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City celebrates Public Power Week

Posted: October 30, 2017 5:18 p.m.
Updated: October 31, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Camden City Council proclaimed Oct. 22-28 as Public Power Week in the city during its Oct. 24 meeting.

The city of Camden’s electric service is one of only 21 municipal power systems in the state of South Carolina, and has been in operation for more than 120 years. There are more than 2,000 municipal power systems nationwide.

Camden Public Works Director Tom Couch told council one major advantage public power systems have is that municipal electric employees tend to live in or near the cities they serve.

“That gives us a quicker response when there’s an outage or any issue that we may have,” Couch said.

Camden is a member of SCAMPS -- the S.C. Association of Municipal Power Systems -- and as such share technical expertise and advocate for helpful state and federal policies.

“But one of the most important things is that we share in each other’s pain when there’s a natural disaster such Hurricane Matthew or Hurricane Irma,” Couch said. “For Hurricane Matthew last year, we sent crews down to Georgetown to help them out, and in Hurricane Irma -- all told, SCAMPS sent 66 employees to Florida and Georgia to help out. We sent our employees to Bartow, Florida, and Sandersville, Georgia. They started in Sandersville and then worked their way down to Bartow, Florida.”

Four city of Camden linemen, who are among 170 SCAMPS linemen, and their supervisor, Jerry Marthers, took part in receiving the proclamation from Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford.

Following the proclamation, council members thanked the linemen for and commended them on a “job well done.” Councilwoman Joanna Craig said that during recent storms, she heard many compliments about how efficient and quick city linemen worked.

Councilman Jeffrey Graham noted one other aspect of Camden providing its own electric service.

“It’s extremely important … the dollars that come in here stay in our community,” Graham said. “I think this is a local opportunity for us to make a big impact and our employees are doing that in keeping our staff safe. I do think sometimes people lose sight of that -- that when we spend those dollars here, it takes off.”

In other business Oct. 24:

• Council unanimously proclaimed, with Councilman Stephen Smoak absent, Nov. 11-19 as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

• Council unanimously passed second and final reading of an ordinance reducing the right of way on Wateree Street from 90 feet to 45 feet and granting the difference to adjoining landowners.

• Council unanimously resolved to authorize the consumption of beer and wine at this past Friday’s Finally Friday finale on the Town Green.

• Craig complimented the city’s and its citizens’ recent efforts in the Broad Street Alley. City Manager Mel Pearson said a large portion of the project was paid for by an AARP grant.

“You’ve invested a lot and you’re seeing it pay off this fall,” Pearson said, not only in regards to the Broad Street Alley, but infrastructure improvements in the Kendall Mill Village and elsewhere.

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