By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
A continuing power outage has plunged a Kansas City hotel and guests into darkness, and now the hotel wants the power company to do something about the problem.
It is one of the larger hotels serving the Northland, but an Embassy Suites general manager says they have lost thousands of dollars in the past several years, thanks to an unreliable energy grid.
Mike Klingensmith has run the hotel off Tiffany Springs Parkway for about seven years and says he has dealt with more than 20 blackouts during that time, and each occurrence comes with a hefty price tag.
The lights are on and the elevators are running smoothly at the hotel now, but staff says they have received more than enough practice on what to do when the power goes out.
"Hard dollars, we might lose $30,000 on a single power outage event But you might multiply that by five to 10 times on good will lost with our customer base. It becomes pretty sizeable at some point," Klingensmith said.
Klingensmith said one blackout was especially inconvenient, coming during a wedding reception in one of their ballrooms. They were able to relocate the guests and all the food, but he is worried they might not be so lucky the next time.
Klingensmith has filed what KCP&L calls a damage claim to recoup his losses, but he says that claim has been denied. He also said KCP&L told him a rodent is to blame for his latest claim.
"A lot of our outages are caused by things that are out of the control of KCP&L. So possibly animals or storms. So things that are acts of nature," said Courtney Hughley with KCP&L.
Hughley said most of those outages were through no fault of their own, but she does admit they have had their fare share of problems with aging infrastructure in the area, including the equipment they acquired after merging with Aquila Energy back in 2008.
She says they have spent a lot of money trying to upgrade the system since then.
"We have invested several million dollars in that area. We have replaced cables, damaged equipment in that area, and even looking at future plans to address those issues," she said.
As for Klingensmith, he says conditions do seeming to be improving, but he says that doesn't help him get back all the money he has already lost.
Klingensmith said he would love to avoid a lawsuit, but he is worried he might not have another choice if KCP&L continues to deny his damage claim.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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