September 4th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 36
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Fortis continuing upgrade to Pass power lines
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Photo from FortisAlberta
FortisAlberta completed phase 1 of their upgrade to the Crowsnest Pass last year and are now moving onto phase two this month. Phase two is expected to be finished by the end of September.
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
FortisAlberta is moving into phase two of their electrical distribution system conversion in the Crowsnest Pass.

The power company began the operation of the Municipality’s electric system in November of 2015 and had their acquisition approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission in 2018.

Since then, Fortis has begun upgrading the current system in the Pass.

In September of 2018, FortisAlberta began their first phase, which saw a new power line built from an existing line on the north side of highway 3 near Blairmore.

That phase was done to align the system in the Pass to their electrical standards and also created an alternate power source for the customers in the area.

Tanya Croft, Marketing Advisor, Customer Experience and Communications for FortisAlberta, says they are beginning phase two.

“Right now, this is the second of our multiphase upgrade to the Crowsnest Pass. This is to improve service reliability and tie the system into our automated control centre. Now, the work being done this week is continuing with the distribution system conversion. For this phase in particular, the area affected will be between 18th and 19 avenue and 132 and 135 street.”
continued below ...
Croft says that the work being done isn’t too complex but it will take some time to complete.

“We're just upgrading and replacing power poles. The reason it's impacting customers is because a lot of those poles are actually on people's front yards, so that restoration that's taking place will impact certain customers when we do that work in the area. We expect this phase to be wrapped up by the end of September.”

Any customers that are in the area of the work will be notified by Fortis during the process.

“Any customers that are impacted by any specific work on their property will be contacted through our contact care centre as well as our crews are around the area right now and are going door to door advising customers of the work they are doing.”

Croft says that they have just over 50 customers that will be impacted by this phase of the project.

There will be a couple small power outages as the phase is completed.

“There will be one short outage so that we can disconnect the lines safely and then when they go to re-energize the new lines, there might be a second outage for a few of the customers and they'll be notified of that as well.”

As for why this work is being completed, Croft says it needed to be done for a couple different reasons.
continued below ...
“When we took over the Crowsnest Pass, a lot of the assets were at the end of their life, which means after a certain amount of time, a power pole needs replacement and they start to degenerate themselves. This is just us being proactive and upgrading the system so that it's as reliable as it can be and so that it can tie into our control centre system that we use for a lot of our restoration and maintaining the grid. We do this ongoing throughout all of our operating area. We just looked at this when we took over in the Crowsnest Pass as an opportunity to upgrade that system that would have needed upgrades to improve the service reliability.”

As for future work in the Pass, Croft says there will be more coming but the exact timeframe is unknown at this point in time.

“We do have more work coming in the future. We currently don't have a plan for phase 3. We're just looking at that scope of work and timelines. We'll certainly be in touch with all the stakeholders when we come up with a plan but it will probably be more in the spring of next year.”
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September 4th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 36
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