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Utility: Power outages are almost over

Progress Energy blames rapid residential growth in south Pasco for the problem, but it's working on solutions.

By GINA PACE
Published August 11, 2006


LAND O' LAKES - Power outage woes will soon end for about 2,000 residents in the Wilderness Lake Preserve subdivision and others in Land O'Lakes, Progress Energy officials say.

It's been a long hot summer for residents in Central Pasco who have endured sporadic interruptions in service for months. Some said they didn't understand why until they got a letter from Progress Energy this week.

The problem is rapid residential growth and a recent heat wave that are taxing the system beyond capacity, spokesman Buddy Eller said. The company has no difficulty generating enough electricity, Eller said. The issue is transmitting that energy to the ever-increasing number of homes in south Pasco, he said.

Last week about 4,700 residents in the Land O'Lakes area lost power for about 2½ hours when a fuel pump problem shut down two generators during peak demand.

A mobile substation has been moved to help support the Wilderness Lake Preserve area. Additional machines that boost voltage along power lines should also help to fix the problem, Eller said. The mobile substation can handle the energy load for now, but more permanent infrastructure will be added. Eller didn't know when it would be completed.

"It's been a big hassle," said Tamara Smith, who has lived on Citrus Blossom Drive in Wilderness Lake Preserve since May. "Sometimes, it'll last a minute and sometimes it'll last three hours and you don't know why ... and after three hours, it gets hot."

Smith said she wishes she would have been told details long ago. "It's been going on for at least two months," she said. "They should have come out with a memo sooner."

Some power outages cannot be prevented. A few residents in the area lost power Thursday afternoon when a car knocked down a utility pole, Eller said. But transmission problems should be a thing of the past, he said.

"Our job is to make sure when you flip the switch the lights come on," Eller said. "Employees are working around the clock to keep up with that growth."

 

[Last modified August 11, 2006, 06:33:28]


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