Morenci will be left in the dark for a few hours this month, although not on the day originally announced.
Consumers Energy media spokesperson Terry DeDoes said that residents received a post card last week stating that a planned outage was scheduled overnight Feb. 6.
“The typical timeframe is overnight,” he said. “We try to use the least inconvenient time.”
After receiving complaints about the plan, the outage was rescheduled to daytime, from noon to 7 p.m. Feb. 13.
Postcards stating the new date will be in the mail this week.
After news of the rescheduled date was circulated, reaction to that plan wasn’t positive, either, with some people saying they would rather sleep through the outage than go without heat, television and kitchen appliances for the afternoon on a winter day.
DeDoes said the first callers were opposed to the overnight outage. State representatives and the Department on Aging even contacted the utility.
“We’re trying to be responsive to the community,” he said about the change in dates.
DeDoes said 1,501 households and businesses will be without power. That includes all of Morenci, along with some township residents served by Midwest Energy.
DeDoes was asked if the work to be done was of an emergency nature that required completion in the winter.
“It can’t be put off too long,” he said. “We work year around and there’s never a convenient time for an outage.”
He added later that the upgrade will strengthen the reliability of the system and should be appreciated by residents in the future.
The purpose of the outage is to replace some of the 46,000 volt transmission lines feeding the city, he said, and to upgrade some equipment in the city substation.
Scheduled outages for upgrades to the system are done regularly throughout Consumer’s service area, DeDoes said, and the work must be done on unpowered lines.
DeDoes said the longest expected work time is scheduled for an outage—seven hours in this case—although the work often takes less time. A previous planned outage here in June 2007 took much less time to complete than what was announced by Consumers.
“The silver lining [in the change to day time] is that crews should be able to work more quickly in daylight,” he said.