Everything went according to plan during the 12 hour planned outage on Sunday May 6. The outage was needed for the Nakusp Transmission Line project to allow crews to safely replace three remote transmission line structures near Burton that could not be accessed by road. Helicopters were used to fly in crews and equipment and lower the structures into place. Power was restored to all customers by 7:04 pm.
· Making sure we could replace all three structures within the 12-hour timeframe took a lot of organization and advance planning. In early May, crews prepared the sites for the new structures. Holes were dug for each of the new poles and lined with culverts so that the poles could quickly be lowered into position by helicopter. During the outage, three specialized transmission line crews from Vernon, Kamloops, and Cranbrook worked at each site to assemble the structure and install the equipment as helicopters delivered the pieces one at a time. These crews worked so efficiently that in addition to the three planned helicopter replacements, they were also able to repair another two transmission line structures.
· To maximize the amount of work that could be completed during the outage and reduce the need for separate planned outages, we brought in an additional 4 crews from Vernon to replace and repair transmission line structures in other areas that would have been difficult to work on without an outage. These crews replaced nine transmission line structures and repaired another structure during the outage. The local Nakusp line crew also worked during the planned outage to complete important maintenance work at the Nakusp and New Denver substations.
· Since spring of 2017, we have been working to restore the aging transmission line that serves over 3,000 customers in the Nakusp area. At a cost of $9.7 million, this is a significant investment to improve safety and ensure continued reliability for our customers in Nakusp, New Denver, Brouse, Burton, Arrow Park, Glenbank, Hills, Makinson, Rosebery, Silverton and Summit Lake.
· This work started in spring 2017 and so far we installed new equipment to improve safety and reduce the duration of outages, restored and upgraded access roads, and are working to replace and upgrade aging wooden powerpole structures. This has been a big effort for our crews throughout the region who spent 10,000 person hours on-site last season.
· Originally constructed in 1957, just over one third of the 800 plus powerpole structures along the 100 kilometre long line are damaged or in poor condition. Last year we completed work on 105 structures. There are 246 structures remaining to be replaced or upgraded this year. To date we have replaced 40 of the 246 remaining.
· During the remainder of the summer, crews will continue to replace and repair structures that are accessible by truck between Nakusp and Fauquier. For this work we won’t need to turn off the power, crews will use a specialized boom truck to lift the energized line and allow a new pole to be installed. Last spring we upgraded the wire along the entire transmission line to make sure we could safely use this technique and minimize the number of planned outages required for the project. The new poles are typically 5 to 10 feet higher than the original poles to help keep lines away from trees and vehicles.
· Although we have planned the work to minimize the number of power outages required, we do expect to schedule one or two more planned outages after the summer tourist season in early fall. This will allow for more helicopter work and allow us to complete the replacements and repair of the remote structures along the transmission line.
· We understand that outages are disruptive and thank our customers for their patience during this important project. We will continue to work with local government and notify our customers in advance of planned outages.