Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Cookeville Electric Plans Subdivision Pilot Program In New Budget

Cookeville Electric will propose no rate increase in the new budget year.

During Wednesday’s meeting with city council members, Electric Department Director Carl Haney projected revenues of $54.18 million.

One of the major infrastructure programs would be a pilot program to bury power lines in some city subdivisions. Haney said the department wants to start at Sherwood Forest.

“A lot of trees–what we had to look at, not only how many outages and such that we had but also the residents there and those services,” Haney said. “If there were a lot of underground services that made changing it to underground easier and keep the expense down for those customers to do that, so that’s what we looked at.”

The total cost of the Sherwood Forest project, some $246,000.

Council Member Mark Miller asked the department to be more aggressive in cutting trees to prevent power outages.

“We try to stay on about a three to four-year cycle for that, that as we go along we do go back and catch the secondary lines as we get a circuit done,” Haney said. “But yes, the primary (lines) are the one we focus on more than any.”

Haney said roughly 30 percent of the city’s primary power lines are underground. Any new subdivision since 2000 must have its power lines underground. City Manager James Mills said that having power lines underground makes a huge difference in storms.

“I asked Carl to evaluate all of that and I wanted to see if it made a difference and it really does,” Mills said. “The subdivisions that have underground power they work very nice in an ice storm.”

Mills said the city had hoped to bury the power lines in the 10th Street Expansion project, but simply could not afford to.