Assigning Fault after the Storm

1 decade 8 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, January 30 2007 Jan 30, 2007 Tuesday, January 30, 2007 5:37:43 PM CST January 30, 2007 in News

Tree branches iced over and busted power lines across Missouri, including some in Osage County. Trees that had not been taken care of by the utility company one legislator claims.

"A big icy tree fall on the lines, well you know what's gonna happen," said Kliethermes. 

Senator Koster is proposing a solution.

"Now small storms are creating huge power outages ... what has occurred is that the underlying maintenance of tree easements and maintenance of power lines has fallen by the wayside," Koster explained.

Koster wants power companies like Ameren to achieve certain levels of service.  He wants proper maintenance, such as trimming trees away from poles which should reduce power outages caused by storms. And he wants refunds to customers who lost power when it could have been prevented.

Power companies think Koster's idea is too far fetched.

"Well the criteria in the bill are somewhat unrealistic, because the standards are not well researched," said Mike Cleary, Ameren UE spokesman.

Kliethermes has her power through Three Rivers Electric and was only out of power for a few hours. But her friends in Loose Creek who get their service from Ameren were in the dark for a few days. Ameren says the only real way to meet these standards would be to raise prices. Something Kliethermes is against. She wants to see power companies step up in times of emergency, but isn't sure if it will happen.

Koster's bill is expected to go to committee later this week.

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