Clarksdale Public Utilities approved the first phase of a plan to replace utility poles throughout the area by approving Gray’s Power Supply, LLC’s bid of $149,775.81 to do the work.
Gray’s Power Supply, LLC’s had the lowest bid of four companies. The bids ranged from $49,774.81 to DeSoto County Electric Inc.’s bid of $302,603.
Jeff Atwell of Atwell & Gent, P.A., the engineering firm out of Starkville for the project, spoke on abouty the utility poles.
“Really, what we need to do is supplement a CPU crew that is doing pole replacements with outside contractors that will get caught up because we are behind,” Atwell said. “Pole replacements and tree trimmer are really kind of the bread and butter of keeping the lights on. We need to get caught up on.
Atwell said there are approximately 5,000 poles that last an average of 40 years.
“What about the poles that don’t need replacing?” said CPU commissioner Donald Mitchell.
Atwell said he did not know the exact amount of poles that need replacing, but CPU is behind. He added two-and-a-half percent of the utility poles should be replaced each year.
“I don’t believe that’s been happening over awhile,” Atwell said.
Atwell said poles 40 to 60 years old have not been replaced.
Mitchell referred to the ice storm of 1994.
“We replaced a lot of poles during the ice storm,” Mitchell said.
Atwell acknowledged some of the poles have been replaced, but it could be a problem if CPU was 20 to 40 poles short.
“It can get away from you in a hurry. It doesn’t seem like much in a particular year, but over a number of period of time, it does catch up to you,” Atwell said.
Other equipment issues were addressed during the meeting.
The board approved the 2020 WWTP erosion control contract change order form to Construction Specialists, LLC for $93,975. The original amount was $89,030.
The board also approved the purchase of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories control equipment for the substation from Power Connections Inc. for $26,520 as a sole source item.