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Bedford Electric battles active summer weather and launches new outage management system

BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) – For all 7,000 households electric bedford services, less than 25 workers with the utility keep them out of the dark.

“We have a great team that responds very quickly,” says John Wagner, general manager of Bedford Electric.

With the vegetation in the county, they must be.

“We had some difficulties with the weather this summer,” he continues. “We had storm after storm after storm. We live among the trees here in Bedford County and a few trees have fallen and damaged our lines and it’s still tough.

Wagner says they have crews that trim tree limbs six days a week to help reduce downgrowth during storms.

Another uncontrollable element is heat.

“All our equipment is heat sensitive. Thus, the hotter it is, the more difficult it is for this equipment to operate. We sometimes have heat failures.

These challenges are being tackled with a tool the company started using a month ago.

“We have also implemented a new outage management system,” adds Wagner. “This allows customers to report an outage through our web page or through Facebook or directly through a outage management site. This has improved our response time because we have more accurate information, which goes directly to the line workers and they can get to the scene of a breakdown much faster.

Serving the Bedford area since 1899, Wagner says being part of the community motivates the utility to provide the best possible service.

“As a municipal utility, we feel part of the community. We are really controlled by the community through the city council. I think we’re much more connected to the community than, say, a large utility would be.

The company says Monday’s storms knocked out power to about 300 customers. Service was restored in approximately 30 minutes.

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