BEDFORD COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — Saxton borough officials and Penelec confirmed that the planned power outage scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25, has been postponed.

Penelec said their line workers don’t do any outdoor work when temperatures are below 15 degrees. As of now, the postponement date for the construction has not been set.

Before the postponement, residents, and officials were voicing their concerns to the electric company over the timing of the project being inconvenient. The construction was expected to go from 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m.

The power outage was due to replacing the telephone pole located on 8th and Main street. This pole is one of the primary power sources for the town. Residents were notified by Penelec about the power outage but are not happy with how long the project will take.

Saxton mayor Alan Smith expressed to Penelec and the Pennsylvania Utility Commission that holding the construction during freezing weather is not safe for the people. He emphasized that since most of the population is older, they are more likely to suffer from hypothermia.

“Temperatures that will not reach freezing on this day which provides the implications of hypothermia,” Mayor Smith said. “Not only for the elderly who are more susceptible but for anyone who decides they’re going to be remaining at home in that sense.”

There are two elderly housing complexes, 32 apartments, and public housing within the borough. None of those places are equipped with any form of a generator. Residents also expressed concerns that the outage could do damages to their properties. For example, any pipes that freeze.

That’s why residents and Mayor Smith were asking Penelec to delay the project until it reaches warmer temperatures. That would allow people to tolerate the outage in safer conditions. The mayor said the delay would be the most logical decision. There were also questions of why the project wasn’t done shortly after an inspection back in the summer.

“This is part of a community response,” Mayor Smith said. “We’re hoping that utilities will listen, rethink this, and reasonable, logical sense and delay this.”

Todd Meyers is one of the representatives for Penelec and said that this pole has some ties with Verizon. To perform construction, they need to ensure all the line workers from both companies are in place to do the job. He said coordinating maintenance schedules is a difficult task.

“To get their calendar sort of speck and our calendar clear sort of speck is another complication,” Meyers said. “And so you could be going many hours, much longer period of time if you don’t have all the game plan in place or materials in place.”

However, Meyers also noted that the pole was insufficient and did not pass inspection. If the pole were to fail, it could cause a greater outage for a longer time and be difficult to get the manpower.

“If that pole were happened to fail, it’s been tagged as one that needs to be replaced,” Meyers said. “So if that pole would fail, say in the middle of the night on a Sunday evening, we may have an outage that lasts far longer.”

Penelec notified residents and businesses about the outage earlier so they could make accommodations for that day. However, Mayor Smith noted that the older residents in the past did not want to relocate from their homes.

Meyers noted that folks who don’t have a landline or are a business with automated messages could sign up for text messages on the First Energy Corp website for updates.

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