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Upper St. Clair commissioners opened their Jan. 27 informational and general affairs meeting with a moment of silence for former Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Moore, who died Jan. 25.

Moore, a graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, attended Robert Morris and worked for the USC School District for more than 30 years. He joined the volunteer fire department in 1982 and served as chief for 10 years, stepping down from the position in late 2019 because of illness.

In other business, Randy Durr, a representative from West Penn Power, gave a presentation to help answer concerns about recent power outages in the township.

Durr said there were two major power outages in Upper St. Clair, Dec. 9 and Dec. 13. In both cases, the outages were caused by downed trees. The outages caused twice as many customers to experience a power outage than normal because the McLaughlin and Brookside circuits were temporarily tied together to complete an upgrade at the substation.

According to Durr, trees are the main cause of power outages. West Penn Power has a vegetation management team which follows a five-year trimming cycle. Durr said heavy rainfall over the last few years has caused more healthy trees to be uprooted and fall into power lines.

West Penn Power is aware of issues at the Bethel Park Substation/Clifton Circuit, which serves the Deerfield Manor area, among others. West Penn Power installed toll grades in November 2019, which can help identify the cause of problems. A drone inspection identified 17 maintenance issues with the Bethel Park Substation/Clifton Circuit, which workers have already started working on, Durr said.

Work will continue on the maintenance issues this year, Durr said.

Durr said the underground lines that were installed in the 1960s and 1970s are starting to fail because of age. After there is a failure two or three times, the power company will replace the affected underground wires, Durr said.

Durr said the most common causes of momentary power outages and flickering lights are squirrels and birds on power lines.

Durr said if a resident is experiencing a power outage, they should report it to West Penn Power at 800-686-0021. The information helps the power company determine where and how large the outage is, he said.

Durr said if a tree appears to be in danger of falling into a power line, residents should report it to Upper St. Clair Public Works Department at 412-831-9000, ext. 271.

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