FP&L shines during storm

Published 9:49 am Friday, September 2, 2011

We’ve long been skeptical of the fiscal wisdom of a city-owned electrical utility.

The budgetary shell game between the city’s general fund and the enterprise funds of Franklin Power & Light can leave even a seasoned CPA shaking his head. Whether taxpayers are winners in that game is questionable.

Unquestionable, however, is the terrific service that city residents get from FP&L.

Exhibit A in the case for Franklin’s staying in the power business came last weekend when Hurricane Irene blew into Western Tidewater, knocking down trees and power lines with winds of up to 65 mph. While neighbors in Suffolk, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County were without power for days (many still are in the black at this writing), the lights burned bright in Franklin. Many homes and businesses never lost power during a day and night of furious winds. Most of those who did were restored by Sunday afternoon.

This was not dumb luck. FP&L does an outstanding job of maintaining its infrastructure throughout the year, making it more resilient during inclement weather. It regularly keeps trees trimmed away from power lines, negating the most common cause of power failure during a storm.

After a storm has passed, FP&L crews respond quickly and efficiently.

We mean no criticism of other electricity providers. Dominion Power and Community Electric Cooperative crews have worked tirelessly during the storm to respond to the widespread outages in their service areas, which are vast.

FP&L benefits from having a smaller service area to maintain and to respond to in times of crisis.

Citizens were reminded again last weekend of the utility’s value to the city. Count us among the grateful.