Electric utility upgrades to improve service reliability along the entire 90-mile Jessup Circuit 1102 that parallels Olinda Road between Highway 273 and the far eastern reaches of Happy Valley could slow and even stop traffic briefly through November, officials for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Thursday.
“We’re installing 36 additional circuit breakers on various tap lines along short residential roads so we can isolate a power outage and restrict the extent of those outages,” explained company spokesman Paul Moreno.
Line crews are also upgrading six transformers and installing five radio-controlled switches to improve reliability to nearly 3,500 customers served by the 12,000 volt, three wire circuit transmission line, explained Terri Meyer of PG&E, a customer service specialist based in Chico.
For the next two months, motorists traveling Olinda Road between Happy Valley Road and Spring Street, on Ox Yoke Road and along Highway 273 between Biggs and Hill streets and other blocks in west Anderson could encounter delays as roadside flaggers restrict traffic to a single lane in the vicinity of a power pole being replaced, Moreno said.
PG&E crews will work between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, except holidays and expected to complete the $800,000 project in late November, just ahead of the winter storm season, Moreno said.
“It’s a very long circuit with fewer customers per mile of power line, so there is more opportunity for exposure to high winds that can push tree branches into power lines,” he explained.
The long strands of wires slung along roadways also increases exposure to vehicle accidents or animal contacts, all of which can disrupt electricity to hundreds, if not thousands, of customers, Moreno added.
The additional fuses and circuit breakers will trip automatically when an outage occurs on one feeder line rather than spreading that outage to the entire circuit, he said.
And radio-controlled devices on switches will allow remote control opening and closing of circuits from the utility company’s operations facility in Chico much more quickly than assigning a work crew to check on an outage, Moreno said.
Each year, the utility company analyzes all of its circuits and recently found that this particular circuit “had more reliability problems than most of the others,” he said.