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I think the power outage last Tuesday gave everyone a renewed appreciation for a small town and all of the helping neighbors and friends. It was evident with the patience, understanding and support across the community as work was underway to get the lights back on.
“Neighbors taking care of neighbors,” was how Water Valley Electric Department Superintendent Andy Hall described the support from Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association (TVEPA) that provided temporary power to the residents in the city. He was equally appreciative of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as workers were rapidly mobilized to diagnose the problem at the substation.
Hall reported that the support from the community for his crew, along with crews from TVEPA and TVA was uplifting – gestures that included simple “thank yous, meals and anything else they needed throughout the day. Join me in extending many thanks to all of the utility workers who provided assistance.”
Mayor Donald Gray also logged long hours during the outage as he responded to the scene shortly after the 3:30 a.m. outage. He helped coordinate with utility and state officials including the governor’s office for supportive services. Gray also worked diligently to provide information and updates for the public throughout the day. The flow of information is critical during a crisis, secondary only to the restoration effort by the crews, and the mayor did a great job.
The outage is a reminder of the aging infrastructure in Water Valley and across the country. We have been hearing about it for years, the age of replacement, as critical infrastructure often dates back to the 1950s or older. The updates are going to be expensive, just ask the county supervisors who are in the middle of one of the costliest county projects in history as the bridge to replace Gums Crossing on Grenada Lake.
Let’s face it – infrastructure upgrades for water, sewage, electricity, roads or bridges are going to cost all of us in the days ahead.