Power board buys transformer for Snap-On expansion

By Thomas Wilson

   The Elizabethton Electric System board of directors voted to purchase a new power transformer at Tuesday's meeting to accommodate a planned expansion at the Snap-On Tools plant.
   General Manager Phil Isaacs said Snap-On Tools plans an expansion of several thousand square feet to their Elizabethton facility.
   The board voted to accept a bid of approximately $13,000 from the Erbe Power Engineering Company. The board selected Erbe over a lower bid of $12,800. The board took Isaac's recommendation to select Erbe based on the company's ability to deliver the transformer in eight weeks as opposed to 16 weeks from the lowest bidder.
   "We need to get that in for them as quickly as possible," he said. The board voted 4-0 with Ken Wandell absent.
   A telephone inquiry made to a Snap-On representative was not immediately returned Tuesday evening. The company has quietly hired several new employees at its Elizabethton plant in recent months.
   The company's first quarter earnings report released in April found revenues increased 13 percent to $616 million, but net income of $12.7 million fell 41 percent over the first quarter of 2003. Snap-On's stock price has sustained modest growth since July of 2003 when two investment firms downgraded the company's market value.
   Board members also heard from a disgruntled EES customer angered at trees cut recently near her Gap Creek Road property.
   "I've had nothing but war out of the electric system for years," said Wanda Markham, who claims a private tree-trimming company contracted through the electric system has repeatedly cut trees located on her property without her permission.
   Markham also alleged a pet dog that had gone missing several years ago was taken by an employee of Asplundh. Isaacs said he confronted company employees about the missing dog.
   "They all denied taking the dog," he told board members.
   Isaacs said the employee to whom Markham was referring was no longer with Asplundh. John Banks, legal counsel for EES, told the board the system was not responsible for an illegal action taken by someone from another company.
   "If somebody from another company does something against the law, we are not responsible for it," said Banks.
   Markham told the board trees had been cut near her residence in the mid-1990s and again only a few weeks ago. Markham said Asplundh Tree Expert Company had recently cut down a walnut tree without her consent.
   "I want you to pay for my trees," Markham said when Board Chairman Gary Nave asked her what resolution would satisfy her. "I want them to leave me alone."
   Isaacs said the system had extended power service to neighbors of Markham near her Gap Creek Road property over the years. He said she did own a 20-foot easement near the power lines extending near the property.
   He said he would hire someone to determine the scope of the system's lines and Markham's property and easement. Isaacs said if the survey reveals the system has encroached on Markham's easement the system will address her concerns.