Edison plans to upgrade in Exeter
March may not have enough rain to slow down traffic but a project to upgrade Exeter’s aging electrical system will cause some traffic congestion next month.
Beginning in early March, Southern California Edison (SCE) will be upgrading the its outdated 4kv system that currently serves downtown Exeter and nearby residential areas. Edison crews will be expanding its overhead network of electrical wires by replacing the existing circuits with 12kv circuits. Residents and businesses will see two-six man crews doing major work in the downtown area from March through September.
SCE Region Manager Brian Thoburn said the circuits upgrades are essential to accommodate future load growth and improve safety and reliability, “Upgrading these circuits will enable Edison to expand system capacity to better serve downtown Exeter,” Thoburn said. “This work reflects Edison’s commitment to improve service and anticipate future demand.”
Thoburn cautioned that customers will be impacted by the project, “There will at times be planned outages for our crews to do this work safely. Our crews will be out notifying affected customers in advance so they can prepare accordingly.”
When asked why SCE could not plan the outages for after hours, Thoburn said SCE is trying to control its costs to avoid passing them on to the taxpayer.
“Our costs directly impact rates to the consumer,” he said. “They are set by the Public Utilities Commission based on what it costs us to provide service.”
Traffic control and alley closures will also occur during the course of the project.
“Before we start, we want our customers to know why we are doing this work and when,” Thoburn said, “We apologize in advance for any inconvenience and appreciate the patience of our customers as we do this work.”
The circuit upgrades represent an approximate $2 million investment to deliver more electricity to Exeter. It will also improve the safety and reliability of SCE’s system.
“Because of the size of the project, our crews will be doing this work in phases,” Thoburn said.
The project’s first phase involves replacing 4kv circuits in an area along Palm Street between B and D Streets. From there, SCE will replace the remaining 4kv circuits that serve downtown and nearby areas. Since pole replacements are a key aspect to this project, SCE is working closely with Verizon on poles that the utilities jointly own. Edison is also leasing a lay-down yard in town to facilitate project activities.
As Edison and Verizon crews work on this project, traffic control will play a significant role so motorists and pedestrians are advised to use caution and remain alert when traveling in the affected areas.
“Edison greatly appreciates the cooperation of the City, Verizon, and most importantly, our customers as we upgrade these circuits,” Thoburn said, “It’s essential work that will benefit Exeter now and in the future.”
Thoburn said the existing 4kv lines are part of an 80-year-old infrastructure that needs to be upgraded to meet the demands of modern technology. SCE began identifying 4kv lines to begin replacing them three years ago. He said the first project of the system-wide upgrade was done in downtown Tulare several years ago and is nearly complete in downtown Hanford as of press time.