Year round maintenance and constant attention to configuration of utility poles helps keep the power on in Napoleon despite harsh weather conditions.
Napoleon City Manager Joel Mazur reported the city had zero power outages during the recent two-day winter storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on Henry County.
“Napoleon Power and Light does a massive amount of prevention maintenance,” said Napoleon City Manager Joel Mazur.
“That really helps keep the number of outages down,” he added.
One of the biggest aspects of that maintenance is trimming tree limbs that are growing near power lines. This helps prevent limbs from being knocked onto power lines during wind storms.
“Another part of maintenance is we are always keeping an eye out to reconfigure poles in the easements so they are more easily accessible (if there’s a problem),” Mazur said.
City crews also monitor the electric poles to make sure they are in good condition and use larger poles in areas where they stand a better chance of being struck by traffic.
Many of these measures also help ensure repairs can be done as quickly as possible if there is a problem. Several years ago, the city also installed a computerized monitoring system so problems can be detected immediately.
“Usually if we do have an outage we have the power back up within no more than two hours,” Mazur said.
The city manager said he has a brother living in Texas, where hundreds of thousands of residents were without power for a couple of days due to extreme winter weather for the region, along with others in the South. There have also been rolling blackouts.
In addition, water pipes have been bursting due to the cold temperatures and the fact since Texas normally doesn’t have a frost line, utility pipes are not placed as deep in the ground.
While the water lines are deeper here, frozen pipes can still be a problem. To mitigate that, residents are encouraged to run a thin stream of water, about the width of a pencil lead, to keep the water flowing enough to stem freezing.
However, before doing so, they should contact the city building to make them aware of the situation so a credit can be applied to the utility bill.