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West Knox power line, 69,000 volts and 43 years old, must be replaced

Lenoir City Utilities Board is proud to provide electrical power to the people and businesses of Farragut and to a total of 60,000 customers throughout our service area. Itís our job to keep your power on every minute of every day. Power outages are inconvenient, disruptive, and depending on your needs, perhaps even harmful.

Combined with our responsibility to provide power is the never-ending urgency to do it safely. LCUB will soon undertake a project in Farragut to help ensure a continuous power supply and to decrease the risk of fire, injury ó or worse ó to you and your neighbors.

In 2005, LCUB acquired from TVA a 69,000-volt power transmission line extending from Fretz Road to Watt Road. Built in 1963, the line has been in service for more than four decades. Thatís an enormous power load on an old line.

This line must be replaced or residents and businesses run the risk of repeated power outages. The line connects the power sources of Melton Hill and Fort Loudoun Dam to electrical customers. It is a feeder line to four electrical power substations. A line disruption could affect as many as 20,000 electricity users Ė and virtually the entire Town of Farragut.

Trees and tree limbs are the greatest single cause of power outages. Trees that have grown up around this 69,000-volt power line over the years threaten to disrupt power and raise the potential for fire and other safety hazards. A heavy concentration of trees makes it harder to respond to an emergency.

An easement beneath the power line runs 50 feet to either side of the line. LCUB was granted the easement so that it can carry out proper repair and maintenance to ensure safe and efficient use of the line.

It is not LCUBís desire to simply remove trees for the sake of removing trees. Unfortunately, in this case we have no choice. We must act to meet our power and safety responsibilities to you.

Prior to LCUB assuming responsibility for the transmission line, the Town of Farragut removed a number of trees and placed a walking path within the easement. The Town of Farragut requires developers to maintain a percentage of green space for each development. Developers in some cases applied the easement to their green space requirements. That should not have happened.

At our recent public meeting in Farragut, one gentleman said that his children enjoy climbing the trees in the area. I immediately advised him that this is incredibly dangerous, that a person is in mortal danger if they are in a tree that comes in contact with a power line.

If we fail to fulfill our responsibilities and tragedies occur there will be justifiable demands to know why LCUB did not act to avoid the problem. Our decision must be to do what is required for the greater good of the people of west Knox County. To bring in the poles and equipment necessary to replace the line, and to safeguard its long-term ability to provide power safely, a number of trees within the right of way will have to be removed.

We are meeting individually with the 80 affected homeowners on the lineís route. We will save trees where we can. We will also plant dogwoods and redbuds in the area, trees that will not threaten the line in the future.

LCUB has always worked hard to be a good corporate neighbor and citizen. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you. If you have questions about this or any other LCUB matter, please contact us at 986-6591. Once again, thank you for giving us the privilege of serving you.


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