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Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Residential Real Estate

Sept. 3 – Parkside Neighborhood in Savannah is taking action to get to the bottom of frequent power outages

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

Sept. 3, 2017 – It used to happen occasionally; then it would be once a month; then once a week; then once a day; and now, it can be several times a day:   the power to homes in the Parkside neighborhood, the area of historic homes immediately below Daffin Park, goes OUT.

Georgia Power calls the episodes “blinks.”  The area’s residents have stronger words for the outages that last from one to four seconds.  The lights, TV, cable, internet, printer, AC, and clock on the stove go off, and then start blinking, and make various sounds trying to come back up.  Sometimes there is a popping sound from a nearby light pole, other times no remarkable sound outdoors. 

And, it’s happening on dead still, sunny days, and at all times of the day. 

The active Parkside Neighborhood Association requested that Georgia Power meet with the neighborhood to listen to their experiences, and explain why it’s happening.  The reasons were blamed on tree branches touching the lines, GP representative Matt Gignalliat told the group. He then explained the system that Georgia Power has installed to help the power recover so that the loss is short-lived.

But the loss of power is hurting area equipment, including Comcast’s modems which are designed to have an even flow of electricity.  The constant blinking of power, and power surge afterwards, can affect their modems and cable TV lines to a home, disrupting service to their customers..

District 4 Alderman Julian Miller, who represents Parkside, has gotten involved, seeking additional answers and solutions.  “There are just as many trees in Ardsley Park,” he states, “and we’re not having this,” he said last week, as he began to make a round of calls to Georgia Power.  He has asked Parkside residents to text him every time it goes out so that he can log the date and times of incidents.

But, the Association’s leaders have taken additional steps.  Over this holiday weekend, they walked the lanes of Parkside, an area defined as Washington Street at Daffin Park, south to 52nd Street, and east and west between Water’s Ave. and Bee Rd.

They have now posted a series of photos of the Georgia Power lines in the lanes, showing a serious lack of tree branch maintenance.   “The lines are a mess,” offered one.  And based on the photos, many of the poles and lines appear to be old.  

A new resident to area, who joined the Association’s Facebook page just weeks ago, said that he was glad to learn that it wasn’t just his home. “It feels like we’re living in a third world country,” he posted, about his experiences losing power at his new home.  “We thought it was just our house.”  

Members of the Association are now filing complaints with Georgia Power, as well,  to document what is going on.

What appear to be newer power lines installed by Georgia Power are green, versus the majority of what appear to be older lines in Parkside.

One serious problem is that all the lines in Parkside are above ground, with the poles and lines running east to west in the lanes behind homes.  As many of the photos show, many of the trees that are touching the poles and power lines are on private land. 

Georgia Power cannot trim trees of private citizens, according to a 36-year veteran of Georgia Power, who has now retired, and works for Comcast.  

District 3 Alderman John Hall who represents a portion of 52nd street, and has also gotten involved in helping area residents who have lost Comcast service over the weekend.

The SBJ is continuing to pursue local ordinances – whether residents can be required to clear their trees branches from power lines, or whether Georgia Power does, in fact, have the right to clip branches in order to provide this public utility. 

Comcast’s lines run on Georgia Power’s poles, and are woven with Georgia Power’s lines between the poles and residences.

Here are photos from this weekend’s survey of Parkside lanes: 

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