Washington will be left in the dark for six hours

Published 7:02 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

By Staff
Businesses, public services cope with power outage
Staff Writer
It’s “lights out” in parts of the Washington area for one hour tonight and into Sunday morning for the first five hours.
Washington Electric Utilities will enact a system-wide electrical outage from 11 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday. The service provides electricity to over 14,000 customers in the greater Washington area, including about 12,000 residents.
Areas affected include the city; all of Beaufort County west of Market Street Extension and north of the Tar-Pamlico River; U.S. Highway 17 North; U.S. Highway 264 West; N.C. Highway 32 North from Washington to Bath; River Road from Washington to Broad Creek; U.S. Highway 264 East and N.C. Highway 92 East; Martin County on U.S. Highway 17 North from the Beaufort County line to six miles south of Williamston.
The Washington Police Department has made preparations to direct traffic within city limits.
The department will have in excess of 20 officers on patrol during the outage, he said.
Beaufort County Hospital does not expect any operating issues to arise from the outage. The hospital is equipped with a generator, said Stan Hudson, manager of plant operations.
The generator will run everything except the hospital’s air conditioning during the duration of the outage. Air conditioning will be provided by “spot coolers” situated throughout the building, Hudson said.
Patients and residents will hardly know the power is out, he said.
Local establishments serving food and drinks after 11 p.m. have found alternative ways of keeping business open. Bar Upstream has planned a “pajama party” when the lights go out.
To conserve air conditioning, the bar will close for some time during the day.
The bar decided to throw the “pajama party” after receiving word of the outage from Hardt several weeks ago. Ownership was upset with the decision to conduct the outage on a peak business night, Nathan said.
The bar is hoping to attract people leaving Saturday night’s performance of “The Boy Friend.”
With the outage starting at 11 p.m., the bar believes people will want to leave town before traffic lights are defunct.
He contacted Hardt on Tuesday to request that the outage be moved to Sunday night.
Hardt explained that it is being done on Saturday “to have the least amount of impact for the majority of our customers.”
If the outage had been moved to Sunday night it could affect businesses opening and people going to work early Monday.
Hardt was also asked why the outage couldn’t be pushed back to a later time.
Planned outages are set with a definite end time, Hardt said.
The outage has been planned for months, while the day and time was set two to three weeks ago, Hardt said.
The planned power outage is to relocate some of the service’ electric facilities south of the Pamlico-Tar River to provide clearance for construction on the U.S. Highway 17 bypass.
Another planned power outage will take place at 11 p.m. October 4.