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Power failures fire up Waynesboro schools superintedent

January 16, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro Superintendent of Schools Barry Dallara said Thursday he plans to file a formal complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission against Allegheny Power after repeated power outages disrupted classes in two local schools since September.

The latest incident occurred Thursday morning at Summitview Elementary and Waynesboro Area Middle School.

The power was out for seven hours, from early morning to shortly before 10 a.m. at both schools, Dallara said.

As things turned out, classes were not disrupted because of a two-hour delay in the start of school due to snow and cold temperatures, he said.

Power was restored by the time classes started. It was restored to Summitview at 9:15 a.m. and to the middle school at 9:45 a.m., Dallara said.

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The culprit, according to Allen Staggers, an Allegheny Power spokesman in Greensburg, Pa., is underground wiring.

Last week, the power went out in the middle and elementary schools. Both are served by the same underground cable system. There is more than 3,000 feet of underground cable feeding electricity into both schools, Staggers said. Only about 500 feet is new cable, he said.

Power outages closed in the schools twice before, once in September and again in November.

Dallara said he called the power company's repair office Thursday morning. When he didn't receive a satisfactory answer he asked to speak to a supervisor. He was told the person he needed to speak to was on jury duty and would not be available, he said.

"They need to fix this," Dallara said Thursday afternoon. "This is the fourth time. We're filing a complaint."

Last fall, Allegheny Power crews replaced about 600 feet of the old cable. On Thursday, they began to replace another 800 feet with plans to replace 1,300 feet more next week, Staggers said.

Once all of the old cable is replaced there should be no more problems, he said.

"We don't intend for them to have power problems," Staggers said.

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