City power crews ready to roll

Friday, January 12, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:27 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

City power crews were geared up and ready to mobilize in the event that accumulating ice causes power outages.

On Friday morning, Water and Light crews checked their trucks to be sure all necessary supplies for replacing blown fuses or repairing down lines were in place and topped off their trucks’ fuel tanks.

George Hessenbruch, chief lineman for the city, said he has seven crews ready with four to five linemen each, as well as smaller spot-outage crews that have two to three people, including the foreman. Seven tree-trimming crews are also standing by to respond when needed.

Connie Kacprowicz, spokeswoman for Columbia Water and Light Department, urges city electric customers to register their phone number with the city for faster response during power outages.

The newly automated answering system for emergency reporting only is 875-2555. The system can take up to 11 calls at once. If you get a busy signal, please call back.

"It really does help for people to call in and report outages, Kacprowicz said. "If your number is registered, the system will pinpoint the location of the outage much quicker, which means crews can get out to the scene faster." Up to two numbers can be registered for each account, so you can list your home number and a cell number or a work number.

The quickest way to get your number into the system is to use the form on the Web site. Look under "announcements" and click on the sixth item down: Current utility account contact information is essential to fast outage reporting."

The city of Columbia belongs to the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities, a mutual aid society whose members have agreed to assist each other in emergencies when individual departments need more help. Crews from outlying cities would drive their own line trucks to Columbia. Crews are prepared with chains to travel under the most difficult conditions.

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