As part of OPALCO’s 2013-2016 construction work plan, OPALCO’s crews will be replacing 1.25 miles of direct- buried electric cable on Victorian Valley Road from Orcas Highway to LaPorte Road with a new cable inside of conduit system. This project will decrease energy losses and provide more reliable energy to members in this area.
OPALCO’s engineers track outage information and have observed a pattern of cable faults in the area due to the aging direct-buried line. The existing cables were laid in the early 1980s. The old conductor material, which is made of aluminum wire with Polyethylene insulation and an exposed concentric neutral cable, is showing its age. This cable was the standard at the time, but has now been replaced with a new material that has a longer life.
Trenching is scheduled to begin in mid-July and the project is expected to complete by the end of October. There will be some small planned power outages as crews move the power over from the old cables to the new. Affected members will be notified by phone in advance.
OPALCO maintains a 12-year long-range plan for system upgrades, maintenance and new construction. A construction work plan is updated every four years and submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utility Services for review and funding. Other major projects planned for 2013 include Buck Mountain cable replacement and Dolphin Bay road cable replacement.
OPALCO is our member-owned cooperative electric utility, serving about 11,000 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 95% greenhouse-gas free and is generated predominantly by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937.