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LP power outage scheduled on first day of school

Aug 10, 2023Aug 10, 2023

Aug 30, 2023

LAKE PLACID — There will be a power outage across the entirety of the 12946 zip code — which includes Lake Placid and parts of Ray Brook — starting at 10 p.m. on Sept. 6 and ending at 6 a.m. on Sept. 7.

Sept. 7, the day during which the bulk of the outage is scheduled to take place, is also the first day of school for the Lake Placid Central School District. Both the elementary school and middle/high school are located within the bounds of the planned outage.

According to village Electric Superintendent Kimball Daby, this scheduled outage will allow National Grid to work on their transmission line, which transmits power from Ray Brook to Lake Placid. The line originates in Malone. The sum total of Lake Placid’s electric customers are seen as one customer in National Grid’s books due to the power supply for the town coming from this single transmission line. This means that the whole town must lose power for them to do maintenance and repairs on this line.

The village of Lake Placid announced the power outage to the public on Aug. 23. Reactions were mixed, with many Facebook commenters frustrated about the timing of the outage.

“Is ANYONE able to change this date? Being the night before the first day of school for our students and families is absolutely awful timing,” wrote Amanda Cash, who works at the Lake Placid Middle/High School but told the Enterprise that she was speaking as a citizen and not for the school district.

“This is a major inconvenience for families trying to acclimate back to a normal routine,” Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES Adirondack Educational Center principal Stephanie Murphy wrote.

According to Daby, National Grid requested the village suggest an eight-hour period for the outage to take place. It was a coincidence that the date happened to be the first day of school.

“We should’ve reached out to the school and we did not. It’s too late to change (the date),” Daby said.

Sonja Franklin, Lake Placid Elementary School principal, said that her biggest concern is how the power outage will affect students’ ability to wake up for the first day.

“Being the first day of school, the kids’ biological clocks have not reset to school time, so it’s going to be different for them to wake up so early, anyway,” Franklin said. “If there’s a potential of not having that electricity with that alarm and all of that, that’s where my concern is, is that some … kids sleep in, don’t realize what time it is, the families don’t realize what time it is because they’re still on summer break mode. So I’m afraid our absences might be a little higher — or at least our late attendees.”

LPCSD Superintendent Timothy Seymour said that the biggest potential problem the outage could cause is a Wi-Fi outage in the schools.

“I think the key thing for us, as a school, is just having sufficient notice so that we’re able to plan accordingly for any issues that may percolate in rebooting our systems with the return of power on the first day of school,” he said. “There have been times in the past where prolonged power outages have led to delays in the rebooting of our Wi-Fi system, but we’re well aware of what’s coming, and so I feel pretty good that we’ll be able to hit the ground running and deal with the usual first day of school jitters that may come and not necessarily any related to the loss of power.”

The outage is scheduled to last until 6 a.m. and, according to Daby, is not expected to last longer. The power may even be restored sooner than 6 a.m. — when National Grid completes their work, even if it is before the 6 a.m. deadline, they will restore power to Lake Placid.

Franklin does not anticipate that the outage will affect school operations such as bussing and food preparation.

“As long as everything comes on smoothly, it will be okay,” she said. “6 a.m. is our first shift, so our first custodian is here then as well as our kitchen crew, so they actually start breakfast preparation and that then. So as long as everything comes back on at six, we’ll be okay, but if there’s any kind of SNAFU in that turning on when it’s planned, it could potentially be a problem.”

This is not the first lengthy scheduled outage that Lake Placid has experienced in the past year. According to Daby, there was a 10-hour-long outage on Sept. 20, 2022 and a four-hour-long outage on Dec. 6, 2022 — both scheduled to allow National Grid to complete maintenance and repairs. Both outages were also scheduled overnight — the September outage lasting from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and the December outage from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The village Electric Department typically schedules outages to happen overnight.

“I think doing it at nighttime is the least inconvenience to all customers in general,” Daby said. “The feedback we typically get is most people sleep through it and don’t even know it happened.”

Despite the scheduled outage, Franklin is optimistic about the first day of school.

“We’re looking forward to seeing everybody back at the beginning of the school year and I hope that this power outage doesn’t affect them and isn’t too annoying for everybody,” she said.

Seymour agreed, adding that the village Electric Department is prepared for the outage.

“I’m not anticipating any issues coming from (the outage),” he said. “I feel they have a good, solid plan for making all this work happen.”

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