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DU OKs plan to supply power in Indian Hills area
Joe Wheeler unable to handle growth along road and Burningtree subdivision

By Catherine Godbey · 340-2441

Decatur’s Municipal Utilities Board approved a plan Wednesday to help supply power to its 373 customers along Indian Hills Road Southeast and the Burningtree subdivision.

Overwhelmed by the population influx in this area, Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corp. notified Decatur Utilities of its inability to continue supplying power to DU’s customers.

“This doesn’t pose an immediate concern,” DU Electric Manager Dan Gibbs said, “but with the existing power use and increasing growth, there could be a problem serving all of the customers in the future.”

In place of the single circuits running along Indian Hills Road, DU and Joe Wheeler reached an agreement to install double circuits. The double circuits — poles that contain two arms and hold three power lines each — allow both companies to serve their respective customers.

Based on the location of each company’s customers, DU and Joe Wheeler formatted the 21/2-mile stretch along Indian Hills Road from Alabama 67 to Lincoya Circle into three sections. The first encompasses the stretch of Indian Hills Road from Alabama 67 to the northern entrance of Horseshoe Bend Road, Joe Wheeler serving both sides of the road.

The section between the two entrances of Horseshoe Bend Road S.E. constitutes the second phase. Along this stretch, the double circuit line dissects into two single circuit lines, with DU servicing its customers west of the roadway and Joe Wheeler supplying power to the east.

Reestablishing into a double circuit, the third section of power lines run from the southern entrance of Horseshoe Bend Road to Lincoya Circle. In this section, DU will provide power to residents east and west.

According to Gibbs, Joe Wheeler will oversee the circuit replacements budgeted in the 2008 fiscal year. Gibbs estimates the total cost of the project at $690,000, with DU’s portion totaling $350,000.

Board Chairman Neal Holland lauded the efforts of DU and Joe Wheeler to reach a solution.

The compromise represents the third attempt to serve the residents of Indian Hills Road. From 1975-1999, DU leased the circuits from Joe Wheeler as a result of DU delivering more power into that area.

Joe Wheeler regained control of the circuits in 1999 and supplied power to both DU and Joe Wheeler customers. Under that arrangement, Joe Wheeler billed DU for DU’s customer’s power usage.

With the population increase taxing Joe Wheeler’s power supply, DU leaders hope the proposed plan represents the final solution to a recurring issue and a solid partnership with Joe Wheeler.

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