Electric transmission company to upgrade lines, towers and substation

Substation upgrade in progress; to begin lines in Fall 2010


ARENAC COUNTY — The near-60-year-old transmission lines running from Almeda Beach in Bay County to the ITC Holdings Corporation (ITC) substation in Twining will be replaced as part of a multi-million dollar project by the electric transmission company set to begin in the Fall of 2010. Work has already begun to completely rebuild the Twining substation.

According to ITC Area Manager Daryl Poprave, the work to be completed in Arenac County is scheduled as part of Phase II of the Saginaw River project — which looks to replace some 20 lines in Bay County and six in Arenac County, as well as a substation in downtown Twining and one in Fraser Township at Almeda Beach off of M-13. He added hundreds of thousands of dollars is being spent to replace parts to rebuild the Twining station.

“[We’re] also taking out the 3-legged ‘sears’ (wooden) transmission towers and replacing them with steel,” Poprave said. He added the transmission lines to be replaced are nearly 60 years old, and while they aren’t failing, he says, when you drive by you can hear them “sizzling like bacon”, indicating the copper conductors within the lines may be deteriorating.

“You should only hear that sound in electricity when there is high humidity,” he said. “[Users] could be losing up 10-percent of the power, whereas with a new line you’d lose maybe a half-percent.”

The ITC manager says over the past several decades, transmission lines have been severely neglected, which is why ITC has committed to updating all of its structures in Michigan.

Poprave also says upon beginning Phase II, users won’t have to worry about temporary power outages as Consumers Power has a sub-transmission line in which it will utilize to redirect power during individual line replacement.

“[ITC] taking down the lines completely,” he said. “It’ll (Phase II) take about six months to finish the work.”

Because ITC is a publicly traded independent company, it falls under the personal property tax base, he says.

“Once the work is done, it’ll increase the tax base in the county,” Poprave said. “Private contractors are also bid-out for work on lines.”


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