Thursday, August 10, 2017

Memory lane in City of Lake Worth. “Turning on of the lights” with one hand and fingers crossed with the other.


The excerpts below are from an article written by Palm Beach Post staff writer Josh Hafenbrack.

“After [Hurricane] Frances struck Sept. 5 [2004], it took Lake Worth Utilities two weeks to fully restore power to its customers, about the same amount of time it took FPL to restore power to 2.8 million.”

Back in 2004, “Crews applied only Band-Aid fixes to sagging lines, mangled poles and a disrupted power grid.”

Newspaper clipping from October 2004:

“The system is still unstable,” he [city manager Paul
Boyer] said.
“That’s on top of the fact that
it
’s old and worn out and has a tendency to
have failures anyway.

“There’s no doubt they have a maintenance issue. Linesmen from other utilities said, ‘this would not happen in our hometown.’ They haven’t maintained it. That’s a fact in Lake Worth.”
ibid. Quote by Dr. Robert Tome.


A lot has changed since 2004 and the pride in our City’s Electric Utility has once again returned.

Starting with the “turning on of the lights” in 1914 our utility was a thing to admire throughout the State of Florida and the country. Having our own stable and reliable electric utility was one reason why people moved here. But then late in the 1990s and early 2000s things began to turn noticeably worse.

First there were the outages every few weeks. Then the daily flickering. Then the inexplicable outages in the afternoon on a clear sunny day. There were the reports of appliances “getting fried”, TV’s and refrigerators primarily. The explanations from the utility were “falling palm fronds” and “small dead animals”.

Remember, this was BEFORE the terrible hurricanes in 2004 and 2005: Frances, Jeanne, Wilma.

Following those storms all the fanciful notions about our electric utility were laid bare. An excerpt from this blog (click on link below):

Nothing like this happened during Hurricane Matthew. Granted, we were spared the brunt of that Category 4 storm spinning off of our shores, and very few (at most 200) went without power for a short period of time. As I wrote this last year on October 9th, two days after the storm, the Town of Palm Beach reported that 103 properties are still without power on the island. If I’m not mistaken Lake Worth had everybody back on line by then. FPL, at the peak of the storm, had 60,000+ without power in PBC. . . .

That number is nearly double the entire population of Lake Worth.

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