Mercer concerned with transmission line

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Washington Councilman Doug Mercer is concerned that a major storm or some other disaster could severely damage or destroy the transmission lines that bring power into the city.

“One of my greatest fears, having sat on this panel for any number of years, is what happens to us if during a storm we lose our line across the Pamlico River? We would be without power for at least a week in order to get us hooked back up through the old system is my understanding,” Mercer said. “I wonder if there’s not some available grant funding that might make us or let us look at a second point of delivery on this side of the river as a secondary and emergency system.”

Mercer asked city staff to work with Kevin Richards, director of community and economic development for the Mid-East Commission, and others to determine if grant money is available to help pay for the back-up power delivery system.

Mercer said the possibility of the city not having power for an extended period of time after a disaster is a major concern for him and that’s why he wants to explore grant opportunities.

The city buys its power (wholesale) from the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency, of which the city is one of 32 members. The power the city buys comes to the city by transmission lines coming from a power substation near Chocowinity and cross the Pamlico River between the U.S. Highway 17 bypass bridge and the U.S. 17 Business bridge at downtown Washington. Those lines come into a substation near the city’s wastewater treatment plant and National Spinning complex.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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