July 28, 2014

Council is ill-prepared to take over responsibility of Gardner’s electric utility

Vern Pickert
Gardner
The letter (“City council should reconsider proposed ordinance regarding EUB”) in the Oct. 23 edition of The Gardner News, written by Ryan Beasley, was certainly well said, and I support him 100 percent.
I was a member of the electric utility board the first two years of its existence, and I was very proud of what was accomplished in those two years. I was a member of the city council for 13 years, leaving in 1999.
During the last 10 years of my time on the city council, we installed the generators at the energy center to feed the city of Gardner’s electric system when needed and to support the Kansas City Power and Light (KCPL) when their demand load needed help. In turn, KCPL gave us a really good rate for 15 years for our city usage and the profit that was used by the city to help keep our mill levies low.
In 2008, when the Electric Utility Board (EUB) was organized, I was happy to be appointed, because I was aware that our city electric system was not getting the attention it needed for the past 8-10 years.
Now the EUB is doing so well, why change things?
The city and this area have been very fortunate to be spared any badly damaging windstorms or major ice storms for very many years.
If the administration or city council takes control of the electric system and we suffered major damage from a storm, which administrator or council person will step forward to decide which parts of the city or which circuits should be repaired first? Will they know which circuits are fed from which substation?
They will also be responsible for the safety of the crews trying to repair damage.
Also, the safety of the citizens who might come out of their homes to see what’s going on and possibly step on a high voltage cable that is laying on the ground.
If a major water line breaks, people can go to the grocery store or convenience store to buy bottled water to drink.
If an electric outage occurs, you cannot go to the department or hardware store to buy a bucket full of electricity to take home and get your lights, furnace, refrigerate or microwave oven working.
All you can do is wait.

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