NEWTON — The Newton Electric Department was recently honored with the North Carolina Association of Municipal Electric Systems Safety Award for 2021.
The award recognizes the staff of the Newton Electric Department for providing affordable, reliable electric service to Newton’s nearly 5,000 electric customers without sustaining any lost-time injuries in 2021. The award was presented at the association’s recent annual meeting.
Working around electricity, especially high-voltage lines and equipment, can be dangerous. Accidents involving electricity are potentially life threatening. As Newton Electric Department staff keep the city’s electricity flowing, they keep workplace safety at the forefront. Newton Electric Division Manager Doug Wesson has developed his team’s safety programs over the course of his career, and Electric Division Supervisor Jeff Cochrane has assumed a growing role in continuous improvement of safety programs in recent years.
“The Newton Electric Department is on the job around the hour to keep Newton’s lights on,” Mayor Eddie Haupt said. “We work throughout the year to maintain our electrical infrastructure, and our linemen and tree trimmers are skilled at jumping to action to restore service after storms and accidents. We are fortunate that such a crucial service to families and industry is managed so efficiently and safely, and we are proud to provide a level of service few private utilities can match.”
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The City of Newton is a public power community with an electric system that dates to 1896 and today serves 4,710 customers. Public power communities own and operate their own electric utilities. The city’s wireless advanced metering systems helps electric crews maintain restoration times of less than one hour following most service interruptions.
Newton and other public power communities in western North Carolina share a 37.5% stake in Catawba Nuclear Station on Lake Wylie in York, South Carolina. The electricity that powers Newton’s homes and businesses is generated at the nuclear station and distributed within the city along 125 miles of distribution lines. In addition to distribution lines, Newton’s electric system includes two delivery stations, 5,000 utility poles, 11 peak-shaving generators, and 4,900 electric meters.
The Newton Electric Department staff includes one manager, one supervisor, six lineman, two tree trimmers, one generator technician, and one meter technician. The team has more than 100 years of combined experience in electric distribution.
“Our staff is dedicated to safely providing the most reliable electric service possible,” Wesson said. “As a public power community, our customers are our friends and neighbors. Our electric team will continue working hard to improve the services we offer.”
Newton Electric Department staff were recognized for their accomplishments at the Newton City Council meeting on June 21. For more information, visit www.newtonnc.gov.