Electricity a budget requirement

Published 7:58 pm Thursday, April 24, 2014


This week, the Washington City Council heard from non-profits and city officials regarding funds they needed for the upcoming year.

Some figures were just for a few hundred dollars, others were in the thousands, with the city’s electric needs to hit the million-dollar mark.

One project that is in dire need of funds is the power lines that motorists and pedestrians see everyday and don’t think twice about. The only time anybody notices the issue is when electronics won’t turn on.

During Wednesday’s budget meeting, Keith Hardt, Washington’s director of electric utilities operations, talked to the council about the need to update lines and substation feeder rebuilds.

Downtown Washington hosts many events that need electricity, and one event in particular that seemed to help the city see the need for new feeder lines is Music in the Streets.

In 2012, a guitarist plugged his amp into the city’s electricity feed and was shocked after touching the pole.

After many alterations to the festival’s electricity supply, which are now plugging into businesses and a city outlet on Respess Street, the city will update feeder lines on Second and Fifth streets.

Those feeders lines run straight into downtown and will cost the city $300,000.

The city’s electric feeds are important to our daily needs, which we so often take for granted. However, updating the lines is something that needed to be done sooner.

When festival organizers first came to the city council to discuss the event they said they wouldn’t need any electricity — it was all going to be an acoustic — but then came back to the council to tell them they needed electricity for microphones, amps and lights.

The city gave the go-ahead to plug into the feed, and what they ended up getting was a slight shocking and the realization they needed to update the lines for modern technology.

Electricity, whatever the cost, needs to be updated regularly because it is unforgiving. Even if it is a slight 250-volt shock from a line inside your house, it still hurts. The city doesn’t need anything catastrophic to happen when there are so many people around enjoying a nice evening of music.