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10/26/2006 ~ In anticipation of new Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) requirements regarding utility pole inspections and load assessments, the Utility Board awarded the contract for utility pole inspections, treatment, and restoration to Osmose Utilities Services, Inc., for an estimated cost of $897,963.50, at their regular meeting on Wednesday, October 25th.

On October 4th, the FPSC issued a rule regarding the “Storm Hardening” of municipal electrical transmission & distribution systems and provided direction for utilities to perform detailed “pole inspections” and load assessments of their distribution systems.

“While Keys Energy Services (KEYS) suffered minimal utility pole-related damage during the 2005 hurricane season, Investor-Owned Utilities on the Florida mainland experienced significant power outages that were directly attributable to negligent pole inspections,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS General Manager & CEO. Tejeda added that, “the FPSC ruling will ensure that pole inspection and restoration standards are adhered to throughout the State to guard against future storm related damage and to ensure the reliability of Florida’s electric system.”

The pole hardening project will support one of KEYS Strategic Plan goals to maintain a reasonable long-term reliability level compared to industry benchmarks. Additionally, the project specifically supports KEYS multi-year Action Plan to investigate new reliability improvements and to comply with FPSC Storm Hardening programs and options.

The pole inspection will encompass over 14,000 utility poles within KEYS service area and will take approximately five months to complete once the project is initiated. Once the results of the pole inspection survey are supplied from the contractor, KEYS will prioritize, if necessary, the treatment, restoration, or replacement of the utility poles in question to make them comply with FPSC standards.

In other business, the Board:

- Awarded the purchase of Electric Transformers to Electric Supply Inc., Wesco Distribution Inc., and Stuart Irby Co., for an estimated cost of $1,068,683.00.

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 25th, in the Louis Carbonell Board Room of the William Arnold Service Building, 1001 James Street, Key West.

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