Current Construction Jobs
March has been a stand-out month the last two years, bringing in storms that have worked Emerald PUD crews through the day and night. These storm events, and other sudden events such as cars hitting poles or birds and squirrels shorting power, can and do cause the occasional outage. Continued evaluation and maintenance is important to the electric distribution system’s overall integrity.
And it’s an important factor in reliability and service. That’s why crews work year-round to keep the system in good shape.
Crews are currently working on several projects that will improve system reliability and maintain the commitment to serve YOU, our Customer-Owners, responsibly.
Fiber Optics Project – Veneta, Junction City
In a collaborative project with Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), Emerald PUD is updating poles to taller and stronger ones that will accommodate a fiber optics line to the areas of Junction City and Veneta.
The joint project allows Emerald PUD to improve its system while LCOG increases fiber connectivity to schools, fire district, city hall, and jail in Junction City and Veneta areas as part of a larger “BroadbandUSA: Connecting America’s Communities” effort. This grant-funded effort seeks to improve broadband access in communities across the nation. This shared-cost project means Emerald PUD Customer-Owners will receive the benefits of a stronger system for less cost.
Approximately four poles along 18th Avenue in Junction City are in need of replacement. Another 27 poles from Highway 99 at Prairie Road to First Street will also be replaced in addition to roughly 20 poles located along Territorial Highway in Veneta (from E. Broadway to Meadow View Lane). These areas were identified for updates to accommodate fiber optic cables.
The benefit to Emerald PUD Customer-Owners is a newer system with improved reliability, updates to cross arms, wire, and new transformers that have greater efficiency than existing ones.
Additionally, tree crews will be trimming along the lines at the same time, which means this part of the distribution system will be in ideal shape at the project’s completion.
Cottage Grove – Underground System Replacement
Roughly 8,000 feet of electric cable is getting replaced in the Talamena subdivision in Cottage Grove.
The cable is decades old (late 60s/early 70s) and has been on Emerald PUD’s “radar” as an area needing improvement due to numerous faults on the line for quite some time. A pin hole in this now-dated cable would be enough to cause an outage. And undergrounds do fail – particularly around this time of year when soil begins to dry out and crack which causes an increase in the physical stress applied to the cable and potentials for more pin holes to develop.
In order to make future outages easier to manage, EPUD is installing the conductor in conduit. This makes the maintenance and replacement of these underground lines a lot easier and less disruptive to all the property owners along the lines route. Underground areas without conduits require crews to “thump” the line with an applied voltage and listen for where the fault lies. Areas with conduits allow crews to pull out the cable and replace it much more easily saving time.
Thanks to technology improvements in the underground cable manufacture, Emerald PUD is replacing the aging cable with an improved version that has an 80-year life span. There are also a total of 12 transformers being replaced, some due to age and some relocated.
Roughly two-thirds of the cable will be replaced this year, with the remaining cable scheduled for replacement in 2013.
Improving Transmission & Distribution
After a year of careful planning, Emerald PUD is seeing a major project take shape – and improve system and service reliability from Veneta to Vaughn, and eventually the Cheshire Area.
Emerald PUD crews have been working to upgrade a transmission-only line by adding a 21 kV distribution line. The upgraded feed from the Bonneville Power Administration will be connected out of the existing Noti substation and eventually be able to serve Cheshire substation in times of outages or increases in demand for power. This change sets Emerald PUD up to create a transmission line link to the Junction City area that had never been in place before that will increase capacity and ability to serve growth in the Cheshire and Veneta areas. The new distribution line will move Emerald PUD in the direction to replace the aging facilities at the Vaughn Substation and feed that area from the Elmira Substation.
Transmission lines are those used to carry high-voltage electricity to substations. Distribution power lines, like those in neighborhoods, are used to carry moderate voltage electricity, which is “stepped down” to household levels by transformers on power poles.
Crews are using existing power line poles to reduce project costs, and adding new cross arms. Phase one of the project brings the new transmission and distribution line over the hill connecting Veneta to Vaughn. Phase two of the project will continue the work to near the Elmira substation.
This project has also allowed crews to “reclaim” part of the right-of-way. Trees and other shrubs had encroached, leaving only about 50 feet of clearance instead of the required 100 feet.
Once complete, the project boosts another leg of the system’s safety, reliability and efficiency while addressing load growth needs into the future.
Connection Point Goes Underground
The Oregon Department of Transportation is performing road construction on Industrial Way to Interstate 5.
So how does Emerald PUD fit into this? The road construction requires Emerald PUD to relocate its facilities in the right-of-way. The facilities located here are the way we get power from Industrial Way to Van Duyn.
The construction project provides the opportunity for Emerald PUD crews to move facilities underground – helping increase safety, stability, and reliability at this important connection point in our power system. The change will also eliminate the recloser and the power poles and eliminate the potential for cars hitting poles.