Bedford Electric battles active summer weather, launches new outage management system

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 2:53 PM EDT
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - For the 7,000 households Bedford Electric services, fewer than 25 workers with the utility keep them out of the dark.

“We have a great crew that is very quick with their response,” says John Wagner, General Manager at Bedford Electric.

With the vegetation in the county, they have to be.

“We’ve had some challenges with the weather this summer,” he continues. “We’ve had storm after storm after storm. We live amongst the trees here in Bedford County and we’ve had a few trees come down and damage our lines and that’s always challenging.”

Wagner says they have crews trimming tree limbs six days a week to help cut down on outages from vegetation during storms.

Another uncontrollable element is the heat.

“All of our equipment is heat-sensitive. So the hotter it is, the more challenging it is for that equipment to operate. We do occasionally have heat failures.”

These challenges are being combatted with a tool the company just began using a month ago.

“We’ve also implemented a new outage management system,” adds Wagner. “This allows customers to report an outage through our webpage or through Facebook or directly through an outage management website. That’s improved our response time because we have more accurate information, which goes directly to the line workers and they can get to an outage location much more quickly.”

Serving the Bedford area since 1899, Wagner says being part of the community motivates the utility to provide the best possible service.

“As a municipal utility, we feel like we are part of the community. We are really controlled by the community through the town council. I think we’re much more connected to the community than, say a large utility would be.”

The company says storms Monday knocked out the power for about 300 customers. Service was restored in about 30 minutes.

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