Hydro One spending $3.5 million on Wyoming area power upgrade

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Hydro One’s big fix of Lambton County’s power infrastructure is continuing with a $3.5 million upgrade to the Wyoming Churchill distribution station.

In Jan. 2014, politicians began to raise the alarm about the frequency of power outages in the Petrolia/Wyoming/Oil Springs area. Bluewater Power, which serves much of the area, said the infrastructure of its supplier, Hydro One, was in unacceptable condition.  After a big storm in September that left most of the region without power for hours, calls for Hydro One to do something grew louder.

By Feb. 2015, Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey had worked to have Hydro One improve the area infrastructure, including the Wanstead Transmission Station, up on the capital improvement schedule.

Last year, Hydro One began replacing line circuits, which Bailey said at the time, were causing the majority of the problems.

In March, Hydro One crews began work at the Churchill distribution station.

“The distribution station was built in 1952,” says Hydro One Spokesperson Alicia Sayers. “Two transformers which have served multiple generations of customers…has reached the end of its useful life and are being replaced.” Sayers says crews are also switching out some hydro poles for the upgrade.

“This work will improve the local infrastructure as well as increase the capacity for people in that area.”

Sayers says about 1,000 customers would be affected if the Churchill Distribution System were to fail.

Construction on the $3.5 million project started in March and will continue until August.

Meantime Bluewater Power Chief Executive Officer Janice McMichael Dennis says planning continues on the replacement of the Wanstead Transmission Station.

“There has been detailed engineering done by Hydro One,” says McMichael Dennis. Bluewater Power – which has agreed to foot about 30 per cent of the $5 million project – has also negotiated an agreement on costs. It has yet to be finalized.

“Hydro One has absolutely assured us they are still on schedule for 2018,” she adds. “It’s been a very long lead time, a very long time for paper work, research and planning. It is a long time frame but in fairness it is a very big job.

“There is a lot of work to be done. A $5 million project does take a lot of analysis before putting  the shovel in the ground.”

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