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Allegheny Power making upgrades

to accomodate growth, the power supplier is installing equipment throughout the Tri-State area.

to accomodate growth, the power supplier is installing equipment throughout the Tri-State area.

June 15, 2002|by Liz Boch

lizb@herald-mail.com

Allegheny Power is upgrading and installing equipment throughout the Tri-State area to accommodate growth, company spokesman Allen Staggers said.

"As new development occurs and our lines are at full capacity, we add," Staggers said.

Allegheny Power, Allegheny Energy's power delivery company, provides energy throughout the Tri-State area and in parts of Ohio and Virginia.

In Washington County, Allegheny Power is installing a new electrical circuit in Hagerstown's Edgewood area. The company expects growth to exceed existing circuit capability in the development off Dual Highway, Staggers said.

The circuit will cost about $400,000. Staggers said the duration of construction depends on the number of homes being built.

"All the construction will be underground and will take longer than overhead construction," he said. "It's entirely new construction, not based on what's already there."

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Doris Hose, 67, of Edgewood Place, said her electricity has gone out at least once a week for about two years. In April, power once was out from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

"It's really a bad, bad scene," she said. "Just Wednesday morning our power went off. The coffee pots and alarm clocks had to be reset. I hope this circuit fixes things."

Another $200,000 is earmarked for work in the eastern and southern portions of Washington County, primarily upgrading and replacing underground cable in Woodmoor, Rocky Springs, Oakridge and along Porterstown Road.

Staggers said cable deteriorates from settling dirt and from road traffic.

"The rubber surrounding the wire can go through weather damage or simply crack," he said. "Restoring it gives it a new lease on life for another 20 to 25 years."

The $600,000 allotted to Washington County accounts for less than one-third of 1 percent of Allegheny Power's $154 million operation and maintenance budget.

Staggers said the number is misleading. He said the county relies on a transmission line system to receive power from other areas, so "we don't have to spend money in Washington County for people to benefit in Washington County."

Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania also underwent line improvements, Miller said.

Fulton County received $598,000 for maintenance including the relocation of a line on Pigeon Cove Road in Warfordsburg.

The $1.4 million budgeted in Franklin County included money for increasing capacity to a line on Kriner Road in Chambersburg.

Allegheny is spending $6.8 million in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle to reinforce lines in Martinsburg, Johnsontown, Pikeside, Bakerton, Berkeley Springs and Leetown and along Route 522, Eppinger Road and Winchester Grade Road.

"It's a growth issue," Allegheny Power spokeswoman Sonya Miller said. "With a combination of residential and commercial growth, lines had to be reinforced."

Washington County has grown 8.7 percent since 1990 to more than 131,000 residents. Berkeley County, W.Va, has grown more than 28 percent, according to Census 2000.

Miller said regular maintenance is not necessarily included in the operation and maintenance budget.

Miller and Staggers said maintenance budgets are designed to improve reliability in areas with increased growth, where power outages occur most often or where equipment is nearing the end of its life cycle.

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