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Sunday power outage part of larger plan

Ken Harney, Price City infrastructure specialist, and Shiloh Tonc, a city meter reader stand in front of the main downtown substation that is going to be worked on during a planned power interuption on Sunday from 7 a.m to noon. The work is part of a long plan of the renewal of assets for Price's power grid.

On Sunday the power in Price City will be down from 7 a.m. until approximately noon. That planned power outage is part of a larger project that the city has been working on for some time.

Price City actually started work on the project almost two years ago with the construction of the new downtown substation. Plans were to bring this new substation online in the fall of 2008. However, at that time the city became aware that their primary power supply line into Price City was at maximum capacity. At the time Price City was in no position to fund a project that would help with the situation. During discussions with Rocky Mountain Power they offered to provide a new line into Price City from the north end of town at their expense. This was a good opportunity for all Price City residents and a very generous offer from Rocky Mountain Power.

According to Brett Camman of Price City there has been a great deal of effort made to complete the task of getting that line in before the summer becomes any hotter.

"We were only able to solidify the date on May 26," said Cammans in a letter to the Sun Advocate. "We then prepared a message and presented a plan at the Wednesday night Price City Council meeting and started a campaign to notify customers starting that next Thursday. Waiting any longer into the summer would put our customers in more uncomfortable conditions and the existing equipment may not be able to handle the heavy demand for power that we experience during the hot summer days."

During a recent walkthrough in preparation for these upgrades the crews encountered damage at one of the city substations, most likely caused by vandalism. This compounded the work load that needed to be accomplished to finish the project.

The reason the city picked Sunday to do work when the power needed to be off was varied.

"As we look at the utility load, Sunday is our lowest usage day," said Cammans. "As for the time of day we considered the peak usage periods, the conditions required to complete the work and contingencies if any problems were encountered. Crews will be spread out over a large area and daylight is required for them to do their work. Safety of the crews is a primary concern. If the work was scheduled for later in the afternoon and problems are encountered, these could be compounded if the crews loose daylight."

Cammans said throughout this project Price City has utilized the expertise of Rocky Mountain Power, Bruno Engineering, and Electrical Contractors Incorporated as consultants, engineers and technicians. These resources have worked well together and have been very responsive to the needs of Price City. They have all provided valuable information and demonstrated a commitment to providing the best possible solutions for this project as well as planning ahead for future projects.

"Our intentions are to do our best to minimize disruptions to our customers, consider the safety of the crews performing the work, and improve the conditions of our electrical infrastructure in order to meet the growing demand for power and improve the reliability," concluded Cammans.

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