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Chugach construction season underway

Chugach will be working on a number of projects during the 2015 construction season. The projects will extend the life of facilities, enable greater power transfer from Bradley Lake, and improve reliability.

Six miles of transmission line will be rebuilt between Powerline Pass and the Seward Highway near Indian. Crews will access the project from both directions, and periodic trail restrictions may be necessary. Construction vehicles and a helicopter will be active in the area during the construction window. The $6 million project is scheduled to run from June through October, with most of the new structures to be erected between mid-July and mid-August.

On the Anchorage Hillside, Chugach will be building a new distribution substation at the intersection of O’Malley Road and Hane Street, east of Lake Otis Parkway. The $10.9 million project is necessary to meet the growing demand for electricity in the area. Site preparation will occur this summer, with electrical construction to begin later in the year and conclude in 2016.

Several improvements will be made at Chugach’s Dowling Substation, near the intersection of Dowling and Elmore roads. A new ground grid and fence will be installed for safety and security, while new switchgear, relays and controls will be added to provide enhanced monitoring and control. Chugach will split the circuit that feeds the facility to improve reliability. Some existing overhead lines at the substation will be replaced with new underground circuits. The $3 million project is scheduled to start in July and end in December.

Near Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula, work continues on the Stetson Creek diversion project. The $22 million project resulted from a condition of the new 50-year operating license Chugach received from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2007. The project will divert water from Stetson Creek into the reservoir of Chugach’s Cooper Lake Hydroelectric Project. Relatively warmer water will then be taken from the reservoir and put into Cooper Creek. The goal of agency biologists is to raise the water temperature of the creek for fish habitat. A diversion structure, two miles of buried pipeline, a siphon and outfall works are necessary to move the water. Construction began in 2013 and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.

Within the Anchorage Bowl, communications upgrades are planned at several Chugach substations. The planned work includes the addition or extension of communications towers within the substations. Chugach maintains a communications system that uses radio, microwave and telecommunications links to enable data collection and operational control and monitoring of various components of its electric system.

Some of the new communications infrastructure will relay information from new meters Chugach is installing as part of a multi-year replacement of the more than 80,000 meters on its system to improve customer service. Chugach intends to incorporate data from the meters into a new outage management system. Dispatchers in Chugach’s power control center will receive information from meters when they lose power, allowing them to better analyze outages and coordinate restoration. Chugach anticipates replacing more than 6,000 meters in 2015.

In compliance with Anchorage municipal code, Chugach will continue the conversion of overhead distribution facilities to underground in 2015. Chugach’s projected 5-year project plan is posted on its website. The largest Chugach conversion project for 2015 will run along Tudor Road from west of C Street to the Old Seward Highway. The approximately $1 million project will replace about a half mile of existing overhead line with new buried cable. {1111435}

As the construction progresses, information about Chugach projects will be available at www.chugachelectric.com.