Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ice Storm 2009

The past week has been taken up with stories about the woes of this year's ice storm. We were some of the lucky ones, we lost no power... this year.

In 2003, it was a different story. That year we were living in our old house, a little closer to downtown, on a quiet side street with some old trees. When the storm hit we figured that we would be all right because the house was brick-solid brick- and we had gas heat. In the middle of the night when the rain switched to freezing rain and the basement sump pump was working off and on, then the power went out. As soon as the daylight arrived I made my way to the home store and came back with a generator, quickly assembled it and ran an extension cord to the sump. while the basement drained an dried , we called an electrician to install an outlet for the thermostat circuit and plugged in the generator. With heat restored, we ran a few more extension cords, set up a light in the kitchen to cook by, a TV for information and lit several candles in the other rooms for light. This set-up let us hold out for 8 days and we were some of the last ones to get our power back. It was then that we started looking into placing electric lines underground.

Lexington has had all electric subdivisions for some time and they have their service supplied underground. Even where I live now is set up that way, but just last year a squirrel tripped a breaker on the line and knocked out about 12 units here. Mrs. Sweeper and I believe that there has to be a way to retrofit the older, well treed areas, so as to have the electric buried underground.

I know that it would be expensive to do a retrofit for all of Lexington, but if we took all the overtime and cost of calling in repair crews from out of state, applied it to a systematic effort to do the retrofit, then the city would fare better during the next ice event.

From the reports I have read from Louisville, the power was restored much faster across the river in Indiana. Their power company is said to have a much more responsive attitude and a much friendlier web site.

Lexington has made great progress toward being a very tree friendly city and has been named a Tree City USA. We have a strong street tree ordinance and a good tree preservation record even though there are fights over some significant examples. There is a price to be paid for being a Tree City USA and it is not always the trees that pay it, sometimes it is the residents.

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