May 17, 2013 12:00:50 PM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
The Tennessee Valley Authority will pull the plug on Starkville's power supply early Sunday while workers improve the area's power grid.
A blackout is scheduled Sunday from 12:01 a.m. to approximately 5 a.m. as workers proceed with the last phase of a $20 million investment. The entire city will be without power as the project progresses.
Once completed, TVA's project will provide a secondary high-voltage feeder line to the city. City officials say that line will help provide redundancy, thereby preventing outages. The city will also enjoy a larger power supply which could help facilitate future growth.
"It's an exciting project. Starkville is a community that others recognize has a lot going for it right now," Mayor Parker Wiseman said. "The fact TVA is willing to make such a substantial investment to our electric system is evidence of that recognition."
Starkville Electric Department General Manager Terry Kemp first briefed the city on the planned outage in a March board of aldermen meeting. The board asked Kemp to work with OCH Regional Medical Center and other area health providers and nursing homes to ensure they're prepared for the outage. Kemp said his office did just that since the first announcement. In addition, Starkville Police Department is expected to have additional officers patrolling the city during the outage.
"We've been working to get the word out to everyone in town so they can be prepared," he said. "It's a good idea for everyone to have their cellphones charged, batteries installed in flashlights and their freezer doors firmly closed."
A second blackout is scheduled for June 26.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch