During budget talks the morning of Aug. 10, the Shenandoah City Council discussed frequent electrical outages in the city and what can be done to limit the number in the future.
The council considered two options for replacing overhead lines in parts of the city. The first, Public Works Director Joseph Peart said, would cost the city around $160,000 and run lines down Wellman Road, which would connect Silverwood Ranch Estates, Malaga Forest, Lily, Tuscany Woods and Wellman Manor developments to the 721 Metro Substation.
Peart said by doing so the city would be providing more reliable energy and theoretically reducing the number of outages to those neighborhoods.
The second option, costing an estimated $500,000, would provide a connection to the Shenandoah Valley. The project would involve upsizing a switch cabinet to service two-thirds of the valley. By having a dual feed, Peart said Entergy explained outages would be much shorter.
Council Member Michael McLeod said the outages are ultimately Entergy’s responsibility.
“I still think we have an overall maintenance and power issue,” McLeod said. “I would like to see some creative solutions, but this is an ongoing problem and I don’t know how much the city should be involved when we should be holding Entergy responsible.”
McLeod went on to suggest the city file a formal complaint against Entergy with the state Public Utility Commission as part of its Aug. 28 agenda.
Mayor Ritch Wheeler said he wants to get underground power to homeowners who believed they were getting underground utilities when they moved to the area.
“We should have held the developers responsible at the time,” Wheeler said. “I get that only fixes a handful of neighborhoods … but I think this benefits our city as a whole. The right thing to do is for our residents who thought they were getting something when they bought a house, and if we have the ability to fix that, we should do it.”
Multiple residents who attended the meeting shared their frustrations with Entergy and the power outages, some of which said they had spent hundreds of dollars on generators or had to leave their homes during an outage because it gets too hot inside.
The council agreed to budget $160,000 for the power lines, continue talks with Entergy to address the issue and file a formal complaint against the energy provider.