A delegation from ATCO Electric outlined the company’s plans for 2010-2011 at the Drumheller Town Council Meeting on Monday, March 1.
Terry Beaupre, team lead at ATCO Drumheller, explained they will be concentrating their work on a new main power line, north of Drumheller, and looking at upgrading the lines in Nacmine.
The new power line will start at the Crossman strip at the airport and will include an underground line going from the south end of upper Midland to the Michichi Creek bridge. It will then go overhead to the other side of the highway, then underground again all the way to the Spray park.
This new line will create a new feed into Drumheller with separate a circuit which will become the service to upper Midland and along Dinosaur Trail. It will underground power for the new Catholic School and the Drumheller Health Centre.
Part of the reason for an underground feed was to provide a safer environment around the new school grounds.
Council had asked ATCO to help the town with their effort to beautify Drumheller while they undertake new projects. This underground line will improve the aesthetic at Rotary Splash Park as the overhead electrical structure will be removed.
Part of the purpose for the new feeders is to provide a feed for downtown from two locations should there be a flood and the infrastructure were to be damaged.
It is anticipated the work will start at the airport in May and will be halted during the summer season so as not to cause disruptions during tourist season., Work will resume again in September.
Longer term, ATCO will also concentrate on improving the infrastructure in Nacmine and other areas such as Rosedale and East Coulee.
Beaupre explained they will begin in Nacmine as the problem there is larger than in other communities and the development of new houses has brought the problem to the forefront. “Most of the infrastructure was put in by the mining company,” he said, “and it doesn’t meet today’s standard for electrical infrastructure, particularly around clearance issues over roads, back alleys and to buildings.”
As they will look at relocating the lines underground, there will be costs implications and it will affect other utilities.
Beaupre confirmed they will work closely with other services during this project, as well as with customers. ATCO plans this project will take 5 - 10 years to complete.
Bridget Unland, customer services representative at ATCO, updated council with further ATCO plans for the coming year.
Historically, some of the damaged underground feed, which could not be repaired, was replaced by a temporary overhead connection on some of the street lights. ATCO will focus their efforts on cleaning these up and repairing the underground connections. As this may involve digging up pavement and/or lawns, Unland explained, they would involve customers in the process, as well as the Town of Drumheller.
Council had previously indicated to ATCO they would like Drumheller to be considered as a location for piloting a new type of street lighting using LED technology which is believed to reduce operation and maintenance costs. Unland explained that ATCO had investigated the feasibility of using LED for street lighting and found that, at present, they did not have the knowledge, nor the equipment required to implement LED street lighting. They have put a team together to investigate the life cycle of LED lights as there are some known reliability issues, particularly in colder climates.
ATCO will revisit the project on completion of the study.