By Barry Dalton
One year after a resident cut a tree down on the northeast side of Vandalia, causing a high-fault amp current that in turn caused a substation fire, Vandalia residents will vote on transferring the city’s 69kv Transmission Line to Central Electric on April 6.
The massive tree landed on power lines, the city states, and the resulting fire not only led to a 12-hour citywide power outage, even longer on the northeast side of town.
Without the support of Central Electric manpower and mobile substation, along with manpower from Consolidated Electric, the city would have been without power much longer, according to city officials.
Now, a year later, a proposal by Central Electric would construct a new substation, replacing the one that caught on fire, and install two new transformers and new feeder reclosers.
An important part of this agreement is the city transferring ownership of its 69kv transmission line to Central Electric, which must first be approved by voters. This line transports electricity to the city’s substation from the Central Electric substation.
Vandalia currently pays Central Electric to maintain and service the 69kv line. However, the Vandalia Utility Department will continue to own and maintain the city’s distribution lines. Distribution lines carry electricity at a lower voltage of 2.4kv to 4.16kv and are used to distribute power from from the 69kv line to Vandalia homes and businesses.
In addition to no longer needing to pay for the 69kv line’s maintenance the city will also no longer be required to maintain and repair the poles. Some of the current poles that are currently on the 69kv line are rotten and have expandable foam to fill the holes. One of the poles has a pole enforcer to hold it upright. The city last replaced three poles in 2019 at a cost of around $44,000.
The city held an information meeting about the line transfer on March 22 and will hold one more on the eve of the election for anyone with additional questions or concerns. The meeting will be held at the Lange Building at 5:30 p.m. on April 5.
One of the poles on the 69kv line has a pole enforcer to hold it upright. Other poles are also aging.