By Paul Schmitt
Washington Island is back on electrical power this week. The electrical cable that was apparently damaged by ice shoves during the early spring has been temporarily repaired and now awaits an expensive replacement. Electrical power was lost on June 15 with diesel backup generators being used to maintain power on the Island until the cable was repaired. The damage was done underwater near Plum Island and required splicing about 150 feet of new cable last Thursday. Washington Island Electric Cooperative Manager Bob Cornell says the community was without power for only a few hours and that the crisis would have been far worse if it had occurred earlier.
Cornell says the electrical cable, which was installed in 1981, usually has a lifespan of 40 to 60 years. He says the replacement of the electrical cable will have to come before the next ice and will cost over $2.5 million based on quotes received in 2013.