5 Questions on SaskPower’s Construction Work in Regina

May 22, 2019

Shawn Schmidt

Quotables:

  • Most of our equipment was installed in the 1960’s or earlier! That’s why we’re investing $18.9 million in upgrading and maintaining our infrastructure in Regina.
  • Unplanned power outages are caused by a variety of factors that are out of our control. But, there’s one that we can work on — the condition of our infrastructure. This work will help reduce the number of outages caused by aging infrastructure.
  • To make sure this work is safe for our customers and workers, there may be planned power outages. All planned power outages are posted on the Outage Map, Twitter and website in advance.

You’ll notice lots of SaskPower construction and maintenance going on in Regina this year. That’s because we’re upgrading and maintaining our old power system. This work will help keep the power grid running for years to come. We sat down with Shawn Schmidt, VP of Distribution & Customer Service to find out what works being done and how it’ll impact you.

  1. Why are you doing this work?

    Our infrastructure is aging. Most of our equipment was installed in the 1960’s or earlier! Aging infrastructure is the cause for about 35% of unplanned outages. That’s why we’re investing $18.9 million in upgrading and maintaining our infrastructure in Regina.

    No one likes power outages. That’s why it’s important to make these updates to our infrastructure now. Not only will this strengthen service reliability, but it’ll ensure our power grid will work for years to come.

  2. What work are you doing?

    We’ve got many different projects going on in Regina, like:

    • LED streetlight conversions
      • Budget: $935,000
      • What’s being done:
        This work will switch over 2,885 streetlights from High Pressure Sodium Vapour (HPSV) bulbs to LED Lighting.
      • When:
        Work to happen throughout the year.
    • Wildlife protection on overhead transformers
      • Budget: $30,000
      • What’s being done:
        We’re installing protectors on overhead transformers. This will reduce the number of outages caused by wildlife perching on top of our transformers.
      • When:
        Work to happen throughout the year.
    • Expansion box installations
      • Budget: $1.9 million
      • What’s being done:
        We’re installing 3,300 expansion boxes in Regina to combat ground shifting. We’re focusing on our customer’s safety as we prepare for another dry year.
      • When:
        Work runs from April to October.
    • Underground cable replacements
      • Budget: $4.5 million
      • What’s being done:
        We’re replacing the current cables with new cables. This will help reduce the number of outages caused by faulty or damaged cables. We’re also installing 22 km of duct work. This will make it easier to install new cables in the future.
      • When:
        Work runs from April to December.  
    • Duct Bank Projects (Corridors for cables feeding to and inside Central Business District)
      • Budget: $7.8 Million
      • What’s being done:
        We’re replacing the old infrastructure – some that was built in the 1930s. This will make it easier to install and repair new power cables.
      • When:
        Work runs from May to October.
    • Overhead Line Work
      • Budget: $50K
      • What’s being done:
        We’re replacing aging overhead infrastructure. This was a project we’re finishing up from last year.
      • When:
        Work will take place throughout the year.
    • Underground line work
      • Budget: $2.2M
      • What’s being done:
        There’s 8 projects to install new transformers and cables. This will replace the existing equipment.
      • When:
        Work will take place throughout the year.
    • Facility Decommissioning
      • Budget: $1.3M
      • What’s being done: There are 3 projects that will decommission and remove abandoned cables.
      • When:
        Work is taking place from now until March 2020.
    • Engineering Exploration
      • Budget: $124K
      • What’s being done:
        Crews will be checking the locations of buried facilities and taking measurements. To do this, they’ll be cutting small holes in the pavement or sidewalks.
      • When:
        Work runs from June to August.
  3. Which areas are affected by construction?

    You’ll see this work throughout Regina. But this year we’ll be most active in these areas:

    • Underground Cable Replacements will affect:
      • University Park
      • Albert Park
      • Argyle Park
      • Wood Meadows
      • Gardiner Park
    • Duct Bank Projects will affect:
      • Osler St. – 11th Ave to Victoria Ave
      • 12th Ave – Osler Street to Broad St
      • Wallace St. – Broadway Ave to Power House Drive
      • Alley Area behind Central Library
    • Underground line work will affect:
      • In alley behind the Central Library (major construction activity area)
      • Sask. Drive from Broad St. to Hamilton St.
      • Cornwall Center Loading dock area adjacent to Hamilton Street
      • 12th Avenue at back lane on West side of Canadian Cancer Society building
      • Conexus Credit Union building North West side entrance area
      • Dewdney Ave at McIntrye St.
      • Dewdney Ave at Rose St.
      • Broadway Ave and Winnipeg St.
    • Engineering Exploration will affect:
      • Angus Street and Sinton Lane – from Sask. Drive to Albert Street
      • 11th Ave – from Osler St. to Hamilton St.
      • 13th Ave – from Osler St. to Broad St.
      • 15th Ave – from Osler St. to Hamilton St.
  4. How will this impact me?

    To make sure this work is safe for our customers and workers, there may be planned power outages. If you’re affected, we’ll leave a notice in your mailbox. These outages could last between 4 to 6 hours but may last up to 8 hours depending on the work involved.

    All planned power outages are posted on the Outage Map, Twitter and website in advance. Or, download the SaskPower app to receive outage notifications for your area.

    Depending on the work being done, there will also be:

    • traffic disruptions/lane closures
    • noise and temporary traffic disruptions

    For more information on road closures caused by this work, visit Regina.ca.

  5. Does this mean there will be fewer outages in Regina?

    Unplanned power outages are caused by a variety of factors that are out of our control. But, there’s one that we can work on — the condition of our infrastructure.

    Over the past 5 years, unplanned power outages were caused by:

    • Aging infrastructure - 35%
    • Nature (trees, birds, animals, etc.) – 30%
    • Weather/Environment (wind, ice, storms, frost, etc.) – 30%
    • Accidental contact (vehicles, vandalism, etc.) – 5%   

    This work will help reduce the number of outages caused by aging infrastructure. It’ll also help build resilience to weather and nature too.

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