages in Grafton was was one of the main topics of discussion Monday at the Grafton City Council’s Ways and Means Committee meeting held Monday at City Hall.
Grafton Electrical Department employee Russ Geddes was on hand to demonstrate why the City of Grafton has been suffering through some nuisance power outages in the past several months.
The most recent significant outage occurred on Monday, Sept. 30, when the east half of Hill Avenue in Grafton was blacked out due to an outage caused by old voltage cable. That blackout lasted for approximately two hours, disrupting a large segment of Grafton’s business district.
Geddes said out of date, faulty cable is the culprit and unfortunately there is a lot of it still buried under the streets of Grafton.
Geddes explained that there are two types of medium voltage cable that are used in the power industry. One is commonly known as “XLP.” XLP is 175 mills thick and costs less than the other type of cable known as “EPR.” EPR is about 220 mills thick. It is more flexible and easier to install than XLP. The EPR cable also has better flame resistance, increased thermal stability and has better resistance to what is known as “treeing” due to water infiltration.
Geddes said the XLP cable that runs through much of Grafton is “unjacketed” and is inferior to modern XLP cable that is now on the market.
He said much of Grafton’s cable was installed around 1984 when the city went from overhead power lines to underground lines. That cable is past its useful life and is starting to fail. He also showed PUC members a map of the city from the early 1990’s and it showed several outages in town when the cable was still very new.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of it in this town,” Geddes told the PUC.
Geddes said the electrical department has been busy replacing the old cable in town and is replacing it with EPR cable which is more expensive.
He also said that power outages, like the one on Sept. 30, have been prolonged because many of the junction boxes in the city aren’t labeled properly and it takes a lot of trial and error before an fault can be pinpointed and fixed.
Grafton City Administrator Nick Ziegelmann told the PUC that he’s working on a plan with the PUC to replace as much old cable as possible before more outages occur in the city.
In other business the PUC
• Discussed the problem of nuisance dogs in town and whether or not they should raise the fines and stiffen penalties for dogs and other animals that run loose. According to Ziegelmann the current fine for having an at-large animal in the city limits is $50. he said that doesn’t even come close to covering the costs of taking care of complaints, which includes catching the animal as well as its care after its been captured.
Grafton Police Chief Steve Kliniske said the police department has received about 150 complaints already this year. Ziegelmann he’ll work on recommendations for a stiffer penalty that may include a court appearance for a second offense. The matter was tabled until the next meeting of the PUC.
Ways and Means
The Ways and Means Committee (WMC), at its meeting Monday approved a motion to recommend to the city council to transfer a parcel of land to Grafton Public Schools.
The piece of property is known as Tract 2 of subdivision of Lot C, 6th replat of the Vocational Addition.
The parcel is 75 feet wide and covers the access road between Lavergne Ave. and the Grafton High School parking lot. The school plans on paving that road in the future.
In other business the WMC set a personnel policy meeting for the end of October to discuss implementing an on-call schedule for employees of the City Water Department for weekends. Ziegelmann said the electrical and wastewater departments already have such a schedule.