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Letter: Electric co-op experience was positive

To the Editor:

I couldn't help but to notice your front page story published in the New Richmond News of a week ago regarding an individual's dispute with St. Croix Electric concerning the conversion of a particular stretch of power line from overhead to underground.

The overtones of this story, that I picked up, seemed to lean towards the proposition that the power company is somehow victimizing this private individual in this case.

I, too, have been a customer of St. Croix Electric for over 39 years; and, in the fall of 2007, have also gone through the process of converting our powerlines from overhead to underground.

In our case, there were three customers involved and all of us had to agree to participate in the cost of the project or have all of our trees removed. It was not easy to obtain consensus, even for just three participants; the vote was 2-1 in favor.

Through patient "diplomacy" by the power company, the holdout was persuaded to join the majority. We all had to pay a considerable amount of money and we all got a considerable 25 percent discount.

The exact route was laid out with my input; I was notified of the schedule; the specialized equipment was first class; the work was completed on time; the crews were skilled, efficient, hard-working and clean; the work site was picked up and seeded.

I don't know how the whole project could have been any better.

I think private negotiations should be kept private and I don't like the idea of this outstanding public utility being portrayed in a negative light. Whether the subject is building new power plants, building new transmission lines, increasing rates to customers (because of the increased cost to SCE) or whatever -- it seems that it's open season to bash the power companies.

Personally, I'm very happy to have electricity, thank you.

Walt Weeks