Ronald W. Nesbitt

Supervisor's Corner

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Jan 27

The latest Update from RG&E on the West Webster power Outages

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 10:42 AM by PattiAnn Schultz

Q: What is going on in Webster with multiple, large-scale power outages during the last few months, and what is RG&E going to do about it?

A: Providing safe, reliable service to our customers is a top priority for all of us at RG&E. We become very concerned when our customers experience multiple, large-scale outages, like the four that have occurred in Webster during the last few months.  

All four outages were caused by problems on the same 34.5 kV sub-transmission line (745) that feeds 3 substations (73, 90 and 92) that serve 4,223 customers in northwest Webster:

  • November 1, 2013 (high wind/tree contact)
  • December 28, 2013 (aerial cable fault)
  • January 6, 2014 (aerial cable fault) and
  • January 11, 2014 (aerial cable fault)

Each outage affected all 4,223 customers served by the circuit.

After the January 6th incident, RG&E formed a dedicated team to investigate the causes of the outages and create a plan to fix them. Members of the team include two senior managers as well as transmission, system automation, substation, distribution and vegetation control specialists. This team conducted a thorough investigation, and determined, among other things, the existing aerial cable, originally installed in 1965, has reached the end of its useful life. 

The team developed a comprehensive plan to correct the situation and improve the reliability of that circuit. RG&E executives approved the plan and we’ve started executing it. Here is what we have already done to improve reliability in that area:

  • Shut-down circuit 745, and rerouted power around it to supply the 3 substations
  • Repaired the aerial cable that failed (it remains out of service at this time, but ready for use as a back-up if necessary)
  • Insulated un-protected equipment and upgraded/replaced some older substation components 
  • Inspected the entire circuit with infrared cameras to identify any other trouble spots
  • Our arborists and vegetation control specialists examined the entire circuit and identified areas that need to be cleared
  • Our transmission specialists redesigned the circuit layout to accommodate new switches that will segment the line and automatically restore power in certain situations like momentary tree or animal contact as well as overhead line or aerial cable faults.

Here is what we are doing now or will begin shortly:

  • Trim and clear problem areas along entire circuit that were identified in the vegetation inspection. This trimming and clearing will take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete.
  • Install 3 automatic switches – approximately evenly spaced along the circuit to help eliminate outages caused by vegetation contact, and to break up the circuit, which will reduce the number of customers affected if an outage occurs. 

In the long-term:

  • we will replace the outage-prone portion of the sub-transmission line with new, insulated aerial cable
  • we will upgrade and/or replace many of the transmission poles/structures along the circuit. We expect to complete this process by the end of 2014.

I will keep you updated of any further developments as we go forward.

Congratulations to Two Town Employee’s

First, I would like to offer congratulations to David Herrle for being selected as Webster’s Officer of the year for 2014. Officer Herrle joined the Webster Police Department in 2002 and has shown to be a most competent and caring police officer.

Officer Herrle continues to be a top producer for vehicle and traffic enforcement, arrests, and calls for service. This is great honor bestowed upon Officer Herrle and all of us in Webster congratulate him for this fine award.

Second, I would like to congratulate Webster Wastewater employee Ray Schlegel for winning the NYWEA Collection Systems Operator Award for 2013. Ray has worked for the town for over 30 years and has been the collection system foreman for the past six years.  Ray has in is sights over 13,000 residential users, over 290 miles of sanitary sewer, and 21 sanitary pump stations to oversee. Ray also handles the after hour call outs, inspections, and new sewer planning throughout the town.

Just recently Ray spoke to me about retirement but I tried hard to convince him that Webster needed his services in to the future. So whatever decision Ray makes, I and the rest of the Webster community wish to congratulate him on winning this outstanding award for himself and the family at the Webster Wastewater Treatment Facility.

If you should you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at  

Ronald W. Nesbitt