BC Hydro crews are busy in the area updating lines and adding a transformer at the substation.

BC Hydro crews are busy in the area updating lines and adding a transformer at the substation.

BC Hydro busy with upgrades

BC Hydro crews are putting the finishing touches on a set of upgrades around Smithers at a cost of $3.005 million.

They’ve been at it for weeks, but the end is near as BC Hydro crews put the finishing touches on a set of upgrades around Smithers at a cost of $3.005 million.

The in service date for the project is Nov. 22, 2012.

The project, Smithers Substation Upgrade, includes three specific upgrades in and around the substation located on 19th Avenue, Dave Mosure, community relations co-ordinator with BC Hydro, explained.

“We’re doing them together to minimize impact on residents and businesses in the area,” Mosure said.

One project is replacing the egress lines at the substation.

An important purpose of this project is to improve safety for BC Hydro workers.

“The lines exiting the substation are quite congested,” Mosure said.

To make things safer, several of the lines are being placed underground in cement tubes, a process called duct banking.

“It will make it safer as a work environment for the crews and will provide ease of expansion as Smithers continues to grow,” Mosure said.

The second project involves the addition of another transformer in the substation.

The additional transformer, Mosure explained, eases the load on the current transformers and again facilitates future expansion.

Growth in the electric load from Smithers is about 1 per cent a year, Mosure said.

The largest of the three projects is the upgrade to the feeder line east of the substation that leaves town, crosses the river and goes into the regional district.

Prior to the upgrade, the line occasionally had loads of 104 per cent of its capacity.

“That’s not good for the equipment,” Mosure said.

The upgrade, Mosure explained, involves twinning, adding additional lines to taller poles.